Apple iPhone 13’s Cinematic Mode Enables Professional Racking Shots For Filmmakers


Rack focus has long been a staple in high-end television and film productions. You’ve seen it a few times before, and you probably didn’t even realize there was a whole team behind the camera to make this happen.

The technique simply shifts attention from one point of interest to one that is generally more distant. For example, an actor might be in focus up close and while looking at something in the background, the team “focuses” and moves the focus to the new area of ​​interest. If done right, the result is smooth and even. The effect helps guide the audience’s attention to the things that matter in a particular scene.

Usually there is a dedicated person who controls the focus of a camera. Called the focus extractor, their job is to adjust the focus – usually using a remote control – according to the needs of the scene. Performing advanced camera jobs like rack focus requires a lot of planning. Actors must hit marks, and the focus shooter must hit various focus points at the right time, as determined by the director, dialogue, and stage.

With all of this backdrop, it’s no surprise that Apple is still aggressively attacking the filmmaker market with the iPhone.

Cinematic mode is his last trick.

Based on computer photography, Apple says you can use your iPhone to focus like the pros, without requiring a team or complicated setups as described above.

Instead, by using automatic face detection, you can simulate rack focus by simply tapping on a person. The camera will automatically change the focus simulating the effect. The interface looks like this:

However, the demo that Apple showed today during its unveiling presentation was not that impressive or convincing. We’ll have to wait and see how well this feature works in the real world and on film sets.

Along with the ProRes video recording codec, which is also a new iPhone 13 feature targeting independent filmmakers, Apple continues to slowly take market share from traditional cinema camera makers like Panasonic, Sony and Canon.

In addition to the iPhone 13, Apple CEO Tim Cook and his team today introduced a new iPad and iPad Mini, Apple Watch Series 7, and updates to Apple Fitness +, Apple TV.


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