Available on all iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro models, Cinematic mode aims to automatically generate professional videography techniques by adding on-the-fly depth of field effects to recognized subjects. It’s a massive leap in smartphone video and only on iPhone.
Following extensive study of cinematography and the powerful use of rack focus, Cinematic mode on iPhone records videos of people, pets, and objects with a beautiful depth effect with automatic focus changes, so anyone can capture cinema-style moments, even if they aren’t a professional filmmaker. For creative control, the focus can be changed during and after capture, and users can also adjust the level of bokeh in the Photos app and iMovie for iOS, and coming soon to iMovie for macOS and Final Cut Pro, making the lineup the only devices able to edit the depth-of-field effect in video even after recording. Enabled by A15 Bionic and advanced machine learning algorithms, Cinematic mode records, amazingly, in Dolby Vision HDR.
I’ve been testing out the feature for the past week and this weekend took it to Disneyland to give it a real-world rundown in a way that thousands or even millions of people might do over the next few years.
My aim in my tests was to shoot what I could in one day (and a bit of an afternoon at the pool) just like anyone going to Disneyland would hope to do. One person holding the camera, no setup and very little direction. Now and then I asked a kid to look at me. That’s about it. What you see in this reel is as close as possible to what you would experience doing this yourself, which is the whole point. There isn’t a bunch of b-roll, I didn’t re-shoot this stuff over and over. What you see is what was shot. The only editing that I did here was using Cinematic Mode to pick some points of focus after the fact, either for effect or because the automatic detection chose something I didn’t like. I didn’t have to do a lot of that but I was happy I was able to…
Though it’s far from perfect in this initial iteration, Cinematic mode gives “normal people” a toolkit to build a doorway into that world in a way that’s far easier and far more accessible than it has been in the past.
For now, there’s lots to complain about if you’re staring closely. But also lots to love if you’ve got one shot to get your kid’s reaction to seeing Kylo Ren in the flesh for the first time. And it’s hard to argue against accessibility of these tools just because they aren’t yet perfect.
MacDailyNews Take: Just look at how much Portrait mode improved from its release in 2016 with the iPhone 7 Plus to today. We expect Apple’s already rather amazing Cinematic mode to progress along the same lines, plus the ability to manipulate your focus after the fact makes it a valuable tool today!