Fr. Z asks tech advice

I have always had a hard time getting movies/videos from my iPhone to my WordPress blog (this blog) and, therefore, I don’t post many or any.  Too bad!  I see some cool stuff.

I have one on my phone that I definitely want to post.

Any pointers from others?  I find iPhone and Mac super clunky for this sort of thing.  The video is mv4 and largish, to big to go straight through the WordPress app.  I have to compress or shrink the video and post it in a format that you can play.

Any ideas would be well received.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Ivan says:

    I guess you could just upload it on YouTube and embed it here.

  2. msouth85 says:

    One thing you could do is upload the video to YouTube. Then, you should be able to embed it into your post. I’m not sure of how to go about embeding, maybe another user has some experience doing such things.

  3. I concur with the suggestions to upload on YouTube then embed. And that’s only because I don’t know how to work a Mac lol

  4. The Masked Chicken says:

    There is some free software that will do video conversion from one format to another. Is this what you want or do you want to just shrink the mv4 file?

    The Chicken

  5. JPK says:

    Are you using the WordPress app for iPhone? I don’t blog, but I do work in IT. Below is a link I found to a WordPress forum for the iPhone and file uploads.

    Personally, I’m waiting for the day when DSAS (Desktop as a Service) becomes ubiquitous for all users. Currently, it is mainly used by larger corporate enterprises. In the future when DSAS is available, you can login to your online desktop and used your normal desktop tools to do work that an iPad or iPhone cannot do very well. Your online desktop can be accessed from any device.

  6. Siculum says:

    YouTube, hands down. Multi-platform friendly, wide compatibility, displayed via well-supported plugins that won’t go anywhere soon, great quality, great ‘analytics,’ plenty of storage, decent basic editing features, all free. YouTube all the way.

  7. JamesM says:

    As others have suggested, uploading to YouTube is the best option.

    You can either do this straight from your iPhone or you can edit the video and upload from your computer.

  8. amitmshanker says:


    I generally use one of three methods for getting video files on the Internet. The first has already been mentioned above–YouTube. A benefit of YouTube is that people recognize the name and are familiar with it, but a disadvantage (to some, at least) is that your video is now on Google’s servers to do who-knows-what with as they please.

    The second method I use is the one I think is easy for a computer-side solution, and that I use most often: iMovie (or if you have Final Cut Pro, that works too). iMovie is free for Macs now, and maybe even for iPhones. It’s simple to import video to iMovie from either a Mac or iPhone, and iMovie provides a useful export menu (under “File”–>”Share”) that includes information about the output resolution and file size, which might be limited on WordPress. This makes it easy to downsize videos to make them smaller for ease of uploading and streaming.

    The third method, and the one with the most options (therefore probably the most complicated) is a combination of HandBrake and VLC Media Player. I use this for encoding projects that I want more precise control over the video and audio, and HandBrake comes with a comprehensive user guide.

    I’m not familiar with your end of WordPress, so I don’t know if they have any tools for uploading videos, but I’ve found these three methods to be effective for making video files a manageable size for uploading.

  9. Mike says:

    Father, I think WordPress’ 1GB size limit is always going to be an impediment to uploading a video of more than a few minutes. For bigger videos, the least clunky option will probably be, as others suggest, to host on YouTube; and then to use either the “Insert YouTube” or “Insert from URL” option from the “Insert Media” button on the WordPress blog authoring page.

    I would subscribe to a Fr. Z YouTube channel, fwiw.

  10. dfp42 says:

    Look into Amazon photo app. Not only will it back up all your photos and videos in the cloud, it will let you share a private link for either the photos or videos for others to see. The only exception is 2 gb file or over 20 minutes. If you are looking into longer videos, google drive allows the same thing without the limits.

  11. MBinSTL says:

    Handbrake is a graphical front-end to ffmpeg, which is a “swiss army knife” command-line utility for working with all sorts of video files and formats.

    If you can get the video from your iPhone to your Mac (probably via iTunes sync), you can then reveal that file in the Finder and, knowing where it is, load it into Handbrake; then play with the latter’s output settings to generate a smaller video file suitable for uploading to your blog.

  12. majuscule says:

    I just uploaded some videos from yesterday’s Feast of Christ the King directly from my iPhone to YouTube.

    I had forgotten my Real Camera, which was a shame because I was in the choir loft with a great view!

    Without even an app I was able to edit out some things at the beginning and the end and upload directly to my YouTube account from iPhone photos. I had the choice of uploading HD or lower resolution (I chose HD and it didn’t take long). The iPhone compressed and uploaded and it was actually easier than from my desktop computer! Though for more editing control I like my computer.

    But I think there are editing apps for your phone, too.

  13. majuscule says:

    I’m not sure if this would be a solution for keeping YouTube videos out of a Google search but when you upload, you can specify that they be “unlisted” as opposed to “public” or “private”. Unlisted means that one needs the link to view it. It can still be embedded in your blog. People can view it if they have the link and they can share it with others but it doesn’t show up to the public in a search.

    I just tried googling one of my unlisted videos and it doesn’t show up.

    As I said, people can still share the link if they know it. But then if it’s embedded in a blog post they can share that, too…

  14. If you just want to convert and/or compress, then Handbrake is the way to go. It is pretty much the Swiss Army knife of video. As it is free, it will fit your budget requirements. I use HB all the time for various video conversion/compression tasks. There is a useful command line interface for doing batches of files, but that is more than you probably want to know.

    Now if you want to edit, then iMovie is certainly the best choice for the price (free). Besides being able to cut frames out, you can add a number of nice effects in iMovie too. Once the content is edited, you can export the video, and if necessary, use Handbrake to compress down.

    As to content delivery, I do not have any experience with WordPress, but YouTube is certainly an option to consider if you are going to do this sort of thing often. Of course, if you want to go the YouTube route, you could perhaps skip the Handbrake/iMovie option and go directly to YouTube. Matter of flexibility vs convenience.

  15. cregduff says:

    There are a couple of neat solutions to help solve your request.

    First, which gives you the functionality you are asking for within the WordPress application framework. There is a cost, however in an upgrade via plug-in but you also get cloud storage I believe .
    Second, and probably more flexible, free, albeit multi-step, is to use Dropbox in your workflow to transfer video files, edit them, and share directly from within iPhone to their cloud, and compliment with other mobile editing tools.

    Hope this is helpful to you and all.

  16. The Masked Chicken says:

    If you are going to try Handbrake, you should download mpegstream, as well, as Handbrake does not produce lossless transcoding:

    Another good free software is avidemux:

    There are a number of good ways to compress video files to put them on a web site. Here is a list of several ways:

    The Chicken

  17. The Masked Chicken says:

    I would not go the YouTube route. To much nonsense and lack of privacy.

    Adjusting my tinfoil hat…

    The Chicken

  18. The Masked Chicken says:

    I, also, recommend VLC (the Swiss Army Knife of video players). It will save files in almost any format. It is illegal to watch DRM movies using VLC because it utilizes codecs which are proprietary in the U. S. and governed by both copyright and patent laws. It is fine to watch and modify your own movies, however.

    The Chicken

  19. frjim4321 says:

    Would HandBrake help? Free download.

  20. Federico says:

    Youtube +1. Your blog is public anyway.

  21. frjim4321 says:

    nevermind … I didn’t read the previous posts very carefully …

  22. Siculum says:

    Handbrake is great for a lot of stuff, yes, but as pointed out, video hosting is the main issue here. Better video quality=larger file=more space requirements=product befitting the guy with great quality podcaZts and Zuhlio tracks. Bigger IS better!

    I think I have unlimited storage for my YouTube channel, and again, for free. I too would subscribe to a WDTPRS/FRZ YouTube channel, and someone above makes a good point about using the “unlisted” feature so this blog still gets the actual visitor hit as much as possible. Father Z could just set up his own separate Gmail account dedicated just to his YouTube channel, which I have done on multiple occasions.

    And yes, even though Masked Chicken is right about the privacy thing, that’s not as relevant here….yet. If we want to get into slow scan TV for Ham radio, though….. Then that can come down the road after teotwawki.

    NB: All new Mac/Book, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touches purchased…or restored to factory settings… in recent years come with the opportunity for free downloads of iMovie and the other iLife things I never use.

  23. thecharles says:

    1. Install the dropbox app on your iPhone. It automatically uploads photos and videos to the “camera uploads” folder in your dropbox.
    2. Open the video of choice in QuickTime on your mac.
    3. Go to file–Export. Choose 720p or 480p. Both are much smaller than the 1080p that the 6s records in.
    4. Bob’s your uncle. There is no step 4.

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