Damien Chazelle’s New Short Film Was Shot Vertically on an iPhone
If you’re the person at your family reunions who gets irrationally annoyed when great aunt holds her iPhone vertically to take a group picture, look away! What follows will be very upsetting for you.
Held horizontally, the iPhone can do a pretty decent job of mimicking the aspect ratio we’re accustomed to from a lifetime of movies and widescreen TVs. But our eyes are getting more and more used to the iPhone’s vertical aspect ratio, thanks to apps like FaceTime. Could vertically-shot films and content become a new standard for mobile content?
Maybe, maybe not. (Sorry, Quibi.) But Apple is doing its part to de-stigmatize the vertical aspect ratio. They’ve just released a nine-minute short film by La La Land and First Man director Damien Chazelle called “The Stunt Double.” After a stunt goes awry, a stunt man finds himself reliving the history of stunts in movies, from the silent era to Westerns to modern action. It was shot on an iPhone — vertically. The whole short plays window boxed with big black bars on the left and right of the YouTube window. Watch it here:
There’s also a brief featurette that goes with the film, all about the making of the short with the vertical aspect ratio and an iPhone (an 11 Pro, to be precise):
Horizontal aspect ratio is obviously superior, but the short does show there are some things vertical does well. It’s good for shots that emphasize height; people climbing up cliffs or falling off buildings. It’s good for long corridors and narrow spaces. And it’s good for very long establishing shots, because all the empty space above and below the people enhances the feeling of distance as well as the characters’ tininess in these vast surroundings.
I’m not sure I’d ever want to see a feature-length movie like this, especially on a big screen. Then again, I’m not watching anything on a big screen right now, and perhaps not for a long time. So “The Stunt Double” may in fact be a sign of things to come.
Gallery — The Best Movies Set Entirely On Screens: