Where to Put iPhone 3GS Videos?

3 July 2009
Thunder Jet at Rest

Thunder Jet at Rest

Recently I strode the streets to test the new camera and ended up with some video. I’m a Flickr user and upload from iPhoto ’09. However, iPhoto would not upload the videos, which was entirely unexpected. That left the problem of what to do with them. As a quick fix, I copied them to the desktop and used the browser to upload them.

In terms of storage, iPhoto is a good place to keep videos, as they are downloaded with still photos from a still camera. You can tag them like photos. However, there are some disadvantages to storing them here. You can’t edit them. If you go into editing mode, the videos will be skipped. To play them, you double-click and that opens QuickTime Player. Here you can edit them to some degree.

Given that you can’t edit or upload video from iPhoto, I think it’s a better idea to store them in iMovie. iPhone video is in the H.264 format, which is imported into iMovie without modification. There you get all the benefits of the movie-editing controls and the storage in the iMovie library is very similar to that of iPhoto.

Using the iPhone as a GPS in iPhoto ’09

2 February 2009
At the Bus Stop

iPhone GPS Test: A Flickr Photo Set

I’ve posted about this before, but what I failed to mention back then was the GPS data could not be embedded in a non-iPhone photo in iPhoto ’08, so the original photo (which usually looked bad, because it was taken just for the GPS info) would have to sit in the library. It didn’t really help, so I deleted them.

Now, of course, iPhoto ’09 has embraced GPS data and the iPhone has potentially become useful again as a GPS source. To test this, I set out yesterday with two cameras, the iPhone and a Sony DSC-U30, which is a tiny camera about the same volume and weight as the iPhone. The two cameras were a pretty good match–both 2 megapixel with similar fixed focal length, both using the JPEG format.

I took a photo of the same scene from the exact same standing location using both cameras, firstly the iPhone and then the Sony. Unlike my earlier experiment, this time I intended each version to be a “keeper”. I wanted to try to reproduce the same visual look for each. Here are the results.

To tag a non-GPS photo with the GPS location in iPhoto ’09, import the photos from both iPhone and camera and merge the two resultant Events. Find and select both photos, then click the info button on one of them. Click the location field and the New Place… menu item. This will open the map. Optionally, move the iPhone’s pin if you’re not satisfied with its accuracy, then click the Assign to Photo button. Even if you didn’t move the pin, this is necessary. Then close the Get Info dialog. Both photos will now have the same GPS tag. At this point, if you’re just using the iPhone as a GPS source and don’t want to keep the photo, delete the iPhone version.


This will not be viable if your camera is somewhat large, like an SLR. You have to juggle both cameras. If you use a holster like I do, then it is easy to put the iPhone away quickly to devote your handling to the other camera.

If you have to move around quickly, like shooting sports, then this won’t be usable either.

The best solution is to use a camera that has a built-in GPS or a camera that has a GPS attachment that writes directly to the file. Next best is to use a GPS tracker that records where you are over time and can be used to merge the GPS data with the photos. This is the path I am researching at the moment. The iPhone, however, does provide an experience that is surprisingly less clunky than I expected and will do in a pinch. Read the rest of this entry »