Steven Soderberg has always been one step ahead of his time. He set new standards two years ago with his psychological thriller Unsane. Soderberg filmed the entire movie with an Apple iPhone. But this movie was the second experiment made with a smartphone tried by Soderberg. He already released the basketball drama High Flying Bird that was filmed with the iPhone also. The Hollywood director did it without regular cameras and instead used the new technical possibilities that the smartphone offers. According to his statements, he valued the flexibility that the iPhone offered him when shooting. That enabled him to capture the images that he wanted to film in a split second. Soderberg described the work as demanding, but it would be difficult for him to return to traditional practice. The director was excited to try out the new possibilities that 4K offered on the iPhone.
The Pace of Work
The movie Unsane is about a woman who ends up in a psychiatric institution against her will. Over time, she can no longer understand the difference between reality and illusions and threatens to perish entirely. The leading role was played by one of the best actresses Claire Foy who previously gained her popularity acting on the TV series The Crown. Soderberg shot the movie in just two weeks. He had previously described the iPhone as a product that could change the film industry. He put his plans into practice with Unsane. In his opinion, his movie seems like velvet on the big screen. Soderberg is known for experimenting with technologies and has been using digital cameras for his works for many years. Most recently, he used high-end cameras such as those that are made by Red. However, those cameras are very expensive, if you compare them with an iPhone. The director also took over the positions of the operator and the cutter for the film. According to reports from the local media, the fast and unfamiliar processes created many challenges for the actors also. They were not used to this pace and the lack of waiting times. But in the end, they adjusted to the process, and everything went well.
Inexpensive Accessories and Creative Solutions
The New York magazine explained the working method in a detailed way. Soderberg filmed not only with an iPhone but with up to three other devices at the same time. It was an iPhone 8 with a memory of 256 GB. As a director and cameraman, he was able to put his ideas into practice on the set and try out a new perspective at lightning speed. He used cheap accessories instead of expensive tripods. He used the Joby Mini Gorillapod as tripods and the stabilizer DJI Osmo Mobile for the camera movements. The cheap gadgets worked very well for Soderberg. The innovator repeatedly demonstrated creativity on the set. For the moving scenes, he just sat in a wheelchair with an iPhone and asked his crew to push him. The next few years will show is it possible to change the film industry so easily. Anyway, the results of this experiment are fascinating.