April 15, 2024

New Apps to Post Videos With Ease

Yet almost none of the millions of video clips stored on smartphones end up online.

The reason is simple: it’s easy to pull out your phone, call up the camera, and press record. But sharing your video is harder. How do you put it on Facebook? Some mobile Facebook apps have a video upload feature, but most people haven’t found it.

Phones that have a built-in option to post video to YouTube can force you through a mind-numbing multistep process. First, you upload the clip, which can’t be more than 15 minutes long. Then, you wait up to 20 minutes for YouTube to convert it and make it available. Then, you have to copy and paste the URL into Facebook or e-mail. It sounds easy in theory, but in practice it’s enough to keep most people from bothering.

If you try to send a video directly to a friend via e-mail or text message, you’ll almost certainly be thwarted. Either the clip is too big to send, or it’s too big for them to receive, or when they click it, they’ll only get an unhelpful error message like “the media being played is of an unsupported format.”

That’s why most of us resort to sharing video by holding our phones in front of other people’s faces.

In the last few weeks, though, new mobile apps have begun to make it almost as easy to share a video as it is to shoot. By automating the upload process, tying into Facebook and Twitter and reformatting clips so that they play on multiple types of phones as well as computers, these apps aim to make cellphone video as ubiquitous as still photos.

The most talked-about video app is Socialcam, a free app for iPhone and Android models that, as its name says, incorporates social media into the mix. To get started, download Socialcam from Apple’s App Store for iPhones or Google’s Android Market. The first time you fire it up, it will prompt you to log in using your Facebook account. Once you’re in, shoot-and-share is a lot easier than before.

You can use Socialcam to record video, or import clips from your camera roll. There’s no limit on how long your clip can be. You don’t need to think about uploading, because Socialcam automatically uploads the clip to its own servers in the background, and shares them from there. (The app is made by Justin.tv, a San Francisco start-up that popularized the genre of live video feeds a few years ago.)

Once you’re done recording, you have six options for sharing: Facebook, Twitter, SMS, e-mail, Tumblr and Posterous. You can post to your Facebook feed, or you can enter a Twitter user name and password to tweet a link to your video, which will play in any browser that supports the flash player or HTML5 video standard — that would include most desktop computers these days, and a growing array of mobile gadgets.

If you’d rather not share your clip with the entire Internet, you can e-mail a link to one or more contacts from your smartphone’s address book. Again, if they’re using a computer or phone that plays HTML5 video, it’ll play in the recipients’ browser. Socialcam also has its own social network in which you can tag, like and comment on friends’ Socialcam clips, which the app lets you browse in a gallery. If someone else tags you in a Socialcam video, it will get posted on your wall in Facebook. Yes, you can untag yourself.

Video uploads are good for more than party clips, date-hunting and “I’m at the beach and you’re not” messages. Real estate agents have begun to use them for walk-throughs of homes on the market. Protesters and counterprotesters at Wisconsin’s statehouse used them to document Gov. Scott Walker’s battle with public employee unions. Office workers have captured business meetings with less production quality, but also less awkward formality, than an official videographer.

But in many cases, the intended viewers may be trying to watch on a phone and not at their desks. Not all mobile phones can handle flash or HTML5 yet.

Another free app for iPhones, Thwapr (pronounced “THWAP-er”), solves the unsupported video format problem automatically. Thwapr video clips will play on hundreds of models of phones.

Like Socialcam, you point and shoot with Thwapr. Then you can send it to another phone owner or post to Facebook or Twitter, although Thwapr doesn’t have Socialcam’s tagging features.

Thwapr’s magic trick, though, is that if you send a Thwapr clip via e-mail or text message, you usually need not worry about what kind of phone your recipients are packing. They’ll get a link to click. When they do, their phone will request the video from Thwapr, which figures out what model of phone they have and how best to serve video to that phone. That includes automatically converting the video’s data format, which takes about 5 seconds.

Thwapr has a couple of restrictions. For now, the video recording app works only on iPhones, although the company says it is planning an Android app. Video uploads are limited to 10 minutes in length if you’re sending it over ATT or Verizon, or 45 minutes if you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.

A third free app, Qik Video Connect (it’s pronounced quick, and is owned by Skype, makers of the Internet phone and video chat software), offers solutions for two of the shortcomings in Socialcam and Thwapr. First, there are Qik apps for recording video on a wide range of smartphones, not just iPhone and Android. They’re not as slick as Qik’s latest iPhone version, which has an easy-to-figure-out interface, but they’ll do the job.

Second, Qik was originally built for live video streaming. As it turns out, most users almost always prefer not to broadcast live on the Internet, but to record now and post later. Still, Qik makes it easy to create a video post on Facebook that looks and plays like a prerecorded clip, but is actually connected live to your phone’s camera. Qik’s iPhone app includes hooks for bloggers and self-publishers to create live or prerecorded video links on most of the popular blog platforms, or in an R.S.S. feed. Setting these up isn’t as easy as posting to Facebook, but any serious blogger should be able to figure them out in a few minutes.

One more thing you should do: trim your videos to the interesting parts. Qik and Thwapr have editing built in. Socialcam lets you import a clip edited in Apple’s iMovie or VidTrim on Android. Other video start-ups have found that most people won’t pay attention for longer than 10 or 12 seconds.

If you’re going to start posting videos from your phone, think before you shoot. You don’t want to become the Internet version of the older archetype: the guy who bores everyone with his never-ending home movies.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=c2edadfb69a025304e1e2e5448bb8a38

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