Archive for the ‘iPhone’ Category

Magnetometers: iPhone has Apps for this (…as well as other sensors)

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Following-up from my previous look at magnetometers

I have an iPhone 4 (ordinaire) running iOS 4.  Apparently it has a magnetometer, and a number of Apps to alarm, display and log data from it are available.  Hey, it’s getting towards being a “Tricorder” (of Star Trek fame)…

The ones I have tried are:

  • MAD – Magnetic Anomaly Detector
    • When I run it, I tend to click (enable) all three buttons (they each display their current mode, not switch effect).
    • If I’m simply in a room, I tend to drop the threshold (slider) to half or a quarter.  Otherwise if driving I leave it Full.
    • The Log is simply a text-pane, one can Select/Copy etc; unfortunately the log gets cleared when you exit the app.
  •  EMF Detector
    • Has an “analog meter” style of display and audio tone (optional, volume-controllable).
    • Maybe useful for tracing wires etc.?  But how reliable?  In my house it ignored a light-switch and around it but “got excited” over certain parts of window frames and metal radiators (certain corners only) for reasons I don’t understand.
  • XSensor
    • Displays and optionally logs/emails data from several of the sensors on iPhone: Magnetics, Accelerations, GPS, Gyros.
    • Fun for finding out about the sensors, their capabilities, their noise-issues etc.
  • Accelerometer Data (“ordinaire” or Pro)
    • Data can be raw or Low-Pass filtered (for absolute gravity and orientation) or High-Pass (monitoring for their changes).
    • Accelerometer data can be streamed (via UDP) to computer or logged to CSV file.
    • The Pro version saves to Flash, instead of just RAM, hence greater logging capacity.
  • Sensor Kinetics
    • Plain sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer
    • Derived sensors: Linear Acceleration, Gravity, Attitude.
    • Nice graphics (clarity as well as entertainment value)
  • ?

iPhone App: ShotLister

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Stonehenge Turns a Movie into an iPhone/iPad App (eg for Sale)

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

  • Stonehenge Turns Your Indie Film into an iPhone/iPad App
  • …package your film along with a number of extras in a manner similar to a DVD release. This allows you to sell your film in the App store — thereby circumnavigating your way onto an Apple device without having to go through the iTunes movie store.

Vodafone USB Modem Stick

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

I have a Vodafone USB Modem Stick (cell broadband dongle) which was obsolete even when I received it (free/gratuit).  Its design intention was you plugged it into a computer and, like some storage devices (e.g. memory sticks) the computer installed its driver software and you were ready to go.  In practice however it does not work either under Windows 7 or Mac OS Snow Leopard.  Some things report failure to install and/or the machine crashes if yoy try to boot up with the dongle already plugged in, or if plugged in after restart, a message requests further restart.  There is no way out into a state where it can perform its main function.

The dongle is a Vodafone K3765, which I have heard is actually an Icon 411 made by Option .  It will allegedly run on Windows 7 but not pay-as-you-go.

I wonder if a newer version of the dongle (and any associated application software or drivers) is available.  Then again, what’s the point if I can use the phone, especially as it’s less hassle all round (fewer technical complexities and hence possible issues, simpler purchasing all-in-one contract including data). Maybe I should just get it crushed?


iPhone as CellPhone Modem

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Here in the UK at least, on my Vodafone contract that includes data connection.  No special apps available (at least on App Store) or needed.

All you have to do is:

  • Go to iPhone’s [Settings > General > Network > Personal Hotspot] enable that function (default is OFF).
    • Select [WiFi & USB Only]
      • Unless you really want BlueTooth.  I choose instead to keep things simple cable.
    • Connect the iPhone to the computer via its USB cable.
      • On Windows 7 (which is what I have), a dialog opens asking if Private/Public.
        • I chose [Public] since it’s connecting to the internet.  I assume (don’t know for sure) that’s appropriate here.  The safer option in any case.


iPhone: MobileSync Backups: How to move & purge

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

I’m doing a tidy-up of the MacBook. The application [Disk Inventory] revealed that one of my largest disk-occupying items is MobileSync Backups, which I assume to be from synchronizing iPhone with MacBook.  It consists of several roughly equally-sized files.  Overall I wonder:

  • Is there a way to store the backups somewhere else than the system disk?
  • Do the  “several roughly equally-sized files” imply I have more than one backup on the disk (in which case I’d like to purge all but the most recent).

Google: [mobilesync backup files]

Calendar Sync between iPhone & Google

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Got an existing GMail account, want the iPhone (iPhone 4 with iOS 4) to sync with that, not only for email (which I have already) but also for Calendar.  The only extra thing I had to do was go into iPhone Settings and change the default calendar from Calendar (an Apple entity) to GMail.

  • Settings:
    • Mail, Contacts, Calendars
      •  (Scroll right down to the bottom – not obvious it’s there since no scrollbar on iPhone)
      • Default Calendar: (select the GMail account)
      • (Likewise for Mail, earlier in the lest, set GMail as default mail account)
  • Tips:
    • Unlike Email, sync between calendars is not “immediate” (in my experience)
    • No need to sync or refresh anything explicitly (and attempting it doesn’t seem to make any difference), just wait (e.g. 5 minutes).
    • Existing iPhone calendar entries, if (as is most likely) they are under “Calendar”, do not get sync’d with GMail.  However the iPhone calendar does allow entries to be moved from your Calendar-account to your GMail-account (say).
      • In the Calendar (app), go into a calendar entry/event of interest, do the Edit button.  Towards the bottom is a field “Calendar” where you can select the calendar-account you want it to appear in, e.g. GMail.

Training: Den Lennie’s “Music Video” Experience

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

I attended, working on one of the camera units.  Had a great time, learnt lots, at all sorts of levels.  Even how to make good use of the Movie Slate application on my iPhone!  Link:

Mac OS Upgrade: Snow Leopard: Apres-Install

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Before checking for updates, install the bundles, iWork and iLife.  Reasoning: they were designed at the same point in time, at which they were most likely to be compatible; it is possible that later Mac OS updates could (in principle) detract from this – so I opt to “play safe”.

  • Install iWork
    • Occupies about 1 GB
    • Installed in about 10 mins
  • Install iLife
    • Occupies about 3 GB
    • Installed in about 30 mins
  • Apple Update
    • Estimated duration 6 hours – so do it overnight instead (set a reminder!).

iPhone 4: LightMeter (app) & Theory

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

iPhone app: “Light Meter”:

  • Uses iPhone-4’s cameras (front or rear), displaying image with overlays reporting framerate (can specify fixed e.g. 1/60), f-stop, ISO.
  • Usage with my Sony XDCAM EX3 video camera:
    • In settings, I set Stops to Halves, as that’s what the camera uses.
    • I typically use an EX3 with a Tiffen T1 IR-blocking filter.  What’s the ISO for this arrangement?
    • What do the EX3’s ND filters do to the ISO?
      • EX3 has ND1=1/8, ND2=1/64
        • (From EX3 user manual, page 50)
      • I think ISO is linear, so if Camera is 320 ISO, they imply equivalent ISOs by simple division:
        • 1080p: Clear=>320, ND1=>40, ND2=>4.5
        • 720p: Clear=>400, ND1=>50, ND2=>6.25
        • 1080i: Clear=>640, ND1=>80, ND2=>10
      • Alternatively, for ND1 filter you can leave the app’s ISO setting as Clear (no filter) and instead adjust the app’s Correction Factor to -3 EV (though it’s maybe better reserved for simulating lighting variations e.g. due to weather, as in the Exposure Value Table further below).
        • I guess from this one off case that EV is logarithmic, since 2^-3=1/8 as per ND1.
        • That guess was later confirmed by further web research (further below), stating that EV is an “additive system”, i.e. operates in the logarithmic domain, base 2.
      • Caution: being an ISO/EV newbie, I can only hope this is is all correct!
      • Nevertheless, when I tried my naive settings they worked just fine – I was successfully able to use the iPhone Light Meter to obtain a sensible camera configuration for good exposure level and (given the ND filters) the kind of shot I want (e.g. degree of DOF).  When tested on the camera, they all worked out as expected.  Cool!
  • The Light Meter app optionally displays EV400, EV100, Lux, FootCandle.  Latter units are explained in great detail at at [johnlind…] link below.
  • The app can also “log” readings – in the form of jpg images of the screen and overlays including geographical location – to a DropBox account.  For example, when I clicked the [Log] button, a jpf file appeared on my MacBook in the folder [ /Users/davidesp/Dropbox/Photos/Pocket Light Meter].

Exposure Values & Exposure Theory:

    •  <<The full name for Exposure Value, or EV, is the Additive Photographic Exposure System.  Exposure Value has two equivalent definitions.  The first defines how much light will be admitted to the film by the combination of lens aperture and shutter speed.  The second defines how much exposure is required by the combination of subject luminance (e.g., how bright it is) and film speed.  Setting a combination of aperture and shutter speed on a camera with an EV that equals the EV for the subject luminance and film speed should result in a properly exposed photograph>>
    • (The article continues at length.  For example the “Additive” element reflects the fact that this system operates in the logarithmic domain. The article also distinguishes luminance from illumination, explains units such as point-source intensity in candelas, flux in lumens, light illuminating a surface in foot-candles,  light radiated from an area in foot-Lamberts, luminence in candelas per area (square foot or square metre)
    • An EV (Exposure Value) table is presented.  I guess (?) this is useful for the iPhone app, where EV can be shifted up/down by a control, to estimate what would be needed should the lighting conditions vary:
      • -1 EV:  light sand or snow
      •  0 EV:  bright or strong hazy sun (distinct, sharp shadows)
      • +1 EV:  weak hazy sun (soft shadows; distinct sun outline in clouds)
      • +2 EV:  cloudy bright (no shadows; sun creates bright area in clouds)
      • +3 EV:  heavy overcast, but not “black” (no shadows; sun location cannot be determined)
      • +3 EV:  open shade (in shadow but 60% sky not obscured)
      • +4 EV:  deep shade (in shadow with obscured sky; under forest canopy)
    • Exposure value is a base-2 logarithmic scale
    • (This article has a more comprehensive table of EVs and weather conditions etc. than the above)


iPhone 4: Audio: FiRe (“pro” audio recording app)

Monday, September 26th, 2011

FiRe not only records audio, in a much more powerful/flexible way than Voice Memo, but also allows you to add metadata such as location and a photo (e.g. taken live from the iPhone’s camera)…though I couldn’t see any way to export a format that could maintain that metadata (possibly my newbie-ness, like it mentions Broadcast Wave somewhere but I can’t see how to export that).

It can “multitask” the same way that Voice Memo can.  That is, it can be set going, then left running in the background even when say taking a photo.

When running, under its Settings, Input, has a range of presets, including for example “Dictation” and “Lecture”.   Under Effects there are such things as dynamic range compression and hiss filters.  Playback has sped-up (like tape – not pitch-corrected).

Its recordings can be exported from the device as follows.  When I tried it exporting a WAV file, that product was 16 bits, 48 kHz, mono.


  • On the iPhone, FiRe app, tap Share from the toolbar, then iTunes Sharing
  • Multi-select the required export format(s)
  • Connect iPhone to computer, iTunes comes up (else launch it manually)
  • iTunes:
    • On left side menu, select the iPhone device
    • On top menu, select Apps
    • Look at the bottom of the interface (scroll if necessary) to find File Sharing section.
    • In the Apps column there, select FiRe
    • As required, drag files listed there to destinations

Additionally, recordings can be uploaded via FTP, DropBox or SoundCloud (whatever that is…).

iPhone 4: Audio: Voice Memo: Audio Enhancement

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Having extracted my iPhone’s VoiceMail recordings, I reviewed them and they sounded boomy – from room resonance.  The best audio enhancement app I know is iZotope RX2, which I have for Windows 7. Windows 7 was run within a virtual machine under Parallels within Mac OS.  I allowed this Windows to read, but not write, Mac OS files.

  • The first enhancement was a parametric EQ
    • Settings: frequency 274Hz, gain -21dB and Q=1.
    • The result sounded better and looked more even in the spectrum analyzer, which prior to that “glowed” around 300Hz.
  • The next enhancement was Denoiser
    • Settings: Advanced, Algorithm D (best, slowest), defaults (including -12dB reduction)
    • Not quick – not much faster than real-time as compared to the recording.
  • Finally, following this “tonal & broadband attenuation” processing, some amplitude processing in terms of dynamic range compression and overall gain.

iPhone 4: Audio: Voice Memo: Audio File Extraction – on a Mac

Monday, September 26th, 2011

I audio-recorded some lectures by using the Voice Memo app in-built on my iPhone 4.  How does one get such recordings out of the phone and into an audio editing (or indeed audio/video editing) app on Mac or PC?  Here’s what I found, mainly by experiment:

  • For a Mac:
    • The iTunes app allows you to transfer/sync an iPhone’s Voice Memo audio recordings onto the computer.  In iTunes, under the device representing the phone, there is a Voice Memos folder. Inside this there is a list of recordings (objects) e.g. as follows:
      • 1  ✓ 21/09/2011 09:33
      • 2  ✓ 21/09/2011 10:43
      • 3  ✓ 21/09/2011 11:01
    • These entries correspond to M4A (FourCC=”MP4A”) files.
      • These files can be transferred (moved/copied) as follows:
        • Copy a file by dragging it out of Voice Memos folder in iTunes’ interface.
        • Move a file by dragging it out of iTunes’ user-specific Voice Memos folder in file system.  That folder is described below.
      • Additionally iTunes can export MP3 equivalent copies of the files:
        • iTunes (Voice Memos): Recording >RtClk> Create MP3 Version
    • The files are stored at (in my case) at:
      • /Users/davidesp/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Voice Memos
        • 21_09_2011 09_33.m4a
        • 21_09_2011 10_43.m4a
        • 21_09_2011 11_01.m4a
    • The nature of the files:
      • These files are stated by Mac’s Finder to be of type “MPEG-4 audio”, and are about 30 MB per hour.
      • VideoSpec is able to analyse them, it reports:
        • Container: M4A – QuickTime
        • Encoding: MP4A (FourCC), constant bitrate of 64 kbps, 16 bits, 44.1 kHz, stereo
          • However it makes no sense to encode stereo from a one-microphone device and indeed when imported to an audio editor (Audacity 1.3.13 beta) it only produces a single mono track.
    • Audio Editing/Processing (cuts/envelopes/effects e.g. dynamic range compression) was subsequently achievable by any of these:
      • Audacity (1.3.13 beta) can import the M4A file.  My (multi-platform) old-familiar.
      • Garage Band (e.g. as explained at
      • SoundTrack Pro (but can’t simply drag the file in – instead have to use File>Open).  OK but a little clunky (in my “newbie-to-this-app” opinion)

iPhone: Email Account Config

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Set up email accounts on iPhone, to read (not consume) emails to me at various addresses.  Being no expert at this, I record my experiences for possible future reference.


iPhone 4: MovieSlate

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Movie★Slate is a slate and clapper board— traditional movie-making tools for syncing picture with sound, and photographing shot/production info at the start and end of shots.  Movie★Slate also provides an easy way to log footage and take notes as you shoot— saving you time during capture and edit.

  • Documentation:
      • e.g. Starting a Take
        • To start a take, tap the clapper at the top of the slate.
          • Timecode IN, all production info, and camera optics data are automatically saved in History when you start a take. This data can be emailed from the History tab (see instructions below).
          • The clapper’s behavior can be customized from Settings -> Slate Behavior. Choose to play sounds, freeze the timecode briefly, show credits leader/end roll animation, and more.
        • Video/Audio Quality ★-rankings can be set during the take.
        • Circle Take button marks good takes by circling the take number in the History log. This practice is an old Hollywood tradition.
        • End the Shot button saves a Timecode OUT marker with the shot history.
      • e.g. Starting a Take – Shot Markers
        • (Log footage and take notes as you shoot— saving you time during capture and edit).
        • Add Shot Marker/Notes button saves timecode-stamped notes during a take. When shooting interviews, this is a useful way to document what remarkable thing was said, and when.
        • Build notes from Snippet phrases by tapping the Content/Shot/Movement buttons. You can also enter text with the keyboard. Use the Snippets tab to customize your phrases.
  • FAQs/Tips:
      • “Movie★Slate is a slate and clapper board— traditional movie-making tools for syncing picture with sound, and photographing shot/production info at the start and end of shots.
      • Movie★Slate also provides an easy way to log footage and take notes as you shoot— saving you time during capture and edit.”
      • Link: MovieSlate Help
      • What does M.O.S. stand for?
        • The term “M.O.S.” generally appears on a slate when a scene is filmed without sound.  Hollywood legend defines the term as “Mit Out Sound”.
      • MovieSlate’s optional PRO Sync (TimeCode-Sync)
        • (Normally) You’ll need a camera or timecode generator that’s capable of sending and/or receiving LTC (Longitudinal Time Code) over an audio cable.
        • My cameras are old DV units or are consumer models with no LTC support. Can MovieSlate’s optional PRO Sync module still help me sync a multi-cam shoot?
        • Yes, through additional software available from VideoToolShed.  Here’s how:
          • Set MovieSlate to output timecode through one of the audio channels and connect from the headphone jack to your camera’s AUX/MIC audio.
          • Shoot your footage with MovieSlate running and Sending sync through the headphone jack. The LTC audio signal will be recorded on on one channel of your DV tape. (Please note the obvious: If this cam is handling your main sound then you will not have stereo audio).
          • Import the footage into Final Cut Pro or Avid.
          • Use VideoToolShed’s FCP auxTC reader software to create an AUX TC track in FCP/Avid and sync your footage with your other cams and audio.
          • Disclaimer:
            • We do not have any relationship with VideoToolShed and also cannot attest to the function of “FCP auxTC reader”.
            • Please visit the website for more information and 3rd-party websites like Creative Cow for more information and workflow tips.

iPhone 4 Tips: Task Management

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

To open the iPhone’s “Task Manager”:

  • From “Home” screen, double-tap the Home button.  This brings up a mini dock / task manager at bottom of screen.  It is a slidable band of icons, only four of which can be fitted on screen.  Slide left to see other icons.  Slide right to see media player transport controls and volume level slider.  Press-hold any icon to get them all wiggling and with a red “X” on them. In each case, the “X” force-quits the task associated with the icon.

If an app is misbehaving or is exhibiting unusually sluggish performance, you could try quitting tasks for apps not currently in use as they each tie up some portion of memory, even while in a suspended state.  If that does not work, try a power-off/on reboot.  After that there is Hard Reset (though when I tried it, it didn’t reset everything).  To Hard Reset, press and hold both the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button for about ten seconds, then you should see the Apple logo indicating reboot.


Cinematography Apps for iPhone

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

iPhone Photos & Videos to Apple Mac iPhoto

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

How get photos & movies out of iPhone:

  • Mac (Mac OS):
    • Plugged-in my iPhone (4) to MacBook via USB.
    • The iPhoto app auto-launched, displaying thumbnails of all iPhone’s photos & videos in iPhone’s Photos section (though not those taken by the PanaScout app), and offered  to Import All or Import Selected.

Where the iPhone photos/movies go (on the Mac):

  • Macintosh HD > Users > davidesp > Pictures > iPhoto Library
    • Get Info:
      • Size 738 MB
      • Opens with iPhoto

How to get iPhone photos into a document:

  • Mac > NeoOffice (3.1.1): Tools > Add-Ons > Show media browser
    • Can’t simply insert an image file – no such file exists, they’re all in the iPhone library/database file.

How to get iPhone photos into Gimp:

  •  iPhoto > Menu > iPhoto > Preferences > General > Edit Photo: Select Applicaton: Gimp
    • Can’t simply drag it in, not even by using desktop as a “stepping-stone”.
  • Warning: Gimp can “Save” an image back to iPhone’s library, but that image is not then displayed in iPhoto.  Possible risk of corrupting iPhoto library?

How to get photos/movies out of PanaScout (an iPhone camera app for cinematographers):

  • PanaScout saves images/movies to its own space (library/whatever), but can export to iPhoto library and to other places.
  • PanaScout has a Send To button (an outline-box with arrow emerging).  Options are:
    • Send Email
      • Sends using the email account you configured for your iPhone
    • Save to Library
      • The iPhone Library, that is…
    • Upload
      • FinalCut, MobileMe, SmugMug


iPhone – Alternatives to iTunes for Synch with Outlook ?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

 I want to synch my iPhone with Outlook, but the standard way, via iTunes, …well…, involves iTunes (that I don’t want).  Is there an alternative?  The answer seems to be that you can synch but it has to be via another server, be it Google Mail or a specialised third-party product.  The simplest way to synch Outlook to Google Calendar is by using a downloadable app from Google.   Further details and options are given below (under “More” or whatever).


iPhone to FCP – video conversion (& droplet)

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

  • Suppose you shot video on an iPhone and want to edit it in FCP:
    • iPhone records to 720p24 h.264 with 44k aac audio+
    • FCP can part-handle the H264 but not any kind of compressed audio.
      • It will play H264 video but not any Real Time (RT) effects.
  • Transcode it e.g. by using Compressor:
    • Drag your video file into Compressor
    • Under Settings type LT into the search box.  The top hit should be for Apple ProRes 422 (LT).  Select it.
    • Duplicate it (since only a duplicate can be altered).
    • Fix the audio:
      • Select the duplicate in the top window and the inspector will light up.
      • The first Inspector tab is for the Summary – we need to press the second one to get access to the encoders.
      • On the Encoder tab, switch the audio from Pass-through to Enabled.
      • Then, to its left, press the Audio: settings button.
      • Change the Format to Linear PCM, Stereo (L R), 48kHz, sample size 16 bits. Press Okay.
  • How to make a Droplet to do this conversion:
    • In Compressor’s Settings window, Clear the Search field.
    • Open the Custom Group (not essential)
    • Select the iPhone to FCP (ProRes LT) and press the button at the top left of the Settings window that looks like a video file with a down arrow.
    • Save the droplet to your desktop (say).
  • Now you can drag your iPhone movies to the droplet (no need for Compressor to be open), it’ll throw up a dialog box, press submit and Compressor will transcode them to a ProRes format suitable for FCP.

iPhone Camera Enhancement: stabilization & wide-angle

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

The idea of the OWLE Bubo is to get better video from your iPhone. You place the iPhone into the provided silicone case; pop it into the Bubo and go. You now have wide-angle optics on your iPhone as well as a more stable grip.  Can also (reporte

The wide-angle is especially desirable since the inbuilt camera lens is too zoomed-in for most filming purposes.