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First look: Cinema FV–5 for Android, similar to FiLMiC Pro for iOS

With USB audio coming to Android, I began to explore Cinema FV–5 and initiated talks with the developer.

I recently covered how proper digital USB audio is coming to Android (link ahead), which means that iOS devices like iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch will now face some healthy competition for audio/video production. That’s why I purchased and began conversing with the developer of an Android app called Cinema FV–5, which is similar to FiLMiC Pro on iOS. Initially, I’ll be using Cinema FV–5 with the Sony Exmor IMX214 sensor (f/2.0 aperture, 13MP, 4K DCI and UHD) in the OnePlus One phablet/phone. Ahead you’ll see features, a demo, and the developer’s response to my first comments and questions.

Link to recent article: Android will finally receive proper USB audio support

Here is a link to my recent article: IK Multimedia: Android will finally receive proper USB audio support.

All about Cinema FV–5

 
The above sample (provided by the developer) was shot in Zaragoza, Spain entirely with Cinema FV-5 on a Nexus 5 (coincidentally, the same exact phone I just sold after receiving the OnePlus One). The developer says he used Sony Vegas only to concatenate the clips, add the fade-in and fade-out, and mix the music. The exposure changes, focus plane adjustments, color temperature adjustments and capturing were done entirely within the Cinema FV-5 app. He suggests watching it full screen in HD

Similar to FiLMiC Pro for iOS (iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) which I have covered in several past articles, Cinema FV–5 is a professional video camera application for Android phones, phablets, and tablets that gives us manual controls and settings which go way beyond what iOS, Android or a camera or tablet manufacturer generally offers. At publication time of this article, Cinema FV–5 is currently at version 1.32 and was most recently updated on December 1, 2014. Cinema FV–5 requires Android 4.0 or later. Apparently, it normally costs US$4.99 via Google’s Play Store in the US, since as of today it’s listed at US$2.49 with a 50% sale, which is what I paid.

 

Major features:

  • Image sensor parameters including: exposure compensation, ISO, light metering mode (matrix/center/spot), focus mode and white balance.
  • Capability of changing sensor parameters (like ISO, exposure compensation, or white balance) even while recording.
  • Zoom before and during recording. Set specific focal lengths thanks to the 35mm equivalent-based focal length display.
  • Focus adjustments while recording: lock focus on your subject before recording and change focus planes while recording.
  • Professional viewfinder: 10+ compositing grids, 10+ crop guides available, safe area displays and much more.
  • Live RGB and luminance histogram available while recording.
  • Audio metering options: display audio peaks and sound clipping warnings while recording.
  • Choose video and audio codec, bitrate, audio sampling rate (The default is 48 kHz! What a relief!) and number of channels.
  • Live audio monitoring.
  • All camera functions are assignable to the device’s volume buttons. Adjust EV, ISO, color temperature, focus, zoom or other settings using volume buttons (even those built-into your headset). Devices with hardware camera shutter keys are also supported.
  • Video geotagging support (optional)
  • Autofocus, macro, touch focus and infinity focus modes, plus a focus lock switch (AF-L).
  • Autoexposure (AE-L) and auto white balance (AWB-L) locks in Android 4.0+.
  • Set storage locations and customizable file names (even with variables).
  • Menus localized in many languages, including Castilian (“Spanish”), Catalán, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, and Portuguese. By default, the app shows the same language you have configured in your Android, but Cinema FV–5 allows you to override it manually if desired.

 

 

 

 

 

According to the developer, a Spaniard named Flavio González who currently lives in Stuttgart (Germany), the footage captured with Cinema FV–5 can be easily edited with any editor like Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro, Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve, or Sony Vegas. I haven’t yet tried myself. Ahead are my comments and questions for Flavio.

Conversation with Flavio González, the Cinema FV–5 developer

Flavio and I conversed via email in Castilian (castellano), aka “Spanish”. This is my summarized English translation:

Allan Tépper comments: Greetings from the United States. I just purchased your Cinema FV–5 app and installed it in my OnePlus One. Eventually, I plan to review it in ProVideo Coalition magazine, where I’ve been contributing since 2008. I am so glad to see the audio default at 48 kHz! As you probably know, 48 kHz is the absolute standard for digital audio for digital video, and it took a lot of lobbying to get that on certain apps on iOS.

Flavio González responds: By default, Cinema FV–5 selects the highest available quality, except for 4K if available, in which case it picks 1080p.

Allan Tépper asks: Do you plan to add support for 4K DCI and Ultra HD as supported by the OnePlus One phone/phablet? I hope so.

Flavio González responds: I have been thinking about adding 4K DCI and UHD to the app. For that purpose, I even ordered a OnePlus One which arrived in December. The apparent issue is that Android 4.4 KitKat didn’t support 4K (on a system level) the way the device manufacturers can. As a result, third-party apps can’t immediately access that resolution, even though the camera offers it. OnePlus, like other camera manufacturers, have implemented 4K under KitKat in a proprietary way, so the third-parties are out. Android 5 Lollipop fortunately supports 4K, but apparently the CyanogenMod “treason” (in India) has slowed the official OnePlus release of Lollipop. [Note from Allan to readers: OnePlus was the first Android manufacturer to include CyanogenMod direct from the factory. CyanogenMod is an ultra geeky version of Android that exposes even more user control than stock Android does. Android users who don’t have a OnePlus One have had to install CyanogenMod on their Android device by themselves, which is a process that is not for the faint of heart. Recently, CyanogenMod gave exclusivity to a specific company in India, which was a stab in the back to OnePlus, who can no longer sell the One in India unless they change it. OnePlus in vengeance is creating its own Lollipop ROM, without CyanogenMod, since India is such an important market for OnePlus. Currently that OnePlus Lollipop ROM is in Alpha. More about that ahead.] Nonetheless, I am working on a way to make 4K work under KitKat, but in worst case, 4K will be there when Lollipop arrives.

Allan Tépper responds to Flavio González about this telenovela between OnePlus and CyanogenMod: Yes, I am aware about the fight between OnePlus and CyanogenMod due to CyanogenMod’s “treason” in India. I know that OnePlus already released the alpha version of its Lollipop. However, it appears that CyanogenMod 12 (based on Lollipop) will be released the first week of February. I believe CyanogenMod will continue to develop for the OnePlus One despite the commercial issue (even though it won’t come on OnePlus Ones from the factory anymore). So at this point, my personal inclination is to stay with CyanogenMod, unless something else unexpected happens.

Allan Tépper asks: Within the framerates that Cinema FV–5 currently offers, will you add the non-integer ones which are derived from NTSC? I’m talking about 23.976, 29.97, and 59.94. They are actually: 24 ÷ 1/1001, 30 ÷ 1/1001 and 60 ÷ 1/1001, but they are generally rounded to 23.976, 29.97, and 59.94 in programs and cameras. Sometimes, due to lack of space, they round 23.976 to 23.98. I am not sure whether Android records VFR (variable framerate) the way iOS does, and only some video editors currently support VFR properly, as I have published in prior articles.

Flavio González responds: I’ll have to investigate the possibility of adding the non-integer framerates, since some camera drivers are less sensitive to framerate. But we’ll certainly look into supporting it, without a doubt, wherever it’s supported.

Allan Tépper comments: I loved seeing Cinema FV–5 menus in Castilian (castellano)… but I was disappointed to see it called “Spanish” (“español”) in the language selection menu. (In addition to being a tech journalist, I’m also a language activist and the author of the books La conspiración del castellano and The Castilian Conspiracy.)

Flavio González responds: With the term “Spanish” (español) I have to say in my defense that it’s Android’s fault. The texts that appear in the language selection menu are the strings that are built into the operating system. So the guilty party for it showing up as “español” (“Spanish”) instead of castellano (Castilian) is Android, not Cinema FV–5. Nonetheless I took note about this point, since you are absolutely correct about this.

Allan Tépper comments: What does the name FV–5 mean to you?

Flavio González responds: Regarding the name FV–5, this is something that I have never told before. When I thought about camera equipment, I recalled that in many cases, they use letters + numbers, sometimes with a hyphen in between, to name the model numbers (NEX–5, C300…). I also noticed that in many cases, the standard model uses a number like 5, 50, 500, etc. and then more complex models with a higher number (7, 70, 700…) and simpler ones below (3, 30, 300…), so I took FlaVio (FV), hyphen, and 5. So that’s how I came up with the name 🙂

I’ll publish more articles as changes/improvements are made in Cinema FV–5, and of course about the upcoming digital USB audio in Android.

Upcoming articles, reviews, and books

Stand by for upcoming articles, reviews, and books. Sign up to my free mailing list by clicking here.

Si deseas suscribirte a mi lista en castellano, visita aquí. Si prefieres, puedes suscribirte a ambas listas (castellano e inglés).

Books, consulting, articles, seminars & audio programs

Contact Allan Tépper for consulting, or find a full listing of his books, articles and upcoming seminars and webinars at AllanTepper.com. Listen to his CapicúaFM and TecnoTur programs. Search for CapicúaFM TecnoTur in iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

My latest book (paperback + ebook)

My most recent book is available in two languages, and in paperback as well as an ebook. The ebook format is Kindle, but even if you don’t have a Kindle device, you can read Kindle books on many other devices using a free Kindle app. That includes iPad, Android tablets, Mac computers, and Windows computers. Although generally speaking, Kindle books are readable on smartphones like Androids and iPhones, I don’t recommend it for this particular book since it contains both color photos and color comparison charts. The ebook is also DRM-free.

In English:

In English, it is currently available in the following Amazon stores, depending upon your region:

 

Or in your favorite bookstore by requesting ISBN–10: 1456310232 or ISBN–13: 978–1456310233.

En castellano:

En castellano, está disponible actualmente en las siguientes tiendas Amazon, según tu región:

o en tu librería preferida al solicitar el ISBN–10: 1492783390 ó el ISBN–13: 978–1492783398.

FTC disclosure

No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan Tépper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs.

Copyright and use of this article

The articles contained in the TecnoTur channel in ProVideo Coalition magazine are copyright Allan Tépper/TecnoTur LLC, except where otherwise attributed. Unauthorized use is prohibited without prior approval, except for short quotes which link back to this page, which are encouraged!


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Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is an award-winning broadcaster & podcaster, bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994,…

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Tobias Claren

Can FV-5 film in 4K resolution on a Note 8?
I’m looking for a video camera app that allows me (without root?) To use the highest resolution, frame rate and data rate without time limit.
Samsung only allows 4K at 30fps for a maximum of 10 minutes.
With maybe 17MBit / s (?).

I want to use 4K with 60fps and maybe 60Mbit/s and 100Mbit/s.