How Upcoming 'Modern Family' Episode Was Shot Entirely on iPhone and iPad Cameras

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Last week, it was announced that the February 25 episode of Emmy-winning sitcom "Modern Family" would take place solely on a MacBook screen and only be shot with cameras from iPhones and iPads. BuzzFeed News got in touch with the episode's director and series co-creator Steven Levitan to find out how they shot the episode.

modernfamilyiphone
In a video originally provided to BuzzFeed News, and now available for download on iTunes [Direct Link], Levitan explains that all of the iPhones were kept in holsters held by cameramen. To avoid making the shot look like it was being filmed by a floating device, the actors were told to hold their arm near the cameramen's arm.

Initially, Levitan and the crew wanted the actors to hold the phone throughout film, but they found it wasn't as east to control and that actors would misplace the devices as well as shoot off-set.

The episode took over three months to complete, with a lot of time dedicated to post production as the special effects team had to rebuild OS X Yosemite from the ground up, mimicking its animations and art style while also taking artistic license to make certain things better suited for the story they wanted to tell.

While the episode's format isn't the same as the standard "Modern Family" format, Levitan says there have been other instances during the show's six year run where they've used iPhones to shoot certain scenes. For instance, instead of staging a basketball game for a scene where a character dresses as a mascot, Levitan shot his son's basketball game on his iPhone and used special effects to splice the character into that basketball game.

The episode, which is called "Connection Lost" airs Wednesday, February 25 on ABC.

Top Rated Comments

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73 months ago
Meh, 3 months for one episode, a remarkable waste of time.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
73 months ago
I've always liked the show so I'm interested to see how this episode turns out. The creators of the show have always seemed to be pretty Apple friendly with the products featured on the show. The dad, Phil, even had the same iPhone 5 case as me (Belkin Grip Candy Sheer in Black/Green) and loves his iPad, which I think was a plot point in an early episode. I'm pretty sure they've used Macs quite a bit too over the years. I wouldn't be surprised if Phil ends up getting an Apple Watch at some point soon.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
73 months ago
Since all we need for a tv show today is faces and heads the next format for tv sets will be 9:16 finally.

Did you know already? You can record you iPad's or iPhone's screen right on your Mac. Just plug in lightning cable, open QuickTime, choose the iOS device as your source (mic and cam) and hit Record. Works with the latest operating systems. The QT video window will be fit automatically to the iOS device's orientation and resolution. Will record action games or video camera signal 1:1! (Only exception: Phone calls.)

1) Open QuickTime

2) File > New Audio Recording

3) Click the very small arrow next to the record button

4) Select the iPad/iPhone as your source

5) Select High (mp4) or Maximum (uncompressed aiff)

6) Hit record and start playing audio and/or video on your device (you must move the QT volume slider below to hear audio—monitoring)

7) Stop when done, and save the file.



German-language description (https://rossau.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/anleitung-fuer-ios-8-mac-os-x-10-iphone-ipad-audio-aufnehmen-oder-midi-verbindung-herstellen-via-lightning-kabel/).
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
73 months ago
So how much did apple spend on this episode outside their normal payment for this show?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
73 months ago

Meh, 3 months for one episode, a remarkable waste of time.


...or maybe 'a lot of fun and creativity for everyone involved, resulting in a funny, watchable episode of one of the few funny, watchable shows on network tv presently'?

gawd, you "FIRST!" commenters are such a bore.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
73 months ago

I've always liked the show so I'm interested to see how this episode turns out. The creators of the show have always seemed to be pretty Apple friendly with the products featured on the show. The dad, Phil, even had the same iPhone 5 case as me (Belkin Grip Candy Sheer in Black/Green) and loves his iPad, which I think was a plot point in an early episode. I'm pretty sure they've used Macs quite a bit too over the years. I wouldn't be surprised if Phil ends up getting an Apple Watch at some point soon.

Well, every cheap and shortlived Indian drama or sitcom (let alone the ones with decent production values) is filled with apple products. iPhones and macbooks everywhere. Apple is paying really well for product placements.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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