There is a fable often told in business schools about the brand Kodak, who, having built a worldwide empire of film cameras, slowly crumbled thanks to their own invention, the digital camera. The rule of thumb being; it’s better to assimilate your own business than let someone else do it.
This story lends itself to a slightly morbid moment of introspection; if we as creatives were to become surplus to requirements, what would take our place?
We’ve already felt the change with photography. Phone cameras have simplified the whole process and blown up the photographic economy like nothing else before and I think that video is the next part of the revolution…
The new iPhone 12 Pro Max (please keep reading, this isn’t another Apple love letter, I promise) is yet another jump towards self-sufficiency for small to medium-sized business owners. Whilst we have all felt the ramifications from the photo perspective, the specific thing about this launch is the video capability. The specs coming out of that phone are huge, and until I hit record myself, I won’t quite believe it.
What’s different this time? 10bit Dolby Vision HDR (high dynamic range).
The best way to understand what dynamic range means, is to look out of a window on a bright day and observe that your eye can balance the light inside of the room against the much brighter daylight outside. Doing this with a camera you’ll observe that if you point the camera out of the window, the interior will be way darker than what your eye sees and vice versa. If you change the exposure to the inside, the exterior view would change from a blue sky to blinding white light. The camera does not have enough dynamic range to balance both.
But why? Well our eyes have had billions of years of evolution whereas our cameras have only had a couple of hundred years to adapt to the same job. All things considered, they’ve done very well in a short space of time.
With the new iPhone, the hardware, software and advances in AI are taking care of this balance for you. The range of available colours is also insane. Have you ever pointed your phone at a sunset to film the haze of pink and orange and blue only to look back at it and think it wasn’t as good as the view? In the iPhone 12, in combination with the dynamic range we’re getting greater access to all those subtleties of colour that can go missing on other handsets.
To put things as simply as possible: 10bit Dolby Vision HDR is a format used in a lot of production houses and on television because it has incredibly useful metadata that is used in postproduction. It is wildly popular and used across a lot of TV manufacturing and streaming. The upshot being that you can shoot something yourself and pass on high quality 10bit footage to an editor who’ll have amazing access to controls for brightness and colour grading. Or! You could learn to edit on your phone yourself…
In the same way that camera phones brought point and shoot simplicity to photography they are now doing the same for video. This is not to say that you wouldn’t hire video and photo creatives to aid you in bringing your brand to life, but it’s clear to see that with greater dynamic range and access to a wide and deep colour space, the gap between a business owners imagination and what they are empowered to create is shrinking.