Music videos showcase iPhone 13 Cinematic Mode
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The iPhone 13's new Cinematic Mode has been making headlines lately with the fresh horizons it has opened up to the iPhone family when it comes to cinematography.
In brief, this new mode employs the flagship series' powerful A15 chipset and neural engine to be able to continuously re-calibrate the lens' aperture and focus in order to follow a subject while shooting video. It can also smartly choose when to shift focus to a different subject, if the scene calls for it (such as if a person enters a room or begins speaking).
While cinematography is a high-skilled craft that requires in-depth mastery in general, Apple was hoping to allow even amateur smartphone videographers to play around with professional-style shooting with Cinematic Mode.
One of the undeniable perks is the post-processing freedom it provides, as even after the footage is shot, you still have the ability to tinker with the focus, and readjust it to your liking, in Apple's video-editing software afterwards (such as iMovie on iPhone, or Final Cut Pro on a MacBook).
One YouTuber has already taken advantage of Cinematic Mode, showcasing its abilities
This has already caught the attention of music video creators, namely YouTube channel Jonathan & Friends—who went out and shot a couple of aesthetic music videos using only the iPhone 13 Pro, mostly on the wide-angle Cinematic Mode.
The first music video, "Falling in Love," highlights most of the newfound abilities of the new shooting mode, as the wide-angle lens does well in maintaining the focus on the subject and tastefully blurring the background behind (the degree of blurriness is also something that can be controlled by the user). The Dolby Vision HDR color grading, rendered frame by frame, definitely contributes to the impressive cinematic effect.
The stabilization can be really appreciated in some of these shots, especially considering that the videographer was merely cradling the phone in the palm of his hand as he walked backwards, shooting the subject continuously (as can be seen in various parts of the video).
However awesome Cinematic Mode is, some of its limitations can also be easily noted while watching Jonathan & Friends' "Falling in Love." For one, the maximal resolution is 1080p at 30fps, while the iPhone 13 camera can technically go all the way up to the now industry-standard 4k and at 60fps (yes, at the same time).
Cinematic Mode also doesn't seem to do all that well in less well lit environments, as towards the end of the video—as dusk falls and the light dims considerably—one can notice some artifacts occasionally hovering about the subject's head as she walks down the street.
Cinematic Mode isn't so cinematic in low light
Another music video, also by Jonathan & Friends, underlines the fact that Cinematic Mode wasn't created for low-light situations, as AppleInsider points out.
The whole of this cover of Ed Sheeran's "Shivers," featuring Ariel View, was shot against the sunset on an asphalt road. While it was a tasteful artistic decision when it comes to location, Apple isn't quite there yet in delivering the best video footage from such a challenging setting. For photos, yes, but video—maybe not so much.
As can be noted throughout the second video, the camera has difficulty finding the right focus at times, as well as dealing with the stark difference in contrast, which results in fuzzy borders and a lack of clarity around the subject's silhouette.
However, it's important to remember that Cinematic Mode on the iPhone 13 series is still a first-gen feature, with lots of room for improvement in the future. Chipsets are only going to get more powerful, and Apple is sure to learn from and improve on the shortcomings we are currently seeing on Cinematic Mode in its current form.