The new subscription plan brings a redesigned user interface that streamlines the mobile filmmaking process.
FiLMiC Pro version 7, with its controversial new subscription weekly scheme, has dropped and is ready for updating. The newly designed app has a few new features, as well as refinements in the interface.
However, some features that should be there are strangely missing. Is it still worth $50 a year?
All Temptation, No Sin
All told, FiLMiC Pro’s development team has made it pretty tempting to give its new subscription model a go. The design of the user interface has been upgraded to offer feature parity between landscape and portrait aspect ratios. Users can now access all available features with several refinements to make the app even easier to use and more intuitive.
The new drop-down menu at the top can be enabled through a centrally located “chevron” at the top. FiLMiC calls this function a Quick Action Modal or QAM, and it enables users to avoid having to drill down through a variety of menus to select critical functions like ISO, shutter speed, and frame rate, to name a few features.
The Action Slider offers a simplified pulldown menu hidden to get a little more unobstructed screen real estate. With this slider, users can see critical functions with a tap, rather than hunting for them through the settings icon, and can adjust them as needed. Users also have access to such information as minutes remaining and codec quality.
The settings icon has also been relocated to a button on the upper left of the screen. Menu options have been consolidated to make it much less crowded and easier to access multiple related settings from the same menu.
Another QAM is the focus and light balance reticles, which have been redesigned to be easier to see, and enable users to change between a center weight option, reticular, or manual reticule, and the new tangerine color is brighter and a darker shade to be seen in bright, ambient light.
Manual offers control of the new sliders for adjusting zoom and focus have been redesigned to be straight up and down, rather than the curved, wheel-like model in version 6, and offer a color coding of focus points to set for pulling focus from one distance setting to another. Focus pulls can also be automated for a smoother transition.
The reticules can be activated through the Mode button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. To dismiss the mode QAM, just click outside it on the screen and it goes away.
There’s also an easy-to-use New Exposure/Zoom Slider for making fast adjustments, including changing shutter speed and shutter angles, as well as providing discrete control zoom speed.
In all honesty, it's very quick, easy to access, and nice to use, especially when in a time crunch.
The camera picker is also a bit different and can be accessed through the camera QAM in the lower left-hand corner of the image screen. What’s nice is that in addition to being able to choose from the three different iPhone camera settings, users also have a corresponding field of view angle metric, which gives more information on just how much image coverage will be available at that focal length.
Visual and Audio Updates
Next to it is the remote QAM, which enables support for FiLMiC’s companion remote app for a separate remote control, or to send a clean video out feed for monitoring purposes.
On the lower right is the Analytics QAM, which provides tools such as Zebras, Focus Peaking, and False Color. RGB Histogram and Waveform tools can also be accessed through a tap of the central medallion in the lower third of the screen.
As for Audio options, there’s a simple Audio QAM button in the upper right, which provides the ability to change the audio from the onboard iPhone microphone to an external microphone connected through the phone’s lightning port, as well as choose the gain volume through the slider and limit the automatic gain control function with a simple click.
On the right-hand side, there’s also the same audio meter, but now it can be switched between a simple meter style and a pro version with more details on dB levels, etc. And users can enable and adjust the audio limiter through the audio meter just as before.
Speaking of custom buttons, there’s also a custom function (FN) button that can be used to assign one of the dozens of different menu settings. Users can long press the button and select from the available menu of settings. Or, they can assign a “play last clip” option to replay the last clip for review.
Let's Talk About the Elephant
Here's the thing, the FiLMic app, no matter how amazing it was at launch, was never going to be taken seriously as a filmmaking tool. Who would want to shoot a movie on a smartphone?
Well, Sean Baker made Tangerine, and Steven Soderbergh shot Unsane. Your smartphone isn't just a phone anymore, and with the unique filmmaking features Apple is implementing into its new iPhones, it's becoming a serious tool for not only content creators but filmmakers.
So, is it worth going to the subscription model?
Well, that depends on the type of stuff you're making and if you want the tools that come with the new subscription plan. However, this will be a hard sell, especially when things have traditionally been free after the one-time $15 fee charged by FiLMiC to use the app. The annual subscription is now $50 a year or $2.99 a week. However, existing users receive a 20% discount as an enticement to upgrade to the subscription model.
But here's the good news. You don't have to upgrade. While users can download the version 7 update from the Apple or Google Play store if they already have FiLMicPro installed, creatives can choose to use the legacy version for their content. If you do upgrade, you can cancel anytime and choose to downgrade to version 6, which is still a powerful tool that even offers Camera to Cloud via Frame.io.
Those who use their smartphones for mobile filmmaking, grabbing candid interviews at a wedding, or even citizen journalism would benefit from the new feature, and paying the subscription cost will just be the cost of business. This will also ensure that FiILMic Pro will continue to evolve into a better tool in the future.
But others may just be content with sticking to version 6 until FiLMiC introduces a killer feature that they simply must have in their overall workflow. But the app is so stacked with features, it’s hard to imagine what that could be.
Do you think you’ll be upgrading to version 7 and paying the subscription rate? Or is version 6 good enough?