Hermitage. Shot on iPhone 11 Pro is a 4K movie journey through the modern Hermitage Museum that lasts 5 hours, 19 minutes and 28 seconds, and was shot on one iPhone 11 Pro battery charge.
The director of the project, Aksinya Gog, was faced with a difficult task of uniting the iPhone and the Hermitage by creating a five-hour film shot entirely on a smartphone in just one take, without recharging the phone. The idea was to give the iPhone a fair test and show its key features. Despite the associated shortcomings, which can't be avoided when making a one-shot film, the director believes that these moments once again prove that everything was real, just like in life.
The team filmed in real time, and they were limited in the choice of routes. The shooting was conducted on Monday – the day off at the Hermitage Museum. However, even on this day, thousands of employees come to work for cleaning, inventory, and restoration. Among other difficulties, the team had to fit into this schedule.
The director of photography David Khaiznikov explained why a film about the Hermitage is a truly unique project. The thing is that the film crew chose the concept of the naturalness of light, and the picture comes from the first person, as if from the point of view of an observer who is walking along the museum.
Initially, the team planned to use only one iPhone 11 Pro for shooting, but during the preparation, it was decided to have a second smartphone. Main wide-angle lenses were used for shooting on both devices. There was no switching between cameras to exclude the feeling of cutting the scenes. The third iPhone 11 Pro was needed to organize a playback.
The team had to create a unique construction for three iPhones. It not only had to fit all smartphones but also give operators maximum maneuverability.
To prepare for the project, the team had to plot the route through the Hermitage countless times and also create a schedule of "normal" battery consumption, which would allow tracking it in real time and guarantee 5 hours of continuous shooting. As a result, the project team managed to shoot 5 hours and 19 minutes, and in the end, there were 19% of the charge left on the iPhone 11 Pro.
Several hundred people took part in the project, but the main team consisted of only seven people who have been following the camera for all five hours. There also were three cameramen in the team.
The film was shot in Saint Petersburg in December when the period of daylight lasted about 5 hours. It was crucial for the team to go strictly according to the schedule because only this way, they could capture the maximum during the day. Moreover, most of the rehearsals took place during the museum's working hours. Moving along the route, the creators of the project had to blend in with the crowd of tourists.
The choice of software became another challenge for the team. All camera settings needed to be controlled manually, and none of the factory settings of the iPhone camera allowed it. Auto exposure was not really an option because the amount of light in each room was different. David and his team tried a lot of standard apps available on the App Store but failed to find the perfect solution.
Therefore, it was decided to create a standalone application called Catch. Its essential function is the inability to accidentally stop the recording. Catch also helped control the shooting time and remaining battery power on iPhones.
Director Aksinya Gog admitted that she lost count of how many times she reviewed the whole film. However, every time she watches it, she manages to find new nuances.
By the way, this film about the Hermitage Museum has every chance of getting into the Guinness Book of Records because its duration is more than five hours. In contrast, the current record for the longest film shot in one take belongs to the movie One Shot Fear Without Cut by Indian director Haroon Rashid.