We take a further exploration into the video possibilities of the new iPhone 13. ProRes RAW? Sidecar depth info?

It's no surprise that our most popular article this year is the one preceding this; the new iPhone and its ability to change the focus of footage (after it has been shot) in Final Cut Pro and iMovie.

Not the we had any prior knowledge, but a quick tweet before the event turned out to be reality!



Soon as the event was over, we went hunting through the press release and found confirmation that you will have the ability to 'refocus' (change or move the depth of field, Robin) in post production.

This is a big deal, changing the pixels in an iPhone movie after it has been recorded. Just think about that for a second.

Final Cut Pro has just had the biggest PR/social media push since its less than successful launch. Media everywhere is reporting that FCP and iMovie will be able access the depth information from iPhones for focusing. 

Not that everybody will be able to do it. The phone has to be an iPhone 13 and you have to record at 1080 30FPS. This is because the phone will record all the depth information using the TrueDepth camera at the same time to allow the focus changes. There's a lot of maths going on in the process and as phones get more powerful and the software more developed, we would expect Cinematic Mode to be available in more formats. Let's hope the next one up is at 25FPS.

The Verge is reporting the depth information is stored as a sidecar file.

The detective demo video looks good when objects have sharp edges, when it comes to hair, it does look slightly false.


You will also need an 'updated' version of Final Cut Pro or iMovie. Which leads us to think that a release of a new version of Final Cut Pro will come out around the date of the FCP Global Summit. The Mac will also have to run macOS Monterey which will need to be released before then for everything to work. (iOS 15 was released yesterday BTW with updated iMovie and Clips apps to be ready for Cinematic Mode.)

A few other features were not fully explored either. ProRes recording will not only increase quality, but it also allows the shooting, editing and delivery of a ProRes master from just the phone.

iJustine is claiming the iPhone 13 Pro will record ProRes RAW. 

The new macro shooting mode will not only trigger off a slew of random closeups into bloggers' daily output, it will also help broadcast shows getting quick closeup shots without having to change lenses on their main camera. It is a crop of the wide angle lens though.

But wait a minute... If you need macOS Monterey for the clever stuff, will that become available in Motion as well? Sure, we would like to be able to change the depth of field in Motion, but what about getting access to the depth map for compositing? That would open up a whole new range of possibilities... and plugins!

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to processing iPhone video in post. Apple has a habit of under-promising and over-delivering. Remember WWDC 2020 and the automatic analysis of video footage to find and tag items? We made a list of possibilities back then that we think still stands. We got the depth information, but we didn't think about changing focus in post! If you want extra proof of how video processing will offer more creative choice, then check this WWDC video about transferring a picture's style onto video.

This also brings us on to the question of the possible start of a divergence in abilities between Intel and Apple silicon machines. The neural engines in M1 powered Macs will surely perform the image processing on Cinematic Mode movies way faster than the Intel version, which will have to resort to CPU/GPU number crunching. if it does it at all.

It has taken me eight years to lose a bet

Back in 2013, Blackmagic were releasing new cameras at a rapid rate and the AJA Cion had just been released. I had a bet with Wayne Andrews of Matrox about Apple releasing a pro camera. I said they wouldn't, he said it was inevitable. 

AJA CION courtesy of Kevin Fitzgerald on Twitter @BrownEnvelope

On the 14th of this month, he won, because I didn't have the forethought to realise that Apple's plan was to incrementally upgrade their iPhone camera year after year, to the point where it became a very capable pro camera. Granted, it's not great on sound, but it can now do things a traditional broadcast camera can and do advanced optical and software processes a traditional broadcast camera cannot. 

It is going to be an interesting few months up to the FCP Creative Summit.

We will leave you with some first impressions of the iPhone 13 from the usual bloggers.







Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


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alex4D's Avatar
alex4D replied the topic: #116380 21 Sep 2021 19:40
“Final Cut Pro has just had the biggest PR/social media push since its less than successful launch.”

Final Cut Pro is being mentioned to encourage the 25% of iPhone users that they will be able to use Apple editing software to work with depth.

Not to promote Final Cut, to get iPhone Pro owners to upgrade a year earlier than usual or to encourage a non-pro user to upgrade this year. To make up for a less than usually exciting hardware feature bump.

Working with depth is exciting, but the iPhone marketing group forcing the Final Cut team to prioritise it over implementing features for editors that have been missing for 20 years (collaboration - the essence of film, TV and video) is like telling them to teaching Final Cut to do backflips instead of showing it how to run.
Oliver Peters's Avatar
Oliver Peters replied the topic: #116385 21 Sep 2021 22:18
Depth-mapping is a cool technology feature. But the production curmudgeon in me sees this as another aspect of "fix it in post." That's a phrase that ought to be changed to "pay to fix it in post." :)
Karsten Schlüter's Avatar
Karsten Schlüter replied the topic: #116390 22 Sep 2021 03:31
FCPX' little brother supports Cinematic-Mode:

peteramwiggins's Avatar
peteramwiggins replied the topic: #116393 22 Sep 2021 08:14
I'm not too sure if the FCP team got told to implement features. They say that there's always been a roadmap and I would assume that this (and ProRes) has been on it for a while..

Unless you have some inside information you would like to share????  
peteramwiggins's Avatar
peteramwiggins replied the topic: #116394 22 Sep 2021 08:16
Good spot - are we going to see a 'Cinematic' button in Final Cut Pro?

JoeEditor's Avatar
JoeEditor replied the topic: #116396 22 Sep 2021 10:49
"They say that there's always been a roadmap..."

At the NAB launch years ago, Apple promised FCPX would have a ten year road map. That ten years is up, and FCPX has become badly stagnant. Being able to play with pseudo-DOF from one proprietary camera is not going to make FCPX relevant again all of the sudden unless: 1-you own an iPhone 13, 2- and you shoot all of your content on an iPhone. That's a very narrow segment of the pro market.
joema's Avatar
joema replied the topic: #116399 22 Sep 2021 13:00
Continuously advancing the state of computational videography is good. I read that Apple has about 1,000 people just working on the iPhone camera. If true, they may be spending more on camera development than Panasonic, Canon and Nikon combined.

But despite that huge investment, I haven't heard whether the iPhone 13 Pro will have constant frame rate, even when shooting ProRes. It also apparently doesn't have 24 fps in ProRes, at least in the initial release.

I believe all previous iPhone versions (even if using Filmic Pro) cannot obtain guaranteed constant frame rate -- the iPhone will insist on variable frame rate in certain lighting conditions. That can make syncing with other sources difficult.

You could argue that most users don't care about 24 fps or CFR or syncing -- but most users also don't care about ProRes. If you pay $1,700 for a 1TB phone where "cinematic" video is THE marquee feature, it seems that 24 fps ProRes and CFR would be a core design requirement to deliver on day 1. If the built-in app doesn't support that they could at least provide an API where Filmic Pro or other specialized developers could get access.