$1.99 ‘Instagram for Video’ iPhone App Saves Oscar-Nominated Film

A $1.99 iPhone app saved helped a filmmaker complete an Oscar-nominated documentary. The filmmaker turned to the 8mm Vintage Camera app out of necessity after running out of funds to purchase and process 8mm film for his Super 8 camera.

Searching for Sugarman is an award-winning documentary about a musician known as Rodriguez that is a legend in South Africa. His popularity peaked in the 1970s, which is why director Malik Bendjelloul shot the film in 8mm. This film format and filming techniques provide a vintage look that matches the era covered in the film.

After burning through reels of 8mm film, Bendjelloul ran out of cash with just a few shots remaining. He turned to his iPhone 4S and the 8mm camera app, which some describe as Instragram for video. The app allows users to choose from several camera filters,  which include noise and color tints.

The film’s director used the 8mm app to shoot live sequences and to shoot archived footage playing on a computer screen to get the stylized 1970s look.

We’ve seen quite a few share of high-quality movies, commercials and videos shot with iPhones, but more often than not filmmakers set out to shoot the project from beginning to end with an iPhone. As Bendjelloul in the above CNN interview, the iPhone wasn’t part of the plan until the end of the project.

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Searching for Sugarman has won more than a dozen awards so far and is in the running for the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. It is available to rent or buy through Amazon Instant.

The 8mm Vintage Camera app is published by Nexvio, a developer that publishes photo and video apps. It sells both iPhone and iPad optimized versions of the 8mm Vintage Camera app.  While many of the app’s effects can be emulated in video editors, the one-step process of shooting with vintage filters is much faster.

Above is a video demo of the 8mm Vintage Camera filters.

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