Pixar’s John Lasseter says iPhone and GoPro are the future of filmmaking

Smartphones are used to shoot and upload a mind-numbingly large amount of video (at least 5 hours per second at last count) to platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, but in general, this kind of footage doesn’t win Academy Awards. In fact, most people in the motion picture world argue that cameras like those found on iPhones or GoPros will never be used to shoot films that end up taking home those prestigious honours. However, at least one veteran of the industry is sure we’re headed in that direction.

Speaking on a panel at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on May 12, Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter said that it is only a matter of time before the technology in extremely mobile devices is used to capture footage for major award-winning films. We have already seen examples of movies screened at film festivals that were shot exclusively on iPhones, and GoPro footage was used in The Hobbit trilogy that concluded this year.


Mr. Lasseter makes the point that technology like sound, colour, and computer animation were all deemed unsuitable for professional filmmaking until they were widely adopted. He notes that any new technologies would be adopted quickly by the film community once they’ve been shown to be useful in effective storytelling. He says, “The GoPro and the iPhone are here. [They] give a vibrancy you have never been able to have before…I think a new film grammar is going to come with these things.”

Lasseter should know a thing or two about filmmaking revolutions, it was, after all, his vision and work with Pixar that has led to the massive success of that studio in animated films. This panel was called “The New Audience: Moviegoing in a Connected World,” and it is part of an ongoing series at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences called “This is Widescreen”.