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How to record ultra slow motion 1080p/240 FPS video on your iPhone

2017 November 22
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All iPhones from iPhone 5s onward can record slow-motion video at 120 frames per second (FPS), but only the latest models powered by the A11 Bionic chip or newer, like iPhone 8 and iPhone X, boost the slo-mo frame rate to 240 FPS in full HD resolution (1,920-by-1,080 pixels).

By default, iOS devices are set to capture slo-mo video in 1080p at 120 FPS. Here’s how to change your settings if you’d like to shoot fast-paced scenes in breathtaking 240 FPS.

About shooting slo-mo video

Only iOS devices powered by Apple’s A11 Bionic chip or newer (iPhone 8 and iPhone X) can shoot 1080p/240 FPS slo-mo video. Older hardware (iPhone 7, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6) limits 240 FPS video capture to the 720p resolution (1,280-by-720 pixels).

Supported slo-mo shooting modes

The following slo-mo filming modes are supported on iPhones:

  • 720p at 120 FPS (slow motion)—iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X
  • 720p at 240 FPS (ultra slow motion)—iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X
  • 1080p HD at 120 FPS (slow motion)—iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X
  • 1080p HD at 240 FPS (ultras slow motion)— iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X

Video capture at 240 FPS also requires hardware support for High Efficiency Video Coding (the H.265 codec) built into Apple’s A11 Bionic chip or newer. If you don’t own an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X, your 1080p slo-mo video capture will be limited to 120 FPS.

Playback requirements

1080p/240 FPS video is viewable on any device compatible with iOS 11 or macOS High Sierra 10.13 though newer hardware is needed for stutter-free playback.

TUTORIAL: How to shoot 4K video at 60 FPS on iPhone

iPhone 6 and newer, iPad Air 2 and up and Mac models from mid 2015 or earlier work with H.265-encoded 1080p/240 FPS video. If your Mac has Intel’s sixth-generation Core chip or newer, you’ll enjoy hardware-accelerated video playback.

File size comparison

Thanks to the efficiency of the H.265 codec, a one-minute 1080p/120 FPS slo-mo capture session takes up about 170 megabytes of storage space on the device. Double the frame rate to 240 FPS and you’re looking at 480 megabytes per minute.

TUTORIAL: How to choose between JPEG/H.264 and HEIF/H.265 media formats in iOS 11

Although the older H.264 codec is more widely used than its contemporary H.265 counterpart, it doubles the file size and doesn’t support 1080p/240 FPS slo-mo capture. Here’s how to set your iPhone to shoot slo-mo video in 1080p at 240 FPS.

How to shoot 1080p/240 FPS slo-mo video

1) Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

2) Tap the Camera section in the list.

3) Tap the sub-section labeled Record Slo-mo.

1080p/240 FPS slo-mo video is always compressed with the efficient H.265 codec

4) Toggle on the option labeled 1080p HD at 240fps.

TIP: Shooting slo-mo video in 720p/240 FPS might require switching capture formats from “High Efficiency” to “Most Compatible” in Settings → Camera → Formats before revisiting this section.

You won’t see this menu on unsupported devices.

5) Close out the Settings app and launch the stock Camera app.

6) Choose Slo-Mo at the bottom of the interface.

TIP: To make iOS remember the last-used shooting mode like Video or Photo, go to Settings → Camera → Preserve Settings and slide the Camera Mode switch to the ON position.

7) Tap the Record button or press either Volume button to start and stop recording.

The video will be saved as a H.265-encoded .MOV file inside the Photos app.

Watching 1080p/240 FPS slo-mo video

You can watch 10800/240 FPS slo-mo video on your iPhone like you would any other video. All iPhones since iPhone 4s have a 60 Hz display so high frame rate videos should look pretty good on them. Playing back H.265-encoded video on desktop will yield best results if your Mac or Windows PC is equipped with a sixth-generation Intel Core chip or earlier.

TUTORIAL: How to save power by restricting iPad Pro’s ProMotion display refresh rate to 60 Hz

For best results, watch your 1080p/240 FPS footage on an iPad Pro.

All 2017 iPad Pro models feature Apple’s ProMotion display technology which dynamically alternates the LCD panel’s refresh rate between 24 Hz, 48 Hz, 60 Hz and 120 Hz to match content movement. Opening a 1080p/240 FPS video on an iPad Pro automatically prompts ProMotion to boost the display refresh rate to 120 Hz for smooth, crisp playback.

Transferring 1080p/240 FPS slo-mo video to a Mac or PC

To choose the format in which your 1080p/240 FPS video file is transferred to a computer when using the USB transfer method, select either the “Automatic“ or “Keep Originals” option in Settings → Photos, right underneath the Transfer to Mac or PC heading.

Selecting “Keep Originals” ensures the video file is transferred to the computer as-is.

Choose “Automatic” to transfer video to a computer without transcoding

Changing this setting to “Automatic” tells iOS to transcode video files on the fly using the ubiquitous H.264 codec, increasing compatibility at the expense of file size. This option is also handy if your Mac’s hardware lacks hardware-assisted H.265 video playback.

TUTORIAL: How to convert regular to slo-mo video using iMovie for Mac

When sharing a slo-mo video using AirDrop or Share sheet services like Mail or Messages, iOS always sends its converted H.264 version to ensure maximum compatibility.

Need help? Ask iDB!

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