This entire post is an excerpt from "CNET Do-It-Yourself Camera and Music Phones Projects: (Chapter 13. Excerpt from the book published by McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0071485643)" and provides a good basic overview of how to take videos from your phone and upload them to video sharing websites.
What You'll Need:
- Account on a video sharing service on the Internet
- E-mail access on the phone
- Data communication (wireless Internet access) plan from your service provider.
- Cost: The cost of sending photos to the Internet from your phone depends on your data communication plan
Practically all camera phones that can capture photographs can record video clips. It is fun to watch the recorded clips on the phone screen, but it is even more fun to share them with family and friends. No matter how entertaining the clips may be, you shouldn't just e-mail your videos to every person you know. Even a short video clip tends to make up a large file that quickly fills up e-mail boxes. There is a better way to show your movies: upload them on a video-sharing service on the Internet.
Note: Sharing photos on the Internet is one thing, but sharing video clips is another thing entirely, because of the following:
- Even a short video recording can become a large file. The size of the file depends on the image resolution and how much the video software compresses images. Use the highest video resolution for sharing on the Internet and the lowest resolution for sending clips from phone to phone.
- Double-check your mobile data communication plan. If you intend to frequently upload videos directly from your phone, you should consider a flat-rate plan that allows unlimited data traffic, or at least, a large number of megabytes of traffic per month.
- Many video-sharing sites allow posting of new movies only from Internet browser software. All Internet browser products on a computer can upload files, but it still is rare for an Internet browser on a phone to have this capability. You can always copy the movie from your phone to your computer and upload it from there.
- Some video-sharing services can receive clips via e-mail or via MMS. You can transmit your movies directly from your camera phone to these sites, for example, to blip.tv and YouTube.
- Video-sharing services may require you to upload your video in a certain format, such as MOV (Quicktime), WMV (Windows Media Video), or MPEG4.
Despite the technical requirements, it is not difficult to share movies on the Internet once you have made all the necessary preparations. The really nice thing is that the best video-sharing services do some of the work for you. For instance, they convert a myriad of video formats into a commonly used format that can be watched on any computer without having to install any additional software.
In order to make sure that you find a technique that works both for your phone and for your video-sharing site, we'll go through three cases: upload by e-mail, upload from a computer, and upload from a phone browser software. Pick the one that suits you the best.
E-mail is the easiest option to use for uploading videos. If you can't use e-mail, some smartphones come with an advanced browser software that can upload files, including videos, from the phone. This feature lets you post movies to practically any video-sharing site directly from your phone.
If you want to avoid data transmission charges altogether, or you'd like to minimize the use of megabytes from your data subscription plan, copy the videos to your computer and upload the clips to the Internet from there.
Before sharing any videos or even before shooting them, you should check the video settings on your camera phone. Most devices come with a low-quality video option for sending clips by MMS from one phone to another. Usually, megapixel camera phones also feature a higher-quality video recording option.
Memory space is also a consideration. For example, a 50-second clip captured in 176×144 (QCIF) resolution in 3GP format results approximately in a 500KB file. Digital cameras can capture video in higher resolution, and they typically don't compress images as heavily as camera phones do. For instance, a 320×240 (QVGA) resolution video clip about 60 seconds long and saved in AVI format takes about 10MB of memory space in a digital camera.
1. Define the Video Quality
Because you are going to upload your video to the Internet for viewing on a computer screen, choose the highest video quality.
- Symbian OS/S60 Phone:
- Activate the camera. Open Options and select Video mode (or New and Video Clip). Select Options | Settings | Video Quality (Video Resolution) and choose the highest value (see Figure 13-3). Press BACK when you are done.
- Windows Mobile Phone:
- Activate the camera. Open the menu, and select Capture Mode | Video (or Record Video). Open the menu once more and choose Options. If you see a list of options, select Modes. Now, you can change the video settings (see Figure 13-4). Select the highest resolution. You can also change the Encoder to AVI or MPEG4 for the best image quality. Some phone models only let you select the Record quality. In this case, pick up High. Press DONE when you are ready.
- Other Phones:
- Activate the camera and go to the video settings. Set the highest resolution and quality you can find.
Tip: There is an exception to specifying the video quality. When you have to send your video via MMS, choose the lowest video quality, such as the highly compressed 3GP in 176×144 resolution. While you are recording a video that will be transmitted as an MMS message, try to keep the clip length under 10 seconds. This ensures the clip stays smaller than 100KB, which is often the limit for messages that service providers let through their MMS systems.
2. Save Your Video Clips on a Memory Card
Before you record new video clips on your camera phone, make sure it is saving images on the memory card. You can change this setting by activating the camera, opening the menu, finding settings, and changing the default storage device to memory card.
In this project, I will show you how to use e-mail for posting videos on blip.tv (its Internet address is the same: blip.tv). There are other video-sharing sites that accept videos via e-mail, and the e-mail upload process is pretty much the same for all of them. For example, YouTube can also receive videos via MMS or from the Shozu application.
1. Make Sure You Have a Working E-mail Account on Your Phone
If you have successfully sent e-mail messages (with attachments) from your phone, you are all set for this project. Take a look at Project 10 [in the book] if you need help setting up and troubleshooting e-mail access on your phone.2.
2. Write Down the E-mail Address blip.tv Has Reserved for You
If you haven't registered with a video-sharing service yet, now it is time to do so.
Log on to your blip.tv account on your computer. Go to your blip.tv home page and click Publish | Upload | Mobile Upload. Type a code word that will become part of your upload e-mail address. Then, you will get the full address where you can send your videos. Write it down.
If you use some other video-sharing site than blip.tv, you should look for the e-mail address from your profile or account settings.
3. Add the E-mail Address to Your Phone Contacts
You will need the e-mail address many times when uploading videos, so it's worth saving on the phone.
- Symbian OS/S60 Phone
- Go to the main menu and select Contacts | Options | New Contact. Type blip.tv (or whatever you believe describes your video album) into the First Name field. Scroll down until you find E-mail. Enter the address blip.tv reserved for you.
- Windows Mobile Phone
- In the Home screen, press CONTACTS. Open the menu and select New Contact. Type, for instance, blip.tv into the First Name field. Scroll down until you find E-mail. Enter the address that was reserved for you by blip.tv.
- Other Phones
- Add the upload e-mail address to the phone's contacts or address book.
4. Send the Video
After you have recorded your movie, and perhaps watched it to make sure it qualifies, you are ready to post the clip on your online video album.
Caution: Before sharing your home movies on the Internet, keep in mind that anything posted on a public web page may begin a life of its own. A funny video of a friend posted on your album may pop up years later in another context when, for example, your friend's children are surfing on the Internet.
- Symbian OS/S60 Phone
- If you want to post a video right after you have recorded it, you can do it while the camera is still active. Select Options | Send | Via E-mail (or Via MMS/multimedia, if you are posting to a service that only accepts MMS messages).
- Alternatively, you can send a video you have recorded earlier. In the main menu, open Gallery (or open the Media folder and then, Gallery). Select Video Clips and find the movie you want to send. Select Options | Send | Via E-mail (or Via MMS/multimedia).
- You should see a form for composing a message (see Figure 13-5). Open Options and select Add Recipient. Pick up the address you saved in Contacts for your video uploads. Open Options and choose Send
- Windows Mobile Phone
- Go to the Home screen and press START. Open Pictures & Videos (or Video Player) and find the video you want to send. Highlight it and open the menu. Choose Send and select your e-mail account (or MMS/Multimedia if you are not using e-mail) from the list. You should see a screen for composing a message (see Figure 13-6).
- When the pointer is in the To: field, open the menu and select Add Recipient (Insert Contact). You'll see a list of contacts. Pick up the e-mail address that you created for uploads. Press SEND. The message will be sent the next time you access e-mail.
- For instantly sending the video, go to the Home screen and activate Messaging. Open your e-mail account, open the menu, and choose Send/Receive
- Other Phones
- Open the photo/video viewer on the phone, find the video you want to share, and send it via e-mail or MMS to a video sharing site.
5. View Your Shared Video Album
When you get access to a computer, take a look at the videos you have uploaded. This is what your friends and family will see once you send them the link to the album.
You may want to use your computer for uploading videos in any of the following cases: the recorded video is megabytes in size, you want to avoid mobile network costs, or the video-sharing site accepts uploads from computers only. The upload is done in two phases. First, you copy your video from the camera phone to your computer. Second, you upload the clip from your computer to your video album. Although I'm using YouTube as an example in this project, this particular method works with practically all video-sharing sites.
1. Remove the Memory Card from Your Phone and Insert It
into a Memory Card Reader
Assuming you have saved your movie clip on a memory card, pull the card out from the phone, and stick it into a card reader. Copy the video clip from the memory card to your computer's hard disk. Make a note where you saved it. You may view a detailed description of this procedure in Project 2.
If there's no memory card on your phone, use Bluetooth or a data cable for transferring the video to your computer. Read Project 3 for details for using Bluetooth.
2. Edit the Video (If You Want)
If you want to improve your video's attractiveness, edit it in a video software application, such as Windows Movie Maker, Apple iMovie, or Adobe Photoshop Album. Video editing products allow you to keep the best segments of the movie and scrap the rest. Read Project 20 for instructions and tools for editing your videos. For example, YouTube recommends MPEG4 video format at 320×240 resolution with MP3 audio for best viewing.
Don't worry. You don't have to do anything to your video before uploading it to YouTube. The service will do the necessary format conversions. Typical camera phone video recordings, such as 3GP video in 176×144 resolution, AVI video in 320×240 resolution, and MPEG4 clip in 352×288 resolution all play fine in YouTube.
3. Log on to Your Video Album Account
Log on to YouTube at www.youtube.com from your computer. If you haven't registered with YouTube, or any other video-sharing service yet, do it now.
4. Upload Your Video
Once you have logged on to YouTube, click Upload. Fill in the required forms, locate the video file from your computer's hard disk, and click upload. Then, simply wait for your video to be copied to the server.
5. See How Your Video Plays on YouTube
To view your video album, click your account name at the top of the YouTube window. YouTube will list your videos. Click the thumbnail picture of the video that you want to play.
Tip: If the video looks more blurry or mosaic than it was on your phone screen, click the small box with a square around it on the lower right-hand corner of the video window. The video will be rescaled to its original size, which will make it look sharper on the large screen.
Don't to forget to send the link to the video album to your friends and family.
It is easy to upload videos or photographs using an Internet browser on a computer. Browser software products on phones, however, don't typically come with the required feature for uploading files. There are some smartphones, like the Nokia E- and N-series, that include a browser that is capable of uploading files. Also, the Opera browser software can upload files from the phone.
A definitive way to find out if the browser on your phone can upload files is to try it yourself. Launch the Internet browser on your phone, log on to your video album account, and go to the upload section. If you can't see the upload button or can't pick up the video file from the phone (see Figure 13-7), you won't be able to use this technique.
If your phone browser application can upload files, the rest is easy—use it like your computer browser.
1. Log on to Your Video Account
Launch the browser software on your phone and go to your online video album. Log on to your account.
2. Upload a Video
Navigate to the Upload or Posting section. Fill in the required information and click the button that lets you select the file to upload. Pick up the video from the phone memory or memory card and click the Upload or Post button.
3. Watch Your Videos
You still have to go back to your computer to watch movies posted on video-sharing sites. Phones can play movies, too (you just recorded and viewed one). But when you upload your video to the video-sharing service, it may convert the clip to another format that your phone doesn't recognize. For example, watching videos on YouTube requires Macromedia Flash software. Most computers have the Flash software installed, but very few mobile devices come with it.
Tip: The Shozu photo upload application—which is discussed in more detail in Project 12 [in the book] —can upload videos as well. If you have, for example, a YouTube account, you can shoot a video on your camera phone, and when you save it, Shozu can automatically upload it to YouTube.
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