myEARTH - The Suburban Life of Bees

An earlier version of this video went up on Facebook a couple weeks ago but I wanted to talk a little bit more about the finished product. The initial concept was to test out the end-to-end quality of the SloMo function on the iPhone 6. While the video shot with the iPhone 6 plays back splendidly on the phone's retina screen, I wanted to see how the final footage looked when downloaded, edited, rendered and then compressed for YouTube. Part of the challenge of creating video for the web is the restrictions of the final viewing platform. This is a problem/challenge for professionals doing virtually any kind of online publishing from website design to audio production. When I post videos online, I frequently succumb to vanity and add an annotation or comment requesting the viewer to watch the video in HD rather than letting YouTube choose the playback resolution. It still kills me to spend so much time and energy ensuring the quality and clarity of the original footage captured in 1080p HD (or in the case of time lapse footage, in 4K) and then to watch the final product on a tiny phone screen scaled down to 480p.

That being said, I wanted to see how the video shot at 240fps on the iPhone 6 looked next to HD footage shot on a DSLR or my Canon XA10 after YouTube was finished smashing it into a web-friendly container. It's a subjective analysis to be sure but the short answer is that it doesn't look too bad. Apps like MoviePro3K show that the phone can handle bitrates in excess of 100Mbps but iPhone 6 saves the 240fps SloMo video using a Quicktime container at around 18Mbps which is optimized for web publishing in a bandwidth-friendly format. When the three  videos on the myEARTH page (here) are played back simultaneously, you can't tell right off the bat that the bee video was shot at a significantly lower bitrate than the others so I suppose that represents a proof of concept.

In the end, even though the capture quality is far below what I would accept for professional work, the SloMo feature on the iPhone 6 is damn fun and I'm sure it will be making more appearances in future projects. For now, enjoy "The Suburban Life of Bees" with the musical stylings of the Easy Street All-Stars.