Reviewed by John Morrison
Alan Bronstein’s “Make iPhone Movies Everyone Loves” (MIMEL) is a new book on using your phone, iPad or Gopro as a movie making device. It’s breezily conversational and will make light bulbs go off in your head. If you’re always disappointed with movies you take with these devices, or you are one of those luddites who think cameras are only large bodied, multi-lensed and expensive, Bronstein gives you much food for thought.
In friendly prose he tells the reader about lenses (yes there are lenses—inexpensive ones too—even for your iPhone), color balance, camera apps, nifty accessories like clamps that make any wheeled object a possible dolly for your camera… So wait, you say, what’s a dolly? Well, this is where MIMEL takes the extra step for the uninitiated. Bronstein isn’t satisfied with you just being able to take pictures of the kid’s next birthday party. He’s thinking grand ideas about the possibilities of that appliance you shove in your back pocket every morning. We’re not talking “home movies”. We’re talking Movies with a capital M.
Starting at about a third of the way through the book a whole new world opens up for anyone who thinks they may have an inner Steven Spielberg. We move from dollies to gimbals to sophisticated sound. Then we take a plunge into apps, that quick download that adds features Alexander Graham Bell never imagined in his wildest dreams. And this book isn’t just for iPhone/smartphone cineastes. Bronstein knows his craft and highlights all of this with technical talk about movies done in layman’s terms. So what the reader picks up along the way is a crash course in what the guts of a film—short, feature, indie and Hollywood—is made of.
Technology is moving at a rate that seems to be approaching the sound barrier. I was born just after World War II and not for the first time in my life I feel like I could be part of huge joyous leap into the unknown. If you feel the same way and want to leap but not crash land, I’d turn to books like this one. It’s human sized.
John Morrison is the California Film Institute’s Director of Education, and the Children’s Programmer for the Mill Valley Film Festival