It’s easy to think that Steve Jobs’ biggest contribution to movies was his work at Pixar. In fact, according to no less an authority than Walt Disney and Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter, Jobs’ biggest lasting influence on cinema could turn out to be none other than the invention of the iPhone.
Speaking at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday, Lasseter said he can easily see a day when the big award-winning movies we watch are produced by filmmakers using only their iPhones and GoPro cameras.
“People will tell you, ‘That’s not going to work,’ but yeah, that’s going to work,” Lasseter said. “But the reason they say that is because it’s not what they are used to.”
Lasseter’s prediction’s not just the comment of someone biased by their history with Steve Jobs. As the iPhone’s camera has gotten better and more ubiquitous over the years, it’s shown up as a filming tool in more and more scenarios.
In late 2013, Burberry used an iPhone 5s to shoot one of its fashion shows, while the Academy Award-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man was partially shot using that same model iPhone. Last year, automaker Bentley also made the decision to shoot its “Intelligent Details” ad using an iPhone, and at Sundance this year the movie Tangerine was filmed exclusively with an iPhone courtesy of an $8 video app called FilmicPro.
The use of the iPhone doesn’t just mean opening up filmmaking to more people than ever. The advance from heavy 35mm film cameras, to lighter steady-cams (think those spectacular hallway scenes from The Shining) to smartphones changes what — and how — it is possible to film.
“The GoPro and the iPhone are here,” Lasseter said. “[They] give a vibrancy you have never been able to have before … I think a new film grammar is going to come with these things.”