Cinematic Mode: Swans in the Canal

As somebody that knows a thing or two about making short films using affordable but nonetheless effective cameras and lenses, I’ve been yearning to try out “Cinematic Mode” on Apple’s latest smartphone, iPhone 14 Pro Max. Cinematic Mode has been around since it was launched on the iPhone 13 about a year ago.

The feature is very similar to “Portrait Mode” when using the camera to take a photograph of a person or object with so-called bokeh, or, shallow depth of field.

Using Cinematic Mode on the iPhone 14 Pro Max (with both HDR and ProRez enabled) allows me to create sequences and scenes with emphasized focus on the subject matter by putting the background out of focus.

Aside from looking nice and, eh, cinematic, this feature allows for an incredibly important storytelling technique, one that previously demanded a really expensive lens and a considerably larger sensor than what a smartphone typically offers.

“Cinematic Mode” is not perfect and there were a few times when the lens was confused about where to focus. But by far and large, the new feature is a game changer for me. At least for my personal film projects. I shot this swan short the other day on the way home from our local supermarket.