Use Action Mode to stabilize zoomed-in video

Enable Action Mode to fix the shakiness when recording heavily zoomed-in videos with your iPhone 14 and later instead of using a gimbal.

Closeup of a male hand holding an iPhone, recording skateboard stunts
The best camera is the one that’s with you | Image: Jan Kopřiva/Unsplash

Photographer Tyler Stalman has taken the camera on the new iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models for a spin, publishing his in-depth review on YouTube.

In the video t, Stalman suggests excellent use for the Action Mode feature available on the iPhone 14 family and later—taking stabilized zoomed-in recordings that wouldn’t be possible on a smartphone without specialized equipment.

iPhone camera tip: Use Action Mode to stabilize zoomed-in recording

This trick is useful when doing city walks or filming zoomed-in objects using the telephoto camera, especially given the 5x optical zoom on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Stalman shared a short video highlighting this trick in action on his X account.

Very impressive stabilization, indeed!

Whether you use optical or digital zoom, you need a steady hand or a tripod to capture smooth handheld video—especially when moving around a lot like Stalman does to capture various details of the beautiful plaza in Copenhagen, Denmark.

To turn on and use Action Mode, swipe to Video at the bottom of the Camera app, then touch the icon at the top that looks like a runner to enable the feature. Action Mode is disabled by default.

The limitations of Action Mode

Before using this feature, you should know that Action Mode records video at either 1080p or 2.8K resolution at up to 60 frames per second. Why not 4K? Because Action Mode uses heavy cropping to provide improved stabilization.

When announcing Action Mode, Apple said this feature takes advantage of the entire camera sensor with advanced roll correction and more overscan.

Action Mode supports recording video in Dolby Vision HDR and Apple’s ProRes format. It’s available on all iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models. If you haven’t used it yet, I recommend checking it out.

Action Mode on the iPhone is similar to GoPro’s HyperSmooth algorithm but produces better results thanks to Apple’s computational photography magic.

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