A videographer, a musician walking down the street and singing her new tune, an iPhone 13 Pro with no additional equipment and Apple’s new AI-powered Cinematic shooting mode…
- Videographer Jonathan Morrison shot a video for Julia Wolf’s “Falling in Love”
- He used his iPhone 13 Pro and Apple’s new Cinematic shooting mode
- No dedicated equipment, such as gimbals, was used in filming the video
- Though most early reviews didn’t mention it, Cinematic mode has issues
Watch the music videos shot with iPhone 13 Cinematic mode
Videographer, YouTuber and digital creator Jonathan Morrison has partnered with singer Julia Wolf to shoot a pair of music videos featuring the musician strolling through the streets of Claremont, California and singing her song, with the sun setting down in the background.
Jonathan shared the two music videos shot using Cinematic mode on his YouTube channel Jonathan & Friends. Warning: Some explicit lyrics in the videos embedded below.
“Went hands-on with iPhone 13 Pro and immediately wanted to test out the camera and cinematic mode,” Morrison wrote in the video’s description. “It’s limited to 1080p 30fps but I was surprised to see how sharp it was AND that it retained Dolby Vision.”
And here’s a multi-cam shoot for a music video accompanying Julia’s cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Shivers” with a pop-punk twist featuring Aerial View. This one has been also filmed using the iPhone 13 Pro camera, Apple’s Cinematic mode and Dolby Vision color grading.
Keep in mind that these videos were shot on iPhone 13 Pro with no dedicated stabilizers, lighting or other additional equipment. The results are pretty impressive for a 1.0 feature, especially because this was all shot with a smartphone camera and in Dolby Vision.
The results are impressive but not perfect. Not all of the scenes use Cinematic mode. In those that do, we can clearly see artefacts like blurring around her head, hair and even around armpits. In some scenes, the singer’s whole silhouette is surrounded by a soft hallo.
These issues become exacerbated in low-light situations.
What is Cinematic mode on iPhone 13?
Cinematic mode is a new video-shooting feature that’s available across all iPhone 13 models. It uses machine learning to analyze live camera feed in real-time, intelligently focusing on the subject interacting with the camera while applying the bokeh effect to the background.
This creates a cinematic feel. Users can manually change focus from one subject to another while filming their video or after the fact, within the Photos app.
iPhone 13 Cinematic mode: What do the reviews say?
It’s disappointing that the vast majority of early iPhone 13 reviews ended up being pretty uncritical of Apple’s Cinematic mode. The reviewers didn’t focus much on the downsides of this cool new feature, such as artefacts around the subject’s hair and body parts like the fingers, arms and so on. That’s why we love the objective and entertaining Joanna Stern of The Wall Street Journal who focused exclusively on Cinematic mode in her video review.
For instance, we found out details about Cinematic mode that Apple didn’t mention, like the fact that it’s limited to 1080p resolution at thirty frames per second.
So you have mostly uncritical observations of Cinematic mode from well-known names on one side, and Joanna on the other. We’ll reserve our judgment until we see additional Cinematic mode videos, read reviews from the people we trust and, ultimately, we have a chance to spend some quality time testing the ins and outs of this promising new feature ourselves.
So what did Joanna Stern say about iPhone 13’s Cinematic mode?
Here’s an excerpt from Joanna’s video review of iPhone 13 for The Wall Street Journal:
With videos, gosh, I was really excited about the new Cinematic mode. Aaaand gosh, was it a let down. The feature — which you could call “Portrait mode for video” — adds artistic blur around the object in focus. The coolest thing is that you can tap to refocus while you shoot (and even do it afterward in the Photos app).
Except, as you can see in my video, the software struggles to know where objects begin and end. It’s a lot like the early days of Portrait Mode, but it’s worse because now the blur moves and warps. I shot footage where the software lost parts of noses and fingers, and struggled with items such as a phone or camera.
Joanna clarifies in her review that she did hear back from an Apple spokeswoman after reaching out to the company, and they reportedly called that Cinematic mode a “breakthrough innovation that will keep getting better over time.”
Just like with the early days of Portrait mode, we would add…
We’ve embedded Joanna’s video right above for your viewing pleasure.