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  • Soon Kai Hong

Apple's Shot on iPhone Comes To Singapore with "Poached", A Food Documentary On Hawker Culture!

We're sure everyone is familiar with "Shot on iPhone", especially the ones for Lunar New Year. This time, it gets a local twist with it focusing on our very UNESCO Heritage hawker culture here in Singapore! "Poached" is a short film by acclaimed food documentarian David Gelb and of course, it was shot using an iPhone 13 Pro.

Credit: Apple

But yet it's not really like any other documentary out there as the short film puts a spotlight on our local cuisine by telling a story of history and fierce competition between two chicken rice stalls, Tian Tian and Ah Tai, set against the backdrop of Maxwell Food Centre.

If you've noticed, the title is a little bit of a pun and a tribute to the traditional method of cooking Hainanese chicken rice but at the same time gives you a hint on how competition really can be. On the other hand, the Chinese title 有鸡可趁 is a wordplay on the idiom 有机可趁 (to make use of a great opportunity). The second character 机 (opportunity) is phonetically similar to 鸡 (chicken), thus 有鸡可趁 is a fun way to to indirectly mean,, make a name for yourself with “chicken”.

Credit: Apple

As for David Gelb himself, he's an award-winning director and producer best known for his critically acclaimed documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" and the creator of Netflix's first and longest running original documentary series, "Chef's Table". Needless to say, he has the experience and definitely knows his stuff.

But perhaps it's best if you take a look at it for yourself, and actually see what Poached is all about.

But let's talk about all the tech that went behind making such a short film, with the main focus being the iPhone 13 Pro no less.

The cameras on the iPhone 13 Pro are pretty impressive. Not only does it have a great lens with a pretty large sensor, it comes equipped with quite the number of features that you might not even find in higher-end professional cameras. To film in a small hawker kitchen, various features were utilizes to create the best possible desired end-result. Throughout Poached, you will see the use of new features such as Cinematic and Macro, but alongside tried and true features such as Slow-Mo, Time-Lapse and Night Mode. We're pretty sure most of you would be familiar with the latter three, but perhaps not as up to speed on the former two. So let's talk a little more about these two.

Cinematic is an new mode that's available in the new iPhone 13 series and it allows you to do what would've usually required a team to accomplish, all within the palm of your hand. With Cinematic mode turned on, you can easily rack focus from one subject to another within the same frame. You can do it manually simply by just tapping onto the subject or you can let the iPhone do its thing and rack focus depending on which subject is facing towards the camera. This allows you to achieve a visually cinematic flow in your video making experience which can be further tuned in post-production. If you've yet to try this feature out, definitely give it a spin for it might be just the highlight for all your Instagram stories or TikTok videos.

As for Macro mode, this is new to the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, where it uses the new Ultra Wide camera to capture subjects really close up but without losing focus to as close as just 2cm. In Poach, Macro was used to great effect to achieve quite stunning and unusually unseen angles of the food that we all know and love. With regards to chicken rice, you can really see every grain of rice in great detail or even the moist and delectable chicken skin. If you've yet to try Macro for everyday photography, perhaps you might want to do so now.

However that's not all! We had the opportunity not too long ago to have a go with the iPhone 13 Pro itself and we did a spin and a twist on hawker culture ourselves! As we are, we took quite a bit of video and some photos here and there focusing on a few stalls in a local hawker center, but mainly focusing on our beloved charcoal grilled chicken wings, satays and popiah. Head over to our TikTok or Instagram to check out the short videos, but here's a snippet of what we did with photos!

And here's perhaps our favourite two shots that might just be perfect for a digital menu. Or at least we hope so.

Now doesn't that look delectable? We sure hope we did a good job!

If you're now inspired and planning to try a little more with the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max of yours, here are some tips that would help bring your photography and videography skills on step further.

  • To use a nearby object, ledge table, or anything to support and lock your arms while holding onto the iPhone. This would make you into a pseudo human tripod in that sense, which will help to further stabilize your shot especially when using the telephoto lens.

  • To shoot in ProRaw for photos to enable more in-depth editing capabilities. All the photos shot by us that you see here were in ProRaw and editied in Adobe Lightroom.

  • To film in 120fps Slow Motion instead of 240fps especially for indoor shots, to achieve a better image quality while still getting some really great slow motion footage!

Happy filming!

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