Apple’s Cinematic Mode on iPhone 13: What is it and how to use it

Apple's Cinematic Mode on iPhone 13

The latest iPhone 13 series boasts impressive camera functionalities. While most of these are exclusive to the 13 Pro and Pro Max, Apple’s Cinematic mode is available on all four devices in the lineup. This is quite an exciting new feature that lets you shoot cinematic videos on your iPhone. It leverages the power of the A15 Bionic chip to let you shift focus within a frame to achieve cinematic style filmmaking!

Let’s learn more and check out how to use Cinematic mode on iPhone 13.

What is Apple’s Cinematic mode?

Cinematic mode is a new video recording mode on the new iPhone 13 series. Its name alludes to the cinematic technique of shifting focus from one subject to another in a frame. This guide’s the viewers’ attention and helps tell a story. 

All the new iPhone 13s are equipped with this mode to help you shift focus within a frame or fix it on a moving subject. 

What makes it particularly remarkable is that it can anticipate when someone is about to enter the frame and intelligently focus on them when they appear. Moreover, you can even change the focus or tweak the bokeh effect after the video has been shot. 

This significantly ups the iPhone’s capabilities as a filmmaking device and it creates exciting new possibilities for video production, particularly on a low budget or with limited resources. Apple wonderfully depicted Cinematic Mode in action in a short film titled Whodunnit, presented in the Fall 2021 California Streaming event. 

How does Cinematic mode work

According to Apple, the iPhone 13’s Cinematic mode captures high-quality depth data at 30 frames per second. This allows it to determine the exact distance between the camera and all the subjects in the frame. Combined with machine learning from the A15 chip’s Neural Engine, it becomes possible for the camera to pick what to focus on and when to apply focus transitions. Pretty nifty! 

Of course, to ensure complete control, you can also manually lock focus on a subject like a person or a thing to track them throughout the scene. Sounds pretty cool to me! Let’s check out how to use it on the iPhone 13. 

How to use Apple’s Cinematic Mode on iPhone 13

  1. Open the Camera app on your iPhone 13 device.
  2. On the left side, select Cinematic mode.
  3. Find your frame and tap the record button. This will make your iPhone automatically focus on a person or object in the frame while softening the background.
  4. The primary focus will be indicated with a yellow square, while the secondary object will be indicated with a white square.

    Use Apple’s Cinematic Mode on iPhone
  5. You can also tap the screen to change focus while recording in Cinematic Mode.

Even after you’ve finished recording, you can change the focus or depth effect in the video to get it just the way you like. This is explained below.

Change focus after shooting in Cinematic mode on iPhone 13

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone and tap the video. 
  2. Tap the Edit option at the top. 
  3. Then, tap on subjects within the video to change the focus as you like. 
  4. Tap Done to save your changes.

    Change focus after shooting in Cinematic mode on iPhone 13

It’s as simple as that! Have fun experimenting with this feature to make cinematic videos right from your iPhone. You can then use video editing apps to further enhance your creation.

Limitations of Cinematic mode 

Although it’s pretty revolutionary, Cinematic mode does have some limitations. The most pressing is that you cannot shoot in 4K. It is currently restricted to 1080p (full-HD) quality at 30fps. I’m hoping perhaps the next iPhone 14 will resolve this limitation. 

Secondly, of course, Cinematic mode is not available on older iPhones. This means that those who use their phones for a lot of video recording may find it fruitful to upgrade to iPhone 13 to use Cinematic mode. 

This is because the feature works thanks to the A15 Bionic chip that can handle way more intense workloads than its predecessors without a dramatic strain on the battery. 

Lastly, it remains to be seen how effective and easy to use Cinematic mode really is in action. I’ll keep you posted about it after thoroughly testing and reviewing it once I get my hands on an iPhone 13 device. 

Frequently asked questions 

Q. Is iPhone good for filmmaking?

Yes, the iPhone is an excellent device for low-budget filmmaking, especially given the iPhone 13’s new Cinematic mode. iPhones have always been known for their superior videography capabilities when compared to similarly priced Android smartphones. One of the latest iPhones is s great choice for budding filmmakers, YouTubers, and other video content creators.

Q. How can I film like a pro on my iPhone?

You should make the most of the cinematic settings on your iPhone. These include features like slow motion and time-lapse. The latest iPhone 13 takes it a notch further with the Cinematic mode that lets you shift focus from one subject to another within a frame. Along with this, you should also use a tripod for stability that will add to the quality of your video.  

Q. How do I set my iPhone to cinematic mode?

Cinematic mode is available only on iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 pro, and 13 pro max. You can access it by opening the camera app and tapping on Cinematic mode. Then, start recording, and you can adjust the focus during or after shooting the video. 

Well, that’s about everything you need to know about Cinematic mode on iPhone 13. I’ll be updating this post as soon as I finish testing out this feature in more depth. Let me know your questions in the comments below so I can get back to you.

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