The Apple TV+ comedy Mythic Quest announced last week that it will debut a special episode shot on iPhone on May 22. Now, creator and star Rob McElhenney has offered more details on that process in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
McElhenney pitched the idea to Apple, saying he needed 40 iPhones and 20 sets of earbuds. As you might expect, Apple was immediately on board and got the equipment to McElhenney and the team on the same day.
Each actor had three iPhones, and we’d shoot one iPhone at a time. As soon as a scene was wrapped, the phone would be sterilized, packaged, put in a secure area, picked up and brought to editorial, sterilized again, and then the footage would be uploaded to the Avid for the editors, who were working from their homes.
Why did each actor need three iPhones? McElhenney said it allowed the editorial process to be completed as quickly as possible. Here’s how the setup worked:
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 end result, which premieres on Apple TV this Friday, is something McElhenney and the team is so proud of that it will be submitted for Emmy consideration, he says. McElhenney says that while it was “the hardest production” he’s ever been associated with, “it is also the production of which I’m most proud.”
“If in fact we aren’t going back for a significant amount of time and there’s a good, positive response to this, I don’t see why we couldn’t consider another. We certainly have the system down,” McElhenney concluded.
The full interview is well worth a read and can be found at The Hollywood Reporter.
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