Video Recording On The Pre: Seeing Is Believing | webOS Nation

Video Recording On The Pre: Seeing Is Believing 66

by Jason Robitaille Fri, 25 Sep 2009 12:35 pm EDT

[YouTube Link]

We all knew it was just a matter of time before video recording came to the Pre. The camera and other hardware are easily strong enough to support it.  It's just the software that needs to be upgraded.

Over last few weeks there's been some interesting unofficial developments in this area.  Way back on August 6th, the user cpcrook first reported getting video recording working from commandline.  Since then, the WebOS-Internals wiki page on video recording has grown and video recording is looking like a realistic possibility in the future.

A same video from the Pre's camera from zonyl can be found here and it looks pretty darn good; 30fps at 320x480px with pretty good clarity and color.  In addition, an open source video camera service and test application have been posted, with using reporting varying levels of success.

There are a few caveats, of course.  Video is limited to 320x480, doesn't have sound, and comes out by default badly formatted.  And by badly formatted, I mean most video players won't be able read the file. If you are brave enough to test out this stuff, one player that does seem to be able to show the videos is SMPlayer.

Considering the Pre's hardware can reportedly handle up to 720x480@30fps, hopefully we'll one day see a high quality official software solution from Palm. Until then, long live homebrew!


For what it's worth (maybe not much), smplayer is only a front-end/interface. The real app is mplayer: (smplayer is just one of many front ends available, mplayer even comes with one of its own).

Awesome quality, but recording at 320x480 will transfer into horrible quality when you want to watch it on a PC.

looks pretty damn good on my pc ::shrugs::

The camera chip is capable of streaming the full 3 Megapixel resolution at 20fps. Whether or not the platform can encode that fast is another question.


This would be a great plus to have. Let

It better not take six months for a video recording app, the Hero is right around the corner, I saw in person what the video recorder can do on the Hero, among other things!

How/when did Apple set the benchmark for recording video on a phone?! Other devices have been able to do so for years! iPhone 3GS is the first Apple device that has been able to record video, which just launched two months ago. And where are you getting this "6 months from now" notion from? Palm said that planned on a software upgrade to implement video recording even before the Pre launched in June, 3 months ago. I would expect a recording app before the end of the year (as well as web Flash support).

Well in fairness, Apple does have the best interface for video on a phone yet.

Just because it has the biggest display doesn't make it the "best interface". And I hope you are not talking about recording software, because I have seen better on older phones. With respect to iPhone screen size, we are talking a 3.5" vs 3.1" screen, with the same VGA resolution... so it should be obv that the picture on the 3.1" screen will be sharper (same number of pixels on slightly smaller screen, get it?)! If you have seen the youtube comparison videos from,,, and so on, the video playback on the Pre is decidedly better than on the iPhone 3GS. So, in fairness, I am not sure what your "the best interface for video" opinion is based on.

I am just guessing, but by "best interface" they may be referring to the fact that you can shoot, edit, and play video on the iphone. I think that is pretty cool.

I'm sure the Pre will be able to do the same thing in a couple of months, but the fact is that the iPhone has a decent head start. I am excited to see the Pre community push Palm to make this a better device. Better competition means better devices for all of us.

vlc player, zoom player and mpc all works fine for me.

So when is Homebrew going to create a video recording app? This omission upon release was probably one of the biggest and most puzzling.

So when is Homebrew going to create a video recording app? This omission upon release was probably one of the biggest and most puzzling.

It's not exactly that easy. webOS has no APIs for accessing the camera, so everything has to be done with a custom service to send commands to the Linux underneath. In the forums there's a working version of a service, but it's definitely not release quality yet.

Article says no sound - but unless there are ghosts in my machine I swear I hear the lady talking.

I heard the lady talking too...


So when is Homebrew going to create a video recording app? This omission upon release was probably one of the biggest and most puzzling.

So when is Homebrew going to create a video recording app? This omission upon release was probably one of the biggest and most puzzling.

i also hear sound too (from the tv)

It plays fine in a lot of players, the formatting/codecs/etc actually aren't all that weird/uncommon at all. Looks good, too.

Depending on which command you use, I believe the video will come out in different formats, though I could be mistaken. I just know that the sample I tried with last night wasn't playable on Windows Media Player (on Windows 7 WMP includes xvid / divx support and also supports the .mp4 container), Media Player Classic (which has its own codecs), or VLC.

SMPlayer was the only one that would play it.

The sample I made also had no audio and seemed to play back a little bit faster than real time.

Yeah, I certainly haven't played with it at all to know what commands/functions are available. SMPlayer is just a front end to MPlayer, which depends on codecs installed (as opposed to a self-contained player like VLC). If you look in SMPlayer at the Media Info menu, you can see formatting/codec details.

This app just names the file .mp4. Looking at the start command it uses, it's using a avi wrapper(avimux). It is not creating a real mp4 file. This is why it does not play in the Pre video player. The Pre video player does not support the avi wrapper.

AVI content Info:
Video: MPEG4 Video (H264) 480x320 30.00fps [Video 0]
Audio: muLaw 44100Hz stereo 705Kbps [Audio 1]

From the looks of it, WebOS does not have a real mp4 wrapper right now.

according to mediainfo, it uses the xvid codec. pretty common, IMO. i dont see how it is "badly formatted"

Youtube link not working said could not find video...I'm on the pre

So who wants to set up my pre for this
Ill pay!

Could it be possible that the version they shared was converted so we can watch it on other players?

That's truly worth while video capture. God I love this phone.

The app never works for me. when I try to record, I hit "start rec" and it says
ca.canucksoftware.videocam is not running.

every time.

VGA 30 fps should be the bare minimum. I mean, I had that on my N95 years ago.

if The homebrewers R getting a vid app done so quickly and easily what the Heck is Taking Palm so long to get a Video app out.. It's especially frustrating knowing that the hardware is perfectly capable of some serious stuff. So, Y not take advantage of it. This is a big deal for me because I got Twin baby boys and I love taking video of them but I don't always have the Camcorder on me when they are doing something cute. Gerrr... Come on Palm... Get off your hands we need a Video Recording app on here STAT!!!!


If it means that much to you (and it sounds like it means very much to you!) .. you should also take the time to look up your answer. API API API it has to be a documented api to do this or palm will not support it officially.

i want video record just as badly as the next guy, too... but palm isnt running a homebrew hack shop now are they? (absolutely no pun/offense meant by that)

@author & folks who got this working so nicely already... major MAJOR kudos -- well done!

Seeing that the same processor in the Pre is in the OmniaHD which does video recording at 720P (1280x720). I don't see why video recording would be a problem. Maybe they need to optimize WebOS for it. Who knows.

FYI, Winamp plays the video file posted above with no problem. Looks great!!

so where is the how-to tutorial to get this up and running on my phone?

Whoa!! RIMM's stock is down 16% today! (unrelated)

Exciting development, but am I the only one that is a little weirded out by the filming location here? Really??? We're hacking the video recording capabilities in the bathroom now?

His mirror is in his bathroom :) He wanted to film the pre filming it self.

Well actually I do a lot of hacking in the jacuzzi as well :P

This is awesome!
I've been waiting so freaking long for a video camera!

The developing community for this phone is INSANE!

Played fine with Movie Player on Ubuntu 9.04...

You can use Prism Video converter to both play the videos from the Pre and to transcode them into another format.

Just installed and tried it. WOW, the best video recording quality I have seen on a phone PERIOD. I hope they can make into a real app with audio.

where did you find the instructions to do it?

use this link:

Scroll down until you find an updated zip file. Install the two ipk then reboot your Pre.

You need to clickthe "On" button and see the flash, then click start recording. When you want to stop the recording you need to close the card, i found the "Stop Recording" button not to be working.

Connect your Pre to yur computer in USB mode and you will see the mp4 file. It will not play on any player but the SMPlayer. Google it and download it for free.

the you tube link says: youtube cannot fint that video. I cannot wait for flash. Common adobe.

Ditto on that entire comment. Can we search for the video directly in YouTube?

If you want to play the file on windows in almost any player, just install ffdshow, rename the file from .mp4 to .avi

The encoded video is not badly formatted. It is named incorrectly. This app creates an AVI video using a mp4 video codec. The video player on the Pre is unable to play AVI files. I don't know why they didn't support AVI's, because WebOS seems to have the AVI decoder installed. My guess is because they are trying to push the Itunes file format. I looks like WebOS could even decode .mov files.

nice! love it

I installed it and while you cant view the video while its recording, the video looks GREAT when transferred to my PC!

>one player that does seem to be able to show the videos is SMPlayer.

SMplayer is just a front end to Mplayer. Mplayer can play most anything and is installed on most Linux systems... It wouldn't surprise me if VLC would work also.

VLC played it ROTB...

...Oh and THE QUALITY IS FREAKING AWESOME!! I played it on my 1600 x 1050 HD screen at 2X size and it was super clear.

/Wayne's World ON

To the WebOS-Internals Dudes...

/Wayne's World OFF


OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG... this is a good day...

and you can use it as a flashlight in the app :)

I am so ready for Video Recording on the phone... But I am still gushing over how fast you Developers are getting the apps out so fast.. I love the phone.. The Operation system. And how palm is allowing free access to developers to do what they need to do to get the phone running smooth.

It is just a matter of time before the phone is even close to being capable of doing all the things we can imagine.

So to you iphone lovers.. It won't be long before your converted from the Dark side of the Force....

Any news and development on the digital voice recording capabilities for the Pre?

It's already possible from the command line if you install gstreamer, but as far as I know there's no proper WebOS app yet (and Terminal stopped working for me after the last time I updated it so I haven't been doing much voice recording at all.)

how do i install it? do I install it with the webos installer? or do i just connect usb open up as a file and drg over to one of the pre files? help me.

i believe i installed this correctly, the recorder is in my app catalog, but it doesn't record. any help?

How do you install the video capability app for taking videos then?

So where exactly do i go to download this app which will enable me to do video recording because this process looking at it seems complicated???

so is there an app for video recording
and does any one know of an app that will let u record phone conversations? my old samsung i think w300 would let me record conversations and it always helped when the boss was talking crap to hold it against him

where can i get the recorder for my phone?

I haven't had a problem with the quality of the recordings but the problem I do have is that the spotlight does not come on while you are recording. I did install a patch here at homebrew but I have a new handset and I can't find the other accompanying patches to go with it I think I just may need to download it from preware directly from my phone

Camera is probably one of the weakest things for Palm. In this aspect it's far behind its main competitors. HYIP monitor