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Apple Unveils TV Commercials Featuring Video Shot With iPhone 6

Seven video spots debut tonight during primetime.


So you know those giant billboards featuring lush, detailed photos declaring themselves “Shot on iPhone 6”? They’re coming to your TV.

The seven spots will premiere tonight, each just 15 seconds long with one third of that time taken up with the Apple logo. What can you do with 10 seconds of video? A lot, actually: Each clip captures something striking without overdoing it, more often than not lazily gazing at a crystallized moment unspooling in the time it takes to — literally — stop and smell the roses.

To create each of the seven spots, the Apple team engaged in a little bit of benign online creepery. For instance, one of the featured videographers, Cielo de la Paz, had posted photos to Flickr, “and I hadn’t tagged them or anything. They must have been doing a search for photos shot on the iPhone, because they found me out of pure luck and asked if they could use my photo” for their iPhone 6 World Gallery campaign, which launched at the beginning of March.

For the TV spots, “they were like, ‘you have good photos — do you have good videos?’ and I was like ‘um, maybe?’”

De la Paz gets up before the sun most mornings, before going to her day job as a UX designer, and traipses out to an estuary in Alameda, Calif., to take photos of the sunrise. She carries two high-end cameras, a Canon and an Olympus, with a collection of fancy lenses and accoutrements. But this particular morning, “I was clumsy because I hadn’t had my coffee yet, and I dropped my lens cap. I bent down to get it, and I was like, ‘Oh! Ladybug!’”

So she pulled out her iPhone. “I followed her for a good 20 minutes before I realized the sun was going. I almost missed it entirely,” she added.

That serendipitous early-morning digression, shot with the aid of an Olloclip lens with 7x magnification, produced the 10 seconds used in the TV spot, which lingers tenderly on the insect’s candylike carapace, the polar opposite of the dizzying extreme-sport films that seem to be the stuff of GoPros and other easy-to-use video cameras.

The point, according to Apple, is that the camera phone has all but replaced the camera-camera for the average user. According to their reading of Flickr data, the iPhone is the most popular camera in the world. Kind of crazy when you think back to the sad, shaky images you shot with that flip phone in 2006.

So for the first time, a huge number of people have extremely sophisticated photographic equipment at their fingertips, almost all the time.

De la Paz concurs: “For videos, the iPhone is just the easiest. I can do time lapse and slow motion, and then I can do all the editing in Adobe Clip on the train on my way to work. There are a few things it can’t do, but the ease of use more than makes up for that.”

The other six spots feature a Chicago elevated train, kids playing cricket in India, and a French sparrow gently plucking a baguette crumb from the photographer’s hand. They are all pretty groovy. But though Apple went to great pains to nail down accomplished amateurs, let’s not fool ourselves here. Your iPhone 6 videos are still going to remain stubbornly only as good as the photographer behind them.

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