No matter how much I rationalize the new iPhone, I always feel like I’m not fooling anyone. do i need it? No. do i need this? Perhaps. Do I have a plan to justify it to my family without triggering a new round of upgrades? There my sales pitch becomes the script when I have to finally check in with my iPhone 10 with my filmmaker daughter finally with a broken screen and broken glass.
It’s a well-known fact that the new iPhone feels faster, more powerful, capable of leaping tall buildings in a single range. For about a day. Then it settles into the rhythm of daily life, where soon it feels exactly the same as it had changed. Physically, the notch at the top of the 12 Pro Max shrinks to 13. That’s all. There’s a lot going on with cameras that are new, but hardware changes are in service of the software, not the other way around.
Still, the details of the new features don’t tell the real story of why I should have this 13 Pro Max or whatever the hell it’s called. Nerdshala editor Matthew Panzarino opened my eyes and finally my wallet. Apparently every year he takes the I5 to Disneyland and tests the new iPhone while touring the park. This year he combined an interview with two Apple engineers with the results of his camera test. The result has been astounding.
In this edition of Gilmour Gang, we handicap how soon we’ll get to 13. None of this so we’ll jump. Professional racks are not focus pullers that have none of them. A year after the pandemic, we still have no real percentage showing off new phones in meetings that don’t happen. My fundamental problem is that I’m still a few months away from reaching the one year mark on my update schedule. I pay monthly fee on 2 year contract but after 1 year i can resume 2 year contract with latest phone. Everyone else is moving fast as the gang drools over the supposed leap of innovation. Still I am slipping back so in which mode.
But then there’s Matthew’s video. As his conversation with Apple proves, it’s not just about rack focusing. It’s all about taking the guesswork out of the frame and taking advantage of Overscan, which uses extra pixels around the video to smooth out camera jiggle. It’s about adding a layer of sensors to create a depth map that you can control with software to draw the viewer’s eye toward the dramatic focus of the scene. It’s about developing footage with the spirit of the intuitive algorithms filmmakers use to mold the flow of the scene into a more enjoyable experience.
That’s the real hook of the new tool. It’s not just about letting the pros get cheaper, lighter, more flexible power tools. It’s about giving us, the citizens, the tools to quietly and subtly create a product that’s better, smoother, sleeker, a more sublime version of reality that we’ll appreciate because we don’t remember the event, but the experience. Recorded and extended. . Matthew’s camera dolls up along the happiest streets on earth, and all he had to do was interact with the system’s streetmarts. When his daughter looked back at the camera, attention shifted to the rest of the family in front of her.
I brought it to a Gang livestream recording session, and all hell broke loose. Basically, the general consensus was that these incremental advances to Apple’s roadmap didn’t add a momentous moment in history or progress, or just plain new cool stuff. I thought the impact on professional filmmaking might be less important than others. I thought back to my time in film school, first at Brandeis and later at the California Institute of the Arts. I went to Cal Arts because of the presence of its dean, classic comedy director Alexander (Sandy) McKendrick of The Man in the White Suit fame. He had worked his way into the business as a writer, and in his class at Cal Arts prepared a set of notes and principles of dramatic writing that he later published as a book. But the mix of English filmmaking with never-ending accuracy and Ealing Studios’ popular comedy was just too cool for a 21-year-old who had just missed the close of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Cal Arts was a whole bunch of improvisations, funded by Disney but commanded by the fanatics and misfits of the Golden Age of Gonzo Experimentalism, aka The Sixties. In the first year of its existence, we sat naked around the pool at the earthquake-damaged complex of Villa Cabrini in downtown LA. 10 blocks away stood the Bradbury Building, where ’40s spies took a ride in an elevator gilded in hundreds of movies and then television shows. Backlots were further west in the process of being sold for real estate development projects. As the seventies drew to a close, power was shifting to the music business after the Beatles overthrew production, songwriting, graphic design, and the studio system in general.
In its first official year, Calle Arts moved to a campus still under construction in Valencia at the upper end of the valley. A concrete fort on top of a hill, the school felt more like a trade school for rising animators than a dialectical political stew of students and their professors. In 1968, Jean-Luc Godard filmed the Rolling Stones during a recording session for his Beggars Banquet album. As Goddard’s crew slowly moves around Olympic Studios, a song begins to take shape as Stones founder Brian Jones shatters into the corner behind a baffle. Sympathy for the Devil documents the Stones’ recording process, as it happens, from an acoustic folk song to a rhythmic samba punctuated by an overdub where Jones, Wyman, Watts and studio denizens respond to the song. As in chanting “Woo Woo”. Kennedys.
From chaos comes beauty and power, staring precociously in the face of death, drugs and disfigurement. The pathetic image of Jones ripped on an unmixed acoustic guitar speaks volumes about the way rock culture devoured its youth. A film performance of the track at Stone’s Rock and Roll Circus a few months later revealed that Jones played Maracas front and center in the live mix to great effect. His last public performance before his death on the floor of his swimming pool, the alchemy that manifested itself in the early Stones, proved to be more resilient than the players themselves. Years later, a live performance in St. Louis was the first without Charlie Watts and with session drummer Steve Jordan. It takes a while for players to notice, but sympathy for the Devil continues as a platform for what the Stones remain. You can feel the spirit of the times, but also the possibilities of the future. After all it’s you and me. Woo woo.
Latest Gilmour Gang Newsletter
The Gilmour Gang – Frank Redis, Michael Markman, Keith Teare, Dennis Pombriant, Brent Leary, and Steve Gilmour. Recorded live on Friday, September 17, 2021.
@tinagillmor Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gilmore
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