Actually, this isn’t about the quality of the iPhone 3GS video which is surprisingly good, but rather of what it looks like when you upload it to an online service.
When you shoot some video, you have a number of options to get it online. Unfortunately, all of them seem to currently suck unless you post the original footage yourself.
Here is the same video cross posted to a number of sites that I shot on the first ride with my new bike along the PoCo Trail. I think it’s a good example because there is a lot of movement and objects (aka rocks) that really highlight the differences in compression quality:
YouTube (posted directly via the iPhone YouTube conduit):
Flickr (uploaded via Email directly from the iPhone):
Flickr (original video uploaded from computer):
Vimeo (original video uploaded from computer):
and finally, the original uncompressed source video (opens in a new window – 8.5mb)
I’m pretty sure it’s an unoptimized codec for the iPhone’s video being used on these sites….the compressed video from all the sites looks horrible with artifacts and blurriness compared to the source footage and yet there is no way to get that footage to these sites without some sort of compromise either directly from the phone on the go or via a sync/download/upload process.
I can only hope this changes soon.