Moviemaking, 1995-present

In 1995, I was in a summer program where we made a 45-minute movie from scratch, using a shoulder-mounted VHS video camera. We used no editing equipment because it was too expensive. Instead, we shot the movie in sequence, starting a new clip by rewinding the VHS tape to the end of the previous clip (trying to be as precise as we could). To get background music, we carried around a boombox that played a cassette tape as the scene progressed. Any camera-angle cuts had to go along with breaks in the song. We approximated fade-to-black transitions by gently covering the camera lens with a black cloth. The credits were hand-written on a long piece of scrolling paper.

Considering all of the technological hurdles (and the fact that we were about 10 years old), the quality of the movie is astonishing. Really, the fact that we could inexpensively make any sort of movie at all felt like quite a breakthrough.

Last week Apple introduced the iPhone 4. It not only lets you record video but has an app for editing — including background music, subtitles, and advanced transitions. All of the video is high-definition. And the whole device fits in your pocket.

I wonder what sorts of movies are possible now with just an iPhone and a creative team.

Update: The first such movie has been made (it’s well done, though only one and a half minutes long).

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