This Setting Turns Your iPhone Into a Professional Video Camera

Flagship smartphone cameras sport incredible photo and video quality—good enough you’ve probably heard of movies and music videos shot on iPhones. Yet, if you pop open your camera app and take a video, chances are it won’t look like a professional production. While there are many things you can do to increase your smartphone’s video qualitythere’s a simple setting iPhone 13 Pro and 14 Pro users can enable that will make your shots look better.

Normally, iPhones shoot in either HEVC or H.264 video formats. HEVC files are smaller and more compressed, while H.264 are larger but supported by more apps and platforms. However, in your iPhone’s camera settings menu, there’s a third format called “Apple ProRes,” which offers better color and less compression for a crisper, more professional look. The catch is Apple ProRes videos can be up to 30 times larger than HEVC files, so they take up large portions of your phone and iCloud storage space.

There are also limitations on the devices and camera settings you use (which we cover below). However, the larger file size is an acceptable tradeoff for those looking to maximize the quality of their iPhone videos. Plus, video editors will appreciate the more flexible editing possibilities you get when shooting in ProRes.

How to enable and shoot Apple ProRes Videos on iPhone

To shoot with Apple ProRes on iPhone, you need to have an iPhone 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max, 14 Pro, or 14 Pro Max updated to iOS 15.1 or higher. You enable ProRes in the iOS Settings app below Settings > Camera > Formats. Scroll down and toggle “Apple ProRes” under the Video Capture header.

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Screenshots: Brendan Hesse

Next, you need to turn on the setting in your Camera app before you can shoot ProRes videos. Open the Camera app and slide over to the Video option. Tap the arrow icon at the top of the app window to open the options tab, then tap the “ProRes” button. You can then change your video’s resolution and FPS, although which settings are available when shooting in ProRes depends on your model’s storage size:

256GB, 512GB, and 1TB iPhone models:

  • 4K at 30 FPS
  • 4K at 25 FPS (PAL)
  • 4K at 24 FPS
  • 1080p HD at 60 FPS
  • 1080p HD at 30 FPS (PAL)
  • 1080p HD at 25 FPS

128GB iPhone models:

  • 1080p HD at 30 FPS
  • 1080p HD at 25 FPS

Along with those restrictions, you also need at least 10 percent of your device’s storage space available to start shooting when ProRes is enabled. The iPhone camera app will automatically delete temporary storage when shooting in ProRes if your free space drops below the equivalent five minutes of recorded video, but this won’t save you much space, so be sure to offload or delete videos once you don’t need them on your phone anymore.

Once all those settings are in place, you can start shooting. Note that ProRes only works in the iOS Camera app’s “Video” mode. Other video modes like Cinematic mode, Slo-Mo, or Time-Lapse are not supported.

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