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Old April 21st, 2017, 12:44 PM   #1
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Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

I do not know, but here is a 4K Test Video from the latest (Samsung S8):

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Old April 21st, 2017, 04:48 PM   #2
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Re: Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

Aside from some strange motion things.... looks pretty good, and I think we all have run into oddities with 4K and motion due to shutter speeds and frame rates!

It's actually pretty safe to say the "war" is already over, point and shoot is now "grab my phone" for a very large segment of the population (myself included). Sony has for some time been innovating and adding features to its cell phone sensor lineup, to the point where the "small sensor" camera (still or video) really has a tough time finding a reason or purpose in a "gear bag" (or pocket or purse).

There ARE "real" cameras of course, with larger sensors, better user controls, and most importantly better IMAGE QUALITY.... When appropriate, I'd rather shoot with one, for all those reasons. Whether 98.6% of the population can even notice or gives a hoot about the better results.... well, that's an entirely different ball of cheese.

Arguably, the fact that phone manufacturers rather prominently promote the CAMERA (not a peep about how awesome the phone calls are!?) in EVERY advertisement, one has to believe that it's one of the most important features to most of the consumer market, and they DO expect better quality, even if it's a step or two (OK, a bit more... maybe) below what a "professional" demands....

Sensor suppliers know that a small sensor cell phone cam module is cheaper and easier to produce, and will sell in high 6 to 7+ figure quantities, so it shouldn't be surprising that the R&D is going there, and the performance "gap" is much smaller than it used to be!
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Old April 21st, 2017, 10:44 PM   #3
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Re: Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

Very thoughtful post.

Here is another video, with more motion, different light situations, and sound tests:

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Old April 22nd, 2017, 07:23 AM   #4
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Re: Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

I now invoke Doug Jensen. :-)

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Old April 22nd, 2017, 08:17 PM   #5
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Re: Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

My iPhone7 was very helpful a few weeks ago when recording a presentation that was running long. I felt the memory card from one camera position was going to run out of space and the presenter had moved to a new position so my other un-manned camera wasn't on target any more.
With 3 minutes to go I grabbed the mini tripod and iPhone holder from the gear bag and set up a nice wide shot which I started recording with 1 minute to go so there would be plenty of sync audio available.
He actually finished with seconds to spare, but my iPhone recorded a perfectly acceptable wide shot while I switched to recording on the second card slot during the first 20 seconds of Q&A.
I was recording main audio on a different recorder, but as my good luck would have it the first question was from someone in the back of the room close to my phone and the audio was better from the phone than from my ambient mics. I was rolling again with my "real" camera by the time he started his answer.
Nothing was lost so I was very happy to have a great camera phone on me, but despite that success I won't be giving up any of my many and varied cameras, mics and audio recorders.

Last edited by Jay Massengill; April 23rd, 2017 at 11:40 AM.
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Old April 23rd, 2017, 08:35 AM   #6
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Re: Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

There's a slight problem with that here in 50Hz land. Every phone's camera function that I've seen has only delivered 30Hz video, meaning that matching that up to 25p or 50p produces variable results.
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Old April 23rd, 2017, 09:16 AM   #7
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Re: Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

Cell phones will eventually replace small point and shoot camera's but only for users who use the camera for personal reasons on a daily basis, smartphones have become a minicomputer that fits in your pocket and it's the convenience to take pictures or shoot video whenever you feel like it that eventually will stop people from buying dedicated camera's.

For professional users that ofcourse is not the case, a cellphone will never replace a dedicated videocamera, it might come in handy like Jay pointed out that if you have no other option your phone could be a last resort to take over for a short time but I don't see myself shooting a entire wedding or company video with it, that would be a bit ridiculous.

The samsung s8 video looks nice and detailed but there is a constant shake going on which seems to warp the image, probably because of lack of decent stabilization?
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Old April 23rd, 2017, 11:19 AM   #8
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Re: Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Smith View Post
I now invoke Doug Jensen. :-)
Andrew
I'm not sure why I'm being invoked because I have no opinion on this. People can shoot with what ever they want, and if a "professional" video shooter wants to use a cell phone as their tool of choice, that's great, because it just means there will be less competition for the rest of us who have clients that know the difference and will pay the difference. If saving a few thousand dollars on the cost of buying a professional camcorder is a big deal to someone, then then they are moving in different circles than I am. Pro camcorder cost nothing compared to what they can earn for a professional, what they can enable a professional to do, and how much time and effort they can save on every shoot. The cost of the camera is peanuts to a professional.

But if a pixel peeper wants to shoot on cell phone because they think that image quality is the only thing that matters, and that a cell phone is good enough, more power to them.

But other than that, I have no opinion. :-)
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Old April 23rd, 2017, 02:29 PM   #9
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Re: Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
People can shoot with what ever they want, and if a "professional" video shooter wants to use a cell phone as their tool of choice, that's great, because it just means there will be less competition for the rest of us who have clients that know the difference and will pay the difference. If saving a few thousand dollars on the cost of buying a professional camcorder is a big deal to someone, then then they are moving in different circles than I am.
I think cell phone video is *GREAT*. But, I do have one foot squarely on both sides of the fence, if there is one.

On the one hand, proliferation of pocket cams has meant that a viewer has a vast see of crap to navigate to get to the quality viewing experience they want. Note that their desired experience may be different than mine!

On the other hand, as per American journalist A.J. Liebling, "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." I think it's good for our society that more - many more - people have access to distribution. This is the DV revolution all over again, but this time for the masses.

As a rule, if there's one thing that phone/tablet originated video doesn't have it's good sound. A camera-mounted mic remains a very poor choice for an interior interview, though it can be fine for much b-roll.

I've taught one workshop on Mobile Filmmaking for a local community non-profit, and have a couple more scheduled. The people interested seem to be making personal documentaries, or social activists looking to create more compelling video, or developing journalists, or in one case corporate in-house training.

So, mostly not the pro market. Except that downmarket news outlets of various sorts are expecting mobile-based news reports from their contributors.
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Old April 23rd, 2017, 04:35 PM   #10
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Re: Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
So, mostly not the pro market. Except that downmarket news outlets of various sorts are expecting mobile-based news reports from their contributors.
I agree with Seth, they have their place.

A few (arguably) truisms:
Content is king. (It's the story)
Casting is 85% of the movie.
Audio is 2/3rds of good video

In the news recently was some video that made for world-wide distribution. I'm talking about the passenger who was unceremoniously dragged off a United Airlines flight.

The video was apparently shot with someone's phone, apparently using it's own mic, no lighting kit, and no stabilization, yet it was viewed by many more people than anything I've ever done, or will do, with my cams with better lenses, better controls, better mics, and better kit available.

The problem with pro gear is it takes time to put the kit together and set it up for the shoot. By that time, what ever one wanted to shoot is O.B.E. At the other end of the scale, if one has more time then there is the script, the actors, rehearsing, takes, and editing, oh, and also stuff like the budget and distribution.

If whatever it is doesn't get one's attention in the first 15 seconds it's time to change the channel. There has to be something of interest and the creative content and presentation has to be there.

At least the phone operator (I didn't say cameraman) of the news event was able to get some decent camera angles and captured enough audio to fill in with the action. Others were obviously taking video too but didn't happen to have the location, or perhaps ability, to get the best angle.
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Old April 23rd, 2017, 05:32 PM   #11
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Re: Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Game View Post
There's a slight problem with that here in 50Hz land. Every phone's camera function that I've seen has only delivered 30Hz video, meaning that matching that up to 25p or 50p produces variable results.
If you look at specialist apps like Filmic Pro it is possible to have control over many parameters including frame rate and bit rate:

Quote:
Frame Rate
Preset options include: 24 FPS, 25FPS, 30FPS, 48FPS, 50FPS,
60FPS, 120FPS & 240FPS

(Snip)

Video Encoding:
FiLMiC Extreme
The app sets a target of 100mbps for 2k, 3k and 4k. At 1080p this target is is 50mbps.

FiLMiC Quality
At 1080p, FiLMiC Quality is 32mb per second for improved image quality, detail and color information.

Apple Standard
The same data rate as you get with the native camera. Adjusts for resolution as do all bitrates.
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Old April 23rd, 2017, 11:14 PM   #12
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Re: Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

Anyone with half a brain for business and good shooting skills ought to be making a 6-figure income with a camera like the Sony FS7. There is tons of business out there ripe for picking. So show me anyone who is making even half of that income shooting with a cell phone as their main camera -- and then I will concede it is a professional tool. Hoping to catch a cop beating the hell of some guy while you capture it on video is not a business model.
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Old April 24th, 2017, 04:15 PM   #13
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Re: Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

Weelllllllllll

Here's the thing. It was mentioned on "another forum" that there are those clients for whom something like a smart phone will be "good enough".

There are clients who DON'T appreciate the difference between smart phone quality video and video from better cams, and since everyone wants to save money whenever possible, the number of those clients vs the ones who do appreciate quality could potentially grow and grow as the phones' cameras get nicer and nicer. There are plenty of smartphone rigs out there for attaching mics and other accessories as well. It's starting to seem like, unless you're on the higher end of things, the phones really are, for them, often "good enough."
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Old April 24th, 2017, 07:07 PM   #14
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Re: Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

NEWSREADER: "We interrupt this live footage from Josh Bass for an incoming phone call. Stand by."

In another potential scenario, I for one would like to see how they handle an escaped lion / hungry thing with fangs. Probably wished their phone had a zoom lens attached. :-)

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Old April 24th, 2017, 10:08 PM   #15
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Re: Cell Phone Video: Threat to Real Camcorders/Cameras?

You silly. I didn't really mean for live applications. But there's probably a way to disable the phone and put it in "live streaming mode" or something. Or there will be. Any day.
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