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Apple Posts New Ad Shot Entirely on iPhones, Edited on Macs

To further commemorate the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the original Macintosh on January 24, 1984, Apple has published a new ad shot entirely with iPhones on a single day in 15 different locations around the world. The creative production of the ad was overseen by Jake Scott, son of Ridley Scott, who directed the iconic 1984 commercial. On January 24, 2014, iPhone-equipped crews sent by Apple to 15 separate locations started uploading raw footage to a server in the United States, where Angus Wall and a team of 21 editors could edit using Macs.

Apple’s new commercial doesn’t only focus on Macs – while they’re prominently displayed, Apple highlights how the impact of the Mac has changed the computer industry, leading to the creation of the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. All Apple products are shown in the ad: there’s a father making breakfast for his son using an app to control his prosthetic hands; a conductor analyzing musicians’ performance with a Mac; kids using iPads at school, and more.

From sunrise in Melbourne to nightfall in Los Angeles, they documented people doing amazing things with Apple products. They shot over 70 hours of footage — all with the iPhone 5s. Then it was edited and scored with an original soundtrack. Thanks to the power of the Mac and the innovations it has inspired, an effort that normally takes months was accomplished in a matter of days.

In one day, Apple received footage for 45 stories from 15 locations spanning multiple timezones, which required 36 hours of productions in Los Angeles; Apple used 100 iPhones to shoot over 70 hours of footage. As Apple notes, “initially, the team of cinematographers thought they would need lots of professional equipment and software”, but in the end only iPhones with “additional equipment” were used.

Even more impressively, Apple notes that Jake Scott and his team transformed a sound stage in Los Angeles to oversee production remotely using Macs, iPads, and external displays. Scott could direct cinematographers remotely with FaceTime (as shown by Apple, a second iPhone followed each shooting session for real-time feedback) and have an instant overview of footage coming from around the world.

In order to direct 15 separate locations filming in a single day, Jake Scott transformed a sound stage in Los Angeles into a command center. He equipped it with an arsenal of Apple products including iMac, Mac Pro, and iPad, along with large projection displays positioned around the room. From there he was able to watch every scene as it was shot, and direct all the action remotely via FaceTime. Many involved in the production believe this innovative approach to a multilocation shoot will be adopted by other filmmakers.

Today’s commercial is the culmination of Apple’s efforts to communicate the importance of the Mac and the stories of people who use Apple devices. Today’s message, unlike the dedicated Mac webpage, isn’t about the Macintosh per se, but the ecosystem of Apple products that it helped creating.

You can watch the commercial below.

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