Last week, Apple showed off an upcoming version of the popular Filmic Pro app that will be able to record video from multiple cameras at the same time.
During its demo, Apple used an iPhone 11 Pro to highlight the app’s new functionality. But you won’t actually need an iPhone 11 Pro to get multi-camera recording — the feature is actually coming to other devices via iOS 13.
Multi-Camera Recording API
Apple first announced multi-camera capture to developers back in June at its WWDC conference. But, for whatever reason, many consumers didn’t hear about it at the time.
Basically, it lets you take video or photos from more than one camera or camera lens simultaneously. A good example is the ability to capture video of both an event and your reaction at the same time with the rear-facing camera and selfie camera, simultaneously.
If you watch Apple’s developer preview on the new API, you can see that the company has made the feature compatible with the iPhone XS and XS Max, the iPhone XR and 2018 iPad Pro models. Apple makes it clear that this additional functionality was harder to add than it may seem, due to hardware limitations.
On those older models, there will be some limitations on specific capture modes, however.
- For one, there’s no support for three-lens recording.
- Similarly, you’ll only be able to capture video or photos from certain lens combinations simultaneously.
If you’re recording video with two rear-facing lenses, you won’t be able to capture a stream from the front-facing camera.
Mostly, that appears to be due to power constraints, since multi-camera capture appears to be fairly strenuous and resource-intensive.
Since Apple debuted the multi-cam API in June, that means developers have had at least a few months to incorporate the feature into their own apps. That suggests that Filmic Pro will only be the first of a wave of apps that support multi-cam capture.
The iPhone 11 and New Camera App
While support for multi-camera capture on some older iPhones is good news for consumers, there’s no doubt that Apple has optimized the iPhone 11 to take full advantage of the iOS 13 feature.
It isn’t entirely clear how many streams or combinations the iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro models will support. But it’s worth noting that Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro demo appeared to show off Filmic Pro being able to capture four simultaneous video streams.
Similarly, Apple actually uses the multi-camera API in its updated native Camera app on the iPhone 11 models. It’ll allow users to see image data in the camera’s viewfinder, but it won’t support multi-camera capture for video or photo.
That means that users will need to rely on third-party apps unless Apple introduces support for the stock Camera app in a future software update.
iOS 13 with the multi-cam API will launch to the public as a free update this Thursday, Sept. 19.