iPhone 13 Cinematic mode puts pro video tools in your pocket

Eric Abent - Sep 14, 2021, 3:02pm CDT
iPhone 13 Cinematic mode puts pro video tools in your pocket

In the midst of its iPhone 13 reveal event today, Apple announced an interesting new feature for all of the upcoming iPhones. That feature is called Cinematic mode, and it allows iPhone 13 users to shoot videos that have a professional-looking rack focus effect to them. Apple even made a pretty convincing case for Cinematic mode by showing off a short film shot entirely on an iPhone 13 during the presentation.

Obviously, in that short film – dubbed “Whodunnit” – most of the attention is on Cinematic mode and its transitions, as it frequently shows shifting focus between a subject in the foreground and a subject in the background (or vice versa). Apple has uploaded the short film it shot to its YouTube channel, and we’ve embedded it below so you can see Cinematic mode in full effect.

Apple says that Cinematic mode records in Dolby Vision HDR. While Cinematic node will automatically apply focus changes while you’re shooting thanks to machine learning algorithms, what’s particularly interesting about this feature is that it allows you to make depth-of-focus changes after recording as well.

So, if there’s an instance where your subject looks away from the camera, but the automatic focus change doesn’t happen, you’ll be able to apply those changes in focus after the fact. Apple says that the bokeh level will be adjustable in the Photos app and iMovie for iOS, and that it’ll be launching in the future for iMovie on macOS and Final Cut Pro.

All in all, it sounds like a solid feature, but the fine print in Apple’s announcement today tells us that videos shot in Cinematic mode will be limited to 1080p at 30 frames per second. For more from today’s Apple reveal – including pricing and release details for all of the new iPhones – check out the timeline below.


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