Filmmaking Equality

Trailer For Tangerine (2015) – Shot on a Smartphone 


The Rise of Smartphone Filmmaking

John Fraim


Creating great looking  movies is no longer the sole province of Hollywood. Smartphones and the apps available for them allow Smartphone users to become their own filmmakers with the stunning new technology they offer. For example, take a look at the above trailer for one of the Sundance favorites, Tangerine. You might not like the content but the technology involved in creating content is amazing.

Welcome to the new world of smartphone filmmaking where anyone with a smartphone is a filmmaker. At the heart of smartPhone filmmaking, is the ability to carry in one’s hands the type of technology only available to Hollywood studios until recently. While Hollywood cameras have access to much technology, they have little access to filmmaking apps available to smartphone users. These new smartphone apps have put the power of modern filmmaking in the hands of virtually everyone today.

While the dominant theme of the 2016 Oscar presentation was racial equality for Hollywood. But the real background theme in modern Hollywood is technological equality. Anyone who doubts this should needs to spend a little time looking at films on Vimeo and YouTube.

Yet lurking in the background of this revolution in filmmaking technology is the slower, less visible revolution in film content. As Marshall McLuhan observed, “The medium is the message.” Smartphones have changed the medium of filmmaking in many ways. The “script” (screenplay) messages inside the medium of filmmaking are greatly influenced by the smartphone revolution in filmmaking.

In future posts, we’ll explore the apps behind this revolution and new directions in film content. While filmmaking technology has moved towards equality, methods for creating film content are still largely the province of Hollywood. While many have the technology to create powerful film stories, few are exploring the types of new content within this technology. One can make a general observation that story content is becoming shorter to fit attention spans of smaller screens where film stories are increasingly viewed. Will the emerging content maintain traditional screenplay content or will it become something very different? Will equality of technology usher in a new diversity of content?






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