Filmic is releasing a new app for iPhones today that allows you to capture video from two cameras at once. The app, called DoubleTake, was first previewed at Apple’s iPhone 11 announcement in September. It lets you record two video files separately, from any of the iPhone’s cameras, so that you can cut between them, or capture the video feeds displayed alongside each other, either as a split-screen or a picture-in-picture. It works well — the question is whether filmmakers will find a use for it, as they have Filmic’s well-regarded pro camera app.
The new app is straightforward and easy to use. You start by choosing which two cameras you would like to record from: the ultra wide, wide, telephoto, or selfie camera. On this same page you have the option of choosing frame rates — 24fps, 25fps, or 30fps — which all record at 1080p (there’s no option for 4K). You then choose how you want the camera feeds to display and start recording.
The most straightforward, practical view is the Split-Screen mode. This creates a split screen with one camera on the left and one on the right side of the frame. When testing this, I set the phone between myself and my colleague Alix Diaconis in a podcast studio. The basic idea is that that two people can have a conversation with the camera quite literally in the center of the action. Videos shot in this mode will be exported to DoubleTake’s internal library as one single file.
PiP, or Picture in Picture mode, fills the screen with one camera of your choosing while creating a small, moveable window for the second camera that you can drag around and even swipe on and off the screen. The window is super responsive with no noticeable lag, and what you see on your screen is exactly what will be exported as one video file to the app’s library. It looks like you’re watching a high-quality FaceTime call, and I could imagine someone filming a haunted house or amusement park ride in the large window with their response in the smaller frame.
The last mode — and as a filmmaker, my favorite — is the Discreet mode. While the view of both cameras is the same as it is in PiP mode, DoubleTake exports two separate 16:9 files. I often shoot in a higher resolution than I will be exporting so that I can have both a wide and tight of the same frame by being able to punch in on the wide shot. With the Discreet mode, I was able to film from the Wide and Ultra-Wide, both at 1080p, at the same time. The H.264 .mov exports are really clean and take very little time to transfer to the camera roll. Pair a clean export with the iPhone 11 Pro’s excellent lens calibration, and you have a perfect punch in from a single phone.
Much like in Filmic Pro, there is a histogram at the bottom of the frame, as well as focus and exposure controls. Unlike Filmic Pro though, Filmic tells me this app will always be free, and there are no current plans for in-app purchases.
This app is extremely quick and polished, but it ultimately falls into the gadget category for me. I have been using it for one weekend, and while at first I had a lot of fun playing with it, I ultimately couldn’t find a use for it in my daily filming. It feels really advanced to be able to use more than one camera at a time, but as a user, you really have to know why you want to be using more than one camera in the first place.
DoubleTake is available today for iOS 13 devices on Apple’s App Store. Though any device on iOS 13 can download it, its headline feature — recording with two cameras — is only supported on the last two generations of iPhones, which includes the iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max. Filmic says DoubleTake’s features will roll out to the Filmic Pro app later this spring.
Photography by Becca Farsace / The Verge