Stupid iPhone Tricks: Turn your iPhone 3G into a video camera

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of seeing Steve Garfield speak at Pod Camp Western Mass. Garfield is the author of Get Seen, a practical book on the ins and outs of web video production. He has been working with video on the web since well before most of us even considered it as a possibility. As Garfield spoke, he talked about using an iPhone 3GS as to capture and share video. Unfortunately, I own an iPhone 3G, which doesn't have such capability, or so I thought.

Just as I was formulating a strategy to convince my wife why I needed to upgrade my iPhone, Garfield came to the rescue. You see there really is an App for that. For just $1.99 U.S. you can buy Qik for the iPhone 3G and turn your ordinary iPhone into a video capture device. I'm here to tell you, it works.

Just that Easy, Just That Quick

While I sat there, I downloaded the application and started capturing video of Garfield's presentation. He's an excellent speaker, by the way; relaxed, funny and full of practical advice. Qik proved to be a great find for me.

After you capture video, you can share it by email with a friend, send it as a link via SMS or place the video on your Facebook page. You can also access the video in a browser on your desktop computer if you are using the same network as your iPhone. This enables you to save it locally on your desktop computer's hard drive and use it in other programs such as a video editor.

How About Making a Video From Stills

Garfield also told us about another way to create a video using a program called Animoto. Using this app, you can create an animated video slide show from still photos you took with the iPhone camera. The program lets you create a short video with 10 pictures for free, or you can pay a reasonable fee to create longer videos with more pictures. You can even add royalty free music, and what you produce is a very slick video with a soundtrack. You can see my video from Western Mass Pod Camp here.

Easy Sharing

The great thing about using these programs is that they provide a way to share the resulting video fairly easily with friends via email or social networking site such as Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. There are other free and low-cost video capture and creation programs available as well, so take a look around. You don't have to invest a new iPhone to capture video, because believe it or not, there really is an App for that.