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Technology

The big problem with the iPhone 13’s beautiful new video mode

You might be incredibly eager to get your hands on the new iPhone 13 when it ships this week. It has a bunch of new features, including better battery life and a fantastic camera. The latter is what most iPhone users look forward to when a new model is released. Tap or click here all the new features in Apple’s latest smartphone.

The iPhone 13’s camera lenses now run diagonally to fit in with its dual-system camera. And its new Cinematic mode allows you to hold focus on your subject to create a depth-of-field effect. This can be shifted when a new subject enters the frame.

But before you whip it out to use the new Cinematic mode, there are some things you need to know. You might want to sit down for this, as you are probably not going to like it.

Here’s the backstory

Cinematic mode aims to give you the same effect employed by television shows and movies. You keep the focus locked onto a specific subject when recording a video, which in turn creates a nifty depth-of-field view.

It’s like autofocus when you capture still images or photograph adorable portrait-mode pictures of your cat. You can either manually shift the focus to a new subject in the video frame or let the software do it for you.

But this new shooting mode is specifically for videos, allowing you to add a bit of Hollywood flair. It is also capable of Dolby Vision HDR.

Cinematic mode comes with a caveat

The iPhone 13 camera is rather impressive. It can record HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 frames per second (fps). Without Dolby Vision, you can record 4K video at 24fps, 25fps, 30fps or 60fps.

But many iPhone users might not be aware that you won’t be able to use Cinematic mode when shooting video in 4K resolution. Apple hasn’t been hiding this minor caveat, as stated in the technical specifications on its website.

Instead, Cinematic mode is only available when shooting at 1080p with a maximum of 30 frames per second.

What does that mean? Simply put, 1080p isn’t as clear and crisp as 4K. Many mobile devices and televisions support 4K content, and only being capable of 1080p is a step-down.

As for frame rate, the higher the rate, the smoother motions on the screen will be. A standard TV show or movie is 24fps, where many sports broadcasts and video games are either 30fps, 60fps or occasionally 120fps. The higher the frame rate, the less jittery the visuals will be.

Cinematic mode is still a cool feature, but serious videographers will be disappointed.

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