This blog post is about audio and video on a Samsung Galaxy Mini GT-S5570.
I love my Samsung phone, and think it is a great mobile phone for the price. However I like to push technology, maximise my investment and see what can be done.
Warning: On some occasions I think my phone got too warm. You use this guide at you and your phone’s risk! I am not to be held responsible for any damage, injuries, issues or problems that occur.
- Attaching the Galaxy Mini to a tripod.
- Creating time lapse videos with the GT-S5570.
- Turning the S5570 into a network webcam.
- Instagram (photo social network) and Ustream (internet video broadcasting).
- Using a Galaxy Mini as a webcam for Skype for Windows.
It should be noted that like most cheap cameras, light and a steady hand or surface hugely helps! Whenever I came across a video quality problem, those issues were often the cause or a big contributor. However the phone’s camera isn’t a great specification for recording videos or taking photos.
You might of noticed I’ve included ‘Instagram’ in this guide. I know that service is primarily a photo sharing service (I’ve never shared video via Instagram), but thought the topic had synergy with this guide.
I’ve spent considerable time putting this blog post together, spent a bit of money and had a bundle of successes to accompany the failures. I hope you find this post interesting, and if you appreciate the effort, please say thank you in the comments.
Attaching a Samsung Galaxy Mini GT-S5570 mobile phone to a camera tripod
Okay it is time to really geek out! For some of my video uses I decided I needed a tripod for the phone, as a) my hand was too shaky b) there wasn’t always a surface to prop the phone up against. On the internet I found some bizarre and impractical home-made camera tripods. So I decided to create my own!
For £1 (GBP) I brought a cheap tripod from a ‘Pound’ shop here in the UK. I then looked in my toolbox and found a ‘L’ bracket, a couple of large thin metal washers (one for inside the gel case and one outside), a flat-head screw and a suitable nut. I did have to use a drill to make the holes larger in the L shaped bracket.
I was given an old iPhone gel case, that was too big for the Galaxy Mini, but with the help of two ‘hair’ bands from my girlfriend, I could hold the camera in place. Once I was happy with the direction it was taking, I brought a GT-S5570 gel case to use instead.
Importantly I could remove the phone from the tripod setup whilst out and about. I now use the tripod for recording video, including time lapse videos.
I don’t like the sharp edges on my homemade tripod, so will think about how I can modify the bracket or design with safety in mind.
Q. Can I use the Galaxy Mini GT-S5570 for time lapse video creation?
A. Absolutely! With the homemade tripod attachment I built, I decided to look at creating time lapse videos. I used the free version of ‘Lapse It’, which enabled me to create 240x low quality time lapses with my Galaxy Mini.
Above is a time lapse video that I created with the mobile phone. You simple configure the ‘Lapse It’ application, hit start and when ready hit stop, and then you can render (create) a video via the mobile application.
What I like about this application is that not only can you easily create the videos, but it will also save the individual images that it captured. The video I created above I actually rendered with too many frames per second, so loaded it into ‘Avidemux’, and slowed down the fps.
Q. How can I record videos with this phone?
A. All you have to do is go to the ‘camera’ application, and then you can toggle to a video mode! The video quality is never going to be great, but for capturing a moment, I think it is acceptable.
Q. Can I use my Galaxy Mini’s camera for motion detection?
A. I’ve used the free application called Motion Detector Pro by MVA with the GT-S5570. I’ve not explored the features (which there are many), but tested with it capturing motion and then saving the image as a JPEG file to the microSD card.
Q. Can I use a Galaxy Mini GT-S5570 as a dictaphone / lecture recorder?
A. Yes you can use this phone to go beyond simple audio recording. Chances are the Android OS you are running has an audio recorder application. However there is a nifty free application called ‘Smart Voice Recorder’.
This sound recorder is fantastic for recording audio on the Galaxy mini, including skipping silences, which means it is perfect for setting up and recording for longer periods of time, without using as much microSD card memory.
Q. Can I use my GT-S5570 as a webcam?
A. I’ve already covered using Ustream above, but now I’m going to go further and explore other webcam options.
Using the free ‘IP webcam’ software by Pavel Khlebovich I was able to easily setup a network webcam. I tested the software via WIFI and used the VLC media player to view the stream live over my WIFI network. Unfortunately I experienced a two second delay in video, and given the poor frame rate of 15 frames per second, it didn’t look good.
Q. Can I use my GT-S5570 as a webcam for Skype?
A. The answer is both yes and no! You can’t do a video call using Skype ‘on’ the Galaxy Mini. You can however use the phone as a webcam and stream video via a WIFI (wireless) network for use on Skype on Windows. It isn’t worth the time and effort. During my test there was a delay in the video stream, which meant video and audio were out of sync. Also the quality of the camera, i.e. frame rate, video size etc meant the video was poor quality.
I got this going using two applications:
- IP webcam for Android by Pavel Khlebovich.
- The IP Camera Adapter software from which works on Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 7.
How to stream Galaxy Mini video to Skype on a Windows computer.
- Install the IP Camera Adapter software on your Windows computer.
- Start the IP webcam software on your GT-S5570 phone.
- Run Skype (on MS Windows), and go to ‘Options’, ‘Video Settings’ and then ‘Webcam Settings’.
- Type in http://thegalaxyminiipaddress:8080/videofeed
- Select ‘Apply’, then ‘OK’ and ‘Save’.
- Restart Skype for Windows.
The IP webcam software on your phone should tell you the ip address to type in at step 4. You should now be able to use the Galaxy Mini’s webcam in your Skype for Windows video call.
Above is a screenshot of the video being received on my tablet, from a video call being placed on Skype for Windows, with the video being supplied by my GT-S5570 mobile phone. Skype was ‘not’ running on my Galaxy Mini.
I did try a method using webcamXP, instead of the IP Camera Adapter software, but had problems getting it running in this situation, and gave up.
Again as I mentioned, this isn’t worth the effort, but I’ve included the details for anyone interested.
Q. Can I use Instagram with the mini GT-S5570?
A. Yes and it does a great job! I know this is a ‘audio and video’ guide, but I felt writing about the photo service might be of interest to the readers of this guide.
Again if you have a shaky hand and low light, the quality won’t be as good. However I’ve taken many a good photo with the camera, just holding the camera without a tripod or surface to rest on.
You can choose to either upload an existing photo or to take a photo using the camera application. The Instagram application worked really well on the phone, and the application can crop, rotate and provides other features.
I took the three photos you see in this section via using the Instagram service on my mobile phone. I believe the application is using the default camera application on my phone, so they would of looked this good anyway! I didn’t bother applying any special effects via the Instagram software.
The original sizes of the photos were 2048×1536, which made most photos between 1-2MB in size. I’ve resized the three photos for this blog post and made them smaller, so that this web page will load faster. I’ve only included the images, to give examples of what I’ve been sharing with followers.
However given the amount of hype I’ve heard about the service, a lot of people I know are not using the service, or have inactive accounts. Usually I spent around minute taking and sharing the photo, and I didn’t bother with any of those image special effects.
Q. Can I use Usteam with my mini GT-S5570?
A. The quick answer is, Yes. Below I’ve embedded a Ustream video I recorded with the mobile phone. However given the low frame rate and resolution it didn’t turn out that well. You can have even worse results in darker surroundings. A tripod type setup would help, but I would just avoid using the Galaxy mini with Ustream.
You can set the service up to mention you are broadcasting to your Facebook and Twitter contacts. I linked the service to my Twitter account whilst testing, and ‘tweeting’ that I was broadcasting was a breeze.
When you are broadcasting it will show you how many viewers you have, and you can mute and unmute the audio. I didn’t play with any other features beyond that though.
Note: Using Ustream will eat your battery! I quickly found my battery depleted in under ten minutes! Your experiences may vary, but my battery is quite new.
Q. Can I use micro-B usb headphones with my GT-S5570?
A. I believe the answer is ‘No’. I have a couple of old micro-B headphones which I like, but the Samsung Mini uses a Mini-A usb connector.
Q. Can I watch podcasts on the Galaxy Mini GT-S5570?
A. Yes you can, and it is a fairly painless process! I don’t watch illegal video, but I am a massive video podcast show fan. Personally I’ve not bothered with a podcast manager, and choose to just download the files manually for my favourite podcasts.
Note: By watching podcasts you will drain your phone’s battery, even quicker if video!
Above is a photo of the TekZilla (great show!) podcast playing, and I choose their 98.7mb MP4 file. I just moved it to my microSD card via USB cable and the video application (supplied with the unofficial Cyanogenmod 7.x OS I’m currently running) automatically discovers the file. It plays smoothly, the audio and video is in sync, and I can easily pause and resume without any lag.
If anyone is having problems with podcast video files and wants to convert them to something suitable for the Galaxy Mini, here are some of details for this particular TekZilla episode:
- Format: MPEG-4
- Codec ID: isom
- Overall bit rate mode: Variable
- Overall bit rate: 638 kpbs
- Format: AVC (Advanced Video Codec)
- Bit rate: 525 Kbps
- Width: 320 pixels
- Height: 180 pixels
- Display aspect ratio: 16:9
- Frame rate: 29.970 fps
- Color space: YUV
- Bit depth: 8 bits
- Format: AAC (Advanced Audio Codec)
- Bit rate mode: Variable
- Bit rate: 108 Kbps
- Maximum bit rate: 128 Kbps
- Sampling rate: 44.1 Khz
- Compression mode: Lossy
Other great podcasts to check out are CommandN and both video and audio podcasts from the Twit network.
If you are listening to audio only podcasts, then chances are they are available in mp3 format, which are easily played on this phone.
Whilst the camera on the phone isn’t great, for the price I paid for this phone, I’m happy with the technology provided. I enjoy pushing the Galaxy Mini GT-S5570 and seeing what it can do.I could of looked at other audio and video uses, but I think I’ve covered enough here. I hope this guide shows you don’t just have to use this phone to make calls!