Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in Phantom BlackSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

One of the most interesting new camera features on the S21 series is the Director's View shooting mode, which allows you to seamlessly switch between lenses while you're filming, with a preview of each camera's feed pinned to the screen at all times. Despite being such a powerful tool, it's surprisingly easy to use, and makes the S21 Ultra feel like one of the best Android video cameras around — but it isn't without its caveats.

How to shoot with Director's View mode

  1. Open the Camera app.
  2. In the shooting mode selector near the bottom of the screen, tap More.
  3. Tap Director's View.

    Director's View on the Galaxy S21 UltraSource: Android Central

  4. While in Director's View mode, you can tap the small icon in the upper left corner of the screen to adjust how your cameras are displayed.
    • Split view bissects your camera feeds and gives equal room to the front camera and any one of the rear cameras.
    • Single view shows one camera's feed at a time
    • Picture-in-picture view places the feed from the front camera in a small floating window on top of the feed from one of the rear cameras.
  5. You can change which of the rear cameras is recording at any time using the pop-up Director's View box just above the record button.
  6. As with other shooting modes, you can tap the camera switcher button to the right of the capture button to make the front-facing camera the main view.
    • When shooting in picture-in-picture view, this delegates the feed from the rear cameras to the floating window.

Director's View is a great way to switch between lenses while filming, allowing you to tell your story more dynamically and seamlessly. It's a powerful tool, but you'll want to know its limitations before deciding to make it your primary shooting mode.

What are the limitations of Director's View?

While the Galaxy S21 Ultra is capable of shooting at all the way up to 8K resolution, one of the biggest setbacks of Director's View is that it's limited to 1080p capture. You also can't preview the 10x telephoto lens on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, though you can still access it by switching to the 3x camera and pinching to zoom. The cameras will automatically switch over once you reach 10x or above, and you can digitally zoom up to 20x.

You won't be able to access manual controls or other features like audio levels in Director's View, either. For those features, you'll need to switch to Pro Video mode, which is limited to the primary camera and 0.6x ultra-wide sensor.

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The Galaxy S21 Ultra has incredibly versatile and powerful cameras, with the ability to range from 0.6x all the way up to 100x at a moment's notice. It also has an incredible display, the latest Snapdragon 888 processor, and all-day battery life.

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If the Ultra is too large or pricey for you, the Galaxy S21 is a great alternative. Its cameras are still plenty capable, and you get a much smaller, more manageable phone in a durable plastic shell.

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