iPhone 4: How does it perform for video recording?

I took the new iPhone 4 out for a Venice Beach bike ride, to test the smartphone's new high-res video recording capabilities. All footage in this video shot with iPhone 4.

Remember that the iPhone allows you to tap an icon on-screen to switch the camera orientation from one face to another. For some portions (while riding my bike), the iPhone was strapped on to my left hand with rubber bands (I call this The Rubber Band Steadicam™), and the iPhone camera was facing out one direction with medium-res video recording. In other sections of this video (skaters skating, orchids, ocean, and interview with skater Kiko, age 8) the iPhone camera was activated in the other direction and captured high-resolution video.

You can see the difference, but the verdict in short form is this: iPhone 4 outperforms other smartphones and handheld ultra-mobile digital video camcorders, and I've tried nearly all of 'em for web video production while on the road. When it comes to video recording in a smartphone (and in "Flip" class devices), iPhone 4 is the one to beat.

Again you do have to be mindful of that camera orientation switch option noted above: when you shoot video out of one side of the device, you get lower-resolution 640 x 480 footage, and when you shoot out of the other side, you get far higher-res 1280 x 720. You can tap an area to focus in and balance exposure and hue, even while you are shooting. Video is saved and exported as h.264 QuickTime, and you can email, MMS, or publish to YouTube right from the iPhone. Editing on the device is possible with iMovie for iPhone ($5 in the Apple App store).

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(Special thanks to Eric Mittleman, to Q-Burns Abstract Message whose music appears in this video, and to all the awesome skaters at the Venice Skate Park, particularly Kiko and Drew!)

Watch Video: YouTube, or download MP4.