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Damien Chazelle Dabbles with Vertical Cinema Using IPhone


Damien ChazelleOscar-winning filmmaker Damien Chazelle (La La LandWhiplash) has made a 9-minute all-vertical short film for Apple, dubbed Vertical Cinema,  using the latest line of iPhones. Chazelle is not the first filmmaker to use the iPhone to make movies, as Steven Soderbergh has now made a number of feature films using the consumer tech camera.

What makes this short film different is that Chazelle wanted to focus specifically on the ability of the iPhone to shoot in vertical mode, which is becoming more and more in line with how many viewers might watch content now.

A few months back, the streaming service Quibi launched with one of the big selling points being the fact that all of its shows and content could be watched either in vertical or horizontal mode, and that it could be switched back and forth entirely based on the viewer’s desires. (Quibi is also one of the streaming services created solely for viewing on smartphones and tablets i.e. small-form screens rather than on the biggest high-definition LCD screens.)

While Chazelle’s short film might not be particularly advanced in terms of narrative, you can see the young Oscar winner experiment with different film genres, including Western, and yes, even a short movie musical section. While these shorts are clearly meant as promotion for the Apple iPhone’s filming capabilities, it could be of interest to those using traditional cameras.

You can watch Chazelle’s short film, Vertical Cinema, below, as well as a great behind-the-scenes video in which Chazelle talks about the motivation for working with the Apple iPhone in vertical mode as an experiment.

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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