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Aug 12 2010

A new iPhone 4 and fun with iMovie

About two weeks ago, I did something I very rarely EVER do. I broke my phone. 3 years – no drops, dings, nicks or bad scratches. Originally, I had planned on upgrading my iPhone 3G at the end of the month but I was shuffling some stuff around on my desk and the phone slid off the edge. Normally, it wouldn’t be a big deal – I’ve got a case for it and it’s only about a 2ft drop. Apparently this time it was enough. Phone fell flat on the front face. I picked it up an when I turned it on – white screen of death.

After a couple hours fiddling with the internals and some Google searching I had two options – hope the internal connection re-seating fixed it or replace the entire LCD screen and digitizer. Breaking it apart and putting it all back together didn’t work and I figured I was so close to swapping it out anyway, I might as well upgrade early. So after about 2 hours in line at the local Apple retail store that night, I walked out with a new iPhone 4.

So. A lot of really cool things with the new hardware platform. One of the best – the on-board 720p HD camera. I had a chance to goof around with it last weekend while we were at Centennial Park. Madeline was at the play ground so I thought I’d give the camera a try.

There are a couple caveats:

  • Shake is hard to control when you walk around, over, through stuff. As far as I know, the phone doesn’t support any sort of hardware/software correction. Ultimately, shake contributes to a decrease in video quality when you try to rip or convert one format to another so it’s something I need to work on reducing.
  • Lighting – wash out from reflection or glare occasionally interferes with the visual quality in HD.
  • Conversion compression. This is the toughest part of all. A raw 90 second .MOV video at 720p from the phone pushing roughly a 10kbs data stream comes out to about 126mb in size. Not much these days file size wise but still too large for most web blogs posting videos without streaming or smart bit-rate streaming (unlike YouTube, Hulu, etc.). Since I’m just linking video directly into my player code, I need a compression that reduces file size but still maintains some of the HD quality in the feed. FLV is usually the most common type and it’s what I’m going to be experimenting with the most. After conversion, I was able to reduce the FLV file to about 24mbs and still maintain a decent frame quality.

Anyway, I think the final cut turned out pretty good considering I created the entire time-line on my iPhone using the onboard camera and the iMovie app to splice two different shots together and add some additional titles/overlay. iMovie isn’t very powerful but it does let you get something patched together with a little creativity and experimentation. It also lets you export your final cut into 360p, 540p or 720p MOV formats.

Raw downloads: 360p (44mb), 720p (130mb)

1 comment

  1. dvg says:

    Wow, man. Awesome review and terrific video. (I can’t believe how big she is!)

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