iOS iPhones, , , , , , , , , — July 1, 2011 15:31 — 0 Comments

Producer uses iPhone’s Facetime to direct a scene remotely

The iPhone, as we know, is a great device for shooting video but it has never been used before to direct a film – until now.

When LA-based video producer Brian Keith Dalton discovered a key actor, Jimbo Marshall, couldn’t get to the studio for a scene in Dalton’s Mr Deity web comedy series, he had to think fast or risk putting the production way behind schedule.

Facetime: Brian Keith Dalton

The scene in question involved a video conference and the actor who was 130 miles away in another studio was directed by Dalton using Apple’s Facetime app.

“We had a very narrow window,” Dalton told CNN. “If we missed that opportunity, it would be two weeks before we’d have a chance to shoot him again — and that would have put the entire episode way behind schedule.”

At their studio, Marshall and a camera operator set up for the shoot. As Dalton and Marshall spoke on the phone during setup, they realised a problem: How could Dalton properly direct the scene?

Dalton’s solution: Facetime, Apple’s mobile video chat service, which came to him in a flash of inspiration.

Dalton told CNN: “The camera operator could hold the phone’s camera right up to the video monitor for the shoot, so I could see the framing. On that monitor you can see where titles will appear, etc. So as a director I could get a real idea how the shot was going to look, what the product would be. We made little adjustments to the framing, then we started shooting Jimbo.”

While Marshall was acting, the iPhone continued to display the video monitor to Dalton via Facetime.

“I’d watch Jimbo and talk to him,” Dalton said. “When he was delivering a line, often I’d need that line to be read in a very specific way, since I knew what the other characters’ reactions would be. For instance, I’d tell him: ‘Wait a minute, here my character’s reaction would be. … So I need you to deliver that line a little more aggressively.’ It’s really weird shooting that way, since I wasn’t also shooting my part at the same time. But that’s what we had to do.”

Dalton said he plans to use this technique for future remote shoots. “It worked surprisingly well, and all things considered it saved everyone a lot of trouble. Without it, we really would’ve been screwed for this shoot.”

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About the author

Tony Myers has written 866 articles for Smart Movie Making

Fooling around with the iPhone since 2010. Taking it to the next web by writing about new media, new technology, new wave cinema and the digital revolution.

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