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As much as some folks like to castigate Apple for lagging behind its Android counterparts, there have been many occasions where the iPhone has broken new ground and gotten well ahead of the curve. One of the best recent examples of this is a new iPhone 12 feature introduced last year that’s so ahead of its time that the rest of the internet is still catching up.
We’re referring to Apple’s Dolby Vision 4K HDR recording, which was not only a first for any smartphone, but a first for any camera — period.
In other words, Apple added a feature to its entire iPhone 12 lineup last year that has quite literally never been done before by anybody.
Even professional studio-quality cameras that cost tens of thousands of dollars can’t natively encode a video in Dolby Vision HDR.
Instead, videographers and producers needed to rely on expensive mirrorless cameras capable of 10-bit video recording and then put the resulting footage through a complex post-production process of “grading” HDR footage on a professional workstation with an expensive HDR “reference” monitor.
Thanks to the incredible amount of computing power packed into Apple’s A14 chip, the iPhone 12 can actually capture and process the camera’s sensor data and add on the Dolby Vision metadata in real-time, while it’s recording the video footage.
Sharing Your Dolby Vision Creations
So, considering that until last year, it was basically impossible for an average user to create Dolby Vision HDR videos, it’s probably no surprise that there was little anybody could actually do with these videos, especially in terms of online sharing.
Sure, you could send them to your iPhone 12-toting friends to view, but you couldn’t even stream them to your TV — at least not until Apple released the 2021 Apple TV 4K last spring.
Needless to say, however, sharing them online was a complete non-starter, but it looks like that’s finally about to change, thanks to a new partnership between Apple, Dolby, and online video streaming service Vimeo.
In contrast to YouTube, Vimeo has always leaned more sharply toward providing a creative space for professional videographers to show off their work, so it makes sense that it would be the first to embrace Apple’s Dolby Vision HDR vision.
In fact, Vimeo has already supported HDR since late 2017, although as we noted earlier, that was only geared toward members who mastered their own HDR footage on an advanced studio workstation. Even back then, however, Vimeo was quick to embrace Apple technology, noting support for watching these videos on the iPhone X and Apple TV 4K, which had been released only weeks earlier.
This month, however, Vimeo is taking that a giant step further, with support for Dolby Vision — the advanced flavour of HDR that can be automatically generated by the iPhone 12.
Vimeo outlines the details in a recent announcement, but in short, you can now take any of the Dolby Vision HDR videos that you’ve recorded on your iPhone 12 and upload them directly to Vimeo, without the need for any intermediate steps.
Users with an iPhone 12 can record and edit Dolby Vision content using just the phone in their pocket — which means it’s never been easier to capture and share best-in-class video.Vimeo
Of course, Vimeo explains that you can edit your footage on your Mac as well, using an app such as Apple’s Final Cut Pro.
Unfortunately, the only catch is that not everyone will be able to see your masterpieces with the full Dolby Vision HDR experience, at least not right away. For now, Vimeo notes, viewers must be watching on a compatible Apple device, which includes an iPhone 8 or later, a second-generation iPad Pro or later, an Apple TV 4K connected to a Dolby Vision capable TV set, or a compatible Mac (which basically translates to a 2018 or later MacBook or Mac mini, or a 2020 or later iMac).
- Vimeo will display a badge on Dolby Vision videos to highlight the HDR content, and will automatically play in HDR on any of the supported Apple devices above.
- Unfortunately, it looks like other Dolby Vision streaming devices and Windows PCs are being left out for now, and Vimeo hasn’t said when it plans to expand support beyond the Apple ecosystem.
- For now, those with unsupported devices will only be able to view the converted SDR version of your videos.