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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Tuesday, 4 January 2005

Copying video clips onto a Nokia phone... (techie)

Now I have a shiny new Nokia 5140, with all the technology that it offers, I've enjoyed creating little ringtones (I'm using MIKSOFT's Mobile AMR converter, based on some Sony Ericsson software - www.miksoft.8m.com), taking photos and, most recently, attempting to get small video clips to play on it.

This is probably the trickiest thing to do, as the phone uses (what seems to be) an industry standard "3GP" type of video, and will refuse to play anything which is the wrong size or too big (300kB is about the largest it can manage).

However, I've finally managed to do it - there's now a small but watchable copy of the impressive dancing robot car advert on my phone, with which I can entertain Christopher. Here's how I did it.

What you need

  • A phone that can play 3GP files
  • A phone that has a means of connecting to a PC, either through infra-red or cable
  • A PC capable of connecting to the phone and the internet
  • A video file of up to a minute in length, preferably in AVI or WMV format - www.stupidvideos.com is useful for that.

How to do it

  • Save the video file somewhere on your hard drive.
  • If the file is a WMV file, you'll need to convert it to AVI (due to the current version of the 3gp converter being unable to deal with WMV files directly). i use STOIK Video Converter 2, the conversion part of which is freeware.
  • I use the straightforward "Uncompressed AVI (original format)" setting to save the video file - it'll take upwards of 200MB of space, but not much more, as the clips can't really be very long, but it ensures that the quality is retained until it gets squished into tiny proportions at the end. However, if you're not bothered about editting unwanted bits off the beginning and end, you should save it as a compressed format (choose one that's available, changing the settings to maintain as much quality as possible - it's worth reviewing it using a media player afterwards to ensure it looks OK; if it's rubbish now, it'll be even worse when reduced to postage-stamp size
  • I get rid of uthe unnecessary opening and closing logos using the remarkable VirtualDub - there's also a problem with the final stage of the conversion process in that the 3gp software can't cope with uncompressed AVI files. Save it as an AVI in a compressed format - as long as it's in the list, it'll be readable by the 3gp conversion software, but it's worth noting my comments on quality above.
  • To prepare the video for transfer to the phone, I'm currently using the free demo of ImToo 3gp converter - it's got a 5 minute file length limit, but as I'm not able to play anything longer than about a minute, it's fine for me. The trick here is to ensure that the settings on the right hand side are adequate to make it play on the phone - it doesn't seem to be able to download anything bigger than about 300kB, and the size has to be 128 x 96 pixels. You can change the bitrate (I'm using 30kB/s instead of 40kB/s to reduce the size of a fairly long clip); use the h263 codec, to which it should default.
  • The video clip is now ready to send to the phone - with any luck it'll be accepted, and you'll be able to show off your collection of funny videos with the best of 'em. Here's one I prepared earlier (204kB 3gp file).

Posted by james at January 4, 2005 9:25 PM

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