Apple is finally bringing AirPlay to home movies shot on the iPhone or iPod touch in iOS 4.3, which got me thinking that when it does arrive, I’d like to have some actual videos to show friends and family using the feature. Home movies tend not to be too thrilling, but a couple of new apps promise to at least make them visually interesting.
8mm Vintage Camera and Super 8 aim to do for iPhone video what Hipstamatic and Instagram did for iPhone photography. Both apps let you use filters to give video shot using your iPhone’s camera a retro look, but they go about it in different ways. 8mm applies the filter as you shoot, providing a live preview of how the end product will look while filming. Super 8 lets you film first, and then lets you choose which filters and effects to apply after the fact. Which will I use to document my excesses then share with friends and family? Let’s find out.
Both apps feature a user interface in keeping with the concept behind their purpose, meaning they mimic the lock of old-school camera hardware. It’s cute, but it isn’t ideal from a UX perspective. While the built-in camera app features very little beyond a nearly full-screen preview of what your video will look like, both Super 8 and 8mm cut down considerably on how much of the screen is devoted to showing what you’re recording. At first glance, Super 8 seems to offer only a tiny viewfinder, but when you hold down the record button, the view expands to mostly fill the screen. Compared to Super 8, 8mm displays less of the video while actually recording, but it has to accommodate a variety of onscreen controls you can make use of while recording. Of the two, I prefer 8mm despite its smaller preview screen, since it doesn’t require you to hold the record button down to capture video.
Speaking of those onscreen controls, they make for much more on-the-fly creative play from 8mm. You can switch lenses or film while recording with 8mm, and add authentic-looking frame jitter. The end result might not always work out with such a range of experimentation abilities, but it’s a lot more fun than Super 8, which just lets you record without the opportunity to add or change effects until you’ve finished recording.
Once you’re done recording, 8mm has basically done its job. You can share your videos via email or YouTube, or save them to your iPhone’s camera roll. Super 8, on the other hand, is just getting started. The edit suite is where you apply your vintage effects. You can choose from Light, Medium or Heavy effects, and adjust the color filter of your video from cool to warm using a slider. Hit the Process button, and Super 8 outputs the resulting video to your camera roll, while preserving the original unedited.
8mm offers more customizability, and Super 8 only lets you record snippets of up to 20 seconds at a time. I wish 8mm had an option to change or apply effects post-recording, and I wish both apps could import video already recorded to add effects after the fact, but I still think it offers the better feature suite overall.
For my money, 8mm does the better job of delivering an awesome finished project with very little effort. I’ll let you check out the videos below, though, and judge for yourself.
At $1.99 for 8mm Vintage Camera, and $0.99 for Super 8, neither app is going to break the bank. But for my money, 8mm is hands-down the best buy in this category. The lack of a limit on the length of your video, the ability to switch and experiment on the fly, and the look of the final product put it well ahead of Super 8.
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