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Creating Video content for the iPhone

You can push video content to your iPhone By Matthew David

No matter which method you use to deliver video content to the iPhone there are some basic caveats you need to be aware of. The most important is to remember that the iPhone is the best iPod. If the video will play back in iPod mode then the video can be delivered to the iPhone. This is due largely to the way in which Apple has cleverly allowed their core applications on the iPhone to communicate freely back and for with each other. In this article you will learn how you can push video content to your iPhone.

A core feature of the iPhone is ability to play back rich media, specifically video. There are three ways to deliver video to your iPhone:

  • Video Podcasting
  • Embed Video in a Web Page
  • YouTube Integration

Video formats that the iPhone recognize are:

  • H.264 Baseline Profile Level 3.0 video, up to 640 x 480 at 30 fps. Note that B frames are not supported in the Baseline profile.
  • MPEG-4 Part 2 video (Simple Profile)
  • AAC-LC audio, up to 48 kHz
  • .mov, .mp4, .m4v, .3gp file formats
  • Any movies or audio files that can play on an iPod.

Creating video for playback on the iPhone is easy if you have the latest version of QuickTime Pro. In your export settings you can choose the following:

  • "Movie to iPhone" prepares movies for Wi-Fi.
  • "Movie to iPhone (Cellular)" prepares movies for EDGE.

These two settings will optimize video for playback over broadband Wi-Fi connections of the much slower AT&T EDGE wireless network.

You will notice that there is no support for Adobe Flash Video. This is a real problem for Web site design as the vast majority of Web sites use Flash Video. Hopefully Apple will change this.

Video Podcasting
If you have surfed through the Podcasting section of the iTunes Store then you cannot have failed to have noticed the ever increasing number of video podcasts. As the name entails, a video podcast is a video version of the traditional podcast. At its core, a video podcast is a syndicated movie you can subscribe to.

The first tool you will likely use to create a video podcast is QuickTime Pro. The export settings are very similar to exporting video for playback on the iPhone. The difference is that you will want to select iPod export settings. The reason for this is that Video Podcasts can be played back on the iPod, iPhone and Apple TV. There are tens of millions of video iPods and only a million iPhones the most popular format to deliver to is the video iPod. The screen settings for your video should be 480*360, or 4:3 aspect ratio. Larger screen sizes will not display correctly.

You can have any different type of video podcast. Cooking, home improvement, politics, drama all of these topics have video podcasts. If you have not started a video podcast, now is the time to start.

Delivering Video over the Internet
Video delivery over the Internet is easy with the iPhone. Conveniently, QuickTime is the ONLY plugin supported on the iPhones version of Safari. All you have to do is embed the video content in the Web page. The following is an example:

You must remember to limit your QuickTime formats to the list identified earlier. For instance, QuickTime VR will not work on the iPhone, nor will 1080i HD video. But, the lower 480i HD video will work. In addition, the iPhone does support movies larger than 2GB, or two hours of video at 480 HD format.

Delivery video to YouTube
One of the first custom applications on the iPhone is the YouTube widget. Apple is working hard with Google to convert the entire YouTube library to H.264 video format. If you have video on YouTube then it is only a matter of time before your video will be available for the iPhone.

You can format you video for delivery on YouTube using the YouTube tools, or you can leverage the new iMovie 08 that will publish your movie directly to your YouTube account.  The focus of iMovie 08 is to make video production very easy. Publishing is part of the process. When you get to this point in the movie you can choose to directly publish to YouTube and iMovie does all of the work for you. How easy is that?

Future of video on the Internet for the iPhone
Apple is pushing hard to make their video formats the de-facto formats for the Web. This is clearly demonstrated with the lack of support for Flash. It would have been much easier to support Flash Video on the iPhone simply because there is so much of it on the Internet. Instead, Apple chose to partner with Google and convert its massive YouTube library to work with their tools in QuickTime formats.

There is no doubt that video will become more important to the iPhone. What will be interesting will be the next major steps in video on the Internet Apple takes. The immediate need is for ?video rental or video on demand over the Internet. The iPhone will be an immediate candidate for scooping up this new content.

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Matthew has written four Flash books, contributed to a dozen Web books, and has published over 400 articles. He is passionate about exposing Internet's potential for all of us. Matthew works directly with many companies as a business strategist coaching IT architects and business leaders to work tightly with each other towards common goals.
Related Keywords:iPhone, video, web video, iPhone video content

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