Tag Archives: Video

Why is my iPhone Video Jittery?

After initially not having the best camera, Apple seem to have realised that people like to take pictures on their phones and with the latest versions introduced a really nice little camera with great optics. Certainly in a lot of situations I don’t bother with a ‘real’ camera and just use the phone. With the iPhone 4S the phone also has great video capabilities, taking really nice 1080p footage, and even allowing it to be edited on the phone with iMovie.

However there is one problem, some people won’t really notice it, but it is pretty apparent with certain sequences especially on a desktop. Take a look at this video of some steam trains:

The problem is apparent as the train comes slowly into the station, every so often there is a slight stall or jitter, more interestingly the problem doesn’t seem to appear watching the original footage on the phone. So what is going on?

The answer is actually pretty simple. We’re all used to being able to hold the iPhone any which way we like to take pictures. With the arrival of the volume button shutter functionality it encourages us to hold the phone with the volume buttons on the top, but in terms of the camera itself, this is actually holding the camera upside down.

With a photo this doesn’t much matter, but with a video it does.

If you watch the raw footage using certain low level video players like VLC you’ll find that the video is actually upside down. The iPhone makes use of a Quicktime feature to tell the video to play in a different orientation, and whilst the iPhone playback appears to have been optimised, desktop playback introduces this annoying jitter.

The answer then is pretty simple, until the same optimisation gets into desktop versions of Quicktime, you need to remember to hold the iPhone with the camera the right way up – the volume buttons should be at the bottom, and the home button on the right. The next video was taken with the same iPhone as the trains above, but, aside from my dodgy camerawork, the jitter is not apparent.

Beth and Richard Get Married (The Movie)

Last Thursday we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary, well at least as much as you can with two small children and summer colds going around the family!

Anyway, one of the things that the tenth wedding anniversary actually got me to organise was getting a copy of our wedding video into a more usable form. The video was shot by a friend of ours who shot on NTSC DV, and then produced a copy for us that we could watch back in the UK. They also kindly gave us the master tape. Needless to say technology has moved on in ten years, so what I wanted to do was get the wedding video into a form where I could keep it properly backed up on the computer, plus with a copy online. Whilst most DVD players and Bluray players will quite happily cope with NTSC recordings, finding a DV camera that could had proved rather more difficult, but thankfully I found a specialist company over in Twyford called DigitalCopyCat who we could drop the tape off with in person who would produce a QuickTime file of the wedding that I could easily handle on the Mac from our NTSC Master tape.

We now have that file converted into an Apple TV ready form so we can watch it back on the main TV, and also uploaded to my Vimeo account so you too can enjoy the wedding video – indeed most of our UK friends and relatives will never have seen this I’m sure!

Watching it back certainly brings back a few memories. There are of course quite a few people who are sadly no longer with us, for example neither Pastor K’Henry or Rev’d Sheila our Rector from Finchampstead who came over for the wedding are with us any more. There are also several relatives such as Beth’s grandmother, and Aunt Kathy who have passed away since.

On a lighter note you do get to see me pacing up and down wondering where the grooms parents and Best Man have got to (they managed to take a wrong turn on the way to the church and were driving around the army base at Ralston),  plus me in a suit that I might just about fit into again now, but for the best part of ten years haven’t been able to. There are also quite a few of the family looking younger and less stressed before they had their children!

Anyway, the video is over an hour long as it’s got the whole service, plus speeches and cake cutting and so on at the reception, so enjoy a little bit of a flashback to ten years ago.

Also if you’ve got any films or slides, videos or so forth that you want converted to something digital I can heartily recommend DigitalCopyCat – great service, especially with all the bouncing back and forth to get the format I wanted for the Mac, and at a good price too.

Why You Should Get Travel Insurance

As you may have heard, our recent trip to Canada with Lucy didn’t quite go according to plan. As babies are prone to do, Lucy has been picking up all sorts of coughs and colds, annoying, but not usually too much of a problem. Unfortunately for us she picked up a really nasty one in Canada, a respiratory syncytial virus or RSV which clogged up her chest with mucus leaving her struggling to breath without coughing.

Not surprisingly that left us taking a trip to the local hospital twice during the trip, the second time being the day before we were due to head home when the doctors said that she was unfit to fly and decided to keep Lucy and Beth in hospital, Lucy on Oxygen and Ventolin. Ultimately they had to stay an extra ten days until the infection cleared up, and the doctor was happy to clear them to fly.

The way the travel insurance policy works is that the policyholder pays direct expenses, including any outpatient or emergency room costs, and the the hospital and insurance company settle directly for any inpatient treatment. We’d already paid and claimed for the emergency room visit – $560 CDN as the Alberta health service charges a flat daily rate for visits to the emergency room – plus assorted other sundry expenses for follow up visits to the doctor and for medication, but since the hospital and insurance company were settling up directly, we hadn’t seen the final cost. However this morning an invoice turned up from the hospital, which they’d incorrectly sent to the patient address rather than the insurance company – $6797 CDN in total for the hospital stay bringing the grand total for the whole illness to $7623 CDN, just over £4300. For friends and family in Alberta it’s been a bit of an eye opener too, as they just hand over their Alberta Health card and never see the bills.

All of which dwarfs the size of even a single trip travel insurance policy – and remember we were lucky in that the insurance company weren’t having to pay for extra accommodation, or for special flights back. True you might never need it, but we’re sure glad we had a good travel insurance policy…

Christmas Pictures

I’ve uploaded a few pictures of our family Christmas get together to Flickr, including quite a few pictures that will probably leave Lucy with a Christmas tree phobia for life… Unfortunately the sleeping bag is a little big for her now, and will be way too small come next year…

Also as a special treat for those amongst you who have only ever seen her asleep (at least one friend of Beth’s jokingly says that they doubt that Lucy really exists because she’s always asleep) a bit of movie footage of an awake and moving Lucy!

Canada Trip Pictures and Video Clips

Both Beth and myself have now got all of our pictures uploaded to Flickr, and in my case some of the videos. You can find my set of pictures here and the pictures Beth took are here.

There are more videos to come, but amongst the interesting stuff so far are a bit of a modern day cattle round-up – Beth getting the quad bike is here, then clips of the actual round up are here and here.

Following on from the round up, is some video of the auction at which the cattle that were rounded up were actually sold. Quite how anybody follows what the auctioneer is actually saying I don’t know, as it all sounds like gibberish to me – aside from the point when one of the bidders queries something, and then the final price (which is not the price for the complete lot – cattle is sold by weight).

Here are slideshows for both mine and Beth’s pictures:


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Flickr Adds Video – People Start to Moan

It didn’t take long for a group of Flickr users to start kicking up a fuss about the latest new feature. Lets face it, it seems it doesn’t take long for a group of Flickr users to start kicking up a fuss about almost any change – indeed I myself have moaned about some of the ill thought out ones such as the initial change to forcing users to use Yahoo accounts when the mobile site didn’t support it – and after some bad experiences with Yahoo I was less than keen at the prospect of having to deal with them for accounts.

The latest change to cause people to get upset is the addition of video. Thomas Hawk has a page collecting together the negative feedback, the general gist being that Flickr is a photo site, and videos should go elsewhere, for example YouTube.

However, when you actually look at what Flickr say they are trying to do, it isn’t the same as YouTube. They specifically limit video clips to 90 seconds, so rather than going after people with video cameras, they are targeting people with modern digital cameras that can shoot short clips of video too. It’s not all the time, but there are occasions now when I will be switching backwards and forwards between taking static shots and short video clips, and currently the clips go to a video site such as YouTube or Vimeo and the pictures to Flickr. Sometimes I edit multiple clips together for a longer video, however in general to tell a visual story, I really want the clips and the pictures mixed in together – just the kind of thing that Flickr is now offering.

The issue really is that there are now a number of distinct groups on Flickr. There are some very vocal photography fans, and indeed some fantastic pictures on the site. Equally there are people that are using the site to share holiday snaps with friends and family, or even just as a convenient way to host up visual content for their sites. By far the biggest group of users are the everyday snappers, but equally those are also the ones who probably least use features like the forums and the groups, whereas the photography fans make a lot of use of these to look at some of the great pictures you can find on the site. Flickr have provided the ability for moderators of the groups to restrict submissions to photographs only, so these groups can continue to focus only on photography, but unfortunately there seem to be some users who object to the mere presence of video because it affects the purity of the site.

From my point of view, I like browsing through some of the impressive pictures you can find, but equally for the kind of use I make of my camera now, for the occasions when I need movement, the support for short video clips is ideal – well done Flickr, great addition.