Yes, I stood in line for hours. Yes, I’m a nerd. And yes, the new iPhone is awesome.
One of the biggest reasons I was willing to get up at 5:00 a.m. and trek off to the dreaded mall is the new camera features. Front and back, flash and high definition.
Which is all great. In theory. Unfortunately, I have run into two hurdles that are all but killing my iPhone video buzz.
Buzz Kill 1: Too Much Compression.
Videos shot on the new iPhone look great, on the iPhone. And it simply could not be easier to upload video from the iPhone to YouTube. The big, massive, honking problem is that somewhere between the iPhone and YouTube the video is compressed so much, it looks like something from the nineties. As in the 1890’s.
Here’s the way my test clip looks on YouTube.
Now on Vimeo
That’s a lot better, although it still looks a little grainy when you view it full screen (see the little icon with four arrows). Why in this age of infinite cloud storage and broadband do we compress video at all?
There’s no excuse for over-compressing it the way the YouTube process does. In a few years we’re all going to have the same dilemma we faced after initially ripping our CDs at 128 Kbps. Those who forget history, and all that.
All of this makes the iPhone largely unworkable as a camcorder substitute, particularly if you aren’t near your computer, because. . .
Buzz Kill 2: No Easy Way to Move Videos
Even if I was willing to forego the convenience of an immediate upload and work with the native video files, there is no way to easily move video files off of the iPhone when you aren’t in front of your computer. Sure, Dropbox lets you upload video files easily, but they are over-compressed before they are uploaded, even if you select the highest quality in the app settings.
32GB is a lot of space when you’re near home, but not when you go on a vacation. And plan to take your iPad in lieu of a laptop.
There may be a workaround for this series of problems, but I haven’t found it yet.
I’m still mourning my buzz.
It looks like the inability to upload videos in HD over the air is a known and much bemoaned feature deficit with the new iPhones. The man himself says we’ll be able to upload in HD “in the future.”
A commenter on the post above says that the Pixelpipe app will upload HD video to YouTube now, but I don’t have that app so I can’t verify it.