iPhone Life magazine

30+ fps video recording with the iPhone 5? Currently impossible, it seems [UPDATE: 4S: no 30+ fps under iOS6, either!]

As you may already know (see for example THIS), the previous iPhone model, the iPhone 4S, couldn't truly record video with more than 30 frames per second (fps) without, by 50%, decreased vertical resolution and (with the 1080p-native 4S) switching to 720p resolution. Now, let's take a look at how the iPhone 5 behaves in this respect! Can it record 30+ fps video at all?

As the  iPhone 5 (still) can't be jailbroken allowing for simple framerate boosting with, for example, the Advanced mode (with editable framerate) of my suite of apps (which has just been updated to iOS5+ for the iPhone3GS and 4 – see THIS), I've scrutinized the two framerate booster apps in the AppStore, SloPro and Better Camcorder, to find out how they behave on the new iPhone. In addition to the iPhone 5 (iOS 6.0.1, non-JB'n), I've also tested them on the iPad 3 (iOS 5.1.1, JB'n) and iPhone 4 (iOS 5.1.1, JB'n).


(Shooting my 60 fps test benchmark video with Better Camcorder using my iPhone 5. Click for enlargened original. Note the  black bars on the sides showing the app hasn't been updated to the widescreen iPhone 5 / iPod touch 5 yet. Also note that, while the screenshot shows 30.20 fps as the recording speed, the footage it records will be 29.97 fps only – and that's the best case.)

Back in June, I've already tested these apps on my iPhone 4S (review). Then, I've found  SloPro vastly superior and indeed delivering 60 fps (at 720p and, in addition, halved resolution, of course).

Unfortunately, the results are nothing to write home about. Neither apps are iPhone5-aware (meaning letterboxing). What is worse, neither of them recorded a video footage with more than 30 fps.

SloPro, as of version 2.2, seems to be severely dumbed down from the previously reviewed version. The current one didn't deliver anything over 30 fps on any of my test devices I've tested it on.

Better Camcorder (current version: 1.4) was even worse. On the iPad 3, it recorded slightly below (around 29.10) the nominal 29.97 fps in 720p mode. The iPhone 4 produced even worse results (around 16 fps). It was only on the iPhone 5 that it ran at the nominal speed – but, again, nothing over 30 fps.

(Note that the excellent video recorder I've also reviewed previously on previous iPhone models, FiLMiC Pro, as of the current version (2.9.10), still can't be configured for higher framerates than 30 fps. It runs on the iPhone 5 without problems though – albeit it doesn't make use of the screen estate either. (BTW, it's iOS 6 only. Hopefully they will return to supporting iOS 5 as I really don't think they use anything iOS6-specific. Don't render the app useless for previously-paying(!!) customers that don't want to "upgrade"(??) to iOS6 if not absolutely necessary!)

Verdict

If you have an iPhone 5 (or, for that matter, an iPad 3 / iPhone 4) and want to record video with more than 30 true fps, don't bother with these apps - fomr some (still unknown) reason, they won't record faster-than-30fps footage. Note that

1, I'll also re-test these new versions on the iPhone 4S. (Again, on the 4S, previous versions of both apps used to record faster footage. SloPro was even able to record truly 60 fps - with vastly reduced vertical resolution on top of having to use 720p only, of course. I'd certainly love to know whether it's only the 4S that is able to record faster-than-30fps footage.)

2, I'll report on future changes, new versions of these apps, particularly if they (re-)introduce high-speed recording.

UPDATE (some hours later): I've re-run the tests on an iPhone 4S running on iOS 5.1.1. The first screen SloPro presented was as follows:

That is, it's totally impossible to record 30+ fps footage under iOS6 - exactly what I've noticed on my iPhone 5 some hours ago. Too bad the app doesn't show any warning under iOS6 (on the iPhone 5), unlike under iOS5.1.1, and its app description doesn't state it's unable to record faster footage under it, either. New iPhone 5 users should be warned about not being able to record faster footage - they, rightfully, would be sure they can, based on their iPhone 4S experience. This is a HUGE omission in both the app and its description - the latter only states "We are still working hard on the capture framerate on iOS 6" and doesn't in any way mention the 30 (29.97) fps limitation. Again: it's a huge omission the developers should immediately fix.

Returning to the question of the iPhone 4S (on 5.1.1), the latest versions of these apps behave in exactly the same way, 30+ fps footage recording-wise, as the ones I tested some months ago. (I've tested this with my standard 60 fps test video.) SloPro delivered excellent 60 fps footage at its "Slowest" setting, not dropping a single frame, while Better Camcorder capped at around 35 fps. That is, should you want to stick with a non-jailbroken truly high-fps solution on your iPhone 4S running on iOS 5.1.1, go for SloPro, it's way better than Better Camcorder. And don't forget: do NOT upgrade to iOS6 if you want to keep 60 fps video recording! (And to be able to jailbreak... and to stick with Google Maps...)

Finally, in the original article I mentioned FiLMiC Pro, which doesn't support shooting over 30 fps at all. Its (pretty pricey - I already paid 4$ for FiLMiC Pro; the second one would cost me an additional $5), recently-released successor, FiLMiC Pro 2 (iTunes link), already has 30+ fps recording modes. However, its not iPhone 5 / iPt5 widescreen-ready and, as is also emphasized by the first post HERE, doesn't record over 30+ fps under iOS6 either. The latter, "of course", isn't mentioned in the app description. (This should be immediately fixed, Cinegenix, LLC!) That is, for the time being, do NOT purchase it for your iPhone 5 either - it won't record higher-speed footage at all!

UPDATE (15/Nov/2012): just some minutes ago, the new, 2.2.1 version of SloPro has been released:

(the other updated app I show you on the AppStore list is an update of nPlayer, an excellent video player, to which I'll soon devote an entire article)

The app, as is promised in the update notes, now indeed makes use of the full screen estate of the iPhone 5 / iPt 5. A shot of my shooting my 60 fps standardized test video:

Unfortunately,

1, this version is (still) unable to record 30+ (more precisely, 29.97+) fps footage under iOS6. (Yes, I did thoroughly test this on my iPhone 5.)

2, the developers have in no way added a warning to their app description telling iOS6 people not to expect higher-than-30 fps recording - as opposed to the iPhone 4S running on iOS 5.x. They should to avoid people wasting money on non-working apps.

UPDATE (Nov/22/2012): 1.) FiLMiC Pro (link), which has received a major update with the last, 3.0.0 update, is currently offered for free. It's certainly worth getting it for free.

2.) The above-mentioned successor, FiLMiC Pro 2 (link), has completely removed 30+ fps support in the latest (1.2) update released the day before yesterday. This means you in no way should purchase it if you need 30+ fps, even if you have an iPhone 4S running iOS 5.x.

UPDATE (Nov/22/2012, later): FiLMiC Pro 2 (link), which has received very bad reviews, will be (at least for some time) removed from the AppStore (see the recently-added announcement at the top of the app's description).

Want to master your iPhone and iPad? Sign up here to get our tip of the day delivered right to your inbox.
Topics:
Email icon
Want more? Get our weekly newsletter:

Werner Ruotsalainen is an iOS and Java programming lecturer who is well-versed in programming, hacking, operating systems, and programming languages. Werner tries to generate unique articles on subjects not widely discussed. Some of his articles are highly technical and are intended for other programmers and coders.

Werner also is interested in photography and videography. He is a frequent contributor to not only mobile and computing publications, but also photo and video forums. He loves swimming, skiing, going to the gym, and using his iPads. English is one of several languages he speaks.