OnePlus has a lot of video recording improvements in the works

OnePlus 7T and OnePlus 7 Pro
OnePlus 7T and OnePlus 7 Pro (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • OnePlus will be focusing on its camera this year.
  • The firm has committed to improving several aspects of its videography in 2020.
  • In a Q & A session, OnePlus addressed issues raised by videographers and their responses to it.

OnePlus' 2020 is off to a good start with its fluid display showcase dominating discourse. The firm isn't stopping there, it plans to improve one of the weakest points of its generally good phones - the cameras. Specifically, their video performance. Unlike iPhones, while Android phones take good to great photos, video performance is often poor to middling.

OnePlus has committed to building out its video functionality in 2020 in response to community feedback, posting a list of questions raised and its responses to them. The firm has expressed a desire to improve exposure matching on all cameras, skin tone consistency, sharpness, and faster shutter capture times in 2020. Some niche features like AR emoji and light painting mode aren't a priority, but the firm seems to have a good handle of what users want.

Here's the full Q&A compilation:

  • Exposure / color / white balance shift and consistency across all cameras - Tuning all the cameras to have the identical exposure, white balance is our first priority and main goal.
  • Auto focus consistency - We weren't be able to reproduce the issue reported by the OEF attendees in our lab, but an upgrade both on hardware and software for auto focus will come in 2020.
  • Skin tone consistency - Skin tone improvement is one of our top priorities. It will improve via future system updates.
  • Sharpness: Sharpness needs improvement across all scenarios - We are trying to find the new balance between sharpness and noise. *** Super stabilization: Support for 4K recording; Reducing noise and improving low light quality**. - There are hardware limitations, but 4K super stabilization will be supported in some of our future devices.
  • **Dynamic range: Subject is lit but background is too dark **- We have been working on video HDR, which will solve these dynamic range problems.
  • Light flickering - We've heard a lot of feedback about this, and we are working on de-flickering solutions to reduce this issue.
  • Panning shots are not smooth: Improve panning shots stabilization and smoothness - So far, we weren't be able to reproduce this issue in our lab, but smoothness and video are part of our key improvement points for 2020.
  • Faster camera - Again, this is one of our main goals in 2020. Faster shutter requires updates from system, application, as well as the animation. It will constantly be improved via future updates.
  • Lens feature-parity: 1080P and 4K should be supported in all three lenses, allowing to switch between lenses while recording - This is due to a hardware limitation in current devices, but we're exploring ways to make it possible for future devices.
  • Limited 4K record length - Having considered overall performance and temperature, we will not change current limit, but will keep working on optimizing this in the future.
  • Single handed use: Difficult to reach the top bar for features; Single hand zooming - This is very important feedback for us, and we've already been discussing solutions with the design team.
  • Video editing - We plan on completely updating our Gallery app's video tools, so many of the features requested during the OEF will be supported. For color grading or LUT options, we will have news soon.
  • Pro video mode - Pro video mode will be put into backlog, since our high priority is improving default video quality and use experience across the board.
  • Depth of field for tele camera recording (optical) - We have already been researching and working on this feature, and the current quality has not reached our standard to release.
  • Zoom-in time-lapse - We have some similar ideas for time-lapse as well, they are already in future product plan.
  • Reverse recording video - Less frequent user scenario, so we've put into backlog. Our main focus in video is basic quality and user experience for all users.
  • Night mode for night video - This is something we believe to be very interesting, we have already been researching and working on it.
  • AR emoji and stickers recording - We still haven't found a killer scenario for AR in video. There are some third-party apps that already offer interesting sticker features, so this isn't a big priority for now.
  • Social media mode: Directly to twitter, crop ratio for Instagram, etc. - We believe the image quality in third-party apps is of high importance and has a higher priority. We have been working on this, these features are planned after image quality improvement.
  • Light painting mode - We decide not to follow on light painting effect due to a narrow user scenario.
  • 2 cameras recording at the same time: Wide and ultra-wide; rear and front - This is already supported by current platform and cameras, but we are looking for user scene to fully take advantage of this feature.

OnePlus is certainly trying to build on its strengths and cover its weaknesses when it comes to the camera. Aside from video, things like a faster shutter and improved sharpness will address not just videos but also photography in general.

It's not clear when all these improvements will hit current units, but it's likely to be spaced out over the year like the Pixel's feature drops and not just packed into one big release.

Michael Allison