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Post iPhone 5s Slo-Mo videos to Instagram and elsewhere

Serenity Caldwell | Sept. 24, 2013
Can't get the iPhone 5s to post slow-motion clips to Instagram? Here's how you can make it work the way you want to.

iPhone 5s

If you just picked up your iPhone 5s, you may be itching to record some slow-motion video. (I know I was.) But due to the way Apple's slow-motion feature is implemented, sharing your brilliance with the world may take a few extra steps.

How slo-mo works
Despite what you may think, Apple's slo-mo mode doesn't record in slow motion at all. Instead, it records in real-time, capturing more frames of motion than your eye can perceive.

Your average online video is displayed at 30 frames a second. The iPhone 5s camera takes four times that number, capturing 120fps (frames per second); as a result, 1/4th of a second has the same amount of frames that a regular second of video would have.

The iPhone 5s has special software in the Photos app to slow down parts of your clips.

Played at its normal speed, 120 frames a second is awesome for filming things like sports, as you can see moves and plays more clearly. But for most, the fun comes when you slow it down. Apple has built software into the Camera and Photos apps that let you automatically slow a portion of your 120fps video so that it displays at 30fps—and make look really cool in the process, too.

Why slo-mo won't upload
Unfortunately, Apple's Slo-Mo tool only applies to clips that the Camera or Photos app exports—and the only way you can currently do that is through the Share sheet, which only supports YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo. Try and upload a video to a third-party app like Instagram, and all you can post is your 120fps source video.

It's possible that apps like Instagram may be able to upload exported video by updating their code, though as I haven't looked at the developer documentation, I'm not sure. But you don't have to wait for your favorite developer to post some fancy slo-mo video: Here are a few tips on how to upload slo-mo video to your third-party apps.

Trick your phone and upload slo-mo video to Instagram
So far, I've discovered two ways to do this: One just uses tools on your iPhone itself, and one requires a second iOS device.

JUST USE YOUR iPHONE: To force your iPhone to export a slo-mo clip, we're going to use the oldest trick in the sharing book: emailing it to ourselves.

Open the clip in question, make sure the slow-motion has been adjusted where you want it to be, then tap the Share sheet. Tap Mail, and your video will compress and attach to an email message. Send the email to yourself.


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