Currently, iPhones with dual-lens cameras can capture video from one camera at a time.

But Apple is researching ways to capture and display visual information from both cameras at the same time, which could lead to some creative possibilities.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) yesterday published an Apple patent application titled “Digital viewfinder user interface for multiple cameras.” The invention relates to an electronic device such as an iPhone having a wide-lens camera and a telephoto camera on its back, like the current iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X models.

When a single digital viewfinder is provided, the user interface allows zooming over a zoom range that includes the respective zoom ranges of both cameras. This is how dual-lens iPhones work today. However, a second split-screen mode is proposed that might let you simultaneously display two different digital viewfinders for capturing video.

When two digital viewfinders are provided, the user interface allows zooming, freezing and panning of one digital viewfinder independently of the other.

Patently Apple has discovered other interesting features:

  • A user can manage the compositions of digital viewfinders independently
  • A user can save composite images and/or videos using both digital viewfinders and corresponding cameras.
  • The system supports simultaneous recording of visual information from both a wider-angle camera and a more zoomed-in footage from the telephoto camera
  • A user may control the frame rate at which video is capture separately for each camera: one camera could record at film-like 24 frames per second and the other could capture video at 48 or more frames per second to enable slow motion playback of the scene.
  • Content from the two cameras may be captured and stored at different resolutions
  • Content from the first and second cameras may be stored using different image processing techniques that alter the appearance of an image or video, such as its brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, color intensity, exposure, color scheme or filters.
  • The wide-angle camera may capture still images at a rate of one or more per second for use as thumbnails representing a video file captured by the telephoto camera.

Apple’s patent application was filed in January 2018 and credits engineers Jeffrey Traer Bernstein, Lukas Robert Tom Girling, Linda L. Dong, Henrique Penha, Paulo Michaelo Lopez and Behkish J. Manzari as its inventors.

What do you think about these proposed camera features?

Would filming from two different perspectives at the same time make sense to you?

Let us know in the comments!