Mobile iOS app version 2.5 is packed with function and features
If you’re running the latest iOS, chances are you only have a vague recollection of the first iPhone. That phone debuted in 2007 with a 2.0 megapixel camera. Today, the iPhones and iPads can shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second. The video clarity is so good that filmmakers are using iOS devices for production and journalists are using them for news content.
Developing a mobile application that considers and codes for the many types of videos produced by iOS devices is a big job. latakoo’s Flight app for Mobile has adapted to these changes with our latest release, bringing you the best video quality, while maintaining fast uploads.
latakoo scientist, Richard Metzler, worked with our mobile team to make sure that our upload settings produce quality video with both speed and power efficiency. The latakoo mobile apps tend to produce larger files than our desktop apps at similar quality settings. Richard explains why: “this is because the size and power efficiency requirements around mobile devices mean that it takes longer to produce quality files for lower bitrates. In cases like this, it’s actually faster and less of a drain on your battery to send a larger file than to create a smaller file.” Our strategy is always to allow the user to transfer as quickly as possible. So in this case, we go with the bigger file.
Adding further complexity to the decision making process is the fact that video comes in many different combinations of resolutions, frame rates, and bit depths. latakoo’s apps take this into consideration too. In this new mobile app, we scale the bitrate up or down to match the quality setting you’ve selected. For example, 4 Mbps at our Standard setting in the desktop app might be good for typical videos at 1080p 30 fps. But in the mobile app, 4 Mbps is usually only enough data to match Standard quality for lower-resolution videos at 720p 30 fps. So for 1080p 30 fps video in iOS, we scale up the bitrate beyond 4 Mbps until our users’ expected visual quality is met. If the scaled bitrate comes out above that of the original video, we send the original video.
In our newest iOS app, you will have the choice of four quality settings: Rush, Standard, HQ, and SHQ. These settings should produce video visually similar to video produced by our desktop apps at the same quality settings. The higher the quality (HQ or SHQ), the larger the file that is produced — and the longer it may take to process and upload the file, depending on your connectivity.
A general rule is that for standups and sound bites or video with little to no motion, you can send with either the Rush or Standard settings. Video with a lot of motion, such as sports or traffic, should be sent with a quality of HQ or SHQ.
The video recorded on the iPhone can produce files with a range of qualities. Users can choose the resolution and frame rate in the phone’s general settings. Uploading with latakoo — and one of the four quality settings — helps create a somewhat standard file that is more easily shared with others or ingested into your asset manager or your edit software.
This release also has a bug fix for default settings in the last mobile app, where a low-quality bit rate was auto-selected.
Warning on iPhone Camera Settings
We do have a warning on an iPhone setting that may result in issues with latakoo Flight for Mobile and other systems, devices and apps: the HEVC format. On iOS 11 or later, the iPads and iPhones can capture media in HEIF format for images and HEVC format for videos. These are high efficiency formats that help you to maximize storage on your iPhone. Though Apple recommends capturing in HEIF or HEVC, they do warn these formats are not “broadly compatible with other devices and operating systems.” When interacting with the latakoo system, some of these files are indeed running into problems on streaming and downloading. The H.265 files created by the HEVC format in the iPhone will many times not play back in some Apple systems, including Quicktime. Here’s Apple Support instructions on how to avoid this issue:
- Go to Settings > Camera.
- Tap Formats
- Tap Most Compatible. This setting is available only on devices that can capture media in HEIF or HEVC format, and only when using iOS 11 or later.
- All new photos and videos will now use JPEG or H.264 format.
More ways to share
Sharing is expanded in our new app, giving you greater flexibility on the go. There’s more of the functionality that you already had in Pilot on latakoo.com.
If your permissions allow, you now can copy or move files between networks in Pilot. For example, a reporter covering breaking news who has uploaded files from their mobile device to their station’s home network can now copy those files to other networks — to share with sister stations or their digital producers, all within the mobile app.
Copying the file is always a better alternative to moving the file. Moving means the original location of the file will no longer carry the file at all.
You’ve already been able to share through email on the mobile app, but you had to decide to do so before the upload. We’ve added a share feature that mimics what you see in latakoo.com on the web. The mobile app now allows you to send clips from Pilot to anyone from your mobile device. Just enter an email address and decide whether you want them to log in to access the file and whether you will allow them to share the link with others.
Upload to Multiple Networks
Speaking of sharing, the Flight app for desktop/laptop already allows you to send files to multiple networks. Now, you have the same option in mobile.
Send from iPhone Library through Share Extensions
We’ve integrated iOS share extensions giving you the ability to send files from your iPhone’s library directly to the latakoo app to upload. If you’re browsing your library, select the file and click on the upload icon, which opens a menu to share the file. latakoo now appears as a send option among recognized apps. Just scroll through the options to locate it. The Flight app will automatically open to the send menu.
If you press deeply on the latakoo app, now you will see a series of actions: Share latakoo, Settings, Library, Pilot and Capture.
More Capture Preferences
With the increased adoption of Snapchat, Instagram and other social platforms, some users have expressed a need to capture video vertically. Even though we’re not fans of vertical video, we did program the option into this new app. Under settings, you now can choose a capture preference, forcing a horizontal record in the app or allowing a vertical one.
Item Code Workflow in Mobile
Some of our clients use an item code that allows latakoo’s Hub automation to deposit a file into a specific location in your asset manager. This is also a feature that has been available for some time in our latakoo Flight app for desktop and laptops.
Beta Edit Feature
A new item you’ll see in the bottom menu is the edit function, currently in beta.
While you can still trim individual videos and save them prior to upload, as well as stitch multiple clips at upload to create one video in the cloud, we’re expanding the options for editing.
The beta edit feature allows you to select multiple video clips and photos to create a project timeline. Individual clips and photos can be edited, removed or added once the project timeline is created.
Audio track can be added as well, either from directly recording in the project timeline or by accessing your library.
We’ve marked the edit function as beta because we’re the first ones to admit it’s not quite ready for the demanding nature of broadcast. Some of the features in the edit function are already marked for rapid improvement, such as a more distinct timeline and adding multiple audio tracks.
There’s a lot of power and efficiency in our new app. We hope it makes life easier for all of our users. We’d love to hear your experience with the new app and any ideas on how to improve it. Just drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.