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How to Use an iPhone for Everything: Part 3

In just ten short years, the iPhone has had an incredible, irreversible even, effect on the way in which we conduct modern life. In this tutorial I’ll show you how you can do anything with an iPhone. Well, almost anything.

The moniker iPhone doesn’t really do justice to such an incredible device that gets thinner, more powerful and more capable by the year and sets the standard for an industry that it created. This is how to use an iPhone to do anything; this one, small, pocket-sized device replaces all of these things:

Camera

A modern Digital Single Lens Reflex camera dSLR
A modern Digital Single Lens Reflex camera (dSLR)

When I had the idea for this tutorial, little did I know that it would span more than a single tutorial or that it would take me until the third tutorial until I mentioned the camera. 

My first camera phone was a non-descript Sony-Ericsson box that preceded my first iPhone 3GS. Back then I could not fathom why anybody would want a camera on their phone. I was wrong about this. 

Of all the functions of the iPhone, the camera is probably one that I use the most. It was photographer Chase Jarvis that said, “The best camera is the one that you have with you.”

This is true. 

I have a choice of a Canon G5 or Canons EOS 350d and EOS 650d with an assortment of lenses. I’ve got a big backpack to carry them all, or two smaller bags. Instead, I leave them all at home and just travel with an iPhone 7 128GB in my pocket.

The best camera is the one I have with me. An iPhone 7. 

For anyone who thinks incredible photography is not possible with a smartphone, look no further than photographer Dan Cheung’s London 2012 Olympics photographs that shows is not the camera but the photographer that makes the photo. 

Even more incredible to think that, back then, Cheung was using an iPhone 4.

The iPhone has disrupted another entire industry saving you around £1,000 on a digital camera and a couple of lenses, and has saved a further couple of kilos in weight and bulk.

The iPhone is now the most popular camera for taking photographs that are submitted to the photography site Flickr.

Video Camera

HD Video Camera
HD Video Camera

It’s not so long ago that families recorded moving images on 8mm Cine film drawn through the camera at 16 frames per second. A film cassette would last for three minutes or so. Once footage had been shot, it would be packed up and posted to a lab for processing.

A week or two later, the processed film would be returned ready for viewing through a cine projector.

The early adopters of 30 years ago would likely be lugging around the latest in home movie recording equipment. Typically a large video camera that rested on ones shoulder connected via a cable to a separate video cassette recorder carried in a bag hung from a strap over the other shoulder. Whilst bulky, footage could be reviewed immediately within the viewfinder of the camera.

Quite incredible to think that in such a short period, the means by which it is possible to record moving images has shrunk to a form factor that fits comfortably in a trouser pocket. More so, that this is not the sole function of such a small device.

Consider then, the quite incredible feat of engineering that has seen the transformation of the recording of moving images that allows recording in 1080p high definition that is of a quality now suitable for broadcast.

The iPhone is a device that surpasses many dedicated video cameras and, again, has disrupted an existing market. The quality of footage that can be captured on an iPhone is such that it is now possible to create feature films entirely shot on a mobile phone.

Not just that, that film shot in iPhone appeared at The Sundance Film Festival is a testament to the quality of iPhone video capture. And that was back in 2015 with Tangerine being shot on an iPhone 5S with the $8 Filmic-Pro app.

When director Malik Bendjelloul ran out of money, whilst filming Searching for Sugar Man on Super 8mm, he turned to an iPhone with the 8mm Vintage Camera app, to film some of the scenes including a bar scene at the beginning of the film.

What’s more, Bendjelloul’s film was the Oscar-winner for Best Feature Documentary.


Even earlier than that, and just three days after the launch of the iPhone 4S, the short film 156 Turns was shot entirely on the phone with an Owle Bubos lens with no colour correction.  It is billed as the first corporate iPhone film.


Those earlier iPhone films were captured in 720p and 1080p HD. It’s been possible for a couple of years, now, to capture video in 4K.

Media company RYOT went to Haiti and produced what they claim to be the first iPhone 4K film with The Painter of Jalouzi. They used a cradle to attach SLR lenses to an iPhone 6S along with stabiliser devices for smooth motion shots. The result is a really engaging and interesting short film.


They also made a film about the making of the film that is well worth a watch.


Filming 4K on an iPhone saves over £20,000 on a RED camera and lenses

And There’s More…

In this, the third part of the tutorial series, I estimate that I’ve saved you, at least, a further £20,000, five kilos of weight and a small cupboard’s worth of space. Add that to the £892, the eight kilos of weight and cupboard and shelf of space saved in the first two parts of the series and you can see that the iPhone is an incredibly good bet.

This is just one in a series of tutorials showing you what is possible with an iPhone. The earlier tutorials cover some of the things that you may already know about; the later ones show you what is possible for some of the tasks you may not have considered.