Whether you've got movie-making ambitions or just want to capture a few precious moments, your Google Android tablet or Google Android phone can help you grab plenty of footage and share it with the world.
Google Android video: Lights, Camera… phone?
To start shooting footage in Android, launch the Camera app and toggle it to Video mode by tapping the small camcorder/camera switch on the right side of the screen. Note that, unlike when shooting stills, it's important to hold the phone horizontally – in landscape orientation – at this point, since there's no such thing as portrait mode for video.
Your camera's default settings should give you usable results, automatically setting focus and exposure while compensating for varying lighting conditions. You can fine-tune your video capture, however, by hitting the Menu button on your phone and choosing Settings.
Here you'll find options for adjusting the quality, maximum duration, white balance and colour effects.
Most of the time you'll be shooting at high quality, which can quickly take up space on your device's SD card. However, if you're planning to share your videos via MMS messaging, it makes more sense to shoot them at low quality to make sure they'll be small enough to send.
Auto white balance is enabled by default, and usually delivers realistic tones, but if you're planning to shoot a number of clips in one location, it's better to select the white balance manually.
When you're happy with your settings, tap the red Record button on the screen to start capturing. And when you're done, tap the same button to save the recording to your memory card.
Google Android video: Putting on a show
To share videos from your phone, simply tap them in the Gallery to open them. Tap and hold a video until the context menu pops up, and select Share to view a list of apps that can send your video to friends. You should see options such as Gmail, Messaging (for MMS), Twidroid (for Twitter) and YouTube.
Bear in mind that certain methods of sharing video will have limitations. As mentioned above, if you want to share your videos with friends via MMS, it's best to shoot in low quality and to keep the message shorter than 30 seconds.
For instant sharing, you can opt to start recording video from within Android's Messaging app. To do this, tap Messaging in the app menu, select a recipient, then hit the Menu button on your phone and choose Attach. Next, choose Capture video. By default, Messaging will set your recording quality to Low and give you a 30-second countdown timer to help you limit your clip to an appropriate length. If you're not happy with your footage, you can tap the Retake button and try again. When you're satisfied, tap OK; Messaging will then convert your video into MMS format. Finally, tap Send to fire it off.
Google Android video: Playing Movies and More
For entertainment on the go, you can copy video files to your phone and play them back anytime. A free utility called Videora (tinyurl.com/34jwrlg) runs on your Windows PC or Mac to convert DVDs and other movie content into a format that will play on various Android phones. Bear in mind that a full-length movie can take more than an hour to convert.
Alternatively, HandBrake can also convert movies to assorted formats. If you choose this as your video conversion tool, try a free Android Market download called LukLuk to play a wide variety of video formats, including MP4 and WMA. If you register this app, you can also access a selection of premium streaming movies and TV content.