Today must be bizarro day as Google has mastered Apple’s live photos. Motion Stills (free) is a new iOS app that extracts the little videos that are created when you take a live photo, applies some very effective image stabilization and lets you export the result — with or without sound — as a GIF or a brief .MOV clip. Like this (click to watch):
I use Apple’s own camera app, simply called Camera, for shooting video with my iPhone. It does everything I want and is easily accessible from the iPhone’s lock screen (via iOS 5.x). Here’s what I love about shooting video with Camera.
First, it shoots HD video (720p on the iPhone 4, 1080p on the iPhone 4S and 5). Image stabilization goes a long way towards reducing the shakiness of hand-held shots and cropping lets me to perform minor edits before sharing with iMovie on my Mac or iPhone. To shoot some video with the Camera app, follow these steps:
Tap Camera to launch it.
Move the slider in the lower right-hand corner to select video (slide it to the right).
The “shutter button” in the center acquires a red status indicator light. Frame your shot and tap the shutter button to begin recording video.
The red button blinks during recording and a time stamp appears in the upper right-hand corner.
When you’re finished, tap the shutter button again. The red light stops blinking and the video file “jumps” into the camera roll.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind while shooting video with your iPhone. First, It’s almost always better to shoot in landscape orientation (iPhone on its side) than portrait. The main reason is the aspect ratio will look much better on your TV, as you’ll be able to avoid large “black bars” on either side of your video.
You can record video with either the forward-facing camera or the rear-facing camera. You cannot switch while you’re shooting, so make your choice before you begin. Also, there’s no way to zoom in or out while recording, so frame the shot you want first.
Apple has added a nice feature by letting you use the volume up button as the shutter button. Hold your camera on the landscape orientation so that the volume buttons are on top. Tap the volume up button to begin recording (it resembles a “+”) and again to stop. This is feels much more natural than reaching for the software shutter button on your iPhone’s screen. Lastly, you can view your video quickly by simply swiping to the right. The Camera app will slide away and you’ll go right to the camera roll. That’s much easier than exiting Camera and tapping Photos.
Apple’s QuickTime Player can handle basic trimming, so you don’t have to open software that’s overkill for such a simple task. Here’s how to quickly trim a video clip in QuickTime Player.
Open the clip you’d like to trim.
Select Trim… from the Edit menu, or hit Command-T
The timeline appears (below). Now it’s time to perform the edit. But first a look at the controls.
On the far left is the Play/Pause button. Next is the timeline. This will disappear after a few seconds of playing, and return when you stop playback. As your video plays, the red playhead (which actually acts as a scrubber, meaning you can click and drag it back and forth) moves from left to right.
A yellow highlight surrounds your clip with a handle at each end. This is used for defining the portion of the clip you’d like to save. Finally, the Trim and Cancel buttons appear on the far right. The Trim button executes your edit while the Cancel button exits trim mode with your video untouched. Now, here’s how to trim the clip.
Play your clip (or drag the playhead) until you find the spot at which you’d like your video to start.
Click and hold the yellow handle until it meets that same spot. A timestamp appears to aid your precision.
You can trim the end the same way: click and drag the yellow handle at the end of your clip.
Once you’ve got the portion you’d like to keep within the yellow highlight, click Trim.
If you’re not happy with the result, select Undo Trim from the Edit menu (or hit Command-Z). Note that this method is non-destructive, meaning QuickTime Player asks you to save the trimmed result as a new file.
The great Rod Serling was a television visionary and is among my favorite science fiction writers. Here’s a television interview with Rod conducted in 1970. From the YouTube description:
“In 1970 University of Kansas professor James Gunn interviewed a series of science fiction authors for his Centron film series ‘Science Fiction in Literature.’ This footage from an unreleased film in that series featuring an interview with Rod Serling, which wasn’t finished due to problems with obtaining rights to show footage from Serling’s work in television. This reconstruction is based on the original workprint footage that was saved on two separate analog sources since the audio track was separate. Re-syncing the footage was a long involved process as the audio track didn’t match the film and there was substantial sync drift. While not perfect, there’s a lot of interesting information on writing for television in the dialogue with Serling as well as a prophetic statement about his health at the beginning.”
Ed, Dave and Al talking about the old days and their craft. I could listen to this all day long. Plus, it’s Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth and Alex Van Halen talking in close proximity, and they’re not trying to kill each other. In fact, they’re actually laughing. That’s the most compelling part to me.
It’s an excellent use for the device, and I hope to see a lot more of it. For example, I’d love to watch some of Apple’s excellent “Meet the Author” and “Meet the Filmmaker” events live. Now that would Apple television.