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Posts tagged with "video"

Matthew Panzarino Tests the iPhone 13 Pro’s Cinematic Mode and Interviews Apple Executives

Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch’s Editor-in-Chief, put the iPhone 13 Pro camera’s new Cinematic mode through its paces at Disneyland in an excellent real-world test of the new feature. Panzarino also spoke to Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing and Johnnie Manzari, a designer on Apple’s Human Interface Team about how Cinematic mode works.

As Manzari explained:

“In cinema, the role of gaze and body movement to direct that story is so fundamental. And as humans we naturally do this, if you look at something, I look at it too.”

So they knew they would need to build in gaze detection to help lead their focusing target around the frame, which in turn leads the viewer through the story. Being on set, Manzari says, allowed Apple to observe these highly skilled technicians and then build in that feel.

“We’re on set and we have all these amazing people and they’re really the best of the best. And one of the engineers noticed that the focus puller has this focus control wheel, and, and he’s just studying the way that this person does this. Just like when you look at like someone who’s really good at playing the piano, and it looks so easy, and yet you know it’s impossible. There’s no way you’re going to be able to do this,” says Manzari.

“This person is an artist, this person is so good at what they do and the craft they put into it. And so we spent a lot of time trying to model the analog feel of a focus wheel turning.”

To make it all come together into one, coherent feature, Apple’s engineers had to solve a long list of technical challenges:

Some of the individual components that make up Cinematic Mode include:

  • Subject recognition and tracking
  • Focus locking
  • Rack focusing (moving focus from one subject to another in an organic-looking way)
  • Image overscan and in camera stabilization
  • Synthetic Bokeh (lens blur)
  • A post-shot editing mode that lets you alter your focus points even after shooting

And all of those things are happening in real-time.

Despite everything that goes into Cinematic mode, Panzarino notes that the battery impact of using it throughout the day was surprisingly slight.

Cinematic mode isn’t without its flaws, which are covered in the story, but it’s worth watching the entire video that Panzarino shot during a Disneyland visit with his family to get a sense for it yourself. If you study the video closely, you’ll pick up on the places where Cinematic mode struggles. However, sitting back and casually watching the video like you would after a vacation or if a friend sent it to you, the flaws largely fade into the background. I’m eager to test Cinematic mode for myself, and I don’t mean to suggest that it’s necessarily fine as it is, but I also expect that it will be a net positive in a lot of circumstances.

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Hands-On with the Apple Store’s Insta360 ONE X2 Camera Bundle

Source: Insta360.

Source: Insta360.

Starting today, Insta360 is offering an exclusive bundle of the Insta360 ONE X2 camera and an assortment of accessories through Apple’s online store for $479.99.

I’ve been intrigued by Insta360’s action cameras since coming across them during CES in 2020. I bought a DJI Osmo Pocket when it launched at the end of 2018, which sold me on the notion of a tiny, versatile camera that integrates with the iPhone. So, when Insta360 offered to send me the Apple Store bundle to try, I was curious to see what it can do and what a 360-degree perspective would add to the mix. I’ve only had the ONE X2 for a few days during a brutal Chicago cold snap, so my use of the camera has been limited. Still, the excellent app integration has made getting started a breeze, so I wanted to share my first impressions.

The Insta360 ONE X2 bundle being sold by Apple is a great starter package that includes the ONE X2 camera, an Invisible Selfie Stick, an extra battery and case to carry it, a 32 GB MicroSD card and SD card adapter, two charging cables (USB-A to USB-C and USB-C to Lightning), a carrying case, and a soft pouch. Separately, the camera retails for $429.99, and with the accessories, the entire package would cost around $511 based on the prices listed on Insta360’s website. However, through Apple’s online store, you can purchase the kit for $479.99, saving some money and getting everything you’ll need to get started.

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Apple Releases Updates to Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor with Workflow and Other Enhancements

In a press release today, Apple announced that it has updated its video editing app Final Cut Pro X to version 10.4.9 as well as Motion and Compressor.

The update to Final Cut adds several features designed to improve the editing process including:

  • New tools for cropping video to fit with popular social media formats such as square and vertical video
  • Improvements to proxy workflows with support for ProRes Proxy and H.264 formats which Apple says can be as small as 12.5% of their original size
  • Linking to proxies generated by apps like Frame.io via XML
  • Exposure of ProRes RAW camera settings in Final Cut Pro’s inspector
  • Metal-based plug-ins for RED RAW and Canon Cinema RAW Light, which improve performance
  • Improvements to 360-degree video workflows

With Motion, third-party 3D models are now available when creating effects and graphics. The app also adds a new customizable Stroke Filter that can automatically outline an object or text using its alpha channel. Compressor has been updated too with custom LUT effects and the ability to convert log-encoded video to SDR or HDR footage using Camera LUTs.

I’m a fairly light user of Final Cut Pro X, but one of the things that I found most frustrating about it in the past was the app’s lack of support for popular social media formats, so I’m glad to see that creating square and vertical video will be easier now. I expect that many video creators will be equally happy with the improvements to proxy workflows and integration with cloud-based apps like Frame.io, which has become very popular.

The updates are free for existing users. New users can purchase Final Cut Pro X for $299.99 and Motion and Compressor for $49.99 each on the Mac App Store. The three apps are also available as a bundle to education users for $199.99. More information about the updates is available on Apple’s Final Cut Pro X webpage.


Eve Cam: An Excellent Addition to a HomeKit Secure Video Setup

Last week I added a new camera to my HomeKit Secure Video setup: the Eve Cam. Announced at CES this year, what drew me to the camera was its slim profile and HomeKit Secure Video support. I’ve used other Eve home automation products in the past and had high hopes that the Eve Cam would be just as easy to install, and as reliable as the electrical outlets and door sensors I’ve tried. So far, I haven’t been disappointed.

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Apple Highlights Hardware and Apps in ‘The Whole Work-From-Home Thing’

In April 2019, Apple published a video called The Underdogs that followed the story of a team of co-workers designing a round pizza box. Today, the quartet is back in a sequel of sorts called The Whole Work-From-Home Thing.

The new video follows the same group of colleagues as they attempt to design an all-new box while working from home. The story follows the quartet as they work around the clock on a tight deadline while juggling personal obligations and coping with working remotely.

The pace is frenetic. Over the course of the multi-day ordeal, the group turns to their Macs, iPads, and iPhones to come up with ideas and design the box. They also rely on a wide array of apps, including third-party apps like MindNode and Adobe InDesign.

Like its predecessor, ‘The Whole Work-From-Home Thing’ is funny but succeeds at demonstrating ways that Apple hardware and apps can solve some of the problems facing many people these days. This video may hit a little too close to home and stress some people out a bit, but I enjoyed the lighthearted fun poked at working from home and think it’s well worth watching.

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Darkroom 4.6 Adds Video to Its Excellent Photo Editing Workflow

Darkroom is a terrific photo editor for the iPhone and iPad that leverages iCloud Photos with a robust set of editing tools and filters. With the release of version 4.6 today, Darkroom adds video to the mix. What’s impressive about the update is that it manages to apply the same set of tools and filters available for photos to video in real-time, which results in a fast, efficient editing workflow.

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Hands-On with Clips 2.1: Memoji and Animoji Support, Plus New Sticker Face Tracking and More

Apple has released the first big update in over a year for its Clips video creation tool. Following the trend begun in iOS 12, which added Animoji support to FaceTime, now all Animoji and Memoji characters can also be used inside Clips. Though I would have expected such an update a year ago, it’s nevertheless good to see. Besides Animoji and Memoji, Clips 2.1 only adds a couple other small new features, like a fresh batch of Mickey and Minnie stickers, a ‘Let It Snow’ winter poster, and support for right-to-left languages. After spending some time with the update, there are a couple nice implementation details related to Animoji that deserve highlighting.

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Apple ASMR: A Shot on iPhone Series Shot and Recorded on iPhones

Apple’s Shot on iPhone series has highlighted photos and video taken with iPhones for several years now. Today, the company published a new series of four videos titled ‘Apple AMSR’ that were shot on the iPhone XS and XS Max. The videos, which the company suggests watching with headphones for the full auditory experience, are longer than ones produced in the past ranging from about 6 to over 10 minutes long. Each video features a different sound: rain at a campground, the crunching sound of someone walking on a hiking trail, the scraping of wood in a woodworking shop, and whispering in the Neskowin Ghost Forest in Oregon.

These videos are some of the strangest that Apple has published on YouTube, but they certainly do a good job of showcasing the iPhone’s ability to shoot video and record sound. There may be more coming too based on the fact they’re collected as a playlist on Apple’s YouTube channel that is labeled ‘Season 1.’ You can check all of them out below:


Snapthread 2.0 Adds a Refined UI, an Improved iPad Experience, and New Tools

When I first covered Snapthread early last year, you could tell where it was headed. The app was conceived initially by developer Becky Hansmeyer as a way to combine Snapchat videos. By last January though, the app had evolved into a general-purpose solution for quickly and easily stitching together Live Photos, still photos, and short videos that could be shared on any social network or directly with friends and family. With version 2.0, which is out today, Hansmeyer has refined the existing user experience, added useful new functionality without complicating the app, and leveraged the iPad to create a more versatile video creation tool that works equally well for quickly sharing your creations on social networks as it does with small groups of friends and family.

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