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30 August, 2015

Will Apple finally fix iPhone's fatal flaw with the 6s?

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are rumored to include a serious upgrade to the photo and video camera, but is Apple prepared to finally fix the fatal flaw in the iPhone?

Note: This post will be updated after Apple reveals more details.

What is the fatal flaw in Apple's current iPhone models?
Please don't get me wrong, I have loved filming dozens of scenes with the 6 Plus over the last year. It is fantastic to take on location and edit from the road.

Filming at 60 and 240 FPS have greatly improved handheld filming results and the photo modes often capture great images. 

People talking about the new models suggest that they might include a 12 megapixel sensor, 4k video resolution and quite possibly a 5-element lens to improve low-light sensitivity. 

None of these upgrade will solve the fact that video recorded outside of North America often looks awful if the scene being recorded includes any light fixtures.

Light flicker reveals the fatal flaw in the iPhone — It can only natively capture video at 30 frames per second.  

Professional video cameras sold in the Americas record video at 30 frames per second and cameras sold in Europe and just about everywhere else record video at  25 frames per second.

The frame rate is tied directly to the frequency of the electricity being served up. In America, household electricity is expressed as: 120/60. What this means is the 120 volts at 60 cycles per second.

30 frames per second is the standard in Western Japan as well as north and central Americas because electricity there is served to the consumer at 60 cycles per second. 
30 frames per second is exactly half of 60 and the result in no light flicker.

In the rest of the world (with some small exceptions) electricity is served to consumers at 50 cycles per second.
220/50 means 220 volts at 50 cycles per second.
50 divided by two is 25. Filming at 25 frames per second here results in no light flicker.

To solve this problem, Apple must lest users switch between filming video at either 30 FPS or 25FPS natively. 

This upgrade would have to be done at the chip level.

Only at the chip level could apple be able to support recording video properly in advanced shooting modes like Slo-mo.
Slo-motion records either four or eight times as many frames as the default frame rate.

Currently the iPhone only support 30 fps in native mode, so the options are to record in 120fps or 240 fps. 

If you are filming in slo-mo video in Europe with an iPhone 6 Plus, THIS is what the playback looks like. 

In slo mo recording mode, the light flicker is now appearing eight times slower. This reveals that recording video with the proper frame rate remains a serious problem with the iPhone. 

There are apps like Filmic Pro that allow the user change to change up frame rates, but that is not at all the same level of functionality as providing that option for all apps - native and third party.

The Filmic Pro app allows for 25 fps filming, which can eliminate video flicker.

25p means 25 frames per second, progressive. This is the Filmic Pro setting used to record the non-flickering video sample shown in the video.

Native recording at 25 frames per second is something only the device manufacturer can. Filmic's solution is a patch. A patch that will have to now support a new model of iPhone. 

Until Apple solves this core quality issue the other features they plan to announce (like animated wallpaper) are much less important.

I will be taking particular note of the details and capabilities of the new imaging chips and sensor upgrades that might appear in the new iPhone models.

Focusing on this issue would certainly be a game-changer for Apple.

FYI: All smartphone models (Samsung, Nokia, etc) that I have tested currently suffer from the same issue. They all record natively at only 30 frames per second.

If Apple were to stand out from the competition, it could make users videos look a whole lot better - especially the hundreds of millions of people who are iPhone filming in places where the electricity vibrates at 50 cycles per second.

29 August, 2015

Make 10 types of social video at this London workshop

Join me in London on September 28 in this one day crash course on making social video. More details.

Workshop: Producing Social Video 
Sponsored by

Learn how to quickly produce broadcast quality social video content that connects with mobile and social audiences.

Transform your iPhone into a pro video camera and edit suite in this practical workshop.

You will learn how to capture and edit video using iPhone or iPad and share it on social media channels.

This course will help you:

  • Plan and produce short form video
  • Film and edit video on the smartphone
  • Frame and edit interviews and sound bites
  • Produce video for social platforms
  • Master live streaming from Periscope
  • Set up the camera for best results
  • Select the best gear and apps
  • Learn shot patterns that simplifies video filming and editing
  • Perform simple, but powerful video edits on your device
  • Write to pictures to produce voice over narration

Master the apps and filmmaking secrets that will help you unlock the video storytelling power of the iPhone.

This course in video storytelling is designed to help you take advantage of best mobile storytelling techniques and tricks for creating professional visual content for social media.

Participants will participate in exercises that involve interviewing, filming, editing, and sharing video with an iPhone or iPad.

What will the course cover?

  • How to capture high-quality video footage
  • How to film cinematic sequences to tell stories using pictures
  • How to shoot professional quality video interviews
  • How to edit video on a smartphone or iPad
  • The most practical apps and essential gear for getting broadcast quality results

Complete details can be found here.

This course frequently sells out, so register today.

26 August, 2015

Design thinking with Robb Montgomery

Design thinking can empower your business.

In this hands-on workshop, Robb Montgomery leads teams through a challenge where they have to create a thesis and paper prototype that will either solve a problem or seize an opportunity.

Design thinking is a process that uses a human-centered approach to guide teams to quickly produce actionable ideas that have clear goals.

At the end of the day, each team pitches their solution.

This is a typical result from a team that has applied the principles.

Team 5 (One editor, one designer, one manager, and one coder)

Design challenge: How to encourage users to take action with the stories they view. Our user said that he would like to engage with local issues, but is turned off by polarizing comment threads.

Prototype / pitch / solution: Our solution is to develop an EMPOWR! widget that pops up at the end of a selected article with a simple button prompt: “This issue affects me.”

If a user taps that button, they are provided with two or three simple choices based on their level of interest. For example, Keep me Updated, Connect with others who care, or Offer my help.

The paper prototype and thesis can be used to guide the development of the new product or service.
Comments from participants of a workshop Robb recently conducted for Poynter.
"Why don't we do this more often? This is a great way to solve problems.""I like the team-based approach to problem solving.""I like that we can take the ownership of establishing a new direction.""Inspiring to have the time focus on these issues and this method will help me in other projects."

And from their boss (who also participated . . .)
"I am happy to see the team dedicated time and energy and their skills to help reinvent our portal. I didn't expect this workshop to be so productive.”

Invite Robb to run a Design Thinking Workshop with your team. 

12 August, 2015

Filmmaking with your iPhone

MASTERCLASS: Filmmaking with your iPhone 
– How to make professional video with the camera you always have with you.

Serious filmmakers, broadcasters and agencies are now using iPhones to produce professional cinema, journalism and social video for mobile audiences. 

According to, “The shift to mobile and social video is revolutionary.”

Smart Film School founder, Robb Montgomery, introduces the gear, the apps and the techniques for making stunning video projects with a smartphone camera.

Request more information.

Yes, you can edit GoPro video on your iPhone

You can use your GoPro with your iPhone and make amazing videos with ever opening up a laptop.

Did you know it is possible to edit your GoPro footage on your iPhone while still in the field?  No laptop is required.

The quick tip is to set your GoPro to 1080-50 in wide mode to be able to beam over footage that works on iPhone.

This technique unlocks a lot of filmmaking power to filmmakers and video journalists.

I have assembled 12 new videos in this playlist where you can see GoPro and iPhone footage edited together.

The videos shown above are daily mobile film 'sketches' made over two weeks hiking through the Alps.

All footage was edited and uploaded each day using just an iPhone.

I am currently producing new lessons for the Smart Film School based on these examples so that you can learn exactly how to make video stories like these.