“Midnight” by Takashi Miike, Shot Exclusively on the iPhone 15 Pro

Apple released the short film ‘Midnight‘, directed by renowned Japanese director Takashi Miike and filmed entirely with an iPhone 15 Pro. The 19-minute short film is a live adaptation of a manga story and is now online and available to watch.
It is not rare that camera companies promote their new releases with short pieces directed by renowned professionals, as happened with ‘Reverie‘ by Vincent Laforet, shot with the Canon 5D Mark II. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. Apple’s strategy of showing what their latest smartphone models are capable of follows this trend with the release of ‘Midnight’ by Japanese director Takashi Miike. Miike is a renowned Japanese director with films like ‘Straw Shield’ and ’13 Assassins’ to name a few.

‘Midnight’, a manga story adaptation
‘Midnight’ is an adaptation of a manga story by Osamu Tezuka, one of Japan’s most influential manga artists. The film tells the story of a late-night taxi driver, played by actor Kento Kaku -My Family, Tokyo MER- who offers help to the ones who need it on the streets of Tokyo. One of those nights, he helps a woman, played by Konatsu Kato (‘The 13 Lords of the Shogun’), who enters a conflict with a local gang struggling to take over her deceased father’s truck driving business. The gang’s boss is played by Yukiyoshi Ozawa (‘One Last Bloom’, ‘Daimajin’).
A still grab from the short film. – Source: Apple.

Mr. Tezuka is something of a god among manga artists so it was an honor to take on the challenge of expressing his work using only iPhone. As we were shooting, I naturally began to challenge myself to think about how we could make a work unique to the iPhone beyond the usual approach to a film. I truly felt that the iPhone has the power to do things that a conventional movie camera can’t.
Takashi Miike
Making use of the iPhone features (and everything else)
Although a camera’s capabilities add weight to a video piece’s final quality, the reality is that what dictates a movie’s production value is precisely… the production value. Filming with an ARRI Alexa with no budget, lighting, etc., vs. filming with a phone with a high-end production value will balance things out, if not turn them around. That said, the iPhone 15 Pro is a complete filmmaking tool that showed us what it is capable of.
The iPhone 15 Pro… and everything else. – Source: Apple
The film, shot exclusively with the iPhone 15 Pro camera, captures the car chase across Tokyo using all the phone’s video capabilities. The scenes were captured in low light using Apple ProRes log for a high-quality image and more flexibility in postproduction. Since the short film features a car chase, the director used the iPhone’s action mode, adjusting and correcting the shakes for a smooth-looking video. The 5x telephoto camera was vital while filming these scenes since it allowed Miike to capture Kento Kaku’s facial expressions. The lens’s optical stabilization and autofocus 3D sensor-shift module by Apple also made this scene possible, with quality you can see in the final film.
Also, Miike created and controlled the depth of field using the iPhone 15 Pro cinematic mode, allowing him to control the bokeh even after the filming process, as seen in the street restaurant scene between Kento Kaku and Konatsu Kato.

While Cinematic mode gives the film a more cinematic look, I was even more impressed by the ability to adjust the focus after shooting. You can focus on whatever you want, whenever you want. I hope that game-changing features like this that are impossible with regular photography equipment will be added more and more and that it will break the conventional thinking of filmmakers.
Takashi Miike
During the postproduction process, the team used the LiDAR scanners on the iPhone 15 Pro models for a 3D model-based creation of Midnight’s special cab with a “fifth wheel”. This technology also improved autofocus in low-light scenes.
Where to watch
You can watch Takashi Miike’s short film Midnight online by following this link.
What do you think of ‘Midnight’? Would you guess it was shot with an iPhone 15 Pro? Let us know in the comments below!

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