smartfilming

Exploring the possibilities of video production with smartphones

#57 What is this tiny green/orange dot on your smartphone’s screen? — 23. January 2023

#57 What is this tiny green/orange dot on your smartphone’s screen?

Remember the 3.5mm headphone jack? You know, the port on your phone where you put the cable of your headphones in before Bluetooth headphones became all the rage? Given all the differences between Android phones and iPhones, both in terms of hardware and software, this was, for quite a while, a somewhat unifying factor. For the mobile content creation community this meant that you could use certain external mics (like the original iRig Mic) with both kinds of phones. Then Apple and in its wake many/most others smartphone makers decided to get rid of the headphone jack and rely on a sole physical port for accessory hardware connections: the Lightning port (Apple) or a USB-C port (Android phones). While we’re still waiting for the iPhone to finally give up its proprietary Lightning port and switch to the universal USB-C, I found a little something on the software side that works the same on both mobile platforms. It’s something lots of people might not even be aware of and those who do may not know what it’s actually about. But it’s useful and interesting.

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#11 Why ‘Motion Stills’ is a cool tool for fast micro-storytelling on both Android & iOS — 1. April 2018

#11 Why ‘Motion Stills’ is a cool tool for fast micro-storytelling on both Android & iOS

Back in 2016 Google made an iOS-exlusive app (weird, ain’t it?!) called Motion Stills. It focused on working with Apple’s newly introduced ‘Live Photos’ for the iPhone 6s. When you shoot a ‘Live Photo’, 1.5 seconds of video (with a low frame rate mind you) and audio before and after pressing the shutter button is recorded. You can think of it as a GIF with sound. What Motion Stills does is that it lets you record, stabilize, loop, speed-up and/or combine ‘Live Photos’. In 2017, Google finally brought the app to Android. Now while some Android phone makers have introduced ‘Live Photo’-like equivalents, there’s no general Android equivalent as such yet and because of that the app works slightly different on Android. Instead of ‘Live Photos’ you can shoot video clips with a maximum duration of 3 seconds (this also goes for pre-6s iPhones on iOS). There are also other shooting modes (Fast Forward, AR Mode) that are not limited to the 3 seconds but for this post I want to concentrate on the main mode Motion Still.

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