A first look at the Neo II by Rotolight!
There is no one way to describe Tristan Pope: New Yorker, Actor, Photographer, Emmy Award-winning director, gamer and former Blizzard Entertainment magic maker. Pope is more than just the sum of his creative parts, and it is this approach that makes his work all the more spectacular. Out to capture the perfect moment, frozen in time, Pope’s goal is to combine motion, strength, glamour, and fashion into each and every shot. We sat down with Tristan to hear more about his professional evolution, his vision, and making it as an artist and creative professional.
Why did you decide to pursue photography as a career?
I think my choice to pursue photography as a career was not really a choice – since I was a little kid, I would go and take pictures of family events. I was always able to capture these moments that people around me had, and I wanted to further that, so after a couple of years in California directing cinematics for a video game company, I decided to branch off, take what I had learned and apply it to my own business, which had translated into photography.
What inspires you as a photographer?
The things that inspire me most as a photographer are definitely the interactions that I have with the various people I work with. If you asked me to shoot a landscape, for example, I wouldn’t be able to – it would be the worst photo you’d see, because in that situation, I can’t talk to that rock over there and tell it to move to the left a little. It’s that 30 minutes when the model or dancer or actor is getting ready, or getting their makeup done, where I have to get to know them really quickly, and apply that to their everyday and my everyday, and the things that might be up and down. It’s like you’re a bit of a therapist, but then you have to go and shoot your subject and make everything really beautiful, so that interaction is what really draws me into it.
What’s the most rewarding part of being a photographer?
I think the most rewarding part of being a photographer is being able to show someone a different version of what they see in themselves. I try to make sure that it’s as close to what I see and executed as accurately as possible – I’m not talking about Photoshopping your face into a thin mask with makeup and Snapchat filters. I’m talking about the real you in that moment, so you can have that photo forever.
Can you tell us about your “Dancers Of” project and what inspired you to start it?
One of the interesting projects I’ve been working on is an ongoing series called “Dancers Of”, spurred by a short film that I shot on an iPhone, back when Apple had introduced slow motion at 240 frames per second. I did this video in the three days after the iPhone 6 was released, all doing one dance move, all over the city, and I released a 2-minute snap piece where it was just these beautiful dancers in slow motion. I was capturing it on a phone this big, which was exciting to me since I had never before had access to this technology at this small and compact a scale.
I have a lot of cameras, but you know, you have to pay a lot of money to get all this tech. This was really in the palm of my hand! You could swipe through it all with the dancers, and show them exactly where their perfect leap was, where they landed, and they could say okay, or voice their take on it, and then we could work together to adjust both lighting, effects and form, in a really collaborative way.
Over the years, it’s evolved into a great way to get dancers a full-body portfolio – to create a meaningful portfolio for a dancer in just four hours. They can have up to six different outfit changes, and in three days, I can turn around a full body of work for them, which they can then use on social media, on their websites, or to create a reel. This is their own show, more than anything, and it’s a lot of fun.
What’s the toughest part and what helps you overcome that?
The toughest part about being a photographer is not necessarily the photography itself – it’s really more about the freelancing aspect of it. When I first got started, I wasn’t quite used to the idea of downtime – at any job I’ve had, they always threw like five or six different projects at me at once because I’m really fast at what I do. With photography, as a freelancer, I had to start building a client base, getting work assignments – there are certain times of the year where work slows down and when it picks up again, especially when you’re doing your own work. The most nerve-wracking part is when you don’t have a job lined up, and getting used to that, being accepting of that – there’s something very depressing in not having a gig, but then you have to think, “What else can I do during this time? How else can I transform what I’m doing, or do a different project?” You need to be able to embrace that downtime. When you have downtime and nothing to do, being able to just go, “Alright, I don’t have a job today, and that’s okay” – that was the hardest hurdle for me to get over. Once I got over that, I started getting more jobs because I was so much more comfortable with the idea of booking something in advance, or using the time that I wasn’t booking gigs for other things I want to accomplish. It’s a scary thing to have to conquer.
What’s your favorite camera to shoot with?
My favorite camera to shoot with is the camera that is best for the subject I’m shooting. I know this might make some photographers cringe, since many photographers are very tech-oriented. I am the opposite of those photographers – I have an acting and directing background, I come from a family of singers and musicians, and so when photographers come to me and are excited about some sort of lens, I just go into brain overload mode. I know how to use my camera, and use it efficiently, but I don’t harp on that. I focus on my subject, and on creating a story, and try to think about what the best method is to create that story in front of me. I ask myself, what is the best way to create that story? Is it the mobile phone that’s in my pocket and is just there and ready to go? Or do I go upstairs and grab my $5,000 lens and $10,000 camera and rig it up to shoot to get the right outcome?
Who would you love to photograph?
People ask me often who would be my favorite person to shoot. I always look at the that question and never know the answer, since really, to me, my favorite person to shoot is whoever I’m shooting at the moment. Whoever I’m set up to shoot, I really invest all my time into them and what we have to get done together, the story we’re trying to convey.
Tell us one fun fact about yourself.
Something that many people may not know about me is that I have a lot of different passions – photography is up there, but I don’t consider myself a photographer. Whenever people ask me if I’m a photographer, I always hesitate, since I feel like there’s a lot of stigma attached to it: like, oh, you shoot pretty models all day. I never really associated myself as a photographer in general, but I saw this speech being given once, and the speaker was telling the audience, “If you want to be a producer, you have to wake up every single day and love being a producer. You have to sleep, breathe and eat it”. I was listening to that and thinking that I didn’t understand it, in that I don’t understand what it’s like to sleep, eat and breathe only one thing. I wake up every day and I do at least one thing that I love – that may be photography, that may be directing, that may be acting, editing a website, playing a video game – every day, I have at least one thing I’m passionate about, and that really drives me as a freelancer and artist.
What’s one tip you’d give someone who’s just starting their career as a photographer?
If you’re just starting out as a photographer and it’s something you’re really passionate about, the best advice I could give you is to shoot things that make you happy, that inspire you. What you shoot will show up in the photo itself, so if you want to be a photographer for the glamour and for fashion week, you might not end up liking what you’re doing, because you’ll be doing it every day. When your passion becomes a career and you start to mix the two – they don’t have to clash, they can absolutely work together – but you have to absolutely love what you’re doing.
The second thing I would tell them is don’t worry if you don’t have thousands to spend on equipment when you’re starting out. Buy one thing that you can afford that you think will best tell the story or capture the type of photos you’re trying to achieve. Use your phone – every phone has a very capable camera on it these days, and if you start there and it works, with the help of social media you can get your work out there right away. You don’t need to wait for any big magazines or publishers – you can publish your work and get feedback immediately.
Check out Tristan’s Website
Follow Tristan on Instagram
Book Tristan on Superr
I love how the Superr team captured my crazy while making it seem super artistic!
The hardest part about being a photographer is not necessarily the photography itself, but more the freelance aspect of it. When you have nothing to do, being able to just go “breath”, I don’t have a job today and that’s OK. That was the biggest hurdle, but once I got over that, I started getting more jobs.
Full article here: http://blog.superr.io/2017/11/09/freezing-movements-time-photographer-tristan-pope-dancers-best-friend/
I then ran across this short film:
First of all I fucking loved this. This is EXACTLY what a creator feels when you are going from concept to reality. And when you finally let into the feelings of “what if” “failure” and other such things is when your art comes out as pure as it can possibly be. Bravo sir. Well done.
This is what it feels like to be a creator. You are constantly fighting your own ambitions, ideas, sleepless nights of jotting down notes, and when it is all said and done and you press publish or submit to that festival or whatever you release your media to, you sit back, and probably sleep for a few days straight.
It is amazing how fast all the work you put into a project can be consumed these days, but after you rest, you wake up everyday and do at least one thing you love all over again!
The iPhone 7’s Camera is absolutely fantastic all by itself:
It also has amazing slow motion and video capture capabilities:
NYC The Fourth Installation of "Dancers Of" is out. This time we shot exclusively with iPhone 7. The results were.. Well you be the judge! Feat. Katie Mattar @katiemattar Showcasing mobile innovation through Strength, Passion, & Dance Everything is shot on iPhone7 Gone are the days of needing months to fill out a portfolio, each dancer is scheduled ONE day to shoot with me and an iPhone. The result is a very fast, professional kick start to your port. A Tristan Pope Photography Project. http://tristanpope.com #dance #ballet #fitness #workout #abs #ilovedance #lfl #instagram #glamour #fashion #beauty #ballerina #vogue #beautiful #glam #workit #flexible #womensfashion #flex #yoga #nyc #newyork #strength #trends #tbt #bathingsuit #iphone #contemporary #portfolio
A post shared by Dancers Of (@dancers_of) on
But where it truly shines is the new Portrait mode which mimics depth of field that you would normally only get with a professional DSLR camera.
The new portrait mode is like pizza. And who doesn’t like pizza?!?!
Honestly it is like apple made a deal with the devil to get the algorithm for “digital” depth of field, because the results are uncanny. Sure there are some things that need improvement but for what it is right out of the gate, mind blown. How many magical elves are inside my iPhone 7 plus to make the picture do that?!?!
Check out these examples below (swipe left to right to see the “RAW”(not using portrait mode) and with Portrait Mode on with color correction all done on the iPhone)
What I am waiting for is when people stop calling it “Mobile Photography” and just call it “Photography”.
So as you can see the Portrait mode is quite impressive. You have to be very careful of textures still, as it likes to blur them at time. Luckily the portrait mode saves a Depth of Field version with Bokah or Blur (however you wanna say it), and then gives you the normal shot without any retouches. So let’s say you shoot a shot and somehow a piece of hair, eyelash, foreground bit gets blurred accidentally. You can combine both photos in a program outside of the phone to recover your image without worrying about having lost the perfect shot. It would be cool if apple allowed you do that in the photo editor. (still waiting on my “advanced mode” for the photos app! =D )
But besides the small hiccup here or there, this thing could easily replace a DSLR in any daytime shoot. No one looking at the photo quickly, on social media, or even side by side is going to go “OMG THAT IS THE iPHONE DEPTH OF FIELD!!!!!!” They are going to go, wow that is a beautiful image. And that is absolutely an amazing place for photography on mobile phones to be. (are they even phones anymore? Why doesn’t apple just removed the earphone area too cause no one makes calls anymore…. damn millenials, I LEARNED THE HELL OUTTA MAKING PHONE CALLS, NOW WHAT AM I GOOD AT?!! I can only say LOL SO MANY TIMES!!! *tangent over*) Is it different than a DSLR, sure, but will it matter in a few years. NOPE. Is it already starting to not matter? Yup. I would MUCH rather have my iPhone on a shoot with me than my DSLR, and it has been that way for the last 2 years, and I have realllllly nice DSLR’s. Not to mention for those who aren’t trying to get that professional shot, you now have a chance to do it anyway, just by reaching in your pocket, following the onscreen instructions, and snapping away. It is like when DSLRS first dropped in prices and everyone had one. Sure the images weren’t great, but it allowed more people to join the m̶a̶s̶s̶a̶c̶r̶e̶ fun!
Anyway, obviously I have had too much coffee today (which is odd considering I don’t drink it), so here are some top numbered things for clickbait 😉
Top 5.5 Tips for Shooting in Portrait Mode on the iPhone 7!
I have shot in pitch black and in the heat of the noon sun. All is doable in portrait mode, but the most successful it has been was at 12 noon sunlight. The more light the better for portrait mode. Not only is it shooting through the 55 mm lens of the dual lens with a higher f stop (i.e. less light allowed in) it needs to be able to make out those edges in order to blur properly so introduce too much noise and darkness and your results may not be what you want. However carry an icelight knockoff(yes I said knockoff, icelight is ridiculously overprices for an LED panel in the shape of a lightsaber), and you can boost the light enough to really pull off some great nighttime shots. Even a cafe’s bulbs on a string hanging outside can truly enhance your photo. But at the moment, your best results are 100% daytime.
Rules of Thirds
Camera 101. Portrait mode, Landscape mode, Panoramic Mode(did you know you can use panoramic mode to shoot really odd shaped normal photos that are vertical!), it doesn’t matter, knowing some basic shooting techniques will always increase the quality of your photos. And when you add the blur effect/bokah effect that Portrai mode introduces you want that background to shine through, so have a subject in one of the thirds allows for more of it to be seen.
You CAN push the distance of the Depth of Field Portrait mode beyond the 8-10 feet it tells you to stay within, but you will start to get edge tearing around the subject. The filter will not be able to tell the difference between and arm and the ocean for example. Sometimes it will though… but to be safe, stick within the range apple’s app tells you to, unless you are a rebel like me and feel like reading why below.
Know when to turn it off
Yes we know Bokah(the pretty blurred out lights behind someone) is pretty for EVERY PICTURE.. or is it?! Know when to turn it off and allow the beauty in-front and behind your subject truly shine through. Also without it on, you get more low light, so remember that!
The important one:
BREAK ALL THE RULES
No not in a “I say bae cause I can’t even” way.
But because while these tips and tricks are great for getting you started and are the foundation for creating a beautiful image using portrait mode, this is very much new tech that doesn’t even know it’s own limits yet. For instance the distance tells you to not go more than 8-10 feet from the subject, you can push that using different creative barrel rolls and tumbles during a shoot to push the limits further. (mind you results may vary beyond this distance as you are not using it as it was programmed to work seamlessly, but you can get truly stunning results) But just push it to the limits and let Apple know you want to grow their magical fairy power that is obviously powering this new Portrait mode. Sure other’s came before this one as third party apps, but NONE of them have been able to achieve what this has! So obviously we must curb our enthusiasm and immediately request they push it even further! 🙂
Check out more at:
Showcasing mobile innovation through Strength, Passion, & Dance
Everything is shot/edited on iPhone7
Gone are the days of needing months to fill out a portfolio, each dancer is
scheduled ONE day to shoot with me and an iPhone.
The result is a very fast, professional kick start to your port.
Speaking on the panel at the @nywift New York Women in Film and Television mobile filmmaking panel.
Was an honor to speak here. Thank you so much for having me. See all my work here: Http://tristanpope.com
Romance in NYC mentioned in the video now available on iTunes:
Behind the Scenes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4y_dlV71M-w
This is the beginning of a new series called “Handheld Storytelling” brought to you by Tristan Pope Photography: http://tristanpope.com
In this episode we look at the top 3 Handheld Electronic 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizers for Smartphones!
Shown in this video are:
Ikan Fly X3 Plus 3:20
Pros: Gun handle Grip, Carrying Case, Large Battery, Good Feedback in the handle, Padding for the phone.
Cons: Has trouble with any attachments with the supplied counterbalance using the iPhone 6S and cannot balance the iPhone 6S PLUS with supplied balance with any attachments, often fails out of balance with quick motions or randomly when the gears lock up. Loud operating noise. Pretty rugged, but seems the gears get a louder the longer you have it. Only one button operation On and Off no extra tilt or pan features.
Feiyu Tech G4 8:48
Pros: Very small, solid build, upside down filming, extendable battery and extension rods, can hold attachments placed on the iPhone 6S, very strong motor for fast and quick motions.
Cons: Only one button operation, no tilt up or tilt down features. Can only hold the iPhone 6S. The gears seem to struggle the more extensions you place on the rig, which will shake your phone and footage.
Zhiyun Z1-Smooth 15:50
Pros: Strongest motor of the three, can have a ton of additional weight added to the provided counterbalance to balance an iPhone 6S plus with ANY attachments(which means the iPhone 6S can add even more, Easy upside down shooting without the need to set a mode for it, Additional panning and tilting via a 3 button system, strong clamp to hold your phone in place, Solid build, extendable battery and extension rods available, as well as a bluetooth remote! Silent operation.
Cons: None, this one truly has it all feature wise.
Prices have changed since this video was made: the Zhiyun and Feiyu Tech are 50+$ cheaper than the Ikan now.
Stay tuned for more episodes, if you would like us to review your equipment please contact email@example.com!
Shot by App Develope George Spyros using Filmakr: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/filmakr-manual-video-camera/id412138549?mt=8
Shot on iPhones utilizing the beastgrip and the stabilizers.
Tristan Pope Photography took to the skies over NYC with the iPhone 6S + to get some of the first 4K aerial footage via an amazing company called #FlyNyon. They fly open door helicopters directly over some of the most amazing sights NYC has to offer, deemed as “the Ultimate Photo Experience”. And it truly is! See what it is like to #FlyNyon and how our different gear holds up against the extreme conditions! Will the screen break? lol
All aerial shots are in Native 4k on the iPhone 6S+
All Behind the Scenes are in 1080p on the iPhone 6+
Footage rendered at 4K
No color correction was applied so you can see what the 4K on the iPhone 6S+ can do over NYC!
Check out our adventure!
Miss the prep and behind the scenes of part 1? Check it out here:
iPhone 6S +
iPhone 6 +
Zoom iQ5 Lightning Adapter Mic
Shit tons of Gaff tape
and a lot of tethers!
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An article about Tristan Pope Photography:
Tristan Pope has been using new technology to create art for years. Back in 2004, he was one of the pioneers ofmachinima. When he saw an opportunity to create a digital set from inside the internet multiplayer role-playing game, World of Warcraft (WoW), he began work on a series of WoW films. Then, he uploaded them to websites like FilePlanet. Tristan’s machinima films were downloaded over a million times in a pre-YouTube world. It was a big deal.
Check it out!
When Summer is coming to an end on the first of September, what is better than Dance and the Beach. With that I give you:
A Tristan Pope Photgraphy Film
Shot on iPhone 6
Dancers of California:
Ariana Estelle Dewing
Emma Victoria Dewing
Music(rights obtained by Elliot Berger and Laura Brehm):
Elliot Berger – Diamond Sky ft. Laura Brehm
Other iPhone 6 Dance Films:
Dancers of NYC: http://vimeo.com/107617949
Dancers of Zurich: http://vimeo.com/130701787
So you have been following the hype of mobile filmmaking, watching the films and seeing the billboards all over town “Shot on iPhone X”(which is truly a brilliant ad campaign). You think, “it really is that easy!” Then you see a movie like Tangerine shot on iPhone winning at Sundance and go: now I need to make a movie, I want laurels!
Immediately you hop
online to google “best equipment” but quickly get overwhelmed by all the different options! But you start buying! You spend money, you buy the “tools”, and since you already have a mobile device, of course you will become a great cinematographer now! Look at the Billboards or Instagram! It is simple!
You don’t know
- how to frame a shot
- the rule of thirds
- how to cast an audition
- how to edit a film
- how to handle a crew
- how to direct an actor
- how to light a set, you have no idea
- that a mobile device is actually going to be shakier than a bigger camera due to inertia
- what the importance of sound is
- how to operate a camera
The biggest problem is that last one, “you don’t know how to operate a camera”. We all have to start somewhere, but somewhere somehow it is being lost on people that basic filmmaking 101/camera knowledge is going to help you make a better film. The big red dot that records, makes you think, well you hit this and shoot. You don’t think about exposure, shutter, frames per second, aspect ration(well you do think of this because you WANT, nope you NEED 4K cause everyone says 4k is the best!), or any filmmaking 101 and you shoot.
And guess what? It is probably going to be shit.
No it is not groundbreaking, amazing, artistic, it is shit. The only praise it will get is on a Facebook wall with close friends and parents getting “like” happy. And it isn’t your fault. It isn’t your phones. It isn’t Apples. But it is a problem, as with all things that go mainstream quickly. And it IS your job to recognize when you should learn more to improve.
Remember when DSLR cameras hit the market? Everyone was a professional photographer! I would love the statistics of weddings ruined those first few years by bad photos.
But guess what, it is OK to be shit. Everyone has to start somewhere, and the magic behind mobile filmmaking is it is allowing people to find that inner filmmaker easier by making it more accessible. In countries where documentary crews would be arrested it is an amazing way to get stories out to the world. It is up to you for self awareness and knowing when you need help or to know you are just a prodigy. But regardless now you have learned something important, you have learned that you need to learn a hell of a lot more, because there is so much more that goes into a film than just owning a camera that can shoot it. The best equipment in the world be it for an iPhone or a RED, a GoPro or a Canon, will do you no good if you don’t pick it because it is the piece of equipment that will help to tell your story the best. I get asked, all the time, what is the best tool for iPhone filmmaking, and when I ask them, well tell me what your story is, they can’t they just want the quick fix, the list of tools, the tangible answer that money can buy. The magical weight loss pills of filmmaking. Guess what, the answer is simple, the tool is your story and your story defines your tools. Need a dolly shot to track along with some epic emotional moment? There is a tool. Don’t have that moment, don’t need the dolly.
But wait… you forgot the story, didn’t you? Yeah… that is the hard part. Coming up with it, shaping it, testing it, storyboarding it, shotlisting it… It is frustrating, exciting, and a lot of work.
Telling it these days, however, is easy, as long as you don’t just think there is some magical equation for the “best” of everything. You shoot with what makes sense to shoot on.
Sure shooting on an iPhone has this magical freeing quality to it, that I have explained here:
But at the same time, all the films I have shot on mobile devices were shot on them because I believed it to be the best medium for the story. If you asked me to shoot Fast and the Furious 19281 I would NOT use an iPhone. Maybe a shot here or there, if I really needed something crazy compact and mobile, but even then, probably a GoPro(i.e The Hobbit).
There is so much more to the process than the equipment and technical prowess of course. There is creativity, freedom, expression, trial and error, mistakes, roadblocks, brain freezes, breakdowns, fuck ups, reshoots, voice over, foley… but don’t skip the journey because you want “Shot on iPhone” attached to your film, because all of that process is half of the fun.
If you say “I didn’t have time to” “Don’t judge this too hard, I” or anything along the lines of “this isn’t my best work but I put it out there anyway and am using some stupid ass excuse so that I don’t have to actually put the time and effort into researching, learning, and executing techniques and such to polish this to a point where I can honestly say this is, regardless of what you think, something I believe is my best work”, than don’t release the fucking thing. Try again. Shoot again.
Mobile filmmaking allows for something amazing, trial and error! It allows you to fuck up. It allows you to truly shine if you can convince your audience to not care about the medium you are shooting on. If they walk out of your film talking about your film and the camera as an after thought or bonus because you have made a good film. Because that is the future, a story driven world, the age of the story teller. Being able to tell a story because you can grab shots that might not otherwise been accessible, since the camera is now in your pocket. Right now it is important for others to see that a film can and is shot on a mobile device so credits or tag lines “Shot on xPhone” are great to get the word out, but the next step is to be able to remove that label, and let the medium speak for itself. When it is no longer needed because it is just accepted. Films shot on mobile devices represent a very small minority in festivals and the like at the moment, so, yes it is encouraged to go and do, and by god there might be more mobile films than actual films around now, but at the same time, don’t just slap on a label to ride the hype train.
Remember with all films:
- You still need permits.
- You still need equipment.
- You still need post.
- You still need to edit.
- You still need good sound.
- You still need a story.
- You still need a budget.
- You still need common sense.
But now you have the freedom to choose the camera best for your story. The setup best for your story. The equipment best for your story. The best medium for your budget or lack of. I was amazed at how much equipment I have acquired and used in different scenarios depending on my film. The Ultimate iPhoneographer’s Equipment List, but I can’t tell people to buy all of this, because I don’t know if it fits their story.
Don’t let a mobile camera cause your film to become nothing other than a home video or a snapchat. Let mobile filmmaking be part of your expression and make sure that expression has a damn good reason to use a mobile device and a story to bring the audience on a journey with. You want to be a trend setter? Work on the cutting edge of technology? Make a mobile film? Make the mobile device an extension of your idea! If you put thought into the process, allow for the mobile device’s limitation to spur creativity, and remember or take time to learn some filmmaking 101 techniques, you will raise the quality of your film by leaps and bounds, not just ignoring it because you want to be “edgy”. We now have these amazing tools at our fingertips to produce something truly unique and just a pocket grab away. I will be the first to say mobile filmmaking is going to go leaps and bounds in the next few years and has already taken huge leaps in the past few. I cannot wait to see what people do with it. Just remember a story is a story whether it is 1080p or 4k.
There is no secret tool or item you can buy to make a great film, that is up to you, your story, and how far you are willing to push and believe in what you create. So follow your passions, get your story out there, but remember, just because it is accessible, doesn’t mean it is going to be easy or an instant success. The only way to find out is to give it your all right out of the gate, and when you fall, pick up the pieces, figure out why, and try again!
I have been asked very frequently what I would recommend as equipment to make iPhone Films. Well, here it is! A full image gallery of the equipment I own and use depending on the project. I still stick to my thoughts that the best equipment is that which fits your specific project. But if you want it all; here is a great starting point!
Here is the list!
- Fly-X3 Plus Electronic Gimbal Stabilizer
- Feiyu Steady Gimbal with carbon fiber extension rods for some amazing sweeping, overhead, crane shots.
- GripGear’s IndieSolo Steady Cam Rig (really quite amazing and an amazing company!)
- Beastgrip Rig. Including DoF adapter and my canon lenses mainly use my 50mm 1.4 (allows the attachment of DSLR lenses to your iPhone. It truly is a BEAST)
- Olloclip Lens attachments (polarizing lens being the most used piece of glass I utilize)
- Lens Baby Lens attachment for those crazy shots
- Glidecam Steadycam
- Amazon Basics Tripod for basic still shots (you can get ball head attachments and stronger tripods, which I own too, but for the lightweight iPhone this works fine!)
- Zoom H1 Recorder and Lav (off camera sound is always the way to go although the next item is making me change that thought, although I will always say stick with Zoom products they are high quality!)
- Zoom iQ5 (this little beast plugs directly into the lightning adapter and has truly amazing sound, rivaling the H1 and lav)
- 2 iPhone 6’s the Plus and regular 6. It is important to have a backup and dedicated shooter with any shoot.
- iPad Air (uses are often for clapboard, shotlisting, etc)
- Blackwing Gun handle mounts. Great for run and gun or standing pans, tilts, etc.
- Shoulder rig for those music video shots. No specific brand, they all do the same thing.
- Gorilla Pod, so many uses! Check the Behind the Scenes from Romance in NYC to see it in use!
- A ton of iPhone holders for attachment to tripods, rigs etc. My main one being Reti-Cam (super solid design)
- Anker Battery Backup(can charge the phone from 0-100 8 times)
- APC battery backup (cheap on ebay and works great charged phone 2 times)
- iClever car charger with four ports to charge all accessories.
- A selfie stick for… yeah still not sure why, my parents got it for me for Christmas as a joke lol
- a GoPro for behind the scenes and wide angle shots(includes a ton of body rigs)
- Desktek 3D headset, can be drilled to have a hole for the camera so you can shoot some great PoV
- Extra tripods, monopods, mini tripods, etc.
I plan to add some rail systems and 3 axis gimbals to the mix soon to accommodate the Beastgrip.
Here are some more photos of all the equipment. As you can see, even when shooting on an iPhone or mobile device it is important to have the proper equipment, filmmaking 101 knowledge, and know how to apply it. However your equipment gets smaller, is easier to travel with, and can spur some truly creative shots!
Zurich has always held a special place in my heart, as I spent many summers there as a child. Revisiting so many years later as a contestant and ultimately a winner for the MoMo film festival with Dancers of NYC, and meeting so many creative people using their mobile devices to tell stories, inspired me to make the sequel to Dancers of NYC. It was so different than our first go around, with multiple dancers in frame at once, better equipment, and foreign backdrops. It was an adventure to say the least and everyone was a huge part of its creation with their ideas, suggestions, and talents. The goal here is to showcase everyone’s talent and have a ton of fun doing it!
- Why shoot on an iPhone?
I switched over to an iPhone (around the iPhone 4s) because as a photographer I know the ageold anecdote “The best camera is the one you have with you”. I noticed I was using my phone for my vacations and everyday shots more than my DSLR due to ease and convenience so I wanted the best quality possible. From there I just kept pushing the limits of what an iPhone could do.
Be it through apps that unlock manual controls or techniques with external attachments, I found the potential this little phone in my pocket held to be exciting.
Dancers of NYC was inspired by the fact that a small camera could have 240FPS. I love slow motion, especially being a dance photographer/videographer. Being able to capture the entire move instead of just the perfect frame is beautiful. From there it has really kind of taken off for me, pushing my creativity to the next level while providing quality footage for the dancers I work with. As someone who is often the casting director, I knew people without a Reel more than often get passed over for those who do. So I found a way that I could help Dancers and Actors alike create a Reel for their portfolio efficiently, cheaply, and quickly. Not only that but I could focus on their strengths and cut right to the meat of what makes them stand out from the rest. I call this process InMotion Reels which can be seen at http://alttabme.site.nfoservers.com/portfolio/in-motion-headshotsreels/ the latest one being: https://vimeo.com/129973515
But this is just one layer. For me the “Dancers of” project had much more potential than just one city. What comes to mind is that old YouTube video of the guy who went around the world dancing with multiple cultures in a kind, loving, and sometimes comedic form. “Dancers of” has the potential to showcase the different cultural styles, fashions, and movements. This is why, when I went to Zurich for the Mobile Motion Film Festival for Dancers of NYC that won, I decided to film as many dancers there as I could. I felt Zurich is a more ballet- focused culture so I focused mainly on Ballet this time around.
What I have found out during the festivals I have been to, is a consensus that there is something liberating about shooting on a mobile device. I can’t put my finger on it completely as I have shot on DLSR, RED, and ARIS… you name it, but mobile filmmaking is just different, in a truly liberating way. Sure, you are limited but the limitations seem to be very freeing in terms of being creative. They push you to truly focus on the story. Plus it is a ton of fun to show someone something so beautiful from something so small. No longer do you need to add 5000 attachments to your camera to be taken seriously. It is also nice to push the boundaries of what the iPhone can do and try to make something small much bigger through content and story. This is the ae of the storyteller, where cameras are in everyone’s pockets, with the ability to produce amazing quality. So if you have a story worth telling, you can get it out there . There is really no excuse!
- How did you improve the production value? What equipment did you use?
This time around I was not limited to a tripod and the iPhone alone. I had some innovative stabilizers: From the Ikan’s FlyX3 Electronic Gimbal to Grip Gear’s IndieSolo Stabilizer,I had an arsenal with which to do some truly unique movements through the dance, with such a small footprint it is easily transportable and flexible in terms of locations and mobility. It is like having a complex rail system without the setup.
I was also lucky enough to have multiple dancers available at a time giving me depth and multiple actions going on at once. At one point I had every dancer line up on a banister I found, wait for a train to go by, and as it passed I ran down the line as they all did a simple Tendu iteration that had an amazing feel of strength and unity between the dancers. It also allowed me to layer and give depth to the shots since I was lacking true DoF with a mobile lens, using these layers as a creative way to fill that open aperture space.
As well, I had a lot more time to really go into post and add the needed color correction and special effects that I didn’t have time for in Dancers of NYC due to the 3 day turnaround(including filming).
I am often asked what is the best equipment to film on an iPhone, and I always return with the question: “What is your story?” “What kind of shots are you creating”. There are so many amazing options out there to accomplish unique shots, lens adapters from Olloclip, stabilizers from Gripgear, full on DSLR lens rigs by Beastgrip, even traditional equipment can work with a mobile device as was shown with my own film Romance in NYC utilizing a Gorillapod and Glidecam, but at the end of the day the best way to approach it isto ask yourself: if everything broke, could you still achieve the shot with just the iPhone? Then you know that it is the best medium to tell your story!
- What sort of limitations did you have to adjust to?
I am constantly fighting the bitrate and focus of my shots. This pushes my need to get creative with layering, depth, and movement to allow the shots to keep the “feel” of DSLR quality but with a phone that doesn’t always have that luxury. I also needed to be very careful about exposure and the smoothing that the iPhone can apply to certain shots. While this may be great features for when you want to point and click, it can work against you when you need continuity between all your shots. I would hope in future iterations that Apple allows me more controls over exposure and bit-rate through the stock app. The LG G4 is an amazing example of giving the camera operator all the tools he needs , while not overwhelming those who just want to have the one button to click and shoot. Until then there are some amazing external apps that I use to get the shot right. I use all of them at this point.
- What’s the downside of shooting on an iPhone?
To be honest the only downside is lack of DoF, but with equipment such as Beastgrip and iOgrapher you can now attach DSLR lenses to your iPhone, so it will be interesting to see what I can do with that next. Like I said, the downsides are there for sure… lower resolution when shooting 240FPS, no 4K…but it all seems trite compared to the liberating feeling you get running down the line shooting 3 dancers moving in tandem with just a small stabilizer and iPhone in your hand. And man, does it make traveling with your equipment so much easier.
- How big was your “crew” for this film?
The “crew” consisted of me and my sister who happened to be taking an “Eat Love Pray” trip around Europe at the time. She shot Behind the Scenes and helped me to keep my equipment in order and I shot. We had about 8-9 dancers this time around in total. All extremely talented and part of some very prestigious ballet companies. Ideally you want at least 1-3 people with you on these shoots. One person for lighting, one for makeup, and one assistant to make sure everything is in order.
- What are you planning next?
Dancers of the World! I actually just got back from another film festival the New Media Film Festival in LA for my short film shot on iPhone 6 “Romance in NYC” which also came away with a win, and ended up extending my trip in order to shoot Dancers of California as well. This film will have a strong emphasis on contemporary dance, performance dance(aerialist/pole), with ballet and other forms to round it out. I wanted to really capture the dance culture in California as best as I could. There are whispers that I may be heading to Hong Kong for my next “Dancers of” film.
Ultimately I believe this could be an amazing way for Dance companies such as Capezio, Sportswear designers such as Under Armor, or Fashion Designers in general to get their lines out there in a new and exciting way. I would love to work more hand in hand with them because the juxtaposition of the absolutely magical beauty of a ballerina’s form and technique with style and fashion and trends produces a beautiful result that caters to a broader and potentially deeper audience. Take that and apply it to dance styles and trends all over the world and you have a recipe for something truly amazing, all shot on an iPhone…. can’t get any more cutting edge trendy than that. And not just for the “trendy” aspect but because it is truly something I believe in as a legitimate form of filmmaking in this day and age.
Not only that but this is an amazing way to connect with so many different people and showcase their talents for the world to see, in such a new and unique way.
I am very excited to continue shooting on iPhone in the future, it is extremely fun to overcome the limitations and after seeing our first short film Romance in NYC on the big screen next to those shot with Reds and such we were completely blown away by the fact that it really held up beyond a measure of a doubt.
I was asked a very interesting question during the Q/A for Romance in NYC, “Have you ever considered not telling an audience they are watching a film on an iPhone?” I ended up writing a pretty in depth piece about it here: http://alttabme.site.nfoservers.com/portfolio/shot-on-iphone-the-age-of-the-story/
The jist though is that “As I continue forward with mobile filmmaking I am constantly working with companies like Grip Gear and Beast Grip to push thelimitations of mobile devices further. So I am excited for the day when I don’t feel it necessary to say it was shot on an iPhone, but for now I enjoy sharing that small bit of information for those who may feel like they can’t tell their story because their tech isn’t up to par. Because in the end if your story is strong and you know how to manipulate your medium for filming, iPhone or RED, your film will captivate your audience because we all go to the movies for that suspension of disbelief and all of these mediums allow that to happen. So take your phone out of your pocket more and start filming!”
As always you can follow the progress of all of these projects at http://tristanpope.com or any of my social media outlets: Twitter/Facebook/Instagram @tristanpope
I am totally humbled. Romance in NYC has WON at the New Media Film Festival LA. Congratulations to an amazing team that made this happen! Thank you for all your hard work! Thank you as well to the judges and program heads at the festival for the great opportunity to share our film with more people!
The festival was really an amazing selection of top quality films. We are so proud to have been a part of it!
I was asked a very interesting question yesterday during the Q/A for Romance in NYC, “Have you ever considered not telling an audience they are watching a film on an iPhone?”
I have actually thought about this a lot now that I have created multiple iPhone shorts. What I told him was the most honest truth; when I first set out to create Romance in NYC I had no intention of submitting to as many festivals as I did. I created this project because it held a very special place in my heart and I wanted to share that series of “moments” I had experienced in my life or wanted to in one complete day that made up Romance in NYC. I was extremely nervous coming from the upbringing that the more attachments you had on the camera the more serious you were taken, owning prosumer cameras and such and always wanting the best. So to say I wasn’t nervous about creating a full short film on a mobile device is an understatement. But I was convinced this would be the perfect medium to portray something so intimate. As someone just told me at the festival it reminded them of a Love Letter if it was being filmed instead of written. A beautiful metaphor. But as I edited and cut, I decided to put “Shot on iPhone 6” within the first 30 seconds of titles.
I was nervous that people might look at it differently if they saw it created on a mobile device. However as I have gotten to know more mobile film makers and gone to multiple festivals for my films created on mobile devices I have realized this is the age of the story(also said by a Judge at the Mobile Motion Film Festival). We have the tech in our pockets to tell those stories and it doesn’t matter if it is 1080p or 4k a story is a story.
So yes I have thought back and considered removing it from the beginning and perhaps just leaving at the end as a surprise or not at all. But on the complete flip side of this, I think it is important right now as mobile film creation is making a name for itself as a valid form of filmmaking to let people know. It lets people look at the film and consider shooting on different mediums and gives them promise that they don’t need a 50k setup to be successful. It allows them to watch it with a critical eye and see there is nothing to be afraid of! It allows them to see what a mobile device is capable of. I say it over and over again, that Filmmaking 101 still applies to any film, but the creativity needed due to the limitations of shooting on a mobile device are really pros because it spurs that creativity on how to achieve a shot in a unique and new way. It just happens to be a time where the best camera really is the one you have with you. Sure you might have a project that requires an Arris or RED and it shouldn’t be turned down just to be edgy, but if you have a project that fits the iPhone than why the hell not. You have no excuse now not to tell your story if that is what you want to do.
So having to answer that question out loud I don’t think I would change the fact that I reveal it was shot on an iPhone right off the bat because it truly sets the tone for aspiring filmmakers that you can achieve anything you put your mind to with any medium and especially that the mobile film making movement is viable and important to the industry.
Perhaps as mobile filmmaking gets more advanced and mainstream it won’t be necessary, but right now it is important to promote this movement. I am just proud to had such an amazing team with all my films thus far and to have been able to successfully execute a film of this type with a mobile device.
Watching it on the big srceen I am constantly shocked at how good it looks. It is crystal clear, but if that story isn’t there, it is the same thing as shooting on a RED or Prosumer camera, pretty images. But it can be so much more and now you can do it with a such smaller footprint. I remember have OCD attacks in low light seeing the grain, but I have been told many times, “Wow it looked just like film”. It is like watching a movie you saw as a child again at an older age and it still holds up regardless of it not being 4k or shot with a new age camera.
As I continue forward with mobile filmmaking I am constantly working with companies like Grip Gear and Beast Grip to push the limitations of mobile devices further. So I am excited for the day when I don’t feel it necessary to say it was shot on an iPhone, but for now I enjoy sharing that small bit of information for those who may feel like they can’t tell their story because their tech isn’t up to par. Because in the end if your story is strong and you know how to manipulate your medium for filming, iPhone or RED, your film will captivate your audience because we all go to the movies for that suspension of disbelief and all of these mediums allow that to happen. So take your phone out of your pocket more and start filming!
It is the “apple” versus “android”, “mac” vs “pc”, Car vs Car responses every time when you try to explain your choice of using a mobile device. Either someone is so set in the ways of it having to be shot on a red that they don’t understand the reason we chose a mobile device or they are interested in knowing more so they themselves can delve into it. This is an exciting time and as long as you are excited to share your story, pull that phone out of your pocket and start filming!
“SnowDay” just won first prize in Philip Wesley’s musical contest for best use of his music in a short video. We re-edited this one just for his competition with his song Unbridled Spirit. I was always a huge fan of his music, it also being used in Romance in NYC. So it is an honor to win this! Congratulations everyone! Especially Brittany Cavaco for weathering the freezing cold and looking so strong and graceful doing so!
FIlmMaker Magazine in Brazil published an interview about Romance in NYC. Check it out if you speak the language here!
Rough English Translation
After a beautiful stay in Zurich we are happy to announce we won at the Mobile Motion Film Festival!
Flying back to the states last week was sad but had such an amazing time with the wonderful MoMo film fest folks Andrea Holle and meeting Boa Lingua my sponsor Rahel Stössel. As well all the amazing dancers I met for “Dancers of Zurich” can’t wait to show you the amazing footage all together!
Zurich has always held a special place in my heart so it will be hard to leave but away to NYC for a few days and than off to another film festival the New Media Festival in LA with Aleece McCutcheon for Romance in NYC the short shot on an iPhone6.