Free Fun with your iPhone Camera

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #312

Everyone knows that iPhones have pretty darn good built-in cameras. What you probably don’t know is that there are myriad free (and paid) apps that take advantage of these darn good cameras. Furthermore, many of these free apps let you create unique and amazing videos that would be impossible otherwise.

I’m a sucker for camera apps of all types. But I especially love camera apps so cool that my friends and family often download them before I finish my demo.

Here are three of my current favorites:

Big Budget Effects from J. J. Abrams

Action Movie FX has been one of my favorite apps for years. Created by producer J. J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, the app makes it easy and fun to add big-budget Hollywood-style special effects to video shot with your iDevice’s camera.

The app comes with seven free high-definition video effects—Missile Attack, Car Smash, Bombing Run, Avalanche, and several more—which are fantastic. But I recommend springing for the optional Mega FX Pack for a whopping $1.99, which gives you 20 additional effects that are even better and more fun than the seven freebies.

"You've failed me for the last time." -- Darth Vader
“You’ve failed me for the last time.” — Darth Vader

Regardless of which effect you select, your results will be impressive, will look fantastic on your iDevices, and look almost as fantastic on your big-screen TVs or computer monitors.

A Video Diary in One Second a Day

My son turned me on to 1 Second Everyday: Video Diary (a.k.a. 1SE) last summer and we’ve both been enjoying it ever since. It creates a video timeline of your life by making it super simple to create one-second video clips for every day. It also reminds you to shoot or choose said video clips should you forget. The result is a quick-cut timeline video that portrays events in your life in one-second increments.

My timeline now has nearly 200 clips, so I can see six months of memories in under 3 minutes. There’s a Pro subscription upgrade with unlimited backups, multiple video snippets per day, up to 3 seconds per video snippets, royalty-free music, and other perks for $29.99 a year or $3.99 a month. I haven’t felt the need to go Pro yet, but I like this app so much that I’m considering it.

1SE is so much fun I'm thinking about going pro...
1SE is so much fun I’m thinking about going pro…

Fun with Apple’s Clips app

Finally, Apple’s Clips app lets you alter your videos in unique ways. Perhaps most impressive are Selfie Scenes, which replace what’s behind you with a fantasy background such as Municiberg from Disney-Pixar’s Incredibles 2 or the Scare Floor from Monsters, Inc.

Clips' Selfie Scenes are a blast.
Clips’ Selfie Scenes are a blast.

There are also filters including comic-book, watercolor, and aged-film, plus other niceties such as title cards, stickers, text labels, and automatic closed captioning. Plus more than a dozen royalty-free soundtracks that adjust automatically to your video’s length—a nice touch.

Since all three are free, I urge you to install and try them all.

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