Zacuto

‘Framed’, A Beautiful Short Film Shot Entirely on an iPhone 4S

So many people get hung up on the gear they want to use for their film. While it may be true that your camera gear can make a good film better, the gear is not the most important factor when making a film. Today, high quality cameras are smaller and cheaper than ever. Plus, with websites like YouTube and Vimeo, it’s a lot easier to get your film seen. Since the development of these sites, the world has come to know and love all sorts of videos with varying degrees of image quality.

But quality is a relative term, isn’t it? How do you define what makes a “good” video? Is it the story? The actors? The way it looks? Some of the videos we have grown to know in the past few years have been shot with professional gear and some have been shot on point and shoot cameras or even cell phones. The one thing they all have in common is that they are entertaining. In other words, a successful video isn’t successful because of the gear used to produce it as long as it’s entertaining. It’s not so much about the actual gear itself but how you use it.

Framed is a perfect example of a gorgeous film shot with a minimal amount of gear. French filmmaker, Maël Sevestre, made this film in just a few days but you would never guess that from watching it. It’s a simple story of a man and his camera. The film was shot with only a tripod, a slider and an iPhone 4S attached to the slider with a couple of clamps. It wasn’t the most elegant setup in the world but that didn’t matter. All the elements of a great short film are still there.

“This is exactly what I’ve been talking about. A beautifully shot story all shot with an iPhone 4S and it looks amazing,” says Zacuto Product Designer and Director, Steve Weiss. “It’s not about the gear, guys. It’s about the story, the talent and the people behind the camera. If you don’t listen to me, a guy that makes his living selling equipment for high end camera gear, who will you listen to?”

As a young filmmaker from Annecy, France, Sevestre was looking for a new project. He has worked on quite a few large projects in the past and is used to working with a big production team but this time around he was looking for something new on a smaller scale.

“I just wanted to do a small short, like a 48-hour film project,” says Sevestre. “So I called one of my comedian friends and asked him if he was available for the weekend to shoot a small “not yet written story.” Some friends and I started brainstorming about what kind of story we wanted to tell and then one of them showed us the brand new iPhone 4S. We liked the idea of making a movie only using the phone instead of the 5D Mark II. So we did. I had heard that the iPhone 4S had a new optic (a real one), so I figured why not be the first to do a short movie using only this camera?”

Sevestre and his friends wrote the story that night and 24 hours later, they were in his childhood village shooting Framed.

“We wanted to tell a story about an old camera that allows you to see his past owner,” says Sevestre. “We saw a link between a newer camera like the iPhone, which is a product of consummation, and an old camera, one you keep throughout your entire life. I really wanted to get the color of autumn and tell a poetic story in this season.”

Maël Sevestre did an excellent job achieving just that. The colors are amazing and the story is very sweet. There were a few problems with flickering colors and stabilization, but any filmmaker will tell you that you never have a shoot without running into a few problems here and there. Sevestre worked around these problems and at the end of the day, the team had all of their shots. Editing only took another day and by that night, Framed was up on Vimeo. It was textbook independent filmmaking at its best.

Take a look a Framed below and see what we’re talking about!!

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21 Responses to “‘Framed’, A Beautiful Short Film Shot Entirely on an iPhone 4S”

  1. Anonymous on April 22nd, 2012 3:33 pm

    Very nice. It helps inspire novice film maker like me. Thank you.

  2. Paul on April 9th, 2013 1:34 am

    Sweet!!! It has heart, then it shows what can be done with the simplest of tools to touch the human emotion.

  3. Nikongirl71 on July 22nd, 2013 3:40 pm

    I’m a photographer and same with film its not the camera that makes the picture special its your view. My best photo that got me started w photography was taken w my flip phone.I’m amazed how the iPhone 4S made such a wonderful short film! I showed this film to my teen daughter who has been wanting to make a short film, now she’s inspired to use her iPhone 4S to make her film. Thank you!

  4. Ramesh on September 3rd, 2013 8:54 am

    very nice imagination………..

  5. Ramesh on September 3rd, 2013 8:55 am

    very nice imagination…………….

  6. susi on November 28th, 2013 11:12 am

    wonderful. question- if you shoot on an iphone, can you upload to a pc, use adobe premier elements, etc?

  7. Mobility | Writing With Kare on April 11th, 2014 2:26 pm

    […] Mobility allows journalists to be constantly reporting while on-the-go, able to go more places with less equipment and generally less costs than ever before.  The equipment used isn’t what matters most- it’s the story one constructs.  Take a look at this short story, “Framed”, shot entirely on an iPhone 4s.  https://www.zacuto.com/%E2%80%98framed%E2%80%99-short-film-on-iphone-4s […]

  8. Tooth Implant Cost on June 29th, 2014 1:11 am

    Excellent post! We are linking to this particularly great article on our site.
    Keep up the good writing.

  9. Pelle on August 14th, 2014 6:04 pm

    very nice short film and a fantastic inspiration for me as I’m interested in movie and movie sound. i want to make a short film my self with fantastic sound I’m a sound engineer and got equipment to achieve fantastic sound with. but I’m not a movie maker but this gave me inspiration to at least try do something on my own 🙂 thank you for the inspiration /Pelle

  10. Andrea on August 23rd, 2014 1:21 am

    Noce film And idea!
    What about video editing? On iPhone app or on a pc/mac?

  11. Allison Comba on October 7th, 2014 8:05 pm

    Hello, I’m impressed that you only used the phone to shoot your film! I am a beginner film maker, with only a tripod and digital camera, BUT great people to film in my movie! I just have one question, do you have any advice on how I can improve the sound?

  12. Will on January 29th, 2015 10:33 am

    Nice story, well produced. The iPhone is only a tool. The vision of the artist is all that matter and this was wonderful.

    Cheers.

  13. monjurul hoque on March 21st, 2015 11:03 pm

    wow, its really awesome. i cant believe its possible via a phone… great work. thanks

  14. Macrobeing on April 20th, 2015 10:29 pm

    Great article . Inspired by this article I made shorts using iPhone 5s related to macro videography. Check and pls do share your valuable feedback.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5q7AuAEa2zLza49GBeOzWA/videos

  15. TimelessWeddingMoments on April 21st, 2015 7:15 pm

    One of my recent favourites.

  16. macrobeing on April 26th, 2015 12:12 pm

    Superb shoot. I have got inspired and made some short films. Check them https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5q7AuAEa2zLza49GBeOzWA

  17. thedinobunny on August 23rd, 2015 5:06 pm

    That was so great, beautifully done.

  18. The Future Of Digital Media - Health IS Technology Blog on November 25th, 2015 2:03 am

    […] With the proliferation of digital platforms, tech solutions, and computer-based discoveries in the fields of special effects and filming, the innovations that lie ahead are certainly no less thrilling than those of the last 100+ years, continuing to push the limits of what’s possible” (MPAA, Apr. 2015). Potential game-changers include VR a.k.a. virtual reality hardware, software and content that allows for a more visually, immersive experience for students, gamers, etc. We’re even starting to see high production quality movies, designed not for traditional theatre goers but specifically for and by modern iPhone and tablet users. […]

  19. Sean Tasby on January 28th, 2016 12:39 pm

    It was cool! I just joined the film makers club through K12. I hope to learn this one day.

  20. Peter Hajdin on July 22nd, 2016 4:59 pm

    That is lovely!

    Perhaps this might be interesting, too: a few days ago, I have finished a DIY video for one of our band’s songs (the language is Slovak). The entire thing is shot on iPhone 6S plus, no additional lens or anything.

    Here it is, in case someone cares:

  21. susie on July 22nd, 2016 6:09 pm

    great video and song peter. beautiful shots and feeling a little sad for some of those moments:).

About the Author


Rachel has been with Zacuto since 2009. She began working in the sales department and moved to marketing in 2013. In her role as Digital Marketing Director she oversees the gear loan and review program, social media, blog content, zacuto.com, and works with the team on overall marketing strategy. Rachel has a BA in Theatre with a focus on Directing from Arizona State University. Those who have spoken with her on the phone know she occasionally reveals her homeland by slipping into a British accent. Rachel likes tear-jerker sports movies, reading cookbooks for pleasure, and crossword puzzles. Contact her at rachel@zacuto.com

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