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A future Android phone will finally have a rival to Apple's Cinematic Mode

Several Android brands offer portrait video, but one brand will finally offer something like Apple's Cinematic Mode.

Published onJuly 31, 2023

Vivo X90 Pro camera bump
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
  • Chinese brand Vivo has announced a 4K portrait video mode.
  • This mode will offer automatic subject focus switching like the iPhone’s Cinematic Mode.
  • Vivo claims that you can even change the focus area after shooting a clip.

Apple launched its Cinematic Mode for videos with the iPhone 13 series, offering portrait video with the ability to automatically switch focus to various subjects. Android phones have long had portrait video too but have lacked smart focusing functionality, forcing users to tap on subjects instead.

Now, vivo has announced a 4K portrait video mode powered by its new V3 imaging chip, and this could be a proper rival to Apple’s Cinematic Mode. For one, the company confirmed that this feature does indeed offer “automatic subject focus detection and switching” like Apple’s mode.

However, the company’s Weibo post on the feature also notes you’ll be able to change the focus area after shooting the clip. We’ve previously seen the ability to edit the area in focus after the fact in portrait mode photos, but this would be a first for smartphone videos.

Portrait photos get new features

The company had plenty more camera-related features to announce, including a so-called generative portrait mode. This will allow you to change the background in portrait mode. An example given by the company is the ability to change the season to summer, spring, autumn, or winter. Check it out below.

It’s unclear if the entire background is swapped out, if Vivo’s tech will make edits to the actual background, or if both options will be available. The brand’s use of “generative” suggests that the company isn’t merely switching to one of several stock backgrounds, but it could also theoretically be a case of misleading marketing. We’ve contacted the company to find out exactly how this mode works.

Vivo says it will also let you change a subject’s lighting, age, expression, and hairstyle in portrait mode. That’s a pretty drastic change more in line with over-the-top augmented reality filters than subtle image processing improvements. You can view these tweaks below.

What else to expect from new flagships?

The Chinese manufacturer also announced a few more camera-related features in partnership with ZEISS. This includes a so-called Vario-Apo-Sonnar telephoto lens that enables macro shots, as well as enhanced lens coatings to further reduce reflectivity.

We’re expecting the rumored vivo X100 series to pack the V3 imaging chip and all these capabilities. But the company also announced a new color profile, dubbed vivo texture color, which will be available on the X80 line, X90 series, X Flip, and X Fold 2. Either way, it sounds like the company’s next flagship phone is shaping up to be one of the best camera phones around.

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