In some ways, it’s hard to believe that a feature length film was shot on a smartphone of all things, and released on one of the largest streaming platforms around. Looking at the progress that smartphone cameras have made over the years, however, this turn of events is very much believable.
The film in question is 2024 – now streaming here– and the phone, a OnePlus 9 Pro 5G.
Directed by Rohin Raveendran Nair and under the creative direction of Vikramaditya Motwane (Dev D, Udaan), the film is set in a fictional 2024 Dharavi where a Covid-like outbreak lays waste to residents and panic sets in. The story follows four friends and their struggles as they try to save loved ones, survive, and escape the ravaged city. The movie is meant to showcase the “collective strength and resolve of the human spirit” and how it can help a community overcome such adversity.
The cast includes actors Muskkaan Jasferi and Mayur More of Mismatched and Kota Factory fame, as well as Tejiasvi Singh Ahlawat, Sharul Bhardwaj, and Mihir Ahuja. The story was written by Avinash Sampath, known for AK vs AK and Ghost Stories, while Aloknanda Das Gupta and Linesh Desai handled the roles of Music Composer and Director of Photography respectively.
For us geeks, though, the real star of the show is the OnePlus 9 Pro 5G on which the entire film was shot, and one can see why the phone was chosen. It’s a flagship device, after all, and one that supports 8K 30 fps video, Hasselblad tuned colours, excellent dynamic range, OIS, HDR video, 4K 120 fps slo-mo, and more. 8K video might seem like overkill, but it lets you shoot a scene and experiment with a suitable crop after the fact.
Other nifty features that are bound to have been useful include fast focusing speeds and improved daytime and nighttime performance (a large portion of this film was shot at night) resulting in cleaner images and reduced blur. As it turns out, the crew put the Nightscape Video 2.0 feature and ultra-wide camera to good use in this film.
And this is the beauty and power of using powerful smartphone cameras like those on the OnePlus 9 Pro. Sure, a smartphone isn’t going to replace a $15,000 Arri Alexa or RED Dragon anytime soon, but the sheer accessibility and flexibility of a smartphone like the OnePlus 9 Pro lends itself to a more inclusive and flexible story-telling approach, and opens up the medium to a new generation of filmmaker.