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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Friday (2/25/11) 1:48pm - ... wherein Peter requests iPhone video features. #myflyingcardoesntflyfastenough

I use my iPhone 4 to video improv shows.  Typically, I go up to the tech booth, I set up the phone, I start it recording, and then I go do the show.  So far, results have been pretty good, but there are a few features that would make the iPhone work a lot better for this.


Features I Want


1.  Some way around the 50-minute video limit.
Many improv shows go longer than fifty minutes.  The iPhone halts video recording at the fifty-minute mark.

It was really annoying when I set up my camera, start it recording, did a show, got back to my camera, and discovered that it quit halfway through for no reason.  If I start my camera recording, I want it to keep recording.  I can clarify this:  if I start a camera recording, I only want it to *stop* recording if (1) I tell it to stop recording, or (2) further recording would cause the camera to physically catch fire.  I *never* want it to throw up a misleading error message and then halt.

It seems like there should be a setting for "no, really, I want videos longer than fifty minutes."  If there's some technical issue involved -- maybe the magical pixies that make my iPhone function get very cross if they have to deal with file sizes larger than 3.2GB -- then there should be a way to tell the phone to go ahead and immediately start another video once the current one hits fifty minutes.

2.  Manual exposure settings.
Lots of improvisors are white.  Not only that, they're white and pale.  Lots of improv stages are black.

When I use the iPhone's automatic exposure-setting, the iPhone assumes I want to see the black stage curtains in exquisite detail, cranks its exposure setting, and turns every performer's face into a big white blob.

What I *want* is to be able to tell the iPhone, "Set your exposure to <x>."  I punch in a number (or drag a slider), and the exposure is set to that and locked.  Then, no matter how badly the iPhone wants to show me those curtains, it *stays* at the exposure setting I asked for, and the performers in the video keep their faces.

(Alternately, if I could enter an offset for the automatic exposure settings, that might be useful -- i.e., "use automatic exposure-setting, but make things <x>% darker than the iPhone wants to make them."  Perhaps this could account for varied lighting through a show.)

3.  Saved settings.
I shoot all my videos at either the Hideout Theatre or Salvage Vanguard Theater.  It'd be great if I could set the focal length, set the white balance, set the exposure (see (2) above), and then *save those settings*.  I'd love it if I could get everything set nicely for taking videos at the Hideout, and then *save* that as "Hideout Video Settings".  Then I could go to SVT, set my camera up there, and *save* those settings as "SVT Settings".  Then when I go to the Hideout to shoot a video, all I have to do is load the right settings and I'm ready to go.


Why am I posting this, anyway?


Well, I figure there are three outcomes that might be useful:

1.  I find out about an app that adds these features.
AFAICT, 99% of the camera apps out there are designed to take your photos and filter then to look like a 70s Polaroid or a sepia-tinted daguerrotype or a watercolor in a bright, shiny, Bedazzled frame.  Very few apps out there actually add features to the camera.  But maybe there's some undiscovered app out there that actually does what I need.

2.  I get these requests to an app developer.
... of those few developers working on non-bedazzling camera apps, maybe one of them could look into adding these features.

3.  I get these requests to an Apple developer.
If that happens, then maybe some of these features might show up in the next iteration of the built-in camera app.


*crosses fingers*

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Mood: [mood icon] frustrated · Music: none
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