Smartphone cameras are packed full of features today, but not all of them are things we’d use on a regular basis. Samsung’s new Single Take mode found on its Galaxy S20 Ultra, S20 Plus, and S20 phones is the kind of camera feature we really like because it’s fun, useful, requires very little effort to use, and is something we predict many will use often. That is, provided you know exactly how to get the best from it.
What exactly is Single Take? It is made to ensure you never fumble around choosing which camera mode to use at a particular moment again. Let’s say your dog is going crazy chasing a ball. Do you want a video or a few stills? Make the decision quickly, as the craziness may not last long enough to get both. This is where Single Take comes in, as it takes video, shoots stills, and even makes fun little GIF-style video clips from that moment, all in one go, all from a single press of a button.
Here’s our in-depth guide on using Single Take on a new Galaxy S20 phone.
Open the camera app and you’ll see Single Take listed as one of the shooting modes above the shutter button. Tap, or swipe to it. One thing to know before you start using it, it’s important not to think of Single Take as a photo mode but as a video mode, because when you tap the shutter button it records video rather than taking a still. The amount of time you record for is up to you, and the longer you leave it running, the more opportunities the software has to create what it calls, “meaningful moments.”
Why? While you’re recording, Single Take is collecting moments from the video and creating still photos, filtered photos, short video clips, and plenty more. The more you shoot, the more choice the camera has to come up with something fun. However, even if you only record for 20 seconds, it can usually come up with a selection of four or five different images and videos, so don’t think you have to record for minutes on end just to get something good. Single Take works with both the rear camera and the selfie camera, and the method of shooting is exactly the same.
Movement in your scene is essential to get the best from this feature. Single Take has more to work with when something is happening around you and your subject. Whether it’s your friends dancing, your dog running and jumping, or the city going about its business at rush hour — the scene you’re shooting should have some action in it for Single Take to work best. This also applies to selfies, so change your expression, look around, or get some mates to join in and have fun. Just remember it’s a video, and you’ll be fine.
Variety will also help get great results. The more the software has to work with, the better the results will be. If there’s not much movement in the scene itself, move around yourself. If you’re at a party, circulate the room. If you’re at the park, create little movies using Single Take, and see what the software comes up with when you’re done. For Single Take to be creative, you have to be creative as well, and that’s what makes it fun.
To see what Single Take has created, tap the preview image next to the shutter button, or go to the Gallery app. When you open the Gallery, Single Take collections are highlighted in the bottom left of the thumbnail by a small circle with a dot in the center.
Open the preview and the software highlights what it considers the Best Shot at the top, while underneath it shows all the other shots it created from your Single Take video. It’s not like a Burst mode, where you should go through and select the best image before deleting the rest. Single Take grabs shots that work, and although you can delete ones that aren’t good enough to keep, it seems to do a solid job of creating images that look good.
Each Single Take shot can be edited and shared individually. Just tap on it and treat it like any other image in the Gallery. Samsung has done a great job not only of making a feature that’s fun, but also making it easy to use, and, crucially, simple to share. Unlike Apple’s Live Photos, which are saved in a specific format and don’t always show up on social media, all Single Take images and videos are regular files, so they can be posted on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or anywhere else without worry.
If you’re the proud owner of a new Galaxy S20 phone, make sure you give Single Take a try, and the more creative you get with it, the more you will understand how to get the best from it. It’s one of the simplest phone camera features we’ve seen, that will effectively capture everything you want to with just two button presses.
Launched on the new Galaxy S20 phones, Samsung has since updated the Galaxy Z Flip’s software to include Single Take mode, so with luck, it will do the same for older Galaxy phones, perhaps alongside a software update to One UI 2,
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