Iphone footage look - UGC

Got a job coming up where they want to create a UGC look - which I found out is User Generated Content. So I suggested shooting on an iPhone. However, Agency & Directors are too nervous. So my task will be to give an iPhone look to footage shot on an Alexa. Anyone got any tips?

Sounds like the agency and director need to hire a different DP. :slight_smile:

It takes a specialist to make phones work but it’s worth it.


We’d like you to drive this Ferrari to the market and pick up some milk please.


Even if they want to shoot with an Alexa then I still think it’s incumbent upon them to at least partially create the look. The low-bit depth, interframe codec thing is one part of the phone “look”, but another big part is wide angle prime lenses focused at infinity. If they shoot a 135mm lens with shallow depth of field it won’t matter much how much jpeg damage you throw at it.


I would pick the best small-sensor camera you can find thats hand-holdeable.

Itll give you more latitude, proper colorspaces and no auto-brightness and other stuff while still look like a iPhone espeically if you soften it a bit .

I am thinking something like the sony rx100 maybe?

otherwise if the above all it that it has to look like a phone… use a phone its cumbersome on set and has a loot of drawbacks but it can work

Modern iPhones are actually great cameras, they now even record ProRes files if you let them. There is not much LoFi in the files.

But what sets most iPhone footage apart is that itms shot on super wide angle lenses, sometimes close to the subject. So there is little depth of field, little depth compression and some wide angle distortion in the image. Also the framing is often amateurish by nature of the operator.

You can definitely do this on an Alexa. But use a 14mm lens at f/11 or higher (which then necessitates high ISO). Frame wide and lose. That should get there most of the way.

This is more about the DP than post. You can’t take DOF out of footage in post. So if it’s shot wrong you’re SOL.


Yeah I wouldn’t shoulder this responsibility. If it’s that important, it should be productions’s burden to bear.



As a side note, we shot some tests last year for a famous burger company. We did it three times. Canon, Sony and iPhone 13. The iPhone was the best quality by a country mile.

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It’s an aging product at this time, but it has served me very well when I needed to film with an iPhone (and that was before the 13):


if you want to go deep.

There is a raw video app for android thats flipping amazing quality wise, its cumbersome to use and deal with the massive footage and not all phones are supported etc very experimental.

The reults however… are absolutely insane
processing even in prores sucks on the iPhone, as does that you can not disable local tonemapping at all!! and of course iPhone always shoots variable framerate which is… fun

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I would love to use it. The problem is no one in agency or production has the confidence to do this. It’s a shame.

yea its a shame but give it a try if you can its pretty dope

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“UGC” love it! I recently did a job with a similar brief. They wanted that iPhone look but obviously don’t want it to look amateur. If it helps we used Sony FX3 cameras rotated on their side on a gimbal. We used a 16-35mm, as mentioned by others to match the feel of the wide end of the 13mm, 26mm and 77mm equivalents on an iPhone pro. I agree with others, it’s primarily down to the DP rather than post. One other thing (and I know we all know it) but have that conversation with client about deliverables being 9:16, TikTok guides etc etc. Good luck.

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Today we did just that, and we recommended a blackmagic pocket 4K with a cheap wideangle zoom lens , it has a smaller MFT sensor and we stopped it down to like f5.6 - so it looks closer to “User Generated content” , just not as dirty but still we removed a lot of the “cinematic” feeling, main camera was a alexa mini with cooke S4s.

I think it turned out very well, its a good compromise really, you get all the benefits like timecode, proper codec thats well supported and high quality (BRAW), metadata, nice filenaming, scratch audio e.t.c.

So all in all id give this a 10/10, we hooked up a teradek to it, and it was seamless on set and everyone could still tell its a very different look and feel.


I had thought about this. I’m glad you managed to do a test and better still that it worked. Can you share results when it’s done?


will do!

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Rolling Shutter!!!

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this! and a fast shutter for outdoor shoots definetely helps, the iPhone doesnt have a ND filter :smiley:

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