We know, you're not trying to win an Oscar with the videos you record on your smartphone. But thanks to better phone tech, including the 6s and its enhanced 4K capabilities, along with a group of new apps, creating a high-quality clip from your handheld device has never been easier.
In fact, last year's Sundance Film Festival included an entry, Sean Baker's Tangerine, which was shot entirely on a 5s and then projected on a theater-sized screen. And while you might have to wait to get your footage in a theater, the amateur hour has passed. Whether you're capturing a killer day out on the slopes or a motorcycle trip through the hills, lead by example with these apps, available for no more than the cost of a cup of joe.
8mm Vintage Camera
While you wait for Kodak's new, retro-inspired Super 8, try out the 8mm Vintage Camera app. The effect of the app is indisputable, transforming the usually cold, sharp digital image into the warm, charming fade of a 1970s-style camera. The software even goes as far as to destabilize the image, reinvigorating the video with that classic frame jitter that was customary with 8mm projectors. If you needed more convincing, the app was used to shoot some of the scenes in the Oscar-winning documentary Searching For Sugarman. [$2; iOS; 8mm.mobi]
The creators behind this app spent time interviewing filmmakers and video journalists alike to come up with an interface that was effective while offering comprehensive functionality. It offers most of the manual video recording features available in its contemporaries, plus a built-in editor that allows users to quickly edit and mix clips, producing a polished-looking product. Added plus: Its slick home screen is a delight to use. [$4; iOS; kinomatic.co]
Andrew Jarecki has been acclaimed for his work on HBO's recent Robert Durst expose The Jinx and Capturing The Friedmans. Now the filmmaker is looking to give everyone the tools to make their own documentary-style video with a social media channel that challenges the as-is perspective of Snapchat or Vine. You can effortlessly cut together and narrate over new footage, archived clips, or photos to create a final product worthy of sharing. The newly released app already has a dedicated base of celebrity fans, as well as the official support from Catfish star Nev Schulman and Star Wars director J.J. Abrams. [Free; iOS; knowme.com]
Pro is in the name for a reason. It gives an incredible level of control over the resolution, aspect ratio, white balance, focus, and the choice of frame rate (30 fps, 25 fps, 24 fps), a big draw for the disconcerting cinematographer. It also eliminates the common dilemma between whether to shoot video or photos with its ability to do both simultaneously. From the moment that you hit record you are in command of the incoming footage, with easy audio metering and customized zoom settings so that your pull-ins and push-outs are seamless. [$5; iOS; seeitwithus.com]
SloPro 1000fps Slow Motion Video
Everybody knows that slow motion makes everything a little cooler. (Just think how less awesome dodging bullets would have seemed in The Matrix if they showed Neo leaning back in real time.) While your stunt will hopefully be a little less death-defying, if you finally landed that snowboarding trick or want to capture a backflip into the ocean in all its full glory, SloPro can help you. And in Slo-Mo mode, you can slow things down even more to 1,000 fps, after the footage is recorded. [Free; iOS; sloproapp.com]