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The bulky, over-the-shoulder dino-tech camcorder Dad used to take on vacation has been replaced by shrinking, more efficient technology. Here’s how to perfectly capture the holiday season with iPhone’s movie mode.
Leave your DSLR camera at home this holiday. Thanks to Apple, all the technology you need to remember your vacation or make a feature film is right in your pocket.
For the amateur photographer who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles of a DSLR or mirrorless camera, the iPhone 14 lives up to its name by making professionals out of those who have never hung photos in a darkroom, nor had the slightest interest in photography lessons.
When Cinematic mode was first introduced, it recorded in 1080p and 30fps. This infuriated filmmakers accustomed to 4K resolutions and 24fps, the gold standard for film that the iPhone 14 series now supports.
As a refresher, videos are shot in Cinematic mode with a shallow depth of field, one that is computationally generated as an effect rather than a true natural focus blur. Focus transitions are prioritized, resulting in cinema-quality results as the camera shifts focus between subjects.
When Apple says “cinema quality,” they mean it. To put this boast to the test, consider (2001) Lord of the Rings: The Company of the Ringwhich was shot at 35mm and has a digital resolution equivalent to 4K.
Think of those stunning, terrifying close-ups of Frodo’s big baby blues. Two decades later, you have 4K technology in your hands, ready to capture your own adventure.
Forget the One Ring, these iPhones are indeed “my precious”.
It’s no surprise that Cinematic mode has quickly become a favorite for TikTok influencers and those who create Instagram reels.
If you give your young filmmaker an iPhone as a gift, it can certainly inspire him to learn more about lighting, composition, technique and how to best tell the stories he wants to tell.
Movie mode tips
To access cinema mode, launch the camera app and then swipe to cinema mode.
In this mode, the camera automatically focuses for you. To change focus on a new subject while recording, simply tap the desired subject to focus the camera.
Instead of deploying your own cameraman to operate cranes, dollies, gimbals and steadicams to move quickly with the action, just double-tap to set the auto focus tracking on your target.
In addition, to bypass the autofocus while filming, you can tap and hold the screen to lock the focus at the desired distance.
Cinema mode is perfect for your winter vacation to a new city. It is an excellent choice for capturing images of landscapes:
Images of friends and family with beautiful backgrounds:
And capture your favorite food images on vacation, so that your mouth is watering when you get home:
You don’t have to carefully manage the focus of Cinematic mode while you’re shooting, because since it’s a computational effect, it’s possible to make changes to it after the shot has been taken. This includes adjusting which subject in a scene is in focus, as well as the level of blur to be applied.
If Cinematic mode gives you the itch to dive more seriously into filmmaking, consider buying a gimbal to keep your shots stable. We like the Zhiyun Smooth 5 or DJI OM 5.
If you can’t convince grandma or your sister to use a human tripod for your feature film, consider getting the Joby GripTight Mount.
When you’re done shooting, you can stitch together images of friends, family, food, and travel by purchasing Pixelmat Pro or using the Splice app. Or you can use the free iMovie available for iOS.
Capture special moments with friends and family this holiday season with Cinematic mode. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million.