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Recording with smaller files on Android phones

Recording with smaller files on Android phones

Your phone’s built-in camera software records at too high a bitrate. That means it creates unnecessarily large video files. Unfortunately, you can’t set a lower bitrate on most of these built-in camera apps.

We recommend you go to the Google Play Store and install “Cinema FV-5 Lite” and then make your video recordings with that app. Once you have it installed and open it for the first time, you can change the bitrate to record much smaller files. Here’s how.

(Note, the Lite version has a time limit on recordings, although they don’t say how long the limit is. To record longer ones, go to the play store and pay for the Pro version ($2.99 USD).)

Click the Settings gear wheel at the top left and then the Filmstrip icon.

First, click the checkbox in the top row for Custom video settings.

Then, make sure the Container format is MP4.

Set the Video Resolution to 1280×720 (720p) if it isn’t already.

Now scroll down to set the “Video bit rate”. Click there. Now scroll down and select “3 Mbps” and then click OK.  We think you will be happy with the 3mbps setting. At 3Mbps and 1280×720 resolution a 30 minute video will generate a file under 1GB.

After you return to the Video settings screen the Video bit rate should say “3000000”. You will need to scroll down and then back up for that to show up.

Try a brief recording with these settings.

If the video isn’t quite as sharp as you would like, you can come back to these settings and slide the slider so the red box says 4Mbps or even 5Mbps. If you are recording objects far away or there is a lot of motion, you may need to set the bitrate up to 6Mbps or higher.


NOTE: If your camera doesn’t seem to work properly when using this app, you can try going to the Settings gear wheel and scrolling down to Use camera compatibility, check that box, and try it again.


Additional Useful Settings:


If you want to save more file size you can also set the Frame rate to 24, which is the standard for movies.

To ensure that the file doesn’t get too large to upload, you can set the Recording Size Limit to 1GB and  make sure that the Automatically restart recording box is checked. This means that if the file gets to 1GB, it will stop at that size and instantly start recording another file. You will have more than one file, but it will be more reliable to upload to WeVu.

You may also want to have your initials automatically in the names for the video files. You can do that by clicking on the Settings gear wheel again and scroll down to Custom video prefix. Tap on that and then enter your initials or some other 2-4 character identifier.

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