Roy H. Wagner, ASC, uses iPhone to recreate classic horror film
November 7, 2019

Roy H. Wagner, ASC, uses iPhone to recreate classic horror film

LOS ANGELES — Moai Films, VideoVillage.Pro and Global Village, Inc., recently partnered with cinematographer Roy H. Wagner, ASC, on a demonstration to show how far production technology has come in the past 30 years. Wagner, who shot A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, brought back some of the original crew from the 1987 film to rebuild the sets and reshoot a chase scene using an Apple iPhone 11. Post production was performed using Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve Studio. 

“We used the camera at 48 and 60 frames, as well as the standard 24 frames,” notes Wagner. “We were extremely careful to use the camera in its native settings (an ISO of 100). We knew that DaVinci Resolve could remove any noise or artifacts and yet we had not tested that process, thus we created as clean an image as possible.
“One of the cool things about shooting with iPhone is the fact that once we were done with the take, we just air-dropped the files straight to the computer and brought that straight into DaVinci Resolve,” adds Moai Films director Lukas Colombo. “There was no dumping media cards or anything. Everything was just air-dropped directly from the Apple iPhone to the Apple MacBook. With an on-set DaVinci Resolve set-up with a panel, we were able to immediately begin color grading and editing on-set to see how well the scenes and shots matched the original film. It was exciting for everyone to be able to witness that on-set and to see how close we were really getting with these shots and with the quality.”

Colombo goes on to note how much lighting technology has advanced, as well as the cameras. 
“We now have more efficient LED lights that pull less power, are cooler, bi-color and RGB allowing for faster and more efficient lighting,” he says. “This was originally shot on Tungsten 5K and 2K lights. To be able to recreate all this with LED panels just shows the complete story in terms of the technology - both on the camera side and the LED side.”

The whole project was edited in DaVinci Resolve. The software was used for ingest and auto-syncing, cutting and color correction. 

“We even used Fusion to do some split-screen composites and masking to combine shots,” says Colombo. “To have the ability to stay within one platform on this project made it possible to turn this around in just one weekend.”
Since the iPhone was not recording a raw format, there was concern about unwanted artifacts in the image.

“The DaVinci Resolve noise reduction feature cleaned things up beautifully and also lent the image more towards a softer feel and more filmic look,” Colombo concludes.

Watch the 15-minute edit HERE.