Videos are the new snapshots, as long as they’re painlessly quick to shoot and share. It’s all too easy to focus on the tools with the most buzz – ahem, Instagram and Vine – but there are lots of better choices, many of them free. They offer more creative options and some extend the fun with in-app purchases, yet they excel in the ease-of-use department. Want to break free of the crowd? Check out some of these quick-video alternatives.
Montaj – iOS (free)
Montaj rejects the notion that when it comes to shooting, more is better. Indeed its premise is the opposite. Shoot less – much less – and then combine a bunch of up-to-five-second clips into a compelling video.
As its name suggests, Montaj facilitates the creation of classic montages. You order your clips on a storyboard, add music and filtered effects, and then shake the phone – and the app reshuffles the clips for you in a visually strong arrangement. Don’t like it? Shake again to get a different order. That’s all there is to it. Shoot a variety of quick clips, shake, stir, rinse, repeat. Unlike Instagram and Vine, Montaj lets you import existing clips from your camera roll, rather than having to shoot them inside the app. When you’re done, share the result with your favourite social networks or the Montaj community.
Keek – iOS, Android, Windows Phone (free)
Keek (rhymes with peek) is a Scottish term meaning ‘quick look’ – perfect for a social network dedicated to video sharing.
Keek differentiates itself from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other popular sharing platforms by focusing on short, personal videos. A keek can last up to 36 seconds, and you can upload it directly from your smartphone or from the webcam on your computer. You can reply to a keek with text or video comments – called keekbacks – and share your videos via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, email and SMS. An embed option lets users post their keeks to their blogs or websites, too.
1TapVideo – iOS ($0.99)
If you chronically suffer from fingeritis – that panicky, in-the-moment confusion about which button to tap– you can rely on 1Tapps’s 1TapVideo to take charge of your hand-eye coordination. Just tap the app’s friendly, bright-yellow icon to launch it, and that’s it. The app counts down from three to give you a chance to frame your shot, and then it starts shooting automatically.
When you’re done, simply tap the lens icon to stop the recording. You’ll find your video in the camera roll. 1TapVideo doesn’t have much in the way of customisation options – there’s no zoom or focus – but its utter simplicity is the whole point. While you’re shooting, you can tap the flash icon to toggle your iPhone’s flashlight on and off. And in your iPhone’s Settings app, you can adjust the shooting resolution – to 144p (192 by 144), 360p, 480p, 720p or 1080p HD – and even choose to have the app quit as soon as you stop the recording. 1TapVideo has no built-in sharing, relying instead on the sharing options in iOS’s Photos app: email, SMS and YouTube.
Game Your Video – iOS (free)
The gang that couldn’t shoot straight has nothing on Game Your Video, the recording and editing app from Global Delight that encourages creativity and weirdness, letting you spice up mundane footage with cool video and audio effects. This award-winning app may not be for everyone – but if you’re serious about fun, you have nothing to lose.
Start with existing video or shoot new footage in one of three resolutions. Add special effects such as Fast, Jitter, Shake, Echo, Pulse, Beats, Mirror and Spin. Use Game Your Video’s audio effects to lay down even more craziness, such as giving your voice a chipmunk or a scary creature pitch. Or opt to accompany your video with a tune from your iTunes library. Not satisfied with what you get free of charge? Four $0.99 in-app purchases deliver sci-fi, hip-hop and zombie video effects as well as the ability to scrawl stylised text over your videos. Save your finished masterpieces to the camera roll, or publish them directly to Facebook and YouTube.
Viddy – iOS, Android (free)
The perfect app for shooting and sharing, Viddy is a no-nonsense workhorse that does everything you need quickly, but with flair. Your videos can be up to 30 seconds long. But within that time-frame, you can pause and resume recording across multiple clips. Dress up your video with special effects and audio, tweak the contrast and add a personal message for one-touch posting to Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube.
You can share with the whole Viddy community, with a select group of friends or via private email or text. Viddy is about sharing, so be sure to take advantage of its wide range of community content from friends and folks you follow.
iSupr8 – iOS, Windows ($1.99)
Looking for an intriguing retro blast? iSupr8 puts this look together from the top of its skeuomorphic casing to the tip of its grainy playback – it’s even named in honour of Kodak’s vintage 1960s film stock. The app grades each pixel based on exposure and then piles on distinctive effects. Record at 12, 18 or 24 frames per second and set up your shoot with an intuitive interface that aims to take you back to the Mad Men era. You can shoot from inside the app, bring video in from your camera roll and save to the camera roll.
This isn’t just a novelty for its developers, but rather an effort to keep a bit of history alive for new generations, and to drum up enthusiasm for a genuine vintage look. The app gives you a choice of casings, from traditional to modern, and in-app purchases add classic film stocks to your virtual arsenal. Share to the usual suspects as well as with the iSupr8 community.
YouTube Capture – iOS (free)
So you’re ready to start a new career as an internet superstar, recording sure-to-go-viral videos and posting them to your YouTube channel. Google’s YouTube Capture offers plenty of cinematic versatility for shooting video on an iPhone or an iPad.
The well-designed app directs your eye and finger to the big red Record button without a lot of fuss, and gives you an abundance of editing options, such as colour correction, stabilisation and trimming, along with a few generic music selections. Since you’re probably impatient to share your video with everyone, Capture makes it easy to upload to Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube simultaneously. And you can use Capture to upload any video on your device – even if you didn’t shoot it with the app. The most recent update added support YouTube accounts with multiple channels.
Echograph – iOS (free)
Here’s a bit of a twist: with Echograph, you shoot a video, select a still frame from it and then ‘paint’ video back over specific areas of the still to create a cinemagraph. Then you save the visual as an animated GIF or an MPEG-4 video. The resulting hybrid photo/video animation is visually compelling and easy to create. You just need the right kind of video, one with an obvious moving part – a flag flapping, a flower swaying or the tide rolling in to the shore, for example.
The app is fun to use once you get the hang of shooting for it, but it comes with some quirks. For example, your creation isn’t saved locally in your camera roll, but rather stored on the Echograph servers. Sharing with social networks like Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter is thus a simple matter of sharing the URL to your work. Some people will view this arrangement as a drawback, but it shouldn’t discourage you from playing around. Echograph is at its most beautiful with high-resolution video shot with a DSLR or HD videocam.
Vintagio – iOS ($2.99)
Someone had to do it – it being the art of giving contemporary videos some old-time religion. MacPhun rose to the challenge with Vintagio.
Start off in Express Mode for the quick and dirty treatment, or use Pro Mode for added elegance. This app gives you seven grainy, old-fashioned looks, from the roaring ’20s to the kitschy ’70s and more. Match the video with stylistic titles from the same eras, and even mix it up with still photos. For audio, use the app’s set of soundtracks or upload your own music and add vintage scratches to it. Built-in tools let you flip or duplicate video. Trim and split your movies to include only your favourite clips; slow down or speed up the action. When that’s a wrap, you’re ready to share via Facebook, YouTube or email.
by Jackie Dove, Macworld