For those of you without jailbroken phones, just keeping moving along.. nothing to see here.. Ok, for the rest of you, there are 4 programs out there for taking video and for me, one that I cannot seem to get to work.
Cycoder: This is a pretty good app with a very simple UI. Start and stop. That’s it. The video is compiled on the fly and saved as a .mov file. If you used cycoder when it first came out, it did not have sound. Well, we have sound now.
I took the movie below using Cycoder, and given how much action there is in the scene, its not that bad. Lets keep in mind this is a phone not spec’ed for taking movies after all.
VideoRecorder: I like this product because of all the ways I can customize how the recording is done, sound compression, video compression. HOWEVER, I cannot get this thing to work on my 2.1. I’ve followed the instructions and SSH’ed into the file system and created folders and set permissions.. no go. There are two more things I can try, manual install and turning intelliscreen off. I’ll try those another time.
Qik: I was using this for awhile until Cycoder got sound and improved performance. QIk is more for broadcast video then just video. Qik will take your video stream and feed it (real time if the connection is good enough) to a web site where others can view the video. There are times live feed, or direct phone to website feeds can be useful, especially if you want to shoot and share and do not have the time to get to a machine with your iphone cable, transfer to disk and then post the .mov somewhere.
Flixwagon: This app is a lot like Qik. I think the video quality it a bit better, but given how both companies are constantly updating their apps, this may not hold all that long. I like the website a bit better, but again, small difference. Basically between Qik and Flixwagon, its more taste then anything IMHO.
Ok, now lets talk about tips to take the best video you can…
First, light is everything. Just as with taking pictures with the iphone, the more light you have, the better the quality of the image. Also, movement. The more you move, the more blurry the rendering. So your best bet for a good video is abundant light and a very steady hand. So, knowing this, we can make better decisions as to when and how to film:
1) Always try to have the strongest light source just off your shoulder. Also, try to avoid any light source in your shot at all. Even a weak light source will wash out your shot.
2) Keep the phone steady. The fewer the changes in the scene, the better the compression. The better the compression, the faster the upload speed if you are using a broadcast app.
3) Keep your voice down. You will be suprised just how load you will sounds relative to all other sound sources. Experiment with recording the TV and talking. Get a feel for a good balance. If you have to talk, make sure you have the camera away from your face as best you can.
4) Get close to your subject. The iPhone does not have zoom, so you will always be shooting wide. Also, the resolution is low, cycoder is 385×288 if I remember correctly and Qik is 320×240. So the closer the better.
..and the final tip. Keep the lens clean and don’t put your thumb over the lens. I have seen this happen.