Part of THE AVENGERS Was Shot on the iPhone [UPDATED]

     October 21, 2011


As evidenced by ARRI, Panavision, and Aaton ceasing production of film cameras, we live in an ever-increasing digital world. More and more filmmakers are choosing to shoot their pictures digitally instead of on traditional film. What may surprise you, however, is that the iPhone is one of those digital cameras that directors are turning to, and it was recently used on a very, very big movie. Seamus McGarvey, the director of photography on Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, recently copped to using the iPhone on the all-star superhero movie. In fact, some of the iPhone shots are actually in the trailer that was recently released. Hit the jump for more [Update: McGarvey says he was misquoted.  Hit the jump for an explanation.]

Speaking with The Irish Film & Television Network (via /Film), McGarvey talked about using the Apple device on the major motion picture:

“The beauty of photography or cinema is that you make every choice based on the content at hand. On The Avengers, I did a couple of shots on the iPhone and they are in the movie. In fact, they are in the trailer! I understand that sometimes there is no choice and you have to go for the cheapest option, but if you are limited for choice, you can still make poignant decisions that will affect the look of the film.”

It’s a pretty surprising revelation, but shooting films on the iPhone is actually not a new trend. Oldboy director Park Chan-wook shot his 2011 short film Night Fishing entirely on the iPhone 4. McGarvey didn’t specify which iPhone he used for The Avengers, but I honestly can’t pick out which shots in the trailer were done with the device. I’ll leave that task up to you, faithful readers.

[Update: Here’s what McGarvey said about his misquote from The Irish Film & Television Netw0rk:

“I was talking about how up and coming film makers have access to a whole range of new technologies which expand our options as filmmakers. I mentioned that the iPhone and the Canon 5d Mk2 were devices currently used on many Hollywood productions. I used the Canon on some shots on Marvel’s The Avengers movie,” he stated to THR. “Unfortunately, this was edited to read that I shot some of the film with the iPhone. This is not true.”]





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  • Drew

    Wonder how much Apple paid them for this?

  • esraeros

    its pretty obvious, its when thor looks to the sky an the sun glazes by him… 45 seconds in

  • shane

    was it the bit where scarlett johansson got naked and showed us her muff?

  • DJ

    i think some of the city shots where they post added a jet plane could be some where your focus is more on the implanted CGI also has to be a well lit shot so daytime stuff also a clip of thor at 0:46 stands out as its got a lot of lens flare and not a lot of detail.

  • wacko3205

    I don’t care if they shot that shAt as a freakin Polaroid flip book…its amazing…criers be damned!!!

  • T. Van

    Okay, Mr. McGarvey… you gotten us to “bite.” Hopefully, when the movie is out on DVD, one of the commentaries will identify the phone scenes.

  • I cry u smile

    what’s up with all the Iphone crap it just looks like crap with it….

  • Beez

    My guess is the two Thor-clips at 00:47 and 1:30.

  • Kayla

    All these articles have the same quote and source, and it appears nobody went to the source to find out that he said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about an iPhone!!!

    • T. Van


      Looks like you’re right. I’ve checked out the IFTN article, and this “viral” quote can’t be found in it. Moreover, the cited article looks to be the same article that I previously saw a little while back (despite having a 10/20/11 posting date).

      I guess that, with a production this large, rumors are inevitable.

  • JR209

    My guess is at 0:56 the exploding car and here is why. The tilted sun shot of Thor does not have the signature lens flare that is gotten using the iphone 4 ( and it would have to of been the 4 cause the 4s just came out and apple is not know to releasing products early)

    at0:56 its the only shot in the trailer that looks a little extra grainy compared to all the others, and its the only shot that would make sense to be shot with an iPhone. If your filming with ARRI ALEXA, there does not seem to be a logical explanation as to why you would use an iPhone unless you wanted to get a cloverfield stlye POV shot of the action.

    This is just my speculation but
    For example while the city is being attacked there might be a shot where you see a crowd of people and a guy pulls out his phone, or a news reporter show “this just in footage of the attack.”

    That shot is shaky handheld and perfect for an iPhone…obviously this is just my theory but we will see.

  • Stephen Staunton

    According to Philip Bloom, he was apparently misquoted. Certain shots were done on a Canon 5D MkII, not an iPhone. The 5D sounds more plausible as it was used on ‘Iron Man 2′ and ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’


    Quote “anyone who has read that Avengers DP Seamus McGarvey shot 2 shots on the iphone ignore, he was misquoted. he used a 5dmkII”

  • jimmyevil

    Uh, yeah. Anyone shooting a major studio pic in digital wouldn’t be shooting in 1080p, that’s for sure.

  • Steve Shannon

    Actually the 5D is 1080p. It was probably as a stunt camera or something – they’re great though.

    Hope this gets corrected soon, anyone who knows anything about cameras knows there is absolutely no way anything in the Avengers was shot on a fucking iPhone.