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iPhone 14 Pro – for SERIOUS video work

Do you use your iPhone 14 Pro for photo & video work? Then read on…

iPhone 14 Pro for video
image courtesy of author

First things first

If you’ve been reading me for some time, then you’ll know that I traded-up to an iPhone 14 Pro. That switch was made with the camera set-up on iPhone 14 Pro, very much, front & centre.

Over the past few weeks, it has become almost like a third arm to me. It has become the most important part of my daily carry. I think I value it, possibly, even more than my MacBook Pro…that is quite some praise.

Where I was initially hesitant about buying iPhone 14 Pro, now, I simply couldn’t be without it. In the time I have spent with it, I have, inevitably, made mistakes along the way, but, also learned a few top-tips that I thought I’d pass on to you.

So, if you are keen to get the most from your iPhone 14 Pro camera, settle back, and read on.

Get the basics set

These are the kind of settings that are easy to overlook, but, equally, the kind that once set, you can forget about.

I used to be a massive FilmicPro user. Back in my iPhone 12 days, it helped extract the very most from that phone’s basic camera set-up. With the iPhone 14 though, it’s odd, but it appears to me that the third-party app is almost holding me back. It’s as if Apple haven’t fully unlocked the cameras for other apps. Odd, but that is sure how it seems. For all my recent work, I have been using the native camera app, and been over-the-moon with it. So, like they say, if ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

So, initial settings to check, you’ll find, unsurprisingly, in the camera app. Enable Pro-Res, and grids, but turn off HDR. It caused me some ache early on. It took me a while to solve the odd colour cast I was getting, and I’d like to save you the same hassle. Something else you’ll want to turn on is camera > preserve settings > creative controls. By having this switched on, it will save any settings you make so that they’ll be preserved for the next time you use that feature. It will make more sense later – promise.

Whilst in the camera settings, I’d head to camera > record video, and record cinematic, and set both frames rates to 24fps. The addition of 24fps to cinematic mode was new to iPhone 14 Pro, and has been a game changer. Again, more on that later too.

Time to shoot

How you tend to shoot most of your footage, will depend on personal preference, iCloud storage and iPhone storage. I tend to shoot all horizontal video 4K, and then transfer it to my Mac. Once stored, I then delete it from the iPhone 14 Pro. If you are not quite as careful with storage, though, shooting in 1080p is more than adequate…I shoot all my YouTube Shorts, for instance, in 1080p.

What frame rate to shoot? That question will have a different answer, depending upon who you ask. As a rule-of-thumb, I shoot my main videos, which I want to look vaguely film-like, at 24fps, and my videos for Twitter etc at 30fps. I only use 60fps if I know that I will be slowing it down in post. In the slow-motion setting in the camera, you’ll see that you can go to crazy high frame rates – 120fps & 240fps are available, but use with caution, as they can be quite ‘noisy’.

Whatever native settings you have preserved, it is dead simple, and quick to change. The resolution and frame rate can be set in the top-right corner of your screen. ProRes can also be toggled on and off in the camera app. You’ll find that top-left.

Earlier on, I mentioned enabling ProRes. This means you’ll be shooting raw files, and will benefit you if shooting log. I tried using it early on, but the benefits really did not outweigh the file sizes. They were enormous. 40 minutes of 4K ProRes was about 18GB! And honestly, the final output, compared to shooting 4K cinematic, really did not warrant my working with it. It’s a very niche codec, and I haven’t seen the benefit. Try it out, certainly – let me know what you reckon.

Lens selection

On my iPhone 14 pro, there are 4 lenses to choose from –

  • .5 – it’s an ultra-wide angle lens
  • 1X – will be your main go-to camera
  • 2X – a decent zoom option
  • 3X – is pretty extreme, but can be cool

Did you know, there is a term now to “point 5 me”? Nope, until recently, me neither. It really is ultra, ultra, wide, but useful if you are looking for the ultimate vlog look to your videos.

The 1X main camera speaks for itself. You’ll be getting the best results from that lens, and is the one I use most of the time. The 2X will zoom, by cropping in to the centre part of your frame, which is why it gives such good results.

Only this last week, when in Brussels, did I start playing with the 3X lens. It is not one I’d use too often, but, its best feature is the way it pulls the foreground from the background. I am still getting used to it, but it’s a lens I am going to use more, for sure.

Look at me

The selfie camera has had a major make-over this year. I actually used it on one of my recent members newsletters. It is passable now, for the odd times, you need to flip the camera around, without using wireless, remote, framing set-ups. Honestly, it is pretty decent now, but there is a work-around for selfies.

If you have an Apple Watch, you’ll love this. Set your iPhone 14 Pro up on a tripod, using thee 1X lens, then open the camera app on your watch. You have a basic wireless transmitter, which means, you can use your watch to frame your shots, and even start recording from it too. I made a quick short on it, which you can watch here.

Lights, camera, action

So, as I mentioned, I generally use the 1X lens, and for my a-roll, my most frequent setting is, cinematic mode, in 4K 24fps.

Recall early on, I mentioned enabling the preserve settings feature, using cinematic mode, is one perfect example of why that’s so useful. When launching cinematic mode, iPhone 14 will always start you off with a setting of 2.8ƒ. I find the background blur, or bokeh, too extreme at the setting. I prefer about 5.5ƒ or 6ƒ. Using the preserve settings, means every time you come back to cinematic mode, it will be set in your preferred settings, not what iPhone wants.

Cinematic mode in 24fps looks incredible now. Certainly, in a good studio set-up, with decent lighting, the results are stunning, and the file size manageable. If you don’t like how you’ve shot your cinematic footage, though, fear not, as you can alter the blur effect, in post. Firstly, tap on the main subject, and alter the AF focal point, or, tap on the ƒ setting in the toolbar, and you can manually slide and set the setting there too.

Just before buying my iPhone 14 Pro, I bought a DJI OM 4 SE gimbal. With the stabilisation in the camera app now, though, I rarely need it. With a steady hand, most of the footage you require can be captured without the need of a gimbal. And for those more extreme moments, don’t forget, there is even the action mode, now too. Save that for those really energetic moments, though, and make sure the lighting is as good as possible, too. It shoots at 2.8K, not 4K, and will use the .5 ultra-wide lens by default.

Wrapping up

Considering how torn between getting the iPhone 14 Pro or a proper DSLR camera I was, I could not be happier with my choice.

The level of both video work and photography that I can use this phone for, means it is earning its keep time, and time over. But, it has taken me a little while to get used to its features and functions. Hopefully, in this blog, I will have saved you some wasted time and heartache too.

iPhone 14 Pro truly is a creators all-in-one, go-to piece of kit. I could not be happier. How are you finding your experiences with yours?

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