• Woody Harrison

Apple Is Lying To You:Quality Video Is Complicated, Storytelling Is Hard & What You Can Do About It.

Did you watch OU get thrashed by LSU? If you did, you might have seen Apple’s new commercial called “Snowbrawl.” It’s an epic snow ball fight filmed on the new iPhone. It’s really fun. Here it is.



Super cool, right? Killer slo-mo video, good little plot (capture the flag), nice lighting. All shot on the new iPhone!!!!


This video is dangerous.


While I’m sure the new iPhone captures high quality video images, the whole idea that’s being sold is, “you too can film video just like this by using only your iPhone!!”


That’s a lie.


You CAN’T get shots just like that by just using your iPhone. There’s way more working beneath the hood. The way they were able to create this video was by hiring a team of film makers and experts to film and edit the piece. Here’s the behind the scenes.

making of “snow brawl”




So, just an iPhone, huh?


Let’s look at a different, much “simpler” example. This video was produced by a good friend of mine, Todd Rogenthien of Media Masters here in Austin.





Let’s break down this “simple” video.


  • The lighting. It's wonderful, doesn't she look great??!! He’s using 2-1000 watt diffused lighting sources to give her a nice soft look. Todd is a master at lighting and has been practicing it for over 20 years. There’s also back light from a window that’s being diffused by a diffuser disc.

  • The cameras: There’s two cameras being used. The second camera is on a wide shot and moving back and forth on a slider to add some visual interest.

  • Audio: there’s the a professional boom mic to get her audio nice and clean. You don't see this.

  • Then there’s the editing: the color correction, the photos and the music.

  • That’s a lot of stuff for a "simple" video.


Now, that’s a pretty wide spectrum of video production set-ups. The 20 person film crew to the one-man-band.


You can see these scenarios shows the amount of complication, thought and time that goes into making a professional video.


And I’ll tell you right now, if you think that by simply whipping out your new iPhone, you’ll get images just like the videos you just saw….you won’t. Not without some professional help or know how.


Is it possible? Totally.


Just devote about 5 hours a week for the next year, and you’ll maybe have the technical skills to create video that looks like that. I’m sure you have 5 hours laying around!


Then there’s the storytelling. The structure. Making sure the narration flows and makes sense. This is really where the rubber meets the road.


It doesn’t matter how pretty your pictures are. If the story doesn’t make sense or is boring, then the pretty pictures are a waste. “Snowbrawl” has this going on really well. The story isn’t complicated at all. But it’s executed really well, very professionally.


So let’s review:

Quality video is complicated, storytelling is hard and what can you do about it.

Here’s what you can do.

1. Start using your camera phone more. Instagram more. Get used to using it. At your next event, capture at least 3 different, short videos over the duration of the event. Make them simple, make them boring, make them entertaining, whatever. Just make them. The images may not be “Snowbrawl” quality, but that’s okay. Consistency is key. One of my favorite sayings is: “Done is better than perfect.”


2. Use iMovie on your iPad or laptop. It’s free and comes with most all Apple products. This will allow you to edit, add music, add simple graphics and increase your production value. There’s tons of how-to tutorials on YouTube.


3. Hire a professional to do it for you. If you hit a creative wall with your videos, decide if it’s worth your time to fight through it, or just hire someone.


Right now, you have a high quality video camera in your hand. Start using it more and don’t fret if the quality doesn’t match what you see advertised on TV.

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