Acrobat.com on your iOS devices allows you to upload camera roll content from Safari.
The other day I found myself wanting to extract full quality, uncompressed video from my iPhone. I didn’t have a Mac or PC handy, and I wanted to move the video to my iPad so I could work on it with iMovie.
I looked for apps first. Transfer Big Files was most prominent in my searches. It got mixed reviews and I never got around to trying it. I moved on.
Then I stumbled into something by accident: Acrobat.com. From http://files.acrobat.com in Safari on my iPad or iPhone I can upload items from my camera roll, including uncompressed video files. The web interface is clean and simple to use on an iOS device. You’ll need a free Adobe account.
I tried to do the same thing with Dropbox. On my iPhone I couldn’t navigate the desktop version of Dropbox. On my iPad Dropbox only offered to upload a compressed version of the video.
Box.com let me upload uncompressed versions of video files the same way Acrobat.com did. I had to load the desktop version of the site in iOS.
Once the video was uploaded from my iPhone to Acrobat.com I opened the Adobe Reader app on my iPad. The app let me save the video file to my camera roll. Using this workflow I can shoot video with my iPhone and wirelessly transfer the uncompressed full quality file to my iPad for further processing with something like iMovie.
It’s not an exercise for the impatient. If you’re doing this kind of stuff a lot I’d look into another solution, like the USB camera connection kit. That link has other solutions as well.
Acrobat.com has a file size limit of 100mb. You’ll get there fast with uncompressed iPhone video.
The free version of Acrobat.com provides 5GB of storage.
This Adobe document says you can’t upload .mov files. But I’ve been able to. Maybe they can’t be shared.
The 31 second uncompressed video I uploaded was 68MB.
I only tried Safari, not other browsers on iOS.
Uploading uncompressed video with Safari
Sequence created with iPhone app Action Shot.
Some smart apps are pushing the limits of your iPhone
camera these days. Take a look at Action Shot. This free app creates an effect that would take me hours to bang out on my Mac.
Here’s how it works: You shoot a brief video of some action. The app presents you with a handful of frames. You drag to shade over your action-inducing subject in each frame and the app combines them into a still. A still with your subject displayed multiple times as it progresses across the frame.
Great sample here from Apple’N'Apps.
Even better, you don’t need a tripod. It would help, but the app can do its job if your hand is somewhat steady. For best results hold the phone as steady as possible and let the subject move across the frame – rather than tracking the subject.
I first used Glympse on an eleven hour road trip – hauling my 2 and 4 year-old girls from Philadelphia to Charlotte – without their mother. It was readily apparent how mature the app is. And how perfectly suited it is for temporarily sharing location information with a concerned mother.
The real-time updating is the killer feature – once people see the arrow moving across their screen they’re hooked. And of course, Glympse runs in the background while you’re using other apps – not that you would or should while driving.
Inviting others to view your location – sending a Glympse – is quick and simple. The app has direct access to your iPhone Contacts and can send the invite via email or sms. You can drop a group of people into a single Glympse invite and optionally extend its duration as the expiration approaches.
One of my favorite features: The history page displays a list of contacts with active invitations – along with the last time they checked on your whereabouts. In seconds! I got into a “You didn’t know that I know that you know where I am?” with one watcher. Additionally, many people checked in on my status every few minutes for the better part of eleven hours. Some said they were mesmerized at the live updating, watching the arrow that represented the girls and myself zoom across their web browser map – as we hurtled down the Interstate.
When you send a Glympse to an iPhone user they can keep tabs on you in Safari, or get additional features by having the Glympse app installed. The web page has a button offering to display your location in the Glympse app, which will open automatically.
Computer users track you using a Flash web page that live-updates your position.
Glympse provides many useful features. You can share via Twitter or Facebook. You can also save a group of people to a favorites list to use again. A Glympse invite expires after a maximum of four hours but you can extend it any time before it ends. Of course you can also expire a Glympse invite early.
The Glympse page suggests using the service to let someone know you’re running late or as a social tool. I can see the running late part – if meeting up with someone as geeky as you. I’m not inclined to use it for social networking purposes, but that’s probably because I’m old.
If you’ve got parents or grandparents who worry while you’re on the road this might keep their phone call count at reasonable levels. At one point we stopped at a rest area in Virginia – barely separated from the Interstate. We were there a long time (remember – 2 and 4 year old girls) and Mrs. Murphy thought maybe we’d run off the road – so she called. Other than that she spent the day hypnotized by the little green arrow.
I would have loved to use Glympse last month in Ireland. But I’m not paying international data rates ! Future post: Why Isn’t International Roaming Affordable?
Without a doubt I’ll use Glympse to keep people updated on my next road trip. It’s free on the App Store, so give it a try. There’s also Glympse for Windows Mobile and Android.
With one little step – instead of re-encoding – you can drop your EyeTV recordings onto your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
When the first VLC Media Player (itunes link) app for iPad came out I tried dropping an EyeTV recording into it – including the container file. No dice – the file wasn’t recognized. I tried an EyeTV container with the new release of VLC for iPad too – but it still wasn’t recognized. But right-clicking on the container and showing its contents allowed me to copy the mpg file residing within onto the iPad. VLC for iPad recognized the mpg and played it. The initial release didn’t work for the EyeTV mpg either.
The .eyetv file is much larger than what you’d get if you encoded it for your i-device. But for a video I plan to watch once and delete I’m happy to skip the encoding.
The VLC app doesn’t use the standard playback components provided in iOS APIs – like the player you’d see in an app such as Dropbox. For example, my Bluetooth keyboard playback controls don’t work in VLC for iPad.
Playback isn’t as tight as m4v files I’ve played back using Dropbox and other apps, but it’s not terrible either. Definitely not as clear as playing back an .eyetv file on my Mac – but again – that’s ok, there’s some value in getting a video onto my iOS device without encoding it – sometimes it’s worth the tradeoff.
That said, I just loaded a short scene from an action movie, recorded in standard definition, to my iPhone 4. Playback was a bit pixelated.
VLC for iOS does keep track of where you left off watching a video. And it’s free. The VLC Media Player is nice to have for times when encoding isn’t otherwise necessary.
Murphy Uses Bluehost
Or does it? Actually, iOS4 sends the photos with orientation information, but that doesn’t help if your recipients see the photo sideways because of their chosen email software. Skip down if you’re looking for workarounds.
UPDATE: This is the workaround I use now.
If you’ve moved on to iOS4 you may have noticed a change in how emailed photos appear to recipients. Apparenly Apple changed the way they handle rotation and are now using an orientation tag instead of actually redrawing the photo with the pixels arranged in portrait format. Don’t worry, we’ve got a workaround.
So – your phone is sending the photo with information about how to present the photo in the correct orientation, but the recipient’s software might not acknowledge the tag. When I open the email using Apple Mail the photo is oriented correctly. Preview and many other photo apps will display the orientation correctly as well – if I download the photo.
Here’s an example you can try: Take a portrait photo with your iOS4 iPhone. Using the native Photo or Camera app email it to a Gmail address. When you open the email in Safari, IE or Firefox you’ll see a thumbnail that’s oriented correctly. But when you view the photo it’ll be in landscape mode.
If you download the photo and open it with an app like Preview you can take a look at the tags by hitting Command + I. You’ll see an orientation entry that might say something like “Rotated 90° CCW.” (Pictured above)
So – here’s the workaround: Use an app like Best Camera. When I send photos using Best Camera they show up correctly in web-based Gmail. I don’t believe Best Camera has been updated for iOS4 and that could explain the difference. Best Camera is currently $2.99.
You could also use the free Gorillacam app. But the results are a little different. If you take the portrait photo with Gorillacam it’ll show up in Gmail oriented correctly. If you use Gorillacam to send a photo you took with the native Camera app it will display in landscape mode in Gmail. Gorillacam is free.
It doesn’t really matter if Apple jumped the gun by using the tag or if certain apps or web sites are behind in recognizing the tag. The bottom line: People probably aren’t seeing your emailed iPhone photos correctly. Now you’ve got a workaround.
Note: I also emailed a photo to Flickr. It was displayed properly and the tag information was clearly visible in the metadata. However, a friend in the UK reported different results when emailing portrait photos to Flickr: They showed up as landscape. Photos like this need to be displayed correctly.
Best Camera on my iPhone 3GS with iOS4 has been exiting every time I email a photo from it, but the photo is still getting sent.