Hacking the Motorola V3i for long video clips

My employer formerly carried a cellphone plan for the employees, and debited the cost of phones and phone bills from pay checks. Naturally I elected to utilize this plan, and I got myself a Motorola V555 and a one-year plan. Yesterday, we had to switch over to our very own plans, as work was no longer interested in administering them. We were given the opportunity, however, to put a phone upgrade into our paychecks (coming out in two payments.) I informed the nice people from Edge that I was not interested as they did not have the RAZR V3i, at which point they informed me that they had got it about a week and a half ago (just after I last checked to see if they had it yet) and a nice man would be along in about fifteen minutes with a bag full of them.

Well, I took them up on the offer, and for $130 upgraded from a V555 to a RAZR V3i. There's a number of RAZR phones, but this is the best. It has a MicroSD slot supporting up to 1GB, and a 1.3 megapixel camera. That's not much, but it's more or less current state-of-the-art in cellphones in terms of the US market. The phone is also absolutely dinky and has stereo audio through the Mini-USB port with special headphones (which are also a phone headset for making calls, with a microphone.) The phone also has a truly stellar speakerphone. There is a V3c with a 1.4MP camera, but it doesn't have the MicroSD slot.

One of the flaws of the camera, however, is that as I got it, I could only record video clips fifty-six seconds long. This is very sad, especially when you have only ~150MB of music on the phone. While the video quality is extremely horrible, it's still better than no video, unless you can only record a minute at a time, at which point it's just really annoying. Sure, it would be fine for MMS messages - which I have no interest in whatsoever.

Anyway, I found a thread on mobiledia.com that explains how to add video to the RAZR, and how to extend video length as well. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to work, because P2KTools (currently the standard in motorola phone tweaking/hacking) was only downloading 1ff + 1 bytes (512 in decimal, or one-half kilobyte) of a file I needed to tweak, and I needed to edit offset 412 (hex). After beating my head against the problem for a while I finally tried p2kman, one of the oldest p2k programs (which uploads and downloads files and seems but does not edit anything itself) and edited the seem file with xvi.

Below is a copy of the comment I left in the above-linked thread explaining how I accomplished what I accomplished. I did not have to do most of the hacks because the video camera was already enabled with all the trimmings (like the video styles, zoom, exposure, etc.) and I only needed to extend the video length.

My V3i from Edge Wireless has video enabled but has the just-under-1-minute limit. I can NOT make the MMS video length option appear - yes, I have hacked the seems. No, I am not new at seem hacking - I'm no guru but this V3i is my third P2K phone, after a V300 and then a V555. However, I did find an alternative way to change the length. You use this method:

Video Camera Hacks for RAZR V3i
seem 004e_0001
offset 412 no bit manipulation change offset value to 01 for 1 mb
offset 412 no bit manipulation change offset value to 14 for 5 mb
offset 412 no bit manipulation change offset value to 28 for 10 mb

But unfortunately p2ktools only seems to see 004e_0001 go to offset 1FF and stop. So I thought this was the length of my seem, like my phone was different.

Well, apparently my phone IS different in some ways. I tried a couple of V3i-tested funlights and they didn't work. Finally got one. But ALSO, the P2KMenuEditor program crashes every time it tries to load my menu. I looked in it with xvi32 and it turns out that some of the names used in my V3i are not the same as other phones. One of them is even misspelled and still seems to work. Weird.

Anyway if you use p2kman it can properly retrieve the entire 004e_0001.seem file. So then I used xvi32 to edit it as normal, and then re-upload with p2kman. This worked great! I changed it to 28*3=84 (just showing you the thought process) and it worked like a champ. It went from saying I could shoot over 100 videos to saying I could shoot ten videos. I have also switched to mp4 video and I am using high quality. I have a 512MB MicroSD with three albums at 112kbps on it (137MB total) and anything else on the card was put there by the phone.

Otherwise I pretty much followed the guide as normal except instead of choosing "MMS" for the size under the video camera options, I chose "Maximum". I have 004e_0001 offset 412 set to 99 right now and I'm letting the phone sit around next to my computer recording a really boring part of my office... but the idea isn't to check up on the video quality, it's to prove that the video can be long. The last one was a few minutes, and previously I was limited to about one minute (56 seconds on my last trial run before switching over to p2kman and being able to download the seem file.)

P2KTools is a pretty righteous program but I'd be happier if, you know, it actually worked. Guess it's back to p2kman for me... it doesn't do all that fancy stuff, but I know it works. It's been recording for several minutes now (well, three of them) and there's no sign of problems. The last video clip I recorded (when it was set to 84) was 3.5MB which is something of a coup anyway :)

If someone else can verify this maybe we can somehow flag it so that people can find it easier.

my software is R479_G_08.B5.3DR which I have noticed is the latest version I can find for a monster pack. My phone is from Edge Wireless and it's quad-band and came without a provider lock. (Apparently my V555 is unlocked, too... they say they don't lock phones.) They JUST got the V3i like a week and a half ago, so it makes sense they would have the latest software. But, apparently some significant things change in it. That, or their flex is highly wonky. The flex came with the moto music player (no iTunes) and with bejeweled, asphalt urban gt, and solitaire, in case anyone is curious.

Now that I've got ring lights, event lights, and a reasonable video recording length, I heart my V3i.

If you found anything in this comment confusing, again, visit the mobiledia.com on RAZR video. If THAT is too confusing, I suggest "Customizing the Motorola Vxxx: A Guide to Hex Editing" and the "Motorola Hacker's Bible".

As an aside, you can learn how to change the external image or text that is displayed on the outside LCD from this thread on howardforums. I just did it and it's neato.

Add new comment