The cameras that are built into the iPhone and iPad are ideal for snapping photos, which can then be edited, viewed, and shared. However, those same cameras can also be used to shoot video, which can then be edited on your iPhone or iPad and shared via email or the web. Or, you can transfer the raw video footage to your primary computer using the iTunes Sync process or iCloud, for example, and then edit, view, and share it from there.
The length of a video you can shoot using your iOS mobile device is determined mainly by how much internal storage is available. However, if you plan to quickly edit and then upload your video footage to Facebook or YouTube, for example, using a Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G connection, you’ll need to keep the length of your videos down to three to five minutes (or less).
Uploading large video files requires a significant amount of wireless data usage on a 3G or 4G network, so if you have a monthly wireless data usage allocation, upload video files using a Wi-Fi connection whenever possible.
Shooting Video Using the Camera App
The Camera app that comes preinstalled on your iPhone or iPad can transform the device into an easy-to-use digital video camera. To quickly begin shooting video, begin by launching the Camera app. On the iPhone or iPad, access the Home Screen, and then tap on the Camera app icon. Or, on your iPhone (that’s running iOS 5.1 or higher), from the Lock Screen, place your finger on the Camera icon and swipe it upwards.
Once the Camera app is running, located near the lower-right corner of the screen is the Camera/Video virtual switch. When the switch is positioned to the left, the Camera app works like a point-and-shoot digital camera. However, if you tap on this switch and move it to the right, you’ll activate video mode within the Camera app, and be able to shoot live-action video, which includes sound.
Once in video mode, the shutter button that’s displayed near the bottom-center of the Camera app screen on the iPhone (or along the right-center margin of the iPad’s screen) will transform from a camera icon into a circular red dot shaped icon.
To begin shooting video, tap on the red dot. It will turn bright red. From this point forward, until you press the red dot icon again, your iOS mobile device will record whatever is displayed on the device’s display (the Camera app’s viewfinder), as well as any and all sound in the immediate area.
Sound is recorded using the iPhone or iPad’s built-in microphone. To dramatically improve the audio quality being recorded, attach an external (optional) microphone to your mobile device. Mic-W is just one company that offers high-quality microphones for iOS mobile devices that can be used when shooting video.
Before you begin shooting video, to switch between the front and rear-facing camera that’s built into your iPhone or iPad, tap on the Camera Selection icon. It’s located near the top-right corner of the Camera app’s screen on your iPhone, or near the bottom-right corner of the Camera app’s screen on the iPad (to the immediate left of the Camera/Video switch).
Then, when shooting video on the iPhone, to brighten up the immediate area, it’s possible to turn on the built-in flash. When in video mode, the flash serves as a constant light source when you’re using the rear-facing camera. To use it, tap on the Flash icon that’s displayed near the upper-left corner of the Camera app’s screen, and then tap on the On icon. (There is currently no flash built into the iPad.)
Finally, as you’re shooting, focus in on your primary subject using the autofocus sensor. To do this, as you’re pointing your iPhone or iPad at the subject and seeing it within the viewfinder (on the screen), tap on the screen where the subject is. A blue box will momentarily appear. This box is the auto focus sensor and is used to indicate what the app is focusing in on as you’re shooting.
Anytime you’re shooting video with your iOS mobile device, it’s important to hold the iPhone or iPad steady. Avoid quick pans or tilts. All movement should be slow and steady, in order to ensure the video will be smooth and in-focus when you view it later.
Once you’ve captured your raw video footage, tap on the red dot icon again to stop recording. The raw video footage you just shot is automatically saved within the Camera Roll folder of the Photos app. The contents of the Camera Roll folder can be accessed from the Photos app, the optional iMovie app, or another movie viewing and editing app you acquire from the App Store.
View, Edit, and Share Your Video Footage Using the Photos App
One quick way to view, edit, and share your video footage shot using your iPhone or iPad is to tap on the video thumbnail that’s displayed near the lower-left corner of the Camera app’s screen. This will launch the Photos app. Your most recently shot video will be loaded and displayed.
Another option is to exit out of the Photos app by pressing the Home button, and then launch the Photos app by tapping on the Photos app icon on the Home Screen. Or, choose to view and edit your video footage using iMovie or another optional app.
To manually load your video footage from the Camera Roll folder into the Photos app, launch the Photos app. On the iPhone, tap on the Albums icon that’s displayed near the bottom of the screen, and then tap on the Camera Roll folder listing. On the iPad, after launching Photos, tap on the Albums tab that’s displayed near the top-center of the screen, and then tap on the Camera Roll folder to open it.
When viewing the contents of the Camera Roll on your iPhone or iPad, tap on the thumbnail that represents the video footage you want to view and edit. Thumbnails that represent videos have a video icon displayed in the lower-left corner, and a time code representing the length of the video displayed in the lower-right corner.
Tap on a video’s thumbnail to load it into the Photos app. Once loaded, tap the Play icon (displayed in the center of the screen) to play the raw video footage on your iOS mobile device’s screen.
If you want to edit your video from within the Photos app, tap on the filmstrip display at the top of the screen. You can clip the beginning of a video using your finger by dragging the right end of the filmstrip to the left. Or, it’s possible to clip the end of a video clip by dragging the right end of the filmstrip to the left using your finger. When you do this, the filmstrip portion of the display becomes surrounded by a yellow frame.
As you’re editing the video by clipping the beginning and/or end, press the Play icon to view your video in its edited state. To confirm and save the edits, tap on the yellow Trim icon that’s displayed near the upper-right corner of the screen. Next, choose to save the newly edited clip as a new file or overwrite the existing file.
Clipping the beginning and/or end of the video within the Photos app is the extent of the editing that’s possible using this app. For more extensive editing functionality, you’ll definitely want to use the optional iMovie app, or another video editing app that’s available for your iPhone or iPad.
To delete the video altogether from your iOS mobile device, tap on the Trash icon within the Photos app as you’re viewing it. On the iPhone, the Trash icon is displayed near the lower-right corner of the screen. On the iPad, it can be found near the upper-right corner of the Photos screen.
When you’re ready to share your raw or edited video footage, tap on the Photo app’s Share icon. On the iPhone, you’ll find it near the lower-left corner of the screen. On the iPad, the Share icon can be found near the upper-right corner of the Photo app’s screen.
The Share icon displays a menu with three options. You can Email the video clip to one or more recipients from within the Photos app. By tapping on the Message option (iPhone only), you can send the video clip to someone via the Messages app, or if you tap on the YouTube option (and you have an active YouTube account), you can upload the video directly to YouTube as long as your iOS mobile device has access to the Internet.
Keep in mind, once a video is stored within the Camera Roll folder, it can automatically sync with your iCloud account (and become accessible to other computers or iOS mobile devices linked to the account). You can also sync the file with your primary computer using the iTunes Sync process.
Sharing a Video via YouTube from the Photos App
After tapping on the Share icon and then the Send To YouTube option, a Publish Video screen will be displayed for YouTube. It’s necessary to manually enter the Title and Description for your video using the virtual keyboard. You’ll also need to choose between Standard and High Definition. This determines the file size of the video, as well as its clarity when someone views it.
On the Publish Video screen, there’s also a Tags field. Especially if the video will be viewable by the public, adding short tags will help people locate the video when performing an online search. Next, tap on the Category field to determine how YouTube should categorize the video. Choose a category, such as Comedy, Education, or Entertainment, from the menu that appears.
Finally, tap on the Public, Unlisted, or Private option to determine who will be able to access and view your video once it’s uploaded to YouTube. Choosing the Public option means that anyone can find and view it. The Unlisted option allows people who know the specific link (URL) to the video on YouTube to view it, but it will not be searchable. You will need to provide the specific URL to people whom you want to view the video. If you want to invite only specific YouTube users to view the video, and have maximum control over who sees it, choose the Private option.
After filling in all of the fields within the Publish Videos screen, tap on the Publish icon to upload your video to YouTube. This process will take several minutes (or longer) depending on the video’s file size and the speed of your Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G Internet connection. A message will appear once the upload process is complete and the video can be viewed on YouTube.
Using iMovie for iOS to Edit, View, and Share Videos
Available from the App Store for $4.99 is an extremely powerful video editing and sharing tool that was developed by Apple, called iMovie. This app offers a full suite of video editing tools to your iPhone or iPad, allowing you to add animated titles, scene transitions, special effects, audio voice overs, background music, and other elements to your videos before sharing them. This can all be done from your mobile device.
One fun feature of the iMovie app allows you to create Hollywood-style movie trailers using special templates and your own video footage. Or, as you’re editing videos, it’s easy to add special themes to give your videos a more professional touch without spending a lot of time editing.
iMovie allows you to control almost every aspect of a video, including the visual and audio components of it. This app is more difficult to use than the Photos app, but the functionality is much greater and the results will be impressive.
After editing your videos using the iMovie app, you have a handful of options for emailing, syncing, or sharing the video. From within the app, you can upload your edited videos to YouTube, Facebook, or other compatible video sharing services.
Using Your iOS Device’s AirPlay Feature to Show Your Movies on Your TV
If you have an Apple TV device connected to your television or home theatre system, and it’s linked to the same wireless network as your iOS device, use the AirPlay feature to wirelessly stream video from your iPhone or iPad on your television, simply by tapping on the AirPlay icon when a video is playing on your iOS mobile device.
While it may not offer all of the features of a stand-alone handheld digital video camera, your iPhone or iPad is ideal for shooting short, high-definition videos that can be shot, edited, and shared from almost anywhere.
Jason R. Rich is an avid iPhone and iPad user, and is the bestselling author of more than 54 books, including Your iPad At Work: 2nd Edition (Que), iPad and iPhone Tips and Tricks (Que), Using iPhone iOS 5 Edition (Que) and iPad 2 Essentials (Que). He’s also a frequent contributor to numerous national magazines, major daily newspapers and popular websites. You can follow him on Twitter (@JasonRich7).