Apple brings Final Cut to the iPhone to help you shoot professional videos

The iOS app can work independently or with other Apple devices to record a multi-cam video from different angles.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Final Cut Camera on the iPhone
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

If you have an iPhone and want to spruce up your videos Hollywood-style, check out Apple's Final Cut Camera app. Launched on Thursday, the iOS app helps you create professional videos by giving you control over the zoom, exposure, temperature, focus, aspect ratio, format, and speed.

For a production worthy of a major motion picture, you can group your iPhone with as many as three other devices -- iPhone or iPad -- to shoot a multi-cam video. The main obstacle here is that you need the iPad version of Final Cut Pro and a subscription that costs $4.99 per month or $49 per year.

Even without the subscription, though, there's a lot you can do with the iOS version of Final Cut. Download and install Final Cut Camera from the App Store, fire up the app, and you'll notice an array of controls and features.

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First, you can zoom in and out using a few different methods. Move your thumb and forefinger apart on the screen to zoom in, and together to zoom out. Otherwise, tap one of the preset focal lengths -- 13MM, 24MM, or 77MM. Alternatively, tap the zoom icon, and you can move a slider to gradually and smoothly zoom in and out.

Swipe up or across the screen to display another row of controls. The first one lets you set a picture's temperature from a cool blue to a warm red. The next control lets you change the exposure from very dark to very bright, either manually or by choosing a specific shutter speed and ISO level. With the third control, you can adjust the focus. The fourth one helps you set the aspect ratio.

There are even more controls at the top and side. The first one lets you choose between the HEVC and Apple ProRes codecs. The second one lets you pick SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) or HDR (High Dynamic Range). Next, you can opt to shoot in 720p, 1080p, or 4K. You can also select your speed among 24 frames per second, 25 fps (PAL), 30 fps, or 60 fps.

The settings screen offers more options. You can stabilize your video to reduce any shakiness, mirror the front camera, and apply an on-screen grid to line up your framing. After you've shot your video, you can play it with or without the sound, delete it and try again, share it with someone else, or save it to your iPhone's library.

The real power of the app comes from its ability to serve in a multi-camera setup. For this, you'll have to shell out for a subscription to Final Cut Pro for iPadOS. Once you do, though, you can direct your entire production from any device.

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The Live Multicam option uses a wireless connection between as many as four devices to stream the live multi-cam video and the completed video files from Final Cut Camera on your iPhone to Final Cut Pro on your iPad. From any of the four devices, you can start and stop the recording at any point or shoot for as long as two hours in a single take.

To join a multi-camera session, each device must have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, though a Wi-Fi connection isn't required. For optimum results, the Final Cut Camera devices should be within 30 feet of the iPad running Final Cut Pro with an unobstructed line of sight. After you've shot your multi-cam production, the app syncs your preview clips together, and you can edit them in the Final Cut Pro for iPad browser.

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