Apple skips pricey Super Bowl ad, pays homage to 30 years of Mac via online movie shot using iPhones [u]

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Despite rumors to the contrary, Apple on Sunday chose not to plunk down millions in order to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Mac during this year's Super Bowl, and instead released a short movie online that it composed entirely with its own consumer products.

Update: Apple has posted a "behind the scenes" video highlighting the effort taken to coordinate a full day's worth of filmmaking in 15 locations across five continents. The video is embedded at the bottom of this page.

The 90-second clip, which is now live on the company's website and shareable via YouTube, was composed in secret on the January 24th, the actual day the Mac turned 30. Representatives from Apple used only iPhones to film scenes in 10 different countries spread over 5 continents during a 36 hour period, and then cut and edited the clips exclusively on Macs.

"Thirty years ago Macintosh promised to put technology in the hands of the people," the movie begins. "To celebrate Mac's birthday, this film was shot around the world in one day, entirely on iPhone. Here's to the next thirty."

In the scenes that follow over the next 85 seconds, Apple shows how that promise has been upheld and extended to empower parents, students, and professionals across a variety of industries from education, robotics and archeology, to fashion and the arts.

Its debut exclusively through online outlets also underscores the dramatic shift in the Cupertino-based company's marketing approach over the past 30 years since it first introduced the Mac to the world via the then controversial — but now legendary — "1984" Super Bowl ad.

In the week leading up to Sunday's big game, there was slight chatter around the possibility of Apple marking a return to the Super Bowl after Lee Clow, the chairman of Apple's longtime ad agency TBWA\Worldwide, issued a cryptic tweet that appeared to hint in that direction.

Apple Mac 30th Anniversary

As it turns out, Clow was among the first phone calls at the beginning of the project, according to Apple's detailed account of the movie's production. It was directed by Jake Scott, son of the legendary director Ridley Scott who took the reigns behind Apple's original "1984" spot, and edited by Angus Wall.

Because so much footage had to be edited so quickly, Wall employed a team of 21 editors to piece the story together with the direction of Scott, who transformed a sound stage in Los Angeles into a command center.

Apple Mac 30th Anniversary

"He equipped it with an arsenal of Apple products including iMac, Mac Pro, and iPad, along with large projection displays positioned around the room," Apple said. "From there he was able to watch every scene as it was shot, and direct all the action remotely via FaceTime."

Apple said that many involved in the production of the movie believe this innovative approach to a multilocation shoot will inevitably be adopted by other filmmakers going forward.

Behind the scenes: