Friday 3 January 2014

Workaround: Jolla rotation and video format problems

Jolla phone - video formats

With Beta releases, it's sometimes just needed to do something yourself. This time, unless a fix is released, it has to do with the video recordings using Jolla's camera. There's a minor bug in rotation, turning some videos upside down (and some photos too), and there's another problem related to Jolla's less common video format h.263. Oh... and the recorded audio quality isn't great either (I hope the problem is just in the software)

Workaround for the rotation bug

When recording a landscape video, turn your Jolla anticlockwise (to the left).
This way the rotation angle will be 0. If you turn it right, the video will show upside down in your computer.

Workaround for the less supported video format

When sending videos to services like Youtube or Vimeo, the videos are automatically converted, and the file size & quality is reduced. No problem in here, if you're satisfied to the quality and the service.

Jolla records videos in format mp4v/h.263 (MPEG-4 Visual Simple@L6 to be exact). Not all players, and especially not the common web players are able to show this (you'll only hear the sound).

If you don't want to use 3rd party services, here's what you can do for the empty video frames and whining relatives: Convert your video to a better supported format. Here's a HowTo for mp4/avc1 format, which is well supported:

For converting a video, I used VLC Player. HowTo:

  1. Save your video to any folder in your computer. You can transfer it via USB cable, Bluetooth or Email (attachment). Moving it via 3rd parties is not recommended, as it's usually converted in their desired way when uploaded, reducing the quality
  2. Open VLC Player (link is to the official download site)
    Select from menu: Media -> Convert/Save...
  3. Add... the video / videos you want to convert to the File selection list
  4. Click Convert / Save
  5. Browse Destination File. Select the Folder and write the name for the converted video, ending to text .mp4 (note the dot)
  6. Select any profile from the dropdown menu, as it need to be edited anyway. I used Video - MPEG4 + AAC (mp4)
  7. Edit your selected profile (click the tools icon)
  8. For encapsulation, choose mp4
  9. Video codec selections (this is what we convert)
    The selection boxes: Select "Video", unselect "Keep original video track"
    Codec: choose H.264
    Bitrate: 10 000 Kbit for max quality, 300-600 for web viewing purposes. This selection is the most important considering the file size and quality, and the processing time too. You could start with smaller values, and make another setting later if you're not satisfied with the outcome.
    Frame rate: 30fps for max quality, less to get smaller file size. At least 12 fps recommended.
    Scale 1 / Width 0 / Height 0 for original size, or change only one of the values for desired size.
  10. For audio codec, select "Audio" and also select "Keep original audio track"
  11. Save the settings (next time they will be ready in your selected profile)
  12. Leave the checkboxes unselected, and start. Convertion takes a while, you can follow the advance from the bar at bottom. After it's ready, the player shows its stopped (no notifications)
You can find your converted video in the Folder you selected earlier. The original video is left unchanged. The format of the new video is mp4/avc1 (MPEG-4, Advanced Video Codec High@L4.0) which is recognized by most web players and html5. Html5 supported browsers are at least Mozilla Firefox (from v21), Internet Explorer, Google Chrome & Safari. Opera does not support mp4 - to gain visibility there, convert video also to ogg format.

Sharing videos in mp4/avc1 format is currently the best way considering most viewers, as both the web and most players in several devices/computers support viewing this format. As an example, here's a 7 second teddy clip not using iframe or Java/Flash. The format is simply supported by html5 programming language. You shouldn't see this with Opera browser, but with most others, yes:

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