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David Lee King

Playing with iPhone 3GS Video



Yes, I had a new iPhone waiting for me when I got home from Florida (among other things). I upgraded to the new iPhone 3GS … which takes video! Here’s what I’m finding out so far about the video quality:

One of my first videos, uploaded to blip.tv:

The video quality is about the same as you’d find on a Flip camera, so not too shabby! It films in QuickTime .mov format, using AAC for audio and H.264 for the video codec. It makes a standard-sized video of 640X480 when held in landscape mode.

Here’s a video I uploaded directly to YouTube (the new iPhone allows you to do that):

So – I like having a video camera ALWAYS with me, in my pocket. What I’m not quite used to yet is how the iPhone decides when it’s going to be in landscape or vertical modes. For example, this video

… was filmed and sent to YouTube in landscape mode … but it came out vertical (fyi – this shows off the iPhone’s macro video mode, too). This isn’t the first time that’s happened to me. Out of the four videos I’ve posted to YouTube so far, two are in landscape mode and two are vertical.

And that’s not the only place I’ve discovered quirks. Look what happened in iPhoto!

Uploaded to iPhoto - it's vertical!

Even weirder in iMovie – check out the thumbnails iMovie generated – the thumbnails are sideways are squished for some strange reason, but the actual video is in landscape mode!

iMovie - vertical & Horizontal

It’s quite possible I just haven’t figured out something yet, but this is a bit irksome. Otherwise, uploading to a variety of places seems to work fine. So far, I have been able to upload my videos to:

  • my computer, to iPhoto and iMovie for editing (haven’t tried importing to Final Cut Express, but I’m sure that will work fine, too)
  • YouTube
  • Flickr, through Flickr’s uploading tool and via email
  • blip.tv via blip’s uploading tool (the first video in this post). I have also tried blip’s mobile email uploader, but haven’t seen any video show up in my blip account yet. We’ll see what happens with that!

And one more thing – editing. Yes, you can do some extremely basic editing of your iPhone video – right on the iPhone. Here’s how it looks:

Editing video on the iphone!

See the timeline at the top of the video? You can click the beginning and ending points and trim the video’s beginning and ending. And that’s all. But that’s ok – I’ll probably end up dumping video to my Mac anyway for editing later. For some people, this will be pretty useful stuff.

So – my iPhone video report so far… will david figure out how to succeed in landscape mode? Will Apple usher in a new era of vertical video? Don’t hold your breath to find out!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://blog.julians.name/ Julian

    Hi David,

    Just joined the Yahoo! Videoblogging group and noticed your post.
    Thanks for posting this information about the video capability on the iPhone 3G S. I’m interested to see if you learn more about the portrait/landscape issue but the sound and video quality look good. I’m a 3G owner who is looking to update soon. Cheers!

  • http://blog.julians.name Julian

    Hi David,

    Just joined the Yahoo! Videoblogging group and noticed your post.
    Thanks for posting this information about the video capability on the iPhone 3G S. I’m interested to see if you learn more about the portrait/landscape issue but the sound and video quality look good. I’m a 3G owner who is looking to update soon. Cheers!

  • http://momentshowing.net/ jay dedman

    I also just upgraded to the new iPhone…mainly for the video. Good summary of what’s possible now. Pretty exciting. I see no reason why they couldnt make a simple editor on the iPhone to edit clips together.

  • http://momentshowing.net jay dedman

    I also just upgraded to the new iPhone…mainly for the video. Good summary of what’s possible now. Pretty exciting. I see no reason why they couldnt make a simple editor on the iPhone to edit clips together.

  • davidleeking

    Jay – agreed, and I’ll bet we’ll see some 3rd party apps pretty soon, if Apple doesn’t add that itself.

    Julian & Jay – looking forward to seeing your iphone videos!

  • davidleeking

    Jay – agreed, and I’ll bet we’ll see some 3rd party apps pretty soon, if Apple doesn’t add that itself.

    Julian & Jay – looking forward to seeing your iphone videos!

  • http://www.activeimagestudios.com/blog/ Michael

    Great post, and I’ve been experience the same weirdness when it comes to the landscape and vertical modes.

    I also noticed that when your editing the timeline on the actual iPhone, it will break the frames down even further when you scrub through the area you intend on trimming.

  • http://www.activeimagestudios.com/blog/ Michael

    Great post, and I’ve been experience the same weirdness when it comes to the landscape and vertical modes.

    I also noticed that when your editing the timeline on the actual iPhone, it will break the frames down even further when you scrub through the area you intend on trimming.

  • http://www.lastnightsvideo.com/ Joseph

    David, I came across your post while looking for others who are working with the iPhone 3Gs video capabilities.

    Feel free to check our site and post some videos. Just email them to – post@lastnightsvideo.com

  • http://www.lastnightsvideo.com Joseph

    David, I came across your post while looking for others who are working with the iPhone 3Gs video capabilities.

    Feel free to check our site and post some videos. Just email them to – post@lastnightsvideo.com

  • dave

    Hi David,

    I am also a recent new owner of the 3GS and i’m glad to see i’m not the only one having this problem with the sideways videos! I noticed when i uploaded a video to youtube after trimming it (exclusively using the iphone), the video uploaded sideways. Not sure if this happens every time, I might try to test it out. Other videos I shot in landscape mode turned out great, and uploaded correctly. If you find a solution to this, i’d be very happy to know! Thanks,
    youtube.com/drgroove101

  • dave

    Hi David,

    I am also a recent new owner of the 3GS and i’m glad to see i’m not the only one having this problem with the sideways videos! I noticed when i uploaded a video to youtube after trimming it (exclusively using the iphone), the video uploaded sideways. Not sure if this happens every time, I might try to test it out. Other videos I shot in landscape mode turned out great, and uploaded correctly. If you find a solution to this, i’d be very happy to know! Thanks,
    youtube.com/drgroove101

  • davidleeking

    Hey, Dave! Here’s what I’m discovering so far – I think you HAVE to check to make sure the little camera/videocam icons on the lower right are tilted the right way. Meaning that if the iPhone thinks you’re tilting a bit too far vertically, it will record vertically no matter what (once you press the record button).

    So far, that’s all I’ve been able to figure out about it … I’m finding that usually it tilts correctly for me now. Go figure.

  • davidleeking

    Hey, Dave! Here’s what I’m discovering so far – I think you HAVE to check to make sure the little camera/videocam icons on the lower right are tilted the right way. Meaning that if the iPhone thinks you’re tilting a bit too far vertically, it will record vertically no matter what (once you press the record button).

    So far, that’s all I’ve been able to figure out about it … I’m finding that usually it tilts correctly for me now. Go figure.

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  • http://www.rlfitness.com/ RLFitness

    Hi David
    I have some videos uploaded to youtube from my iphone.
    now, i want to add my own background music to those videos
    i do not want to use the “audioswap” option available within youtube
    have you done this or any pointers for me

    thank you

    appreciate all that you share with us

  • http://www.rlfitness.com RLFitness

    Hi David
    I have some videos uploaded to youtube from my iphone.
    now, i want to add my own background music to those videos
    i do not want to use the “audioswap” option available within youtube
    have you done this or any pointers for me

    thank you

    appreciate all that you share with us

  • davidleeking

    RLFitness – yep. I do it by first importing my iPhone videos to my Mac, dumping it into iMovie, adding music over that, and THEN uploading to YouTube.

    Not as fast, but it gives you more options (like adding music).

  • davidleeking

    RLFitness – yep. I do it by first importing my iPhone videos to my Mac, dumping it into iMovie, adding music over that, and THEN uploading to YouTube.

    Not as fast, but it gives you more options (like adding music).

  • http://www.activeimagestudios.com/blog/ Michael

    David – when you bring your movies in iMovie, what settings do you usually use? Mine were getting turned and squished last I tried.

  • http://www.activeimagestudios.com/blog/ Michael

    David – when you bring your movies in iMovie, what settings do you usually use? Mine were getting turned and squished last I tried.

  • davidleeking

    Michael – I just plug in my iphone and let iphoto do its thing. Then dump to iMovie by browsing iphoto from within imovie… At first I had problems, but the iphone software has had an update since then, and all seems better now.

    Hope that helps!

  • davidleeking

    Michael – I just plug in my iphone and let iphoto do its thing. Then dump to iMovie by browsing iphoto from within imovie… At first I had problems, but the iphone software has had an update since then, and all seems better now.

    Hope that helps!

  • txgirl

    I’m a YouTube and iPhone 3Gs newbie and just added 8 videos to YouTube yesterday. I first downloaded them to my computer and THEN added them to YouTube. (I now realize there’s a faster way, but I haven’t tried going directly from iphone to YouTube yet.) Seven of the videos were taken with the iPhone and 3 of those were shot vertically.

    ALL of them uploaded to YouTube fine…no problems whatsoever. But then…later, I decided to use Audio Swap on two of the three vertical videos – and that’s when the problem started: those two videos now appear sideways at YouTube! The one I didn’t mess with is still fine. ARGH! I guess the only “fix” is to delete the videos and add them again – and don’t mess with the sound. (I have no idea how to add sound outside of YouTube’s Audio Swap.)

    Live and learn I guess. From now on all iPhone videos will be shot using the landscape mode!

  • txgirl

    I’m a YouTube and iPhone 3Gs newbie and just added 8 videos to YouTube yesterday. I first downloaded them to my computer and THEN added them to YouTube. (I now realize there’s a faster way, but I haven’t tried going directly from iphone to YouTube yet.) Seven of the videos were taken with the iPhone and 3 of those were shot vertically.

    ALL of them uploaded to YouTube fine…no problems whatsoever. But then…later, I decided to use Audio Swap on two of the three vertical videos – and that’s when the problem started: those two videos now appear sideways at YouTube! The one I didn’t mess with is still fine. ARGH! I guess the only “fix” is to delete the videos and add them again – and don’t mess with the sound. (I have no idea how to add sound outside of YouTube’s Audio Swap.)

    Live and learn I guess. From now on all iPhone videos will be shot using the landscape mode!

  • David Lee King

    txgirl – yes, that’s definitely frustrating! Argh.

    To add sound – you’d need to use either Windows Movie Maker or iMovie (depending on what your PC is – ie., PC or Mac). It’s easy, but there’s a bit of a learning curve, too.

  • David Lee King

    txgirl – yes, that’s definitely frustrating! Argh.

    To add sound – you’d need to use either Windows Movie Maker or iMovie (depending on what your PC is – ie., PC or Mac). It’s easy, but there’s a bit of a learning curve, too.

  • Rudi

    I’m having a hard time editing 3GS videos in Final Cut Express. I have to render all the clips on the timeline, which makes it annoyingly time-consuming. I tried importing an XML file from iMovie – had to render. Ditto with just adding clips from iPhoto or the finder. Is it a codec thing? Do you know any way to do this without having to render the clips?

  • Rudi

    I’m having a hard time editing 3GS videos in Final Cut Express. I have to render all the clips on the timeline, which makes it annoyingly time-consuming. I tried importing an XML file from iMovie – had to render. Ditto with just adding clips from iPhoto or the finder. Is it a codec thing? Do you know any way to do this without having to render the clips?

  • David Lee King

    Rudi – how frustrating! I’ve been editing iphone video in iMovie lately, which doesn’t have that problem.

    You could try running the videos through MPEG Streamclip first to dump them into the proper codec … or ask this question at the Yahoo Videoblogging group – someone there might know what to do.

    And maybe I’ll edit my next iphone video in FCE (which I use too) and see what it does.

    You’d think that a native apple/iphone video wouldn’t have to render in apple software!

  • David Lee King

    Rudi – how frustrating! I’ve been editing iphone video in iMovie lately, which doesn’t have that problem.

    You could try running the videos through MPEG Streamclip first to dump them into the proper codec … or ask this question at the Yahoo Videoblogging group – someone there might know what to do.

    And maybe I’ll edit my next iphone video in FCE (which I use too) and see what it does.

    You’d think that a native apple/iphone video wouldn’t have to render in apple software!

  • Denise Bailey

    Anyone figure out a way to rotate a video that is not oriented horizontally?

  • Denise Bailey

    Anyone figure out a way to rotate a video that is not oriented horizontally?

  • Madeline Rolson

    Can you edit the iphone video in Windows Movie Maker? I can't get my Windows Movie Maker to import video from my iphone. How can I edit my iphone video on my computer–I want to edit about 5 clips and put them altogether–any one????

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    Yes – first, you'll need to convert the files to something Windows Movie Maker recognizes, like AVI or WMV files. Handbrake, at http://handbrake.fr/ , is a good one, though there are many others.

  • Rob Bach

    The video turns sideways sometimes because on those occasions you mistakenly turned the camera too much while recording. This will cause the problem that you are experiencing. Hope this helps you, if you haven't already figured it out.

  • Melissa

    David,

    I stumbled upon your blog as I was looking for a solution to my problem. I am hoping maybe you have some insight.

    As I import iphone video to imovie, from iphoto, my video is squished/out of proportion. Do you know of a solution for that?

    Thanks!

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    Hmm – mainly just make sure the video is horizontal rather than vertical
    when you take it on the iphone. I originally had some of those issues, too -
    but they seemed to have fixed themselves. Not sure if an Apple update did it
    or if I just figured out what I was doing wrong… hope this helps!

  • Michael

    Hi! May I know how I do transfer the video shot with iPhone to my computer?
    The video is store under the Camera Roll album and things inside are not synced to the PC using iTune.
    Thanks.

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    Michael – I plug my iphone into a Mac – when I do that, all pictures and videos automatically download into iPhoto on the Mac. I haven't played with a PC version, but I'd guess there's a setting in iTunes or the iphone that allows automatic download of stuff to your PC.

  • Michael

    Hi David, I've done some searching on the net and also found the topic in the user guide. For PC, it cannot sync automatically via iTune, one has to open a image application to import those photos and clips in the Camera Roll folder onto a PC.

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    Michael – glad you found a solution!

  • Ruben Schouten

    Stumbled upon your blog after some Google search for the video capabilities of my 3GS (to make sure I didn't miss anything). As far as I know, the issue of vertical vs. horizontal recording is just like davidleeking wrote; it's simply a matter of how your iPhone is oriented the very second you hit the record button. If you hold it vertically, hit record and immediately turn it horizontally, it will still record the entire video vertically, the way you held your iPhone when hitting the record button. Additionally, if there is a slight delay in the iPhone adopting to a new orientation, confusement might be yours. In other wordt. Holding the iPhone vertically en then turning it horizontally and immediately hitting the record button might get the wrong results if the iPhone didn't “realize” it had been turned yet when you hit record.

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