Samsung introduced this February the new Galaxy S23 Ultra but to promote the new device asked award-winning director Charlie Kaufman to shoot a short film using the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Then…
Are there many differences between the one year old Galaxy S22 Ultra and the new S23 Ultra? Probably not enough to change to the new model, and it’s Samsung the first to suggest it. In fact, the company introduced this February the new S23 family, with the Galaxy S23 Ultra being the top of the line. But to promote the new smartphone the company asked Oscar-winning writer and director Charlie Kaufman, to shoot a film with a smartphone, showing how everyone can shoot and share spectacular movies thanks to Galaxy’s superior camera experience. The smartphone used was… the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Yes, Jackals and Fireflies was shot with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, to be shown at the launch event for the S23 Ultra. Is Samsung trying to say something to us? After all, it’s the company that says that the new short is part of its project Filmed#withGalaxy, which was created to show the power of the Galaxy universe of smartphones. The project invites visionary directors to demonstrate that the Galaxy S Series is the perfect tool they need to share their epic stories with the world.
In October 2021, world-renowned British director Joe Wright used the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s 13mm Ultra-Wide lens to shoot his short film Princess and Peppernose. In November 2021, up and coming Chinese director Sha Mo used the Galaxy S21 Ultra to capture the visually stunning Kids of Paradise. Now the Filmed#withGalaxy got Jackals and Fireflies from Charlie Kaufman.
Best known for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Synecdoche, New York, Kaufman took advantage of the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s filming capabilities to create a short visual art film in beautiful, crystal-clear detail. The film, titled Jackals and Fireflies, is based on a poem by Eva H.D. who plays the role of poet, narrator, and lead actor in this uniquely Kaufmanesque love letter to New York City.
Behind the camera, for this project, was acclaimed Director of Photography Chayse Irvin, tasked with the job to effectively capture New York’s famous night scenes, revealing the City to viewers as if they were witnessing with their own eyes. Kaufman found shooting with Galaxy to be an “effective approach” for bringing the film to life, and is very happy with the final result, adding that “…the finished product is beautiful.”
Handled low-light really efficiently
Chayse Irvin added that “Samsung s22 Ultra has integrated technology that allows me to trust the format so it’s sort of liberating to be free of certain constraints” noting that “the turret of cameras is a massive benefit, as it allowed me to see the differences between the different lenses and what they can add to the process. Irvin also said that the Samsung s22 “handled low-light really efficiently which allow me to shoot pretty much all the scenarios that I would have liked.”
Jackals and Fireflies premiered exclusively at the Galaxy Experience Space in San Francisco during the Galaxy Unpacked event on February 1. Kaufman will also present the film at a later date in New York City. Samsung said during the event that the company will continue to set epic standards for the smartphone experience, with camera capabilities being at the forefront of the new premium Galaxy innovations.
Now, a few days later, Samsung reveals a second short created with a Samsung Galaxy, but this time with the S23 Ultra. Behold, a short film by world-renowned director-producer, Sir Ridley Scott is a simple storytelling with stunning visuals that will take viewers on a journey as one young man finds that good things and good behavior are a way out of his dark world. It is truly a sight to ‘Behold’.
Impressed with its capabilities
Flavio Labiano, the cinematographer behind the camera – or smartphone – for Behold said “at first I figured it wouldn’t give me the range of options I normally have available when working but once I become accustomed to its settings I was pleasantly surprised by how versatile it was” adding “once I became more familiar with S23 I was impressed with its capabilities, the quality of image and the dynamic range of the sensor.”
While it may be hard to spot the differences between the two models, S22 Ultra and S23 Ultra, Samsung will tell you that the new model has some new features and, improved Nightography… although it was the S22 Ultra that was used for night shooting in Jackals and Fireflies.
Discussions about how smartphones can – or can not – be used for filmmaking will continue to grow, but one thing is sure: recent models have really moved the technology and options a step forward, and the fact that filmmakers are willing to try these devices and share results as Jackals and Fireflies or Behold confirms one thing: it’s possible to tell stories using a smartphone.
Chayse Irvin said about his experience: “when I think of Pro mode and how it can support young filmmakers I feel a lot of confidence, because it uses the language that young people are acclimated to using phones and it can give the opportunity of being able to strive and create and maybe be introduced to a creative Instinct that they may have.” Ridley Scott, when asked about advice for new mobile filmmakers said, “just do it.”
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