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Modern Family producers show how they shot an entire episode using iPhone and iPad cameras

We found out last week that Modern Family co-creator Steven Levitan has used only Apple iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 to film the forthcoming episode titled 'Connection Lost. Now, folks behind the episo

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We found out last week that Modern Family co-creator Steven Levitan has used only Apple iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 to film the forthcoming episode titled ‘Connection Lost. Now, folks behind the episode have released footage on how they really managed to film the entire episode using Apple products. Speaking to Buzzfeed, Levitan describes the challenges they faced while filming, and the creative solutions they came up with to tackle them.

Apple provided the iPhone 6 to the Modern Family sets when they heard that Levitan was considering the idea, but with no intention to sponsor the episode. This sounds like a paid product placement for Apple, but it really just stems out of Levitan’s own personal life experience. In the making video, Levitan talks about how filming is now mainly digital anyway, and shooting with these Apple products was something he always wanted to do.
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“Our thinking was why shoot the episode with our ridiculously expensive and sophisticated cameras, only to then have to run it through some kind of process to make it look better exactly like an iPhone. In the past as well, we have snuck in some shots with the iPhone and nobody ever knew about them. With this episode, it seemed more authentic to grab the footage with the device itself,” he said.
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He also spoke about the production difficulties they went through while filming the episode. “At first we thought that the actors would hold the iPhone in their hands while filming, but then we realized that it was not as easy to control as we thought it would be, and sometimes the actors would forget and shoot a little bit offset. But then we gave the iPhone to a cameraman for more steady footage, and told the actor to hold on to the cameraman’s palm to give the effect that the actor was shooting himself. It worked beautifully,” he said.
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The latest episode is about Claire Dunphy (played by Julie Bowen) urgently trying to reach her eldest daughter Hailey (played by Sarah Hyland) from the airport, in a bid to resolve a misunderstanding. The entire episode is shown through a MacBook ‘computer screen’ perspective, and the post-production team, Levitan reveals, had to do a great deal of work to make a replica of Apple’s OS X Yosemite operating system, get the fonts to be readable and eye-friendly on a big TV screen, and many other small nuances for this to look as ‘au naturel’ as possible.

Modern Family is in its sixth season, and this episode airs today in the US. The show is critically acclaimed globally for its subtle clever comedy, and has an IMDB rating of 8.6 out of 10. Watch the making video here.

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  • Published Date: February 25, 2015 4:51 PM IST