Modern Family’s all-Apple episode airs tonight

February 25, 2015, 1:06 PM UTC
MODERN FAMILY - 'Connection Lost' - Claire's computer becomes the hub of all the family's activities when she gets stuck at the airport and is desperate to reach Haley after a big fight. After FaceTiming with Phil and the rest of the family to help track her down, Claire quickly turns to online snooping which inevitably becomes disturbing real quick and everyone gets sucked into the online drama, on 'Modern Family,' WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by ABC/Twentieth Century Fox Television via Getty Images)
Photograph by ABC/Twentieth Century Fox Television via Getty Images

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.

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple AAPL coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.

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