Week 2: Concept for VidFlip



 

The connected world takes and shares videos of what they experience like it’s air they’re breathing in. Whether it’s on instagram, facebook, youtube, vine, etc, people like to at the very least document what they experience, if not share it to the world.

As a media professional with a background in television, there’s on thing that really bugs me about many of these videos I encounter (besides that most of them are pointless and the person probably should’ve spent their time absorbing what they were experiencing with their own eyes). The aspect ratio is the worst. Television consumption went from 4:3 to 16:9 aspect ratio because it was a better viewing experience. We have two eyes that are side by side, and we see much better in the horizontal plane than the vertical one. But a big flaw in cell phone design is that the video camera is installed so that a phone has to be held in the less ergonomic position in order to maximize video quality. The result is videos more often than not being shot in 9:16, not 16:9…which is a horrible aspect ratio.

I want to correct that with my app ‘VidFlip’. It’s simply going to crop the top and bottom of the incoming image when holding the phone vertically, and output the video in 16:9 format. The drawback will be a loss in resolution…but when people upload their videos to the internet or email them, they lose lots of resolution anyways. Though an iPhone shoots in HD, 1920 x 1080, it’s emailed to someone at 568 x 320.

So, after cropping a video, the aspect ratio will still be 1080 x 608; nearly the first level of HD video (that of 720p). This is higher quality than most of these videos get exported as.

Learning fromĀ The Fable of the User-Centered Designer, I’ve mocked up a design in Photoshop, as opposed to actually coding it. I’ve tried to make it as simple as possible; take a video, get it to your photo/video library in your phone. There you can choose to share it, delete it, play it, etc. I want this to be a simple process for users, so they choose to use it, instead of just shooting in the built in video app.

So, if you take the still frame above from a frame I shot of video on my iPhone 5, VidFlip will first crop off the top and bottom:

ScreenShot-Cropped

 

Then, only two simple buttons will be added; a record button (which will turn to a stop button while recording), and a icon that will link to the library on the iPhone.

Interface_vidFlipper_withButtons

 

I’m not sure how difficult it would be, or if it would confuse the user, but conversely, the film library button could link to a library of all videos shot in the app. It would just have a play button over top of the videos, as well as forward and back buttons to scroll through (though you could swipe), and a back button to get to the recorder:

Interface-vidFlip-playback

 

It’s a very simple app, based on the most popular video recorders on the iPhone, so I hope the user experience will be clear…but I can’t assume that so I will test with these images and see how users respond. I’ll also need to figure out how to crop and re-render videos within phonegap/javascript/etc, which I hope won’t be too hard!

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