Three Tips to Better Use Your iPhone 6 as a Camcorder
My family and I just got back from a mini respite to Miami, and again, I forced my iPhone 6 Plus to do some of the heavy lifting… this time on the video-taking front.
It’s already passed muster snapping photos.
So how did it hold up as a pocket camcorder?
The short answer: Not too badly.
No, it doesn’t have quite as wide a focal length as your typical point and shoot lens… So you can’t see as much at close range.
(29mm Vs. 25mm on the Canon Powershot ELPH 340)
No, it doesn’t have an optical zoom…
But it does have a few tricks up its sleeve that can maximize its ability to shoot some cool HD video clips for you. And these have to do with controlling video frame rates.
Here are three tips to get the most out of your iPhone 6’s inner camcorder:
Shoot at 60 FPS To Capture Crisper Action
In addition to the typical 30 frames per second shooting mode, this iPhone also offers the option to shoot at 60 fps.
(which you need to enable in ‘Settings’)
Now, first off… Jamming more frames into a video doesn’t always make it better.
Some folks talk about 30 fps being too jerky when played back,
which is why 60 fps is preferable.
But for me, that’s only an issue when you’re trying to capture fast action or panning the shot around really quickly.
I wouldn’t write off 30 fps. It’s still very much today’s standard.
And for many situations, I bet you’ll be just fine sticking with 30 fps.
Always hedging by sticking with 60 fps will just suck down your iPhone’s limited memory.
(Remember, the 60 fps mode creates larger files!)
And don’t forget that filmmakers love the ‘cinematic’ look of 24 fps.
If you fashion yourself as the next indie darling…
the hyper-clear reality of 60 fps may not be for you.
Only Use 240 FPS Slow Motion When You Really Need It
If you like slow motion, you’re going to love that the 6 and 6 Plus can now record at an incredible 240 frames per second. This ‘slo-mo’ is twice as slow as what the iPhone 5S can generate.
That’s great, right?
Yes, but the videos play back really slowly.
(That’s the point!)
But in many situations, you may feel it’s too slow. To capture a normal moment in time, I think this enhanced mode can be overkill.
On Halloween, I tried shooting a video of my little pirate ‘trick or treating’ at one house. And later, when I played back the video, it looked like the falling candy wouldn’t reach the bottom of the bag until Thanksgiving!
I would choose this super-slow motion mode only to capture a short moment of very fast action.
Otherwise, I recommend normally sticking with the ‘less advanced’ 120 fps mode to slow down your video.
After You Shoot, Isolate Your ‘Money Shot’ and Then Give It Slo-Mo
That said, once you’ve shot your slow motion video, you actually have the opportunity to choose which part of your clip plays back in slow motion, and which part runs at normal speed.
In playback mode, there are two slider controls on the top of the video that let you isolate a particular moment that looks best in slow motion. The rest of your clip plays at normal speed.
It’s a ‘professional-looking’ post-production trick that can negate the concern about 240 fps being too slow.
My New Time Machine…
The iPhone 6’s flexibility in shooting at different frame rates while recording HD video is a neat feature that many of today’s ‘more advanced’ point and shoot cameras still don’t offer.
But beware… today’s tips all focus on a central theme:
Use these new tricks sparingly.
When you do, you’ll be really psyched.
No, I don’t think my new iPhone 6 Plus is a magic bullet for all my video recording needs. But it has suddenly given me the powerful capability to slow down linear time.
And as a father of an active four-year-old boy… I’ll take it!