Part of PadGadget’s continuing series Become An Expert With PadGadget’s iPad Photography Series.
MovieCam isn’t technically a photography app, but we thought that it was closely related enough to be included, especially because it’s a great app that turned out to be a lot of fun for making videos.
I’m not sure how many of you actually use your iPad 2 to take photos and videos. I have to confess, it’s not a feature I take advantage of very often. The iPad 2 is clunky, unwieldy, and generally embarrassing to wield as a photography device in public. However, after using MovieCam, I may pull my iPad 2 out more often for creating short videos and personalized messages with the awesome stylized filters and effects.
MovieCam claims to be the most powerful camcorder app for the iPad 2, and I’m inclined to agree. There are eight different filters that can be applied directly to your video as you record: gothic, vintage, oil painting, moonlit, newscast, video game, golden red, and romantic. According to MovieCam, some of these are filters that were used to create effects in movies like 300 and Sin City.
Obviously, you can’t create a movie quality recording because of the iPad 2’s restrictions, but you can make some pretty neat videos. All of the filters worked really well and looked unique, especially oil painting which blurs your video like a painting, and video game, which turns it pixellated. You can record in normal mode too, of course.
For every effect, there are slider controls for tweaking the settings. For example, the size of the pixellation and the color can be altered in the video game filter, and the contrast, neutrals, and reds can be changed for the gothic filter.
When shooting in normal mode, there are also several settings that can be altered, such as brightness, contrast, and saturation. There’s also a hue shift in normal mode that was fun to use for making rainbow colored shifting videos.
Video can be recorded using either the back camera or the front facing camera. The front facing camera is particularly fun with the newscast filter. You have two resolution options: 640×480 and 1280×720. The high definition recording doesn’t work with the front facing camera because it’s a lower resolution lens, but it works well with the camera in the back. Recording in 1280×720 looks choppy and slow when you’re recording, but playback is normal.
There’s a zoom function that you can use, which zooms in up to 8x. Unfortunately, as with most digital zooms, the video gets very blurry and pixellated when you use it.
The app itself is simple and easy to use in both portrait and landscape mode. When you open it, you’re taken right to a video screen with a big red button, which is what you tap to record. There’s a wand to tap to choose an effect, and the miniature slider icon allows you to access settings for whichever filter you’re using. On the bottom right, you can choose resolution, and on the top right, you can switch cameras. A pause function allows you to start and stop recording whenever you please.
Your videos are saved in the iPad’s Photo Library, and from there, they can be emailed or sent to YouTube. Unfortunately, longer videos cannot be emailed, and the app will prompt you to create a shorter version of a video to send in an email. Of course, to transfer videos to the computer, you can always just plug the iPad in with the USB connector.
What I liked: Everything. This app is a lot of fun and makes using a sub-par camera a lot more worthwhile.
What I didn’t like: While I could adjust settings in the middle of recording, I wasn’t able to switch effects, which is something I would have liked to be able to do. I’d also like to be able to email larger videos, and I didn’t think the slider for selecting a portion of video for emailing worked well, since I had a lot of trouble moving it to the end of my video. I also wish that it was a bit more accurate and fast when recording, but I think that’s a hardware issue.
To buy or not to buy: If you use the video function of your iPad 2, or would like to, then this app is worth buying to add artistic real-time filters to your videos.
- App Name: MovieCam
- Version Reviewed: 1.0
- Category: Photography
- Developer: Digital Staircase
- Price: $2.99