Apple celebrates Chinese New Year with short film shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max

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In celebration of Chinese New Year, Apple on Thursday published a 12-minute video shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max that puts a modern spin on the classic Chinese legend of the monster Nian.

Directed by Lulu Wang and her team of creatives, best known for the Golden Globe nominated film "The Farewell," Apple's "Nian" is a coming-of-age tale that finds a young girl confront the titular beast. After meeting Nian, she finds the creature is not as frightening as lore suggests, and the pair embark on a warm friendship.

As described by Wang, the story is about a girl caught between the fantasy world of her childhood and growing up.

In a behind-the-scenes featurette, the director touts iPhone's filmmaking capabilities, especially its prowess in low-light situations.

"It's really exciting that we have this opportunity to retell this ancient story, to capture these incredibly cinematic images with the iPhone, this very versatile device," Wang said. "I think that the iPhone gives the filmmaker a lot of flexibility in terms of designing shots to capture this film and that, in and of itself, is incredibly powerful."

Cinematographers treated iPhone 12 Pro Max's like a cinema camera, pushing its technical potential to the limit. Along with onboard support for Dolby Vision, Wang's crew relied on iPhone's ultra-wide and telephoto camera modules, advanced stabilization, and ability to capture images in low light.

"There are no restraints when you're filming with the phone in your hands. It also gives you a sense of agility to pull off handheld shots," said Nelson Yu, Director of Photography. "I feel the biggest breakthrough on iPhone 12 has got to be Dolby Vision. You can fully experience wider color gamut and deeper tones."

Apple's longtime ad agency TBWA\Media Arts Lab (Shanghai) produced "Nian" in cooperation with Iconoclast, reports Variety.

This is the fourth year in a row that Apple has created a "Shot on iPhone" film for Chinese New Year. The first, 2018's "Three Minutes," was shot on iPhone X and was followed by "Bucket" shot on iPhone XS and "Daughter" captured on iPhone 11 Pro.