iPhone 15 Pro Max & Apple ProRes Log
Took the 15 Pro Max out to a horse farm for a riding competition and shot some video using the new Apple ProRes Log and have to say... it looks GOOD. Check it out below...
I shot a lot of this footage using the new 5X Telephoto (which is a 120mm equivalent) and this is now officially my favorite lens. Not only does it look very good, but it also retains a more traditional shallow depth-of-field (in many scenarios, especially where the subject is within 20 or so feet).
Shooting stuff further away it's not as shallow of a look as is the case with most built-in smartphone telephoto lenses due to them being smaller sensors and have smaller apertures. However, I will be testing adding external lenses like the Beastgrip 1.7x tele soon. That will not only increase the focal range, but it should increase the shallow DOF look - even with subjects further away.
But back to shooting ProRes Log... In my initial testing it has a very similar look and feel to ARRI LogC. Now I'm not saying it's the same as shooting with an ARRI cameras, no. I'm saying the Apple Log profile is just very similar - and as a matter of fact using an ARRI LogC conversion LUT looks quite good simply dragging and dropping on the footage (it needs finessing from there, but it's a solid starting point).
As a side note, I will have new LUTs for Apple ProRes Log soon so look for that announcement in the near future. UPDATE: The new LUTs are now available.
A few notes and observations on shooting ProRes Log...
While it's very convenient and easy to shoot using the native camera app, you have basically ZERO control over the image - primarily meaning white balance - but also ISO and shutter. The app does a good job with auto exposure, especially in good light - but in low light it cranks the ISO if you're not careful, so that's not great. So I'll be testing it in other third-party apps once it's supported (some do already).
Speaking of white balance - you now CAN lock it when recording independently from the focus and exposure and so this is a good start for Apple to give us more manual control - but you can't set it. I hope they will add even just a WB preset as that would make things much easier for post-production and color correction.
I have not tested Log in low light yet, but if it acts like other Log profiles you'll likely want to stick to shooting on the main 1x camera as it's best in low light - or not shoot Log and just shoot standard ProRes instead as Log can get really noisy in the shadows. But this is TBA as I'll be testing soon.
It doesn't appear that Apple is using dynamic tone mapping when shooting ProRes Log. I have not confirmed this, but to my eye it seems to be off, which is great for this kind of shooting. It also appears to have less noise reduction and also less sharpening. Again, I haven't confirmed this yet but that's how it looks, though it could be an optical illusion of sorts since we're shooting in such a flat gamma profile. These are all GOOD things by the way. On traditional cameras you want to get the best/most data from the image sensor and then add the rest in post-production (color correction and grading). And since Apple is pushing the ACES color workflow aspect, maybe they've actually done the right thing here.
And finally, one thing I've noticed regarding color correction is that it appears that the blues in the ProRes Log footage have a very slight magenta tint to them. I'm noticing it in the sky some and that includes using different correction LUTs. I'm not sure if that's the case for sure as I need to shoot some more tests (and color charts), but if it is I'll take that magenta tint out in the new LUTs (and it's also possible Apple could fix this themselves, again if it's actually there). It's very subtle and most people probably won't even notice it, but if you're doing professional color correction or working in a pro environment these things can and do matter.
That's it for now as these are early days using the new phone, but look for more YouTube videos soon and posts on this website. And don't forget new Apple Log LUTs are in the works (UPDATE: now here). :)
Happy mobile filmmaking!
P.S. If you got a new 15 Pro/Max and want to record ProRes externally via USB-C these are the accessories I'm using...