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IPhone Gets Video Recording Capability


Chicago (IL) - As much as iPhone proved revolutionary in some aspects, lack of a video recording feature has left more than few people disappointed. Ahead of the upcoming 3G iPhone introduction due next week, a software solution has emerged to tackle this problem.

If you don’t mind jailbreaking your iPhone in order to be able to install unofficial third-party software, you may want to try an application called VideoRecorder. As the name suggests, its sole purpose is to enable a video recording feature on the iPhone. But don’t hold your breath, there are some restrictions you should be aware of.

The application greets users with a simple interface similar to the iPhone photo application for taking pictures. You simply tap the record button and your iPhone will capture both video coming through the built-in camera and audio captured through handset microphone. When you are done recording, you will have to wait for the conversion process since the application avoids CPU overhead of on-the-fly encoding. What you get is a compressed MPEG-4 (.m4v) video file which you can play back, share through your YouTube account or email, all from within the application itself. DreamCatcher, the developer behind VideoRecorder, says that compression will reduce 1 hour "high-quality" video to a 60 MB file.

You can turn on the audio input amplifier to boost the recorded audio signal and set the audio bit rate. Videos can be customized with various modes, image quality and resolution settings. A nice addition is the inclusion of brightness control. The highest video recording resolution is set to 320 x 416 pixels.

But there are some drawbacks as well. First, the developer claims that the application can record at 15 frames per second with the high-quality setting. Frankly, we weren’t able to achieve 15 fps or even get close to it, although we did get much better results with lower-quality settings. You can see the smoothness of the video recording in this YouTube video. You may want to set the Best Performance setting which will sacrifice video quality to achieve better smoothness.

It appears that the reason behind the fact that 30 fps are impossible is due to the hardware itself as iPhone designers did not opt for a more sophisticated camera capable for video recordings. There is also the fact that Apple deliberately turned off few advanced features of the iPhone’s multimedia processor (Infinion’s SGOLD-2), most notably hardware-supported, on-the-fly crunching of the incoming video stream. The second restriction is purely commercial as you will have to pay $19.95 to fully enjoy the application. The unregistered evaluation version has a limit of 30 recordings, each limited to 30 seconds.

If you really need to record video through your iPhone, test drive VideoRecorder and register it for $19.95 if you are happy with the performance (the developer says registered users are entitled to free upgrades). Otherwise, you may want to wait for next week when Steve Jobs takes the stage at WWDC to unveil the 3G iPhone, which should bring a dedicated video camera with VoIP and videoconferencing as one of its killer features, as TG Daily predicted. According to iAppCat, iPhone Video Recorder is one of the most popular iPhone application, indicating video, along with network speed, as the two most sought for iPhone features.

The developer promised to offer VideoRecorder as an official application through the AppStore once Apple releases the iPhone 2.0 firmware update this month. The developer also claims thet VideoRecorder should deliver smooth video recordings on the 3G iPhone.