Filmmakers: Finally, There’s 4K on Your Phone

The ultimate goal for most filmmakers is a multi-million dollar budget, a sizable crew and plenty of cool toys — including a high-end camera. The reality is that most of us want to film quality content more frequently than we’re able to Kickstart a new budget. But last Tuesday the Ultrakam 4K app debuted for the iPhone 6, allowing filmmakers on a shoestring to create amazing images on their phones for less than $10.

Amazing detail caught on via an iPhone (play on 4K setting if you can)

While the iPhone doesn’t have a standard setting to shoot 4K, the phone’s A8 processor has the capacity to shoot in the ultra-high definition format. Now that Ultrakam has tapped the technology, expect a slew of shorts to start popping up at festivals that you would never suspect were shot on a cell.

I caught up with Ultrakam 4K developer Hassan Uriostegui and his collaborator (and serial tech entrepreneur) Brett O’Brien to talk the democratization of high-def filmmaking and to witness a demo of the future.

Photo by Gina Hall

“Bringing 4K image resolution to Ultrakam makes high-quality filmmaking accessible to everyone” says Uriostegui. “Ultrakam provides an incredible filming experience with image resolution that rivals the GoPro Hero4 and it shoots cinematic quality video, just like the Sony F55 or any high-end professional video camera, for a fraction of the cost.”

The crystal clear images I saw were primarily nature scenes — shots of the ocean and a time lapse overlooking a forest. I felt like I was looking out of a window on the actual location and had to remind myself that the images were shot with a phone.

A filmmaker, himself, Uriostegui is excited to see what artists will do with his app.

“With Ultrakam’s 4K resolution and full production suite, content creators all over the world can create the finest productions possible without any extra hardware, simply by using a device they already have in their pocket,” says Uriostegui.

Ultrakam 4K developer Hassan Uriostegui – photo courtesy of Hassan Uriostegui

Support apps are being developed to go along with the advance. This one also comes with a companion app that allows a separate iPhone to act as a remote control so the user doesn’t shake the camera while adjusting the settings during a shot.

While sound recording quality on an iPhone is still poor and much of the post-production work on 4K video is still not ideally suited for a phone app, it probably won’t be long before solutions become more accessible. YouTube already allows for 4K uploads even though many screens can’t accommodate the format — yet.

“Hassan is a visionary, and one of the most talented mobile video developers in the world,” says O’Brien.

Here’s to hoping that the future catches up to 4K soon.