An entire episode of “House” was shot with a dSLR in video mode two years ago. Impressive. But now…
An entire feature film was shot with a cellphone camera. “Olive” is a low-budget indie movie, sure. But stills from the film look like, well, a feature film.
I remember, like most people, dismissing the first cell shots I saw. They were grainy, noise-scarred, and flat, with colors either muted or blown, to say nothing of crude or no available flash. Still, I knew from the world of “real” cameras that sensors would only improve. So far as I’ve seen, shots from “Olive” have good color, no visible noise, and grain no worse than the film era. This, despite being taken by a Nokia N8, which fits in your (reasonable) pocket and probably costs less than most people’s rent.
(Okay, the N8 had to have a software hack, and an add-on lens in front. Still. Device OSs are asking to be hacked, and get enthusiast code all the time. And auxiliary lenses are as old as commercialized cameras themselves.)
Francis Ford Coppola said, around the filming of “Apocalypse Now,” that after cameras got cheaper and cheaper, his job would eventually get taken away by some “fat girl in Ohio.” Folks, these feature-quality cameras are ushering in the filmmaking Apocalypse. Cue fat girl.
Edit: Yes, I saw 28 Days Later. I even saw Sex, Lies and Videotape. The use of a camcorder in SL,V was a gimmick, not the principal camera. It was a crude form of progress, of course. And certain scenes from 28 Days Later were still grainy and “unsmooth” enough to notice. Again, progress, after you grant that 28DL was also lo-budget.