the kdmcinfo weblog

Can iPhone 4 shoot news video?

While the camera on the iPhone 4 is pretty average, iMovie is not. Suddenly, the iPhone can be a serviceable web video camera in breaking news situations or unplanned interviews. It allows you to shoot and edit video, add lower thirds and titles and upload directly to the web.

It will not replace professionals and professional equipment, however. It fits into "the best camera is the one you have on you" category.

The video below was shot during my lunch break. I know it's pretty bad but this was my first experiment on the day I got my phone. Shooting, editing, adding graphics and rendering took about 45 minutes.

Quicktime upload - full HD

Here's what it looks like when I copied the 30 MB, 1280 × 720 px movie to the iPhoto application on my computer, processed in Quicktime then uploaded it directly to this site. Click the image below to see the video full size.

YouTube upload - full HD

Uploading directly from the phone to YouTube is a little tricky. For some reason, probably to save bandwidth, once a movie has been edited and saved out of iMovie as HD, it won't upload to YouTube. (It finally showed up after several hours when I uploaded directly from the Camera Roll. ) However, you can use your YouTube mobile upload email address to send the file and upload in minutes. But be sure to use wi-fi or have a large data plan.

Size of the video sent from the iPhone was almost 3 MB for 23 seconds and 568 x 320 px.The file was compressed to 1.6 MB by YouTube.

Minimizing the shakes

OK, OK, the most obvious problem is that I don't have a steady enough hand. Enter Joby's Gorillamobile — a flexible, bendable tripod. Joby announced that they will release an iPhone 4 adapter this Fall.

gorillapod flexible tripod for iphone 4

A steadicam adapter for iPhone, Steadicam Smoothee, has also been announced but lacks a price and shipping date. It looks great though.

Audio recording

The mic in the iPhone 4 seems like a definite improvement. The woman heard speaking in Memorial Glade during the video was about 30-40 feet away. There are also a lot of commercial options available. Here's a comparison video of iPhone microphones.

Final thoughts

It's important to note that the iPhone will not produce broadcast-quality video and audio. But in certain situations, it may be a valuable tool and a worthy purchase.

UPDATE: Use Vimeo for better quality

Vimeo doesn't compress video nearly as much as YouTube. As a result, the same video uploaded via e-mail to Vimeo looks a lot better. Vimeo limits free accounts to 5 GB per week and there is usually at least a 30 minute wait for processing. The Pro account removes the wait and the upload limit.

iPhone movie short

I found this posted on The Unofficial Apple Weblog. Amazing. This 90-second short was shot and edited entirely on an iPhone in 48 hours. It makes my efforts look child-like and proves that nothing will replace talent, skill and experience.

"Apple of My Eye" - an iPhone 4 film - UPDATE: Behind the scenes footage included from Michael Koerbel on Vimeo.

Cross posted at