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Your iPhone videos will never look like the ones Apple shows you

Sorry. A $1000+ smartphone doesn't turn you into Steven Spielberg.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
Reviewed by Kelsey Adams
Person holding a rigged up Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra for filmmaking.

There's a smartphone in here somewhere.


There's a bit of a problem in the mobile industry. 

Scratch that. There's a big problem in the mobile industry.

When was the last time you used your smartphone to film a movie? Never? Well, that makes two of us.

But phone makers are continuing to promote their smartphone cameras with award-winning film directors, which, from a marketing standpoint, makes more sense than either of us shooting a movie with a smartphone. 

People see how capable these smartphones are. People pay the big bucks to reap the advertised benefits.

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If you're starting to catch my drift, no, I'm not just talking about Samsung's recent collaboration with decorated film director Ridley Scott to promote the new Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Xiaomi, Sony, and Apple are just as guilty of glorifying smartphone video features by displaying them through the lenses of those who have spent decades mastering the craft.

Screenshot of Apple's Shot on iPhone 14 Pro cinematic with disclaimer at the bottom.

The bottom messaging is key here.


The problem with all of this is that filmmaking is not as simple as whipping out your smartphone and hitting the record button.

Every single one of these "Shot by Insert phone brand here" films goes through rigorous production processes that most consumers will likely never replicate. I'm talking lighting equipment, specialized lenses, stabilizers, paid actors, location scouters, post-production editors, the list goes on.

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What do I have? My smartphone, two hands, and maybe a selfie stick from 2014.

Top down view of someone using a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra smartphone filming rig

The opposite of what I have.


In defense of these phone makers, touting the ability to shoot movies is empowering. These films inspire creatives to go out and produce with the cameras that they already have -- and not what they can't get access to.

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So, here's my pitch to Samsung, Xiaomi, Sony, Apple, and whoever else is sitting in a marketing call right now, sifting through the Hollywood catalog to find the next big director to pitch a humble movie idea to: Put the million-dollar budgets aside. Show me an ordinary person using your camera features. Show me someone I can relate to, someone who can prove that all it takes is a smartphone and a bit of creativity.

Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg shooting a full-length music video with just an iPhone is cool. But I'm not shooting a music video anytime soon. And I'm definitely not Steven Spielberg.

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