Matching the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max with Arri Alexa 35 - or any other camera. From set to post

January 19, 2024

Since the release of the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max we have been curious to find out how we could put it in use and specifically alongside high end cameras like the ARRI Alexa 35.
Just before Christmas we pulled the trigger and started testing this out for real. Here is the video we made:

For Quine as a workflow company, it was also interesting to see that if you use the iPhone as a pro-camera, you also need professional file management and post workflows.
We made
QuineCopy free, so that aspiring film-makers and Pro's alike, can have access to basic copy and filemanagement tools, whether you shoot an iPhone or an Alexa 35

There is no question the iPhone is a competent little camera, being used to shoot Apple events and with published content all over the internet.

The questions we wanted answers to were:

Can the images of the  iPhone 15 ProMax be matched with a professional cinema camera?

What is the best practice when using the iPhone 15 ProMax alongside another camera?

What, if any, are the obvious benefits of using the iPhone?

What kit is needed for the iPhone to get to a comparable shooting experience to a more traditionally kitted cinema camera?

What basic workflow considerations in file-management do you need to be aware of when using the iPhone as a pro camera?

A tracking-shot like this can be pretty demanding to execute with a traditional cinema-camera. You would at least need an easy-rig or similar for stabilisation, and someone to guide you so you can move safely while operating, and more often than not an AC to pull focus. With the iPhone this is a shot that can be set up and executed in minutes, even on the street.

We were flabbergasted by the results and you can watch that initial comparison video here. We hope you find it helpful.

How to set up the BlackMagic Camera app for use in a professional context:

In this video we are walking through the most important steps of the menu and settings to ensure that you get a controlled image from the iPhone. If you don't know what to look for, we hope to have covered the bases for you here.

After finishing the main comparison, we received some feedback and realized that some explanation and sharing of the process of matching the cameras could be of interest to more than just us.

That resulted to making these two supporting videos to the main video:

For the side-by-side comparisons, we mounted the iPhone with a Magic-arm on the Arri 35 and used matching lens-sizes on the Alexa 35to the iPhone built-in cameras.

For post, we would strongly suggest using the free QuineCopy for file management. Even when shooting these tutorials, we shot on 5 different cameras (Alexa 35, iPhone 15 ProMax, BlackMagic G2, RED Dragon and iPhone 14) and more than 3 TB of originals.

Having QuineCopy managing the data and making the copies edit-ready on the go, simplifies even small productions like these immensely.

To match different cameras in a bit of scale, you quickly need to get into color-managed post-workflows, and like with the setup of the app itself, we realized that that could involve some new concepts to both established and upcoming film workers. That's why we made this basic tutorial around the concepts of color-matching and  color-managed post production.

If you want to dive deeper into the color-pipeline, we strongly recommend these excellent resources:

Operating and setting up for a traditional cinema camera in car-shots and other confined spaces takes hours and several people in preparations for mobility and security. You might even have to do modifications to the car itself. With the iPhone... not so much.

We have intentionally tried to not dig into the deepest, darkest and geekiest caverns of these subjects.
What started up as a project for our own interest turned out to be something we felt worth sharing. We hope to give simple how-to suggestions and terminologies as a starting-point for both the seasoned and newbies delving into high end workflows.

Through this we hope that many more creatives can enjoy the power of the iPhone and pro cameras alike and take benefit of their individual strengths.

Dream Harder!

The Quine Team

The kit we used on the iPhone and in post is listed here:

SmallRig Mobile Video Cage Kit with Single Handle for iPhone 15 Pro Max

SmallRig Universal M-Mount to 37mm Threaded Lens Adapter Ring

SmallRig Universal Holder for External SSD

Urth ND2-400 (1-8.6 Stop) Variable ND Lens Filter (43mm)

Kondor Blue Right-Angle USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 Cable (8.5", Raven Black)

Sensei 37-43mm Aluminum Step-Up Ring

Samsung T7 SSD

BlackMagic Camera for iPhone

BlackMagic DaVinci Resolve Studio


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