26 Comments

Summary:

Over the weekend, it finally stopped raining long enough for me to use the new iPhone 3G S video recording function. After 64 seconds of recording our deck and backyard, where I often work in the summer, I published the video to YouTube right from the […]

Over the weekend, it finally stopped raining long enough for me to use the new iPhone 3G S video recording function. After 64 seconds of recording our deck and backyard, where I often work in the summer, I published the video to YouTube right from the handset. The video compression takes place on the device, which makes sense, as a compressed video file is smaller in size and therefore will take less time to transfer over 3G or Wi-Fi. After adding a title, description, category and some tags, the video uploaded and about five minutes later, it was viewable on YouTube. Overall, I was very impressed with the ease and speed of the process. Here’s the video:

http://www.youtube.com/v/UV1NVRpx3Pw&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01

The video quality on YouTube is passable. Not great by any means, but not bad either. Distant objects are less clear than closer ones. I downloaded the video and ran it locally through QuickTime to get a feel for the specs: 30fps, 480×320 (scaled down from the VGA source), 3.7MB in size and a 480kbps bitrate. I suspect that YouTube will never show an “HD” or higher-quality version, either; the compressed source from the iPhone isn’t enough to do so. It’s basically meant for watching on phones. As a result, the YouTube video isn’t the truest representation of the iPhone 3G S recording quality. For that, you can watch the source video, which I’ve uploaded to WordPress. Of course, that gets compressed also, but not nearly as much thanks to the snazzy WordPress player we use. Here are the specs of the original source file that I pulled off of my iPhone over USB: 30fps, 640×480, 27.8MB, and a 3646 kbps bitrate.

For quick, basic video, posting directly to YouTube is simple but will of course sacrifice a little quality. To get better quality video, I recommend pulling and working with the source content from the iPhone 3G S.

  1. 28MB for a minute long clip? Yeesh! What format/codec is it coming off in? I’m surprised the phone doesn’t do any compression at all to the source, though I suppose Apple feels most users won’t be worried about space, what with the 16/32GB storage.

    Share
    1. It records in .mov for QuickTime. I’d rather have the direct source without compression to work with. At this rate, around 40 minutes would take 1GB and I wouldn’t keep it on the phone. I’m not worries about space.

      Share
  2. Kevin,

    You have a great house and back yard!

    Oh, the video looks great!

    JohnD

    Share
  3. Thanks for posting Kevin. Question – why does the WordPress video seem to be more truncated (more letterbox for lack of better description) on the aspect….The Youtube video seems to have the same width though as far as field of view, yet more height that the WordPress video – does that make sense?

    Share
    1. Gary, your question makes perfect sense. We often shoot using an HD camera and therefore use a 16:9 widescreen format with our WP player. I forced that same aspect (out of habit), hence the difference that you see. Good eye! ;)

      Share
  4. Christian Karlsson Monday, June 22, 2009

    Why does the iphone record in 4:3 and not in 16:9? Everything, including youtube, moves toward widescreen…

    Share
  5. What did you guys grill all the cows or something? I expected to see a whole herd of them out there. ;-)

    Share
    1. Well, it IS summertime and that means plenty of grilling. ;) No, the cows actually graze a few fields over. We get the essence when they spread manure on the fields behind the house though!

      Share
  6. Kevin said: “It records in .mov for QuickTime. I’d rather have the direct source without compression to work with. At this rate, around 40 minutes would take 1GB and I wouldn’t keep it on the phone. I’m not worries about space.”

    Does iTunes allow for the download of that raw video onto the PC? I’m assuming it does. I agree, I’d rather have the uncompressed source and then do any editing or compression through Quicktime Pro. Can that be done?

    Great post by the way. I’d been anxiously awaiting some sample, real life videos to be posted on the interwebs. It certainly looks acceptable quality in the WordPress player above.

    Share
    1. Yup, you can get the source .mov files right out of the iPhone. I just used iPhoto to pull them in as if I was pulling media from any other camera. From there, you can use the source in QTPro, iMovieHD or whatever else you want.

      Share
  7. Kevin can the new iPhone 3GS play WP Video from the web browser? The point for you to be able to use the iPhone to upload videos is something that most people do for quick things, and if you wanted to upload something a little better then you could always do what Kevin also did. That’s by getting the video out of the iPhone, which I also wouldn’t it to be compressed at all so you could get the best out of the video you took. Maybe there is a application or some how you could convert the video file without to much compression and upload to YouTube. If there is you might want to be connected to Wi-Fi. :) I also was expecting to see some cows. ;)

    Share
  8. Ramfrancisuk Monday, June 22, 2009

    Hi Kevin

    I see what they mean by the wide open spaces. BIG BACK GARDEN.

    All you need now is two goal posts and you have a football pitch (SCOCCER for you guys in the US.)

    Share
  9. Hey Kevin, is that house next door for sale? I wanna be your neighbor… :)

    Share
    1. Ironically, you’re a few months too late. It actually WAS on the market for about 8 months. Sold about 6 months ago. There is still a house for sale in here, but it’s the biggest one in the development… no small amount of change. ;)

      Share
  10. Thanks for this post, I was googling the video format used for recording and couldn’t even find that on Apples site, which is broken using Chrome.

    That is a very good quality for a device like this. If it wasn’t so expensive this would be the final nail in the coffin to make me switch to an iPhone.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post