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Best Manual Video Apps for a Professional Look 2021

Stunning cinematic content is just a download away, but how much should you pay for it? We tested 9 of the top manual camera apps in a quest for the best deal.

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Aubrey Rinehart Aubrey Rinehart Data_checker
Best Manual Video Apps for a Professional Look 2021
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No doubt it's more cost-effective to make your smartphone videos look more professional with an app than it is to buy a $3,000 DSLR. These apps can get pretty pricey on their own, though, so we tested the front runners to see which one is the best for your buck. After hours of testing "on set," we recommend Mavis and mcpro24fps for the more serious filmmakers. Read on to see our top picks for manual beginners so you can get all the "Camera quality better than my eyesight" comments on TikTok.

Our Pick

Powerful iPhone option at a bargain

We were a bit skeptical of Mavis at first due to its comparatively low review count but after just a few minutes of use, it became clear this app is simply underrated.

Why we chose MAVIS:

  • Free to download with a la carte add ons or a one-time fee of $17.99 to access it all. (A steal! Especially compared to the other apps)
  • Some of the most stunning results for iPhone as far as image quality across all the apps tested
  • Filming in low light or with tricky shadows is much better than with the native camera
  • Robust features and settings, even with the free version
  • Closest to a professional film camera, making this an excellent option for mobile filmmakers

If you're a complete DSLR or film newbie there's a pretty steep learning curve with this one, but once you know your stuff it's 100% worth it.

Read MAVIS' Full Review
Our Pick

Powerful Android option at a bargain

  • Movie camera, supports pro recording settings for filming. Try it and be amazed!
    4.2 Ratings 292+ Reviews 1K+ Downloads
    Fresh In App Purchases
    $17.99 In-App Purchases

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You didn't think we'd leave you out of our Top Pick, did you, Android users? This app the perfect Google Play counterpart to MAVIS.

Why we chose mcpro24fps:

  • Only $17.99 for an incredible set of features that was the most detailed of any app we used
  • Insanely good quality, even on the old Galaxy S9 we were using to test
  • Perfect for filmmakers and pros who know their stuff and need all the extra goods to keep their shoot day running efficiently
  • Easy to navigate for anyone with manual experience

Honestly, the quality of the image was almost better than what we got on our iPhone 11. Mcpro24fps, do you want to make an iOS app?

Read mcpro24fps' Full Review
Runner Up

Fantastic for most people

  • The professional choice of Oscar-winning directors
    3.4 Ratings 13K+ Reviews 100K+ Downloads
    Fresh In App Purchases
    $14.99 In-App Purchases
    $14.99 In-App Purchases

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Beginners and newbies, this is the app for you! Yes, it may look complicated at first, but trust us, this is the best deal for entry into this world with the pros.

Why we chose FiLMiC Pro:

  • $30 total to unlock everything. That's $14.99 to get started and another $14.99 to purchase the Cinematographer's Kit. You probably won't need the kit right away, though.
  • Tons of features that also have helpful, corresponding YouTube tutorials for you to learn how to use them
  • Touted as the "Industry Standard" for mobile filmmaking
  • Incredible footage that will immediately up your video content game

We've been using this one for awhile, and actually used it to film a lot of our AppGrooves YouTube videos last year, so we're no stranger to this app. Can confirm, it's a wonderful starting point!

Read FiLMiC Pro's Full Review
Also Groovy

User-friendly and wallet-friendly

  • Manual Photo + Video Camera
    4.0 Ratings 7K+ Reviews
    In App Purchases
    $6.99 In-App Purchases

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While this is iOS only, it is by far the best deal and very similar to FiLMiC but for a fraction of the price.

Why we chose Moment:

  • Only a one-time fee of $4.99 for mostly all of the same features as FiLMiC, (which would be $30 total in comparison.) This is by far the best price for what you get!
  • Great image quality and functionality compared to the native camera
  • Manual camera features are included in the price, so you can take video and still photography.
  • Tons of analytics tools to get the perfect shot such as focus peaking and light clipping

The image quality wasn't quite as good for us as the other top picks in this list, but this is no doubt a groovy option nonetheless.

Read Moment's Full Review
Also Groovy

Best blurred background

  • DSLR, Bokeh & Large Aperture
    5.0 Ratings 55K+ Reviews
    Free Fresh In App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases

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Okay, this isn't really a manual app. But, we had to include it because it takes a different approach to the blurred background/bokeh effect, and does it surprisingly well.

Why we chose Focos:

  • $15 for a really fantastic-looking blurred background in your videos
  • Achieves more blur than any of the manual apps since it does this through editing rather than depth of field
  • Super user-friendly, you'll get bokeh videos in just a few taps

This is worth trying if all you want is that super blurry background look where you can't really even make out what is in the background at all. Until phone cameras continue to improve, it's hard to achieve this as well as a DSLR, but this comes closest to giving the same effect.

Read Focos' Full Review

Everything We Recommend

  • Our Pick

    MAVIS - Pro Camera

    4.0 Ratings 520+ Reviews
    MAVIS is the ultimate pro filmmaking and broadcast camera for the iPhone. It provides professional level filming tools including focus peaking, waveform monitor, vectorscope, false color and zebras. It gives you audio controls, audio metering, custom resolutions, framerates and recordings formats. It also brings a natural interface to give you full flexible manual control while shooting. MAVIS now offers In-App Purchases. Purchase the Big Bundle or choose from our Viewfinder, Formats, Pro Tools and Timecode packs. MAIN FEATURES: - Focus peaking and expanded focus for manual focus assist - Zebras and False Color exposure assist - Manual focus, exposure and color - HD, 2K and 4K* recording - High bitrate and HEVC encoding* - Custom frame rates up to 240fps* - Digital Zoom in 1080p - Dual camera support* - Full screen mode - Custom audio inputs - Audio metering and manual audio gain control where available* - Real-time audio passthrough for monitoring in headphones* - Real-time full-scale vectorscope for color work - Real-time full-scale waveform monitor for exposure monitoring - Timecode - Support for UltraSync BLUE from Timecode Systems - Support for Zhiyun Smooth 4 - Global Presets - Custom Function (FN) button - Multiple saving and sharing options - Apple Watch record start/stop remote - Support Docs SUPPORT FOR MULTIPLE RESOLUTIONS*: - 4K (UHD) - 4K (4:3) - record at maximum camera resolution without audio - 2K (4:3) - HD CUSTOM FRAME RATES: - Presets available include 23.98fps, 24fps, 25fps, 29.97fps, 30fps, 50fps, 60fps* - Select any frame rate from 3fps up to 240fps* - Record up to 240fps in 1080p* ADVANCED EXPOSURE CONTROLS - View shutter in angles and speed - Shutter lock (e.g. lock at 180°) - Separate target focus and exposure reticles FULL MANUAL CONTROLS FOR: - Focus - Exposure - ISO - Shutter - Color temperature SHOOTING ASSISTANTS: - Focus peaking and Expanded focus helps ensure your shots are always in focus - Waveform monitor helps you shoot with the optimum dynamic range - Vectorscope ensures your colors are consistent and your white balance is correct - Zebra overlay helps ensure your shots are never over exposed - False color support for Gradient and Ranges with full details about color representations - False color helps ensure your shots are never over/under exposed ENCODING BIT RATES: - 10Mbit/s (Make your storage last longer) - 20Mbit/s (Standard) - 30Mbit/s (High quality production) - 50Mbit/s (Great for post and color grading) - 100Mbit/s (Great for very high quality productions, color grades and visual effects)* AUDIO CONTOL: - Custom external inputs - Select external audio input from Lightning connector or analog input - Stereo audio from Lightning connected inputs - Internal mic selection and polar pattern - Manual gain control where available - Audio pass-through/monitoring with headphones* - VU metering VIEWFINDER SUPPORT: - Recording Tally - De-Squeeze support for Moondog Anamorphic Lens - Image flip support for DOF adaptors - Support for different aspect ratios in the viewfinder - Support for guide overlays in viewfinder THIRD PARTY SUPPORT - Support for Timecode Systems UltraSync BLUE - Support for Zhiyun Smooth 4 *Device restrictions apply. See website for full details - shootmavis.com/specs MAVIS was developed by filmmakers for filmmakers and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do :-)
    Cost
    Free
    Free
    In-App Purchases
    No
    F2.99 - Free per item
    Perhaps the most powerful and advanced professional video camera app on Android! mcpro24fps will open up incredible cinematic possibilities in your phone, previously available only in professional camcorders. If you have a question, please contact us: info@mcpro24fps.com.
    We created mcpro24fps cinema camera exclusively for Android and therefore we are confident that the application is able to get the most out of the technical capabilities of your phone. Thousands of videographers from all over the world are already using our video camera app for professional video filming of their festival films, music videos, live reports, commercials and anything else that needs advanced capabilities to realize the authors' bold ideas.
    Here are just some of the features that will surprise even the most advanced videographer:
    ★ Shooting in 10-bit for a large number of devices. HLG / HDR10 HDR video
    ★ Recording video in Log without turning on the GPU, like it is on "big" cameras
    ★ Huge number of Log modes for any situation.
    ★ Technical LUTs for seamless interpretation of Log in post-production
    ★ On-screen LUT for precise control of the frame when shooting
    ★ Deanamorphing and work with attached lenses
    ★ Programmable Focus and Zoom and how they work together
    ★ Focus Peaking and Expo Peaking for the complete frame control
    ★ Spectral and Zebra for easy exposure control
    ★ Setting up the white balance in Kelvins
    ★ Advanced work with metadata
    ★ The most flexible work with sound
    ★ Huge opportunities for the use of GPU resources
    ★ Responsive interface
    ★ Reliable automatic modes and the most convenient manual settings
    Turn your phone into a video camera for creating cinematic masterpieces right now!
    [Note]: It is important to understand that the functionality of the functions depends on the technical capabilities of your device. The Camera2 API at the Limited level or higher is required for the phone to work correctly.
    Useful links:
    1. If you have questions about the performance of some functions in your phone, you can ask them in the program chat in Telegram: https://t.me/mcpro24fps_en
    2. Also it will be useful to read F.A.Q .: https://www.mcpro24fps.com/faq/
    3. Download our free Technical LUTs for instant conversion of log footage in professional editing programs: https://www.mcpro24fps.com/technical-luts/
    4. Official site: https://www.mcpro24fps.com/
    The complete technical specification is very large and is published on the official website at the link above. Look at a part of them.

    CAMERAS
    • Multiple cameras support (where it is possible)
    • Settings for each of the cameras are saved separately
    VIDEO
    • Recording in 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, 60 fps etc.*
    • Support for all resolutions specified in the Camera2 API
    • Two codecs support: AVC (h264) and HEVC (h265)
    • Recording up to 500 Mb/s *
    • Optical and digital video image stabilization*
    • Setting up Log profiles through a tone curve *
    • Tone curve adjustment via GPU
    • Image adjustment through additional GPU filters
    • Settings for hardware noise reduction, hardware sharpness, hardware correction of hot pixels
    • Additional noise reduction through the GPU
    • Configuring GOP
    • Different modes of white balance
    • Manual exposure mode and automatic exposure mode
    • Adjustment of automatic exposure correction
    • Three focus modes: automatic continuous, automatic on touch, manual focus
    • Three perfect modes of crop-zoom function
    • Variable bitrate mode and experimental constant bitrate mode
    • Adjustment of distortion correction
    SOUND
    • Support for different sound sources
    • Support for different sampling rates, AAC (up to 510 kb/s) and WAV
    • Ability to integrate WAV into MP4
    * depends on the capabilities of the device and approvals from the manufacturer for 3rd party applications.
    Film your best cinematic works on mcpro24fps!
    Cost
    $17.99
    Free
    In-App Purchases
    $0.99 - $5.49 per item
    No
  • Runner Up
    *Download our free FiLMiC Pro Evaluator to view which app capabilities are supported by your device*

    FiLMiC Pro v6 is the most advanced cinema video camera for mobile. Ever. FiLMiC Pro features cutting-edge capabilities and is the most responsive manual filming app available on mobile.

    FiLMiC Pro has been used in more high profile video projects by award winning directors than any other app:

    A Good Night - John Legend music video
    Unsane & High Flying Bird - Steven Soderbergh
    Tangerine - Sean Baker
    Lose You to Love Me - Selena Gomez music video
    Supid Love - Lady Gaga music video

    FiLMiC Pro provides filmmakers, newscasters, teachers, vloggers, and artists with the capability to shoot in a true LOG gamma curve (included in the Cinematographer Kit optional in-app purchase). LOG V2/V3 allows for greater tonal range and flexibility in post production by expanding dynamic range and setting compatible Android device capabilities on par with traditional camera systems costing thousands more. †

    v6 Banner Features:

    •Dual arc slider controls for manual focus and exposure.
    •Live analytics suite including Zebras, Clipping, False Color and Focus Peaking.
    • 10-bit support for compatible handsets.
    • Clean HDMI Out for monitoring and webcam use (adapters required).
    • Ramped zoom rocker.
    • Waveform monitor with tri-mode histogram.
    • White balance adjustment matrix with custom presets.
    • Content Management System for file naming.
    • FiLMiC Sync account to store presets in the cloud and share between devices.
    • Gamma curve controls for Natural, Dynamic, Flat and LOGv2/V3. †
    • Live shadow and highlight controls. †
    • Live RGB, saturation and vibrance controls. †

    († Available as an optional in-app purchase. Not available on all devices).

    Foundation Features:

    • Standard, manual and hybrid shooting modes. A shooting style for any skill level.
    • Vertical and landscape orientations.
    • Variable speed zoom.
    • Sync audio frame rates of 24, 25, 30, and 60 fps**.
    • High speed frame rates of 60,120, 240 fps**.
    • Slow and fast motion FX.
    • Time lapse recording.
    • Tri-mode histogram, including waveform.
    • Downsampling to multiple resolutions.
    • Saved shooting presets.
    • Aspect ratio framing guide overlays.
    • Image stabilization**.
    • Support for FiLMiC Remote. Remote allows you to control an Android device running FiLMiC Pro with a second device running FiLMiC Remote.

    ** Not supported on all devices.

    Full manual controls with pull capabilities for:

    • Exposure: ISO and shutter speed
    • Manual focus
    • Zoom

    8 aspect ratios including:

    • Widescreen (16:9)
    • Super 35 (2.39:1)
    • Letterbox (2.20:1)
    • Ultra Panavision (2.76:1)
    • Square (1:1)

    4 encoding options to balance quality and file size:

    • FiLMiC Extreme (offers up to 240Mbps encoding at 4K on latest gen devices)
    • FiLMiC Quality
    • Apple Standard
    • Economy

    3rd Party Hardware Support:
    • 1.33x and 1.55x anamorphic lens desqueeze
    • 35mm lens adapters
    • Horizontal flip

    Supported Gimbals:
    • Zhiyun Smooth 4
    • Movi Cinema Robot
    • DJI OSMO Mobile 1/2/3/4

    Advanced Audio Features:
    • Pro audio meter
    • Manual input gain
    • External microphone level control

    Note: Not all features available on all devices. Use our free FiLMiC Evaluator to check what your device supports.
    Cost
    $14.99
    $14.99
    In-App Purchases
    $2.99 - $13.99 per item
    $2.99 - $13.99 per item
  • Also Groovy

    Pro Camera by Moment

    4.0 Ratings 7K+ Reviews
    We are @moment and Pro Camera is the app we’ve always wanted. Manual controls, better video, long exposure and quick access to the settings we need. It gives us the features of a DSLR but in a fast, easy to use camera app. For Filmmakers - the features you need, not the ones you don’t. Color profiles, bitrates, dual-channel audio meters, real-time waveforms, and fast access to frame rates. For Photographers - easier than shooting on your DSLR. Shoot in RAW (even in BURST), split focus / exposure, and manually control everything (exposure, iso, shutter speed, white balance and focus). For Everyone Else - inspired by the pro’s we made the interface simple, fast, and easy to use. We provide getting started tips, video tutorials, and full time customer service to get you setup. We love hearing from you. If you have any features, ideas, or feedback please email us at hello@shopmoment.com or DM us on Instagram @moment. ## Premium Features + NEW Timelapse mode - capture stunning time-lapse videos. + Slow Shutter mode - long exposure shots with motion blur and light trails. ## Photography Features + Focus peaking - the green edges will help you dial in your focus. + Zebra stripes - We overlay stripes onto the over and underexposed areas in the viewfinder. + RAW and TIFF - Shoot photos in RAW format for better editing, or TIFF for high-quality printing. + Split Focus and Exposure - Take control of tricky lighting scenarios. + Full Manual - Control shutter speed, iso, exposure, focus, and white balance with easy to use sliders and double taps to reset. + Burst mode - Capture burst shots in RAW format. This is big as now you can capture action with burst but at the uncompressed quality pros want with RAW. + HEIF and HEVC - Seamless support for the latest Apple file formats across photos and videos. ## Filmmaker Features + Focus peaking - the yellow edge glow will help you find dial in the focus. + Zebra stripes - We overlay stripes onto the over and underexposed areas in the viewfinder. + Color Profiles - Select from default, flat, or log color profiles to get the most out of your files in post-processing. + Video Bitrates - Get precise control over video quality with standard, medium, and high bitrates to choose from. + RGB Histogram: Dial in your video color, balance, and exposure with a live RGB histogram. + Waveform monitor - Evaluate video brightness and exposure across your image in real time. + Audio meters - Get just the right sound levels with real-time, precise, dual-channel (when available) audio levels. + Live Histogram - Get your exposure right every time. + Video Stabilization - Make your videos buttery smooth. + Precise Video - Change your resolution and frame rate on screen, without digging into a settings menu. + Anamorphic - Use the Moment Anamorphic lens to shoot amazing, letterbox style photos and videos. ## Works With + Triple/Dual Lens Control - Manually control which side of the triple/dual lens you want to shoot with so you can use Moment lenses over either one. + Moment Lens - select which lens you are shooting with. + Moment Battery Case - Works with the DSLR-like shutter button on our photography cases for half-press and full-press capture. Take better photos, faster. + Apple Watch - Use your watch as a remote to shoot photos or record videos. + Siri Shortcuts - Quick access to capture a photo or start a video RAW and 3D shutter require an iPhone 6S or later (6S, 7, 8, X, XS, XR, SE)
    Cost
    Free
    $6.99
    In-App Purchases
    No
    $2.99 - $4.99 per item

    Focos

    5.0 Ratings 55K+ Reviews
    Focos is a big step into the future of computational photography and light-field camera, bringing DSLR-like photography to your iPhone and iPad Pro, with beautiful bokeh effects usually achievable only with professional large aperture cameras. With the technology of computational photography, you can make unlimited changes to your photos, focus after the fact, change the aperture repeatedly, and add multiple lights in 3D space, exceeding the limits of any editing tools you’ve known before. The creative potential unleashed by Focos is endless. The Verge, "Focos has long been one of the most ambitious photo-editing apps on iOS, turning any photo into a 'portrait mode'-style image with fully adjustable depth of field, no matter what kind of camera you took it with." MAIN FEATURES - Take photos with shallow depth of field, without manually painting or making selections. - The AI engine can calculate depth of field automatically for all photos. - True 3D imaging. - Simulate large apertures to create real bokeh effects normally only possible with DSLR cameras and expensive lenses. - Import all existing photos and customize the bokeh effect. - Re-focus portrait photos that have already been taken, with a simple tap. - Choose from various simulated aperture diaphragms to generate different bokeh spot effects. - Professional options to simulate lens characteristics, such as creamy, bilinear, swirly, and reflex effects, and more. - Visualize the depth of areas within your portrait photos in a 3D view, and intuitively add depth filters. - Add multiple lights in a 3D space, and adjust the color, brightness and so on for each light. - Check the portrait picture in the real world with augmented reality technique. - It is possible to patch the depth map precisely on iPad with Apple Pencil. - Intuitive and easy to use, with built-in video tutorials. - An essential tool for all iPhones and iPads. Do you have questions or suggestions? Contact us via support @ focos . me.
    Cost
    Free
    Free
    In-App Purchases
    No
    $0.99 - $12.99 per item
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Aubrey Rinehart
Written by:

Aubrey Rinehart

Best Manual Video Apps for a Professional Look 2021

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