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Tag: iPhone 6

Yikes! Vimeo Says I’m Wasting My Time with 60 FPS

Shooting action videos at 60 frames per second with your iPhone 6 can generate great shots.  But there’s a price to pay…

Shooting action videos at 60 frames per second with your iPhone 6 can generate great shots. But there’s a price to pay…

I was expecting three feet of snow outside my front door last week during our ‘almost-snowmageddon.’ If we lost power, I planned to blog about the wonders (…or failures) of my still-unused Generac LP5500 portable generator.  Instead, the predicted snowpocalypse was just an average half-foot snow event.
(Our Boston neighbors up north got the full serving.)

So I had the opportunity to record a few magical moments of my son playing in the barely-adequate snowdrifts. Using my iPhone 6 Plus, I captured some great action shots in our sloped back yard of my four year old sliding down on his dark blue snow saucer.
(Fortunately not at rocket speeds…there’s a wooden fence abruptly positioned right at the end of our ‘sled run.’)

Later, we enjoyed some hot cocoa, and then I stitched together my four snow clips in iMovie on my iMac.
(Yes, I could also have done the job using iMovie on my iPhone…)

And then I uploaded my two-minute flick to my Vimeo page to share with family and friends.

Case closed.

Uh Oh. I’m Almost Out of Storage.
The next day, I received a worrisome email from Vimeo warning me that my weekly upload limit of 500MB for my ‘basic’ account had almost been gobbled up.
(And, of course, I could upgrade to a higher Vimeo tier if I wanted.)

What?

This was a tiny 120-second video. Why was it so huge?
And then I looked more closely at the file size.

In fact, it was a whopping 477MB!

What?!

Alarming Situation
That’s right. I almost blew through my half-gigabyte Vimeo limit on my free account with one little upload.

So I went back to my original video clips and took a closer look at their specs via QuickTime Player on my iMac:

  • I opened up the .mov file
  • Then, I went to the ‘Window’ drop down on the menu bar
  • Next, I clicked on ‘Show Movie Inspector’

Movie Inspector is a little black box that pops up and includes a bunch of geeky technical info about your video clip.

Within a few seconds, I honed in on the culprit…
The problem was the frame rate.

I had unknowingly shot my snow videos at 60 frames per second… as opposed to the standard 30 fps.

And remember, these are glorious 1080 high definition iPhone videos we’re talking about.

So it’s the 60 fps that created the significantly larger files.

How to Get Back to 30 FPS
I think I had left my iPhone on 60 fps quite by accident from an earlier experiment to see how 60 fps would handle action shots.
(And in fact, 60 fps is a wondrous feature to capture crisper action and prevent your moving subjects from looking blurry.)

I quickly pulled my iPhone 6 Plus out of my pocket (yes, it fits) and touched the Camera icon. I swiped the shoot setting to ‘Video’ and spotted the ’60 fps’ noted on the bottom right. I tapped it assuming it would toggle back to 30 fps. But it didn’t.

Instead I had to go back to the ‘Settings’ icon and drill down to adjust the video frame rate back to 30 fps:

  • General
  • Photos & Camera
  • Record Video at 60 FPS – On/Off (swipe)

30 FPS Vs. 60 FPS
In the moment, when you need to capture a priceless video, it’s not the easiest of settings to adjust. So you should decide which will be your ‘standard’ frame rate.

Typically, I don’t think you need all those extra frames and the massive files 60 fps generates. Plus, you should remember that 60 fps creates that ‘hyper’ clear look, which may not be what you want.
(Especially if you’re a fan of the softer ‘film’ look)

30 frames per second is often just fine, and its motion usually feels ‘normal.’

Is 60 FPS a Drag?
But is it such a huge problem to always leave the 60 fps mode on?
(Apparently Apple doesn’t think so…)
Well, not immediately, and not if you don’t shoot lots of videos on your iPhone 6.

But I wouldn’t simply set it and forget it.
Yes, 60 fps has its place, but I’d use this feature sparingly and only when the moment calls for it…

Otherwise, you’re going to find yourself running out of space on your iPhone pretty quickly.

Just do the math…

Let’s say you’ve got the entry-level 16GB iPhone 6, and you shoot just a few minutes of family videos every weekend at 60 fps. That means you’re probably creating about 2 GB of content a month. At that rate, unless you transfer/delete the files from your iPhone, you’re not going make it to the summer before your iPhone runs out of memory.

Generating huge video files is simply a drag. It’s a burden on your technology and by association an extra load on your life to keep your tech happy.

Vimeo Says No
And get this…
If you’re a basic account Vimeo user, you’re allowed to create one HD video per week… and only at 720p. Trying to upload a 1080p file at 60 fps still just gets you a 720p video at 30 fps. Any extra quality is wasted.

Even a Vimeo Plus membership (costing $60/year) doesn’t play your videos back at any higher frame rates than 30 fps.

Yes, you can certainly compress your advanced video files to something more digestible for Vimeo, but that’s an extra step for a busy parent of a four year old.

I should also freely admit that the iMovie app for iPhones/iPads can send your videos directly to Vimeo and compresses them as part of the export. Yes, it’s an easier process, but it assumes all your video clips are being generated by your iPhone.
(Don’t forget… I also like to take videos with my Canon PowerShot camera.)

Don’t Let 60 Frames Destroy Your Digital Life
60 frames per second is like warp drive…
Use it only when you need it.
Otherwise, one day soon… your universe may start to unravel.

Three Tips to Better Use Your iPhone 6 as a Camcorder

On our flight south, my new iPhone is about to confront its greatest challenge yet: How to slow down the best moments from our vacation…

On our flight south, my new iPhone is about to confront its greatest challenge yet: How to slow down the best moments from our vacation…

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:

Tip #1
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.

Tip #2
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.

240 fps?!
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.

Tip #3
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.

What?!

That’s right….
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!

An Embarrassing Reason to Supersize It to iPhone 6 Plus

My new iPhone, sporting a black Tech21 case proudly displays how to increase its text size using iOS 8.  (Yes, some of us can’t pick out every period in a paragraph as accurately as we used to…)

My new iPhone, sporting a black Tech21 case proudly displays how to increase its text size using iOS 8. (Yes, some of us can’t pick out every period in a paragraph as accurately as we used to…)

I’m a newbie to the phablet world.
Just got myself my iPhone 6 Plus and so far… I’m a happy customer.

The slim giant hasn’t yet fallen out of my pocket or my hands, and I’ve really been digging the larger real estate of the 5.5” screen.

And all this, despite the fact that some of my friends who own older iPhones are making fun of that ‘huge thing’ I’ve got pressed up to my ear.
(Give them a little time… Big is clearly becoming the new small.)

But actually, all is not perfection in Florin. And I’ve got something to get off my chest…

I’m not sure if I should be embarrassed to admit this, but one of the major reasons I chose to supersize my iPhone 6 purchase has to do with the reality I’ve recently started wearing reading glasses.

How uncool is that?!
But hey, it happens to a lot of us at a ‘certain age’…

And to be honest, it stinks always having to schlep around your reading glasses everywhere you go.  But you kind of need them every time you make a move towards your smartphone’s home button.

Widen Your View
Life would be a lot easier if the screen’s displayed print could simply become a little larger, and Apple has good news here…

  • With iPhone 6 Plus and iOS 8, you can easily adjust the text size in ‘Settings’ under ‘Display & Brightness.’
  • There’s actually an entire ‘DISPLAY ZOOM’ section, which includes a ‘Text Size’ option.
  • You also get to goose the size of your app icons a bit if you select ‘Zoomed’ over ‘Standard’ when you tap on ‘View.’
    (Note that activating this setting nixes your iPhone’s ability to display your home screen in landscape mode. For me, that’s more of a parlor trick anyway.)

Sure, the DISPLAY ZOOM mode is also available on the standard iPhone 6, but you can’t see as much at one time on the smaller screen…
Thus, my reason for coveting my Plus.

More Zoom Options
Of course, Apple didn’t stop with only a couple of zoom settings. If you dig a little deeper in iOS 8, you’ll find a whole host of flexible options…

You can activate a ‘zoom mode,’ which allows you to zoom part of or the entire screen with a three-fingered double tap.

To set it up, go to:

  • Settings
  • General
  • Accessibility
  • Zoom

There, you’ll find other useful zoom choices, including ‘Follow Focus’ for your text cursor.

I Can See Again!
Apple has clearly put a lot of thought into text readability on iPhone screens…

Along the way, I’m sure someone at Apple said, “Hey, let’s market the Plus to all those millions of unfortunate middle-aged folks who can’t read the menu at the restaurant anymore.”
(happened to me again last Tuesday)

But Apple’s ‘culture police’ probably squashed that strategy quicker than Siri can say, “What?”
Instead, the glorious Retina HD display exists for more exciting uses:

  • To extend your gaming pleasure
  • To immerse you deeper in your movie viewing
  • To better display your magnificent photos

To be clear…
No one’s hiding the zoom functionality in iOS 8… but it’s not getting any real headlines either.

For me, regaining the ability to skim what’s on my iPhone without my reading glasses is news that goes above the fold.

And that’s not embarrassment…
It’s empowerment!

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