How to use an Android Camera

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This article describes how the Android camera can be used for recording and distributing video and
pictures. We will review how to access the camera settings, where videos are stored and how to retrieve
them, and how to share your Android videos with friends and colleagues.

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How to use an Android Camera

  1. 1. How to Use the Camera on an Android PhoneThis article describes how the Android camera can be used for recording and distributing video andpictures. We will review how to access the camera settings, where videos are stored and how to retrievethem, and how to share your Android videos with friends and colleagues.Native Android Camera:If you click on the Applications button on your Android phone and scroll through the choices you willfind an app called Camera. Clicking on this icon brings up the native camera app for the phone. On theright side of the screen at the top is an option for toggling the camera from picture to video mode.Below that is the button to take a picture/record a video. At the bottom right is a thumbnail image of thelast picture taken.On the left side is a tab. Click on it to open the settings.Tip: Sometimes the options on the left side of the Android screen will be hidden, with a small tabvisible (as in the image above). Press on the tab to display the options.Android Camera settings (as described on Android 2.3 devices):Under the tab on the left side of the screen are options to rotate between the front and rear camera, ashooting mode selection (great for panorama views and fun effects), a button to turn the camera flashon/off, and a tool option. The tool option is where most of the camera settings are stored. For examplethis is where you adjust focus, turn on a timer to take an Android picture, and adjust image resolutionand image quality. This is one of the most important screens on the Android camera app so be sureto select your tool setting prior to using the camera. Typically users will select the highest resolutionsetting the camera supports. Just realize that this results in larger file sizes that will consume devicememory at a faster rate. If lower resolution pictures are acceptable you may decide to use lower settingsin order to store more pictures on your device.For more information about mailVU visit http://mailVU.com
  2. 2. Native Android video recorder (as described on Android 2.3 devices):In video mode the options on the left side of the Android device include changing between front andrear camera, limiting the video to MMS length (later we’ll tell you how to send long videos that MMScan’t handle), a setting to turn flash on/off, exposure setting, and a tool option. As with the cameramode, the tool option is where most of the controls are located. Timer, resolution, video quality, andeffects like black and white filming are located on this screen. Similar to the camera mode, many userswill select the highest video resolution and quality. If you are using MMS you may find that youexhaust the size limit in 15-20 seconds of recording time. Lowering the resolution will lengthen therecording time allowed on MMS and save smaller files to memory. If you want to use the bestresolution setting and quality setting you will need an app that supports large files. mailVU’svideo sharing app lets you send long videos without worrying about the file size for the recipient.Tip: To focus the camera lens tap on the screen over the object you wish to capture. In the image abovethe focus area is within the four corners.Holding the Android device vertically versus horizontally:You can hold your Android phone in different positions to take pictures and videos. They will look fineon your screen as long as you have rotation turned on. However if you record in vertical orientation andsend the pictures and video through email they will arrive sideways. Some 3rd party applications,such as mailVU’s Android camera app, automatically adjust for orientation so the videos willappear in the recipient’s inbox in the proper orientation. If you use a different 3rd party camera appmake sure it adjusts the orientation like mailVU.Tip: To zoom the camera in and out place two fingers on the screen. Squeeze your fingers together in apinching motion will zoom out, and moving your fingers farther apart will zoom in. When taking videothis can be performed during the recording.What format does the Android Camera use to record the videos?Android devices record in MP4 or in 3gpp, depending on the device and operating system level. Thismeans that if you send someone a video they will need to be able to play this same format on theirdevice. A frequent issue users have is the recipient is unable to play the format used by the sender. Oneof the things mailVU does is automatically encode every video into multiple formats, and stream theversion that works on the playing device. If you use a 3rd party Android camera app to send videosmake sure it converts the format like mailVU does, otherwise you run the risk of the recipient not beingable to play the video.For more information about mailVU visit http://mailVU.com
  3. 3. Where do Android videos get saved?There is another application on Android called Gallery that stores all your videos and pictures. Openthe Gallery to see your previous work. If you select an item from Gallery and click Share, you will beable to share that file through a variety of means including text messages, email, or a 3rd party app.Connecting your Android device to your computer:Use the USB cable that came with your Android phone and connect it to your computer. Be careful touse the same cable that came with your phone. Not all USB cables are the same, and using an LG cableon a Samsung phone may not allow you to transfer files. It is very easy to bend the pins in a USB cable,so if your cable does not allow you to access the Android device folders you will need to get a new oneto match the manufacturer’s original cable.DCIM – the key to moving your Android videos to your computer:Once you plug your phone into your computer use the file manager to open the folders on your device.On a Samsung phone running operating system 2.3 several ‘devices’ appeared when it was plugged intothe computer. Open “Removable Disk G”, then select DCIM, then open the Camera folder to find yourpictures and videos. Copy or move files as desired to your computer hard drive. The key to findingyour Android videos and pictures is finding the DCIM folder.How to take a Screen Capture image:To take an image of the Android screen hold the Home and Back buttons down simultaneously for a 3-4 seconds until you hear a click. Screen capture images are not stored in DCIM with your photos orvideos. Instead they are stored in the ScreenCapture folder under Removable Disk G.Sharing Videos with Android Camera AppsThere are several apps you can use to share your Android videos. If you are using a phone you can sendMMS, the video equivalent of text messaging. The downside of MMS is it only supports very smallvideos, as in less than 20-30 seconds. Often you will encounter an error message that the video is toolarge. This can also happen with a 3rd party MMS app like whatsapp. Often videos are too big to sendwith whatsapp.There are a variety of video social sharing Android apps, including Snapchat, Viddy, and SocialCam.Most are not designed for private video messaging or for business use, limit you to less than 30 secondsof video, and do not have version for computers. You can natively send video via email from yourFor more information about mailVU visit http://mailVU.com
  4. 4. Android phone, but the issues of orientation, file size, and video format are present unless you use anapp like mailVU.When mailVU created our Android Video Email app we designed it to solve the problems thatcurrently exist in sharing Android videos: • Record and send full-length video messages which exceed the MMS limit • Automatically encode videos to multiple formats and play the correct format to the recipient • Automatically rotate Android camera videos for proper orientation • Send video via email or video text, where the recipient does not have to save large files • No requirement to have a mailVU account, and the app is free to download • But if you do have a mailVU account, login to save videos to your online mailVU account • Business and Business Pro users can add their branding to their Android video messages • We offer the ability to Private Label and customize for Enterprise clientsWe hope this article was helpful in understanding how to access the Android Camera and Gallery, howto adjust settings and copy the files, and how to share the content with others. Please try out mailVUsapps in Google Play and iTunes.For more information about mailVU visit http://mailVU.com

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