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Filmic Pro Or Filmic Amateur?

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Now I know that this may be a bit out of the square, but given that there is an increasing number of film makers using mobile phones to make films and whatever, I thought this would still be a subject that's on topic for this forum. Last week I got a new phone (Xiaomi  Redmi Note 9s), nothing special, but much better than my previous Nokia 5.1 as I'm not one to spend $1000+ on a mobile phone, so I always opt for something way less costly.

That said, this phone provides much better photo and video capabilities (amongst other things) than the Nokia (or any previous phone for that matter) and I wanted to exploit those capabilities as much as possible. To that end, after coming across numerous articles and YouTube video on Filmic Pro, I decided to get it (after running the test app to see if it would be fully compatible) so that I had better control of the phone's video recording capabilities.

Now after using Filmic Pro for a few days, I've discovered that Filmic Pro, which is touted as the definitive app for film makers, should be called Filmic Amateur. Why? Well because it's control features are aligned to DSLR/Mirrorless camera users and don't really offer the 'pro' capabilities that are so often implied by reviewers. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, you can't set it so that whatever frame rate you're using, the shutter angle is at 180 degrees by default. In fact there is no shutter angle control at all, just shutter speed.

What's worse is that shutter speed and ISO are pretty much tied in so that unless you change and lock the settings every time, you'll get less than desirable settings. Then when you exit the manual control screen, the exposure and focus is locked, which may not be what the scene requires. When you unlock the exposure and focus, the previous settings revert. What this means is you have to either be in fully manual or fully auto mode for everything. For example, you can't make use of auto focus and manual exposure. I've never come across any camera that functions in this way.

Other minor issues are the way the manual controls work and display. The sliding curved controls are not all that good, where linear control would have been much better, as then the screen isn't obscured when changing a setting. Also, the readout on the controls is very small and difficult to read unless you're pointing the camera at a dark scene. I haven't come across a single review that points out all these issues. All I've seen are extremely positive reviews that leave out what I consider to be some important deficiencies.

I'm still to determine whether the added functions (separate purchase), such as log, work as advertised, as we've been having some wet weather and haven't been able to really get out. I want to compare Filmic Pro to the built-in video app in the phone to see if there is a major difference in quality.

 

 

 

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I've been in contact with Filmic Pro, after they contacted me regarding my concerns/complaints, and they have come back to me saying that they will look into the suggestions that I provided and try and implement what they can.

I've also been able to test the app in more detail and it really does provide much better results that I expected. With the Log v2 profile and editing in DaVinci Resolve, the results are quite unexpected, unexpected in a good way.

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I totally agree. I’ve been asking for more cinema camera-like controls for years and just wrote them about this very thing - shutter angle. So fortuitous that you’ve just written this review as well. Maybe they’ll do it! The app sure does deliver the goods in the functionality area. Maybe a good ergonomics going-over will come next. I hope!

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I do hope that they take at least the shutter angle issue seriously, as that would solve possibly the biggest issue. That said, I'm very impressed by how much I can play with the files using Resolve and the results I can get, especially given that I have a fairly mediocre phone.

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I've been thinking about getting Filmic Pro myself, but probably need to get some sort of tripod adapter for my tablet and/or phone first to make it worthwhile. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of features supported by my low-end Motorola phone and keep forgetting to run the test app on my Samsung tablet.

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