Photos Go Live

, Tech

Ashwin Rajagopalan gives you a lowdown on the newest phone-camera trend in town – moving images – be it on iOS, Android or Windows

you are a true-blue Harry Potter fan, you will love the new magic the smartphone camera is conjuring up. Touted as the next revolution in phone photography, the feature is being offered in iPhone 6S and Samsung’s Galaxy S7. Potter fans will be familiar with “living paintings” that adorn the walls at Hogwarts, where the people pictured are alive in the photos – a contrast from the standard still-image paintings. It’s quite the same with images shot on “Live” mode, where still images spring to life for a couple of seconds, allowing you or your friends to “relive” the memory in more detail.

Live Photos on Apple’s iPhone 6S, 6S Plus & SE

Live photos capture the scene for about two-three seconds after the actual image is clicked. And it also captures live sounds, so you can actually hear your baby laugh as you capture the moment. Most compatible iPhones go into Live Photo mode by default. You can activate or deactivate “Live” mode by pressing the yellow concentric circle at the top of your camera screen. You will need to remember to hold your camera still for a good three seconds after you hit the click button. This is a common mistake most users make, which makes the images blurry. Live photos integrate seamlessly with the new 3-D touch feature on the iPhone 6S, which allows you to view them with ease. However, these photos occupy twice as much space on the device memory than a regular still image, which is something users of 16GB iPhones need to be mindful of. One holiday album with live photos could exhaust your phone memory.

Samsung’s Motion Photos

Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are winning a lot of attention for their stellar cameras. This duo features Motion Photos which record frames before a picture is taken (in contrast to the iPhone 6S, which captures the frames after your image is clicked). I think it’s more intuitive than Live Photos, as it allows you to pause the “video” at any point and “grab” that frame as a separate image, which you can then share (a feature the iPhone doesn’t have). Motion Photos are also lighter, in terms of file size, but don’t capture audio the way Live Photos do.

HTC’s Zoe

Apple fanboys might disagree, but the brand can’t entirely take credit for the feature. HTC came up with a “Zoe” feature on its flagship HTC One device as far back as 2013, which could capture a short threesecond video. The name Zoe was inspired by Zoetrope, a device that gained popularity in the late 19th century for creating an illusion of a moving image by stitching together a set of images. HTC took it one step further in 2014 by introducing the Zoe app, which allowed users to create their own “Zoes” with a bunch of still images and tell fascinating tales in a few seconds. You can shoot Zoes on some of HTC’s premier devices, such as the HTC One M9 Plus. Nokia’s Lumia phones offered “Living Images” in some of their premium devices in 2014, but since it wasn’t marketed effectively, most users didn’t know how to enable the feature on their device

Should you be excited?

One of the challenges that Live Photos or Motion Photos face is the ability to view images outside the devices they have been shot on. Apple has addressed this issue by tying up with Facebook to allow iPhone users (from within the iOS app) to upload Live Photos – but it is still work in progress. Despite all these, Live Photos or Motion Photos throw open a whole new way of capturing memories still life never can.

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