iPhone 3G S Video Recording Quality, YouTube Compression Info

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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:


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.


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