TV station shelves expensive gear to report the news with iPhones


A reporter from Léman Bleu in Switzerland executes a live standup with an iPhone 6 on a selfie stick.
A reporter from Léman Bleu in Switzerland executes a live standup with an iPhone 6 on a selfie stick.
Photo: Léman Bleu/FTVLive

The Apple advertising campaign “Shot on iPhone 6” can now be a line on the closing credits of a Swiss news station, which now does 100 percent of its broadcasts on the iPhone.

During the summer, Léman Bleu gave each of its reporters an iPhone 6 kit to shoot their stories and use for live shots. That means a reporter with a mic in one hand can use the free hand to grip a selfie stick for live standup shots.

This reporter's microphone windscreen is bulkier than the iPhone she is using to broadcast live.
This reporter’s microphone windscreen is bulkier than the iPhone she is using to broadcast live.
Photo: Léman Bleu/

The iPhone continues to be a seismic disruptor in the photography world with a sensor and camera software so sophisticated, photographers and videographers are producing beautiful, publishable work indistinguishable from more expensive dedicated cameras. A growing number of television commercials are being shot with iOS devices and one breakout movie at Sundance this year, Tangerine, raised eyebrows because the entire movie was done with two iPhones.

The technology just gets better, making smartphones like the iPhone an attractive option. Earlier this month, Apple rolled out the iPhone 6s with a 12-megapixel camera, image stabilization and 4K video.

The move by Léman Bleu is sure to have camera operators nervous and station accountants hopeful as the typical iPhone costs pennies compared to traditional news video cameras. And with an app, like LIVE+ from Dejero, stations will gladly sell off expensive satellite trucks used for live reports.

“It’s a search for lightness and responsiveness, but also a way to reduce costs of producing a newscast,” news director Laurent Keller told a Swiss newspaper.

Keller told the newspaper that Léman Bleu made the conversion after a Scandinavian station switched over to iPhones. He said the quality from the iPhone is not inferior to results from a standard TV camera.

He also said the cost saving is important, especially for a small regional station that is only on the air a few hours each day.

A television station in Charlotte, N.C., earlier this year tried using iPads in the field but stopped using them over summer because of technical problems and an “amateurish quality” to the broadcast.

Two years ago, the Chicago Sun-Times laid off its entire photography staff and boldly claimed it would train reporters on using the iPhone. While some iPhone photos are used, the newspaper relies on professional freelance photographers for sports and big events.

Source: FTVLive

  • Daniel Thomas

    Fine for daylight, night time shooting a whole other story. These cell phones have poor low light quality.

    • billstreeter

      A problem that is passing quickly and cheap and simple to mitigate with small LED lights. Modern cell phones have much better low light performance than ENG cameras had even a few years ago.

      • Disgruntled Knome

        Doesn’t factor in for crap lighting skills though.
        There are reasons these thousands upon thousands of pounds of equipment were ever developed for professional work.

  • Greg_the_Rugger

    Everyone thinks they can do it better than a professional. Geez!

  • nwcs

    It has little to do with iPhone cameras being good or not. It’s entirely motivated by cost regardless of the final output. It’s just another step on the crappification of craftsmanship and quality.

  • MisterC

    I did see this from a few reporters back in May during that awful Amtrak derailment here in Philadelphia. Very large media presence from other states and countries. The few that I saw were from non-English speaking media outlets and they would upload the report to Email or Dropbox for the station to download.

  • Bri

    Isn’t the girl holding a go pro not an iPhone and the dude in the top photo using the inferior front facing camera ??

    • DigitalBeach

      Yeah, looks like the female reporter is using something other than an iPhone.

  • Atlanta Owner

    Some of the reporters in Atlanta had started doing this for some stories, but as the video quality was sub-par they’ve scaled back on it a good bit. With the 6s and 4k video feature it’ll be interesting to see if they start up again for another try.

  • Alice Pattinson

    I really love to see article about innovating Selfie Stick Pro into a helpful thing.