Shot fully on an iPhone, ‘Unsane’ is a new thriller from one of Hollywood’s biggest directors

Director Steven Soderbergh, known for films like Erin Brockovich, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, and the series Grey’s Anatomy, has a new movie premiering at the Berlin film festival.

The unique thing about this flick is that it was shot entirely over just two weeks. Oh yeah, and they didn’t use any film cameras.

‘Unsane’ is the directors new psychological thriller that’s been shot entirely on an iPhone. It tells the story of Sawyer Valentini, who moves to a new city to escape a stalker but finds herself admitted to a mental health institution where he works.
Soderbergh says he enjoyed the experience of shooting on an iPhone so much that it’s going to be hard to return to conventional filmmaking. His only issue was that the phone was very sensitive to vibrations.
“I have to say the positives for me really were significant and it’s going to be tricky to go back to a more conventional way of shooting,” he said to Reuters. “The gap now between the idea and the execution of the idea is just shrinking and this means you get to try out more ideas so I wish I’d had this equipment when I was 15.”

Soderbergh said one of the biggest advantages was not having to make arrangements for a camera on set. No drilling holes in a wall to shoot or securing a camera to a ceiling. In addition, he loved being able to so quickly switch between rehearsing, shooting, and evaluating takes.
Joshua Leonard, who plays David in the film, said shooting on an iPhone made his job so much easier. Quicker processes allowed him to stay in character between takes without much difficulty.

“There’s nothing more fun as an actor than just being in the thick of the creative process when you’re actually on set and not having to wait for the machine of filmmaking to catch up with the creative impulse,” he said. In addition, he said he’s gotten used to people holding up phones to his face to take selfies, so it “really minimized any self-consciousness about the process of making a film”.

If anything, smartphone cameras are only getting better, with more advanced hardware to shoot with and even the addition of AI scene processing. Who knows, maybe one day soon making movies on a smartphone won’t be so outlandish.

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