Claire's computer becomes the hub of all the family's activities when she gets stuck at an airport and is desperate to reach her daughter Haley.
Photograph by ABC/Twentieth Century Fox Television via Getty Images
By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
February 25, 2015

In case you missed last week’s publicity, tonight’s episode of Modern Family takes place on the screen of an Apple computer — Claire Dunphy’s MacBook — and was shot almost entirely on iPhones and iPads.

Co-creator Steve Levitan explained the process in a four-minute behind-the-scenes video available on iTunes (and grabbed, in part, by Buzzfeed):

We shoot digitally anyway. Our thinking was, why shoot the episode with our sophisticated and ridiculously expensive cameras only then to have to run it through some process to make it look exactly like an iPhone?”

This is not the first time iOS footage has been used on the show. Levitan says he has snuck in some iPhone shots that nobody noticed.

“We just happened to have one with us when we were doing something,” he says, “and we were like ‘that works.'”

Nor is it the first time Apple products have played a starring role in a Modern Family episode. The company loaned Levitan a pre-release iPad for Game Changer (Season 1, Episode 19) in which Phil Dunphy goes to extraordinary lengths to get an iPad on the first day of sales.

Post-production for this week’s episode turned out to be a bear. According to Levitan, it took the crew more than three months to stitch all the shots together in a near pixel-perfect, studio-created a replica of OS X.

The shows airs at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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