American Idol is shooting on iPhones amid stay at home orders

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of otherwise traditional industries to become creative and flexible in ways that might have seemed entirely out of the realm of possibility only a few months ago. With most of the country at home, social distancing, a number of networks have turned to consumer technologies in order to keep creating content.

Apple’s among those tech companies working with production houses, getting some iPhone-powered rigs into the hands of producers and hosts. The list includes a Parks and Recreation reunion, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon’s late night shows and now longstanding prime-time talent contest, American Idol.

The ABC show’s producers are sending home studio rigs to each of the contestants and judges to shoot the final few episodes of the season. It’s a three-camera setup, including three iPhone 11 Pros, a tripod and a ring light. The  production team is helping out with camera setup and editing at a safe distance, from home.

Here’s Apple, which is naturally more than happy for the opportunity to showcase how the smartphone can work in a pinch:

We know that people are relying on their favorite shows while staying at home, and we are happy to be a part of that process with the team at American Idol. iPhone offers a unique solution to deliver broadcast quality video, in the palm of your hand, while keeping production staff and on-air talent safe and in their homes.

A number of television and movie studios have been exploring the use of smartphones in content creation. It seems unlikely that they’ll be replacing studio equipment on a majority of shoots any time soon, but the ongoing pandemic could represent a kind of sea change toward a more mainstream use among studios.