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What is iPhone 13 Cinematic mode? New Hollywood-style video feature explained

What is iPhone 13 Cinematic Mode? Shoot video like the actual pros with the new Dolby Vision HDR enabled dynamic focus feature for iPhone 13.

Apple has unveiled the iPhone 13 range of smartphones and, as always the camera advancements are among the headline makers.

With Apple always keen to point out that professional videographers are actually using these devices, the company is introducing more pro-grade features inspired by shots you may see in your favourite TV shows and movies.

What is Cinematic mode?

The new Cinematic mode, which is coming to iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro models, is inspired by ‘rack focus’, which dynamically alters the focal point of the image based upon the depth in the frame.

The technique can be used to guide the viewer’s eye, or to showcase the viewpoint of a character, for example.

Apple says the new depth effect will enable anyone to capture cinematic moments, providing more creative control when shooting video and giving users the ability for every day iPhone users to mimic the technique used by Hollywood’s finest.

You can see some examples of the technique as previously used in movies like Casino Royale:

How can Cinematic mode be used?

Apple says users are able to make quick adjustments to the focal point on the display. So, for instance, if you’re focusing on the person in the frame, a quick shift can enable the focus to be transferred to the coffee cup they’re holding in the immediate foreground. Apple says the tech woks with people, pets, and objects.

The system is intelligent enough to work automatically depending on what’s happening in the frame. So, if the subject looks away from the iPhone’s camera sensor, the focus will shift to the subject of their gaze. It’s also possible to lock the focus to follow a face or item around the scene, continually blurring the background.

All footage is captured in Dolby Vision HDR, which is a nice bonus.

iPhone 13 Cinematic Mode

Cinematic mode will also give users the option to change the bokeh effect to wherever they want in the post production.

Apple says: “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 in Dolby Vision HDR.”

iPhone 13 Cinematic

How good is Cinematic mode on iPhone 13?

That, of course, will be completely determined by testing. In theory and, in the demonstration shown during the event, the feature looked remarkably capable. However, this was naturally in the optimum conditions with few competing areas of potential focus. Even in the demo, the tech looked slightly jumpy at times, so we look forward to seeing how well this feature works in the real world, rather than a professional film set.

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