An iPhonography Epiphany

Recently, I’ve been learning how to produce, direct, shoot and edit video through an initiative I’m involved with at work. It’s been a fabulous learning experience. A LOT to learn. And a bit of a mind-shift from shooting stills.

Our instructor, who is a professional cinematographer, was showing us some short videos she had put together – personal projects that she described as experimental. They were really creative. She then told us that she shot the entire thing on her iPhone. Hunh? On her iPhone? Apparently. She showed us what she had used to make the short creative videos she showed us. Wow…

She has an iPhone 5 and had bought several apps to try. Most for shooting video, but also some for shooting stills. Oooh, I thought. “Must try these.” I love new toys – gadgets, apps, software… It appeals to my adventurous side, seeing something new and thinking “Hey, I’ve gotta try that!”.

My instant glut of app purchases once I started to see what was available for photo and video on the iPhone. Still learning to use all of these, but most are pretty straightforward but also really neat!

My instant glut of app purchases once I started to see what was available for photo and video on the iPhone. Still learning to use all of these, but most are pretty straightforward but also really neat!

When I heard that you could actually shoot decent videos on your iPhone, I knew this would be my new addiction. And yup, that’s exactly how it’s turned out! I have twenty new images and videos of my cat just from one weekend. ūüėČ

A study in cat. Artsy close up of my cat. I resized (decreased) this in Photoshop, but that's it.

A study in cat. Artsy close up of my cat. I resized (decreased) this in Photoshop, but that’s it.

But seriously, I was so impressed by what some of these video and camera apps could do. I spent some time searching the Apple app store. Flagged ones my instructor had recommended or that looked promising. Bought a $20 App Store card and got busy. I downloaded about 8 new apps (I decided to pace myself‚Ķ.however, since that initial purchase spree, I have bought more. My bad…). I’m still learning the details of each one and some I’ve used more than others. But I certainly have a sense of how these things work and what they can do. And the bottom line is that I’m really impressed! In fact, I’m hooked!

This was a colour shot that I then converted to monochrome but then colourized just the flag. This one was made it Photo Editor.

This was a colour shot that I then converted to monochrome but then colourized just the flag. This one was made it iSplash Filter.

This one I did tweak in Photoshop, but not much. Tiny tweak of vibrance and brightness and a tiny bit of sharpening, but that's it.

This one I did tweak in Photoshop, but not much. Tiny tweak of vibrance and brightness and a tiny bit of sharpening, but that’s it. Being able to spot-meter made the exposure work for this image.

All of the images shown here were shot on high quality jpeg, but not maximum quality or tiff. I figured I’d stick with high quality since I only have a 16GB iPhone. But I can easily switch to max quality or tiff for images I know I’ll want to do something with.

Shell’s Top 3 iPhone Camera/Video Apps

I thought I’d share a really brief overview of my three favourite apps (to date). This won’t be a detailed instructional post. It’s just a highlight of my current top 3 and the features I most like about them. Have a read and decide if it’s an app you might use and if so, give it a whirl.¬†If you already have the app, I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what you think of it and what your favourite features are.

1. Pure Shot (by Michael Hardaker https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/pureshot/id591785487?mt=8)

Love this camera app! Here are some of the thing I like about it:

  • set and lock your exposure and focus & lock white balance
  • built in timer & a night shot mode
  • alter your image quality, ranging from high quality jpeg, max quality jpeg or dRAW tiff
  • tap to focus to set your focus point
  • see the RGB histogram
  • 3 shot bracketing
  • multi-zone or spot metering
  • GPS location info
  • you can also change the image ratio (4:3, 3:2, 1:1)

These are just some of the features of this app. You can also customize your shooting mode. There are other things I see as less useful such as adding copyright or licensing information. If I were going to need these I’d already be playing with my image in Photoshop. But it’s pretty cool what this thing can do and I would highly recommend this app.

Note: one thing I have found is that the images made with this app are save with the extension in capital letters. So when I try to open the image in Photoshop, it can’t recognize it. If I rename the image and use the .jpg extension (lower case), Photoshop can read the file just fine.

Here’s a screenshot of what the viewfinder looks like in Pure Shot. Gives you an idea of some of the controls.

screenshot of the controls on the Pure Shot app. Gives you an idea of the controls and things you can manipulate.

screenshot of the controls on the Pure Shot app. Gives you an idea of the controls and things you can manipulate.

2. Movie Pro (Video Recorder with Pause, Zoom, Secret Mode, and Multiple Recording Options with Fastest Performance by Mirage Labs Private Limited
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/moviepro-video-recorder-pause/id547101144?mt=8)

This is the first real video recorder app I’ve used and I really ¬†like it! I’m still learning about this one, but here are a few of the things I like about it:

  • can select frame rate, resolution, aspect ratio, video quality and compressed or uncompressed audio
  • lock focus, exposure and auto-white balance
  • zoom in/out buttons on the screen
  • can be configured for auto-trigger recording
  • can capture still frames during video recording
  • can upload clips directly to Facebook, Youtube, Dropbox
  • audio metering and video stabilization
  • trim photos within the app

Here’s a screenshot of the app in use. Forgot to hold to focus properly, but you get the idea.

Screenshot of the Movie Pro app in action.

Screenshot of the Movie Pro app in action.

3. Perfect Video (Video Editor and Slideshow builder (Lite) by yinfeng tang  https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/perfect-video-video-editor/id633335631?mt=8)

This app, in my mind, is just plain FUN. It enables you to make a video/slideshow with text and music, just using your iPhone and any video clips or images you have on your phone. It’s basically a mini video editor and so if you want to quickly generate a fun video to share with friends, this app will do it.

Some of the things you can play with are:

  • choose transition type and duration
  • fade in and out from black
  • use your fingertip to move video clips around if you want to change the order of them
  • type in text for title slides

It’s a simple app but also a lot of fun.

If you’re looking for photo or video apps, give these a try. If you are already using them, post a comment and let me know what you like or don’t like about it or any cool features you really like. Or if there are other apps you think are fantastic for photo or video, feel free to post a comment about them. I’d love to hear from you.

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