Rob McElhenney Shares Details on Upcoming 'Mythic Quest' Quarantine Episode Shot on iPhones

Apple on Friday will release a special quarantine episode of "Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet," which the cast and crew shot using iPhones. Ahead of the premiere of the episode, show creator and star Rob McElhenney did an interview with The Hollywood Reporter where he shared some details on how the filming was done.


According to McElhenney, he came up with the idea for the quarantine episode three weeks ago when bored while stuck at home. He pitched the idea to his bosses at Apple, who were "immediately on board." Apple's Cupertino team sent 40 new iPhones and 20 sets of earbuds later that same week, and McElhenney teamed up with David Hornsby (who also stars in the show) and Megan Ganz (the show's co-creator) to write the episode.

It took just three weeks to write the script, shoot the new episode, edit it, and get it ready to air. Despite the short filming time, the producers at Apple liked the episode so much that it's being submitted it for Emmy consideration. "It happened very, very fast," said McElhenney.

It was important for the episode to "feel like it was a shared experience" without recycling content. "We knew right away that we can't just get away with doing Zoom jokes for 30 minutes," said McElhenney. It was also important to get the episode out while it was still something that was going on in the moment, and McElhenney was surprised Apple agreed to the concept.

Honestly, I thought they were probably going to say no because it's just technically difficult. There are a few shows that subsequently have come out. Parks and Rec had not [aired] when we conceived of this, but I found out that Mike [Schur] was doing it, and I called him and asked him a bunch of questions. I thought, "If we're going to do it, I'd like it to look and feel as if this was a creative choice, not a choice that was created by limitation." That's what Apple responded to. Once I walked them through it, we shot a little test and said, "This is what it could look like and sound like and feel like." They pulled the trigger, and we got to work.

All of the actors in the show were forced to get into the "minutia" of details they're not normally concerned with. There were no people on hand for filming, no makeup artists, no hairstylists, no one to adjust the sound, and so on. Everyone had to consider lenses, applications, sound quality, frame rate, and other aspects of filming that actors normally don't do.

During filming, the crew used Zoom to communicate, with five to 45 people on the call depending on the scene or situation. Each actor had three iPhones, and one iPhone was used at a time. After a scene wrapped, the phone was sterilized, packaged, put in a secure area, picked up by a courier, brought to the editorial team, sterilized again, and then footage was uploaded for the editors who were working from home. When asked why three iPhones were used, this is what McElhenney had to say:

To get [footage] through to editorial as fast as possible, because we wanted to get this episode done and out while we were still in quarantine. The way we'd do each scene is they'd take their laptop/desktop cameras that you would see normally for a teleconferencing thing and they'd put the ‌iPhone‌ directly in front of that camera, so I essentially had video village from my house. I could see what every actor's camera is picking up and you could also see the readings for the audio. Mike, the cinematographer, could double check all the settings and make sure that everything was running at the right revolution, frame rate, etc. Then we would run the scene, and the actors would be talking to one another the same way we're talking right now [by phone], through our AirPods.

The quarantine episode of "Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet" features pandemic-related plotlines such as Poppy struggling with forced solitude and C.W. struggling with teleconferencing technology, while Ian Grimm, in his lavish house, has a hard time understanding everyone else's struggles.

There's also a storyline about a charitable donation, which is being replicated in real life, with the show raising $600,000 to date for the global NGO Mercy Corps COVID-19 relief program. The episode will air this Friday.

Top Rated Comments

tharitm Avatar
13 months ago
The way we'd do each scene is they'd take their laptop/desktop cameras that you would see normally for a teleconferencing thing and they'd put the ‌iPhone‌ directly in front of that camera
so even Apple knows they have potato cameras on their Macs.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The_Joker13 Avatar
13 months ago
Good lord. Really don’t understand the hate in some of the comments. I think it’s a pretty damn cool idea and am looking forward to more mythic quest.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Art Mark Avatar
13 months ago
I enjoyed that show. Watched it all in a sitting or two. Looking forward to more.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macfacts Avatar
13 months ago
The "shot on iPhone" idea

"He pitched the idea to his bosses at Apple, who were "immediately on board." Apple's Cupertino team sent 40 new iPhones and 20 sets of earbuds later that same week,"
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
btbeme Avatar
13 months ago
I detest watching TV. Haven't watched more than 5 minutes at a time in the last 11 years. For real.

But I watched the first episode of Mythic Quest while trapped at a friend's house. Pretty funny and quite smart.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TrowaNY Avatar
13 months ago
Episode 5 is the one that should be submitted for Emmy consideration. It was so good ?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

General Music and AirPod 3 Feature

Rumor: Apple to Announce Third-Generation AirPods and HiFi Apple Music Tier on May 18

Thursday May 13, 2021 10:32 pm PDT by
A new rumor suggests that Apple will announce the third-generation AirPods and the recently rumored HiFi, or high-fidelity Apple Music tier, on Tuesday, May 18, via a press release on its website. The new rumor comes from Apple YouTuber Luke Miani who shared the alleged exclusive news with the AppleTrack website. According to the YouTuber, Apple plans to release the next-generation AirPods...
2021 mbp hdmi slot 3d

2021 MacBook Pro Leaks Confirm Returning MagSafe and Ports

Friday May 14, 2021 3:06 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming MacBook Pro models are expected to feature a number of major changes such as larger display options and powerful new Apple silicon chips. Among the more surprising updates to this year's MacBook Pro models is the return of three ports that have been missing from the machines for over five years. Expected to come in 14- and 16-inch sizes, the 2021 MacBook Pro models are...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Fires Newly Hired Ex-Facebook Product Manager Following Revelations of Past Misogynistic Comments

Thursday May 13, 2021 12:10 am PDT by
Apple has fired Antonio García Martínez, an ex-Facebook product manager and author of the controversial book "Chaos Monkeys," following public and internal calls for removal and investigation due to past misogynistic statements, The Verge reports. Apple hired Martínez earlier this week to join its ads team, however, comments that Martínez made in the past sparked condemnation from users...
magic mouse space gray discontinued

Apple Discontinuing Space Gray Mac Accessories Now That iMac Pro is Dead

Friday May 14, 2021 11:52 am PDT by
Following the discontinuation of the iMac Pro, Apple also appears to be discontinuing Space Gray "Magic" accessories that it sold separately alongside the iMac Pro. The iMac Pro was the only Space Gray Mac, and Apple designed special matching accessories for it. The Space Gray Magic Mouse 2, Magic Keyboard, and Magic Trackpad all now say "While supplies last" in small wording at the bottom...
tile amazon sidewalk integration

Apple Says Tile Trackers Sold Poorly in Apple Stores

Friday May 14, 2021 4:53 am PDT by
Earlier last month, Spotify, Tile, and Match (owner of Tinder), testified at an app store antitrust hearing spearheaded by the U.S. Senate. During the hearing, Spotify called Apple's App Store "an abusive power grab," while Tile said Apple uses its platform to "unfairly limit competition for its products." Now, in response to their testimonies, Apple's vice president and chief compliance...
google photos

PSA: Google Photos Unlimited Storage Ends Next Month, Here's How to Export Your Pictures to iCloud

Thursday May 13, 2021 5:26 am PDT by
For as long as it's existed, Google Photos has offered free unlimited storage for uploading images at a reduced yet good enough quality for most users. From June 1, 2021, however, all photos and videos uploaded to Google accounts will count against users' cloud storage. If you've been relying on Google to back up your media library, it may be time to move that content elsewhere. This article...
fortnite apple logo 2

Judge in Epic vs. Apple Case Floats Potential Compromise

Wednesday May 12, 2021 3:54 pm PDT by
In the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, the two companies are this week calling up their expert witnesses to argue their points before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will make a decision in the case after a three week trial. Expert testimony is not as exciting as some of the leaked App Store documents that were highlighted last week, especially as much of what's being...
syng cell alpha

Longtime Apple Designer Christopher Stringer's Latest Project Is a High-Fidelity Speaker With AirPlay 2

Friday May 14, 2021 7:30 am PDT by
Christopher Stringer, a key member of Jony Ive's design team who spent 21 years at Apple before departing in 2017, is resurfacing today with his new venture Syng, which seeks to make an impact in the high-end audio market. Stringer, who contributed to many of the most iconic product designs in Apple's history, announced his plans roughly a year ago, and Syng is today introducing its flagship ...
Twitter Feature

Twitter's 'Blue' Subscription Service May Cost $2.99, Will Offer Undo Tweet Option

Saturday May 15, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Twitter has been working on some kind of subscription service since last summer, and Jane Manchun Wong, who often digs into new features coming in apps, has shared details on just what Twitter is exploring. Twitter's subscription service could be called Twitter Blue, and at the current time, it's priced at $2.99 per month. There will be a "Collections" section that allows users to save and...
imac m1 blue isolated 16x9 500k

M1 iMac is Up to 56% Faster Than Prior-Generation High-End 21.5-Inch iMac

Wednesday May 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Apple's M1 iMacs are set to start delivering to customers next week, and ahead of the official launch day, benchmarks for the machines have been showing up on Geekbench, likely from reviewers who are testing them. It will come as no surprise that M1 iMac benchmarks are right on par with benchmarks for the M1 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini, coming in with an average single-core score...