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Apple has a new iOS app for making short videos to share on social networks, called Clips. It’s simple enough to use and free to download, but we thought we’d explore the features a little deeper to see what the app is really capable of.
Before you can download Clips you’ll need to update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS 10, which includes a few notable improvements over the last version.
Photos, Videos, and a Little Bit of Snapchat
One of the more puzzling aspects of Clips is trying to figure out why it exists at all. An app for making short videos and slideshows for social media seems like it should be bundled into the Camera app. Yet, after playing around with it, Clips clearly sits between the Camera app and full featured video editor like iMovie.
Clips was not pushed out to everyone, so you need to download it before you can experiment. The app greets you with a quuick intro video that provides a few examples of the sort of videos you can create. It is missing a lot of the details, but it does a decent job of demonstrating both the videos and photo slide shows.
So What Do I Do Now?
If you don’t share many videos on social media, you might be wondering what to do next. Considering that Apple is leaning hard on using this to share videos with friends, we’ll start there. The recording interface is pretty simple. Choose the front or back camera first, though it defaults to the front facing camera. Press and hold the big red button, and the camera starts recording audio and video.
If you want to stop there, you can. Next, hit the share button and send your video via Messages or to your social network of choice. Yet, we can already do that with the built-in Camera app. What Clips excels at is adding effects and text to your video.
If you prefer to use photos. You can take a photo and hold the red button for as long as you want it shown on screen. You can use existing photos and videos from your library for this. So far, so basic.
Filters, Filters, Filters
Filters are probably still something that you could apply with the regular Camera app. If you want to apply a filter to your whole video, tap the three overlapping circles to see the available filters. You can do this before or after you set up your recording.
There are seven filters in total. These are not all the same filters built into the Camera app. There are a few overlaps, but the Clips filters are Noir, Instant, Transfer, Fade, Comic, Ink, and Chrome. The Ink and Comic features are a nice touch. Each filter makes your photo or video look like stylized art. These filters are a nice nod to the number of apps used to transform photos and videos this way.
Adding Text Frames and Narration Subtitles
If you want an overlay with narration or subtitles for your video, you can tap the speech bubble at the top of the screen. This feature transcribes the audio adding a defacto closed captioning.
If you would rather add text over specific frames of your video, tap the star icon in the top toolbar. This menu contains word art and shapes you can pop on each section of your video. They have some default text, but you can tap on them to edit the text. There are some basics shapes you can add here as well.
When you are in the main menu to either add more video or photos, you can tap the T icon in the toolbar to get full frame text. These options are an easy way to create titles or interstitial frames, allowing you to label the sources or set up the video that follows.
One of the more impressive features of Clips is the ability to quickly add a soundtrack to your video. It overlays the audio from your video, though you can mute sections of the video by tapping the speaker icon in the edit view. Tap the musical note in the upper right corner, and you’ll see a choice of music, drawing from selections that Apple has cleared and your personal collection.
Adding music from your personal collection comes with some limitations. The only things that I was able to get to show up were music I owned and bought from iTunes. It also needs to be downloaded locally.
Apple breaks down their pre-cleared music by theme, with only some of them downloaded. There’s a good variety here, and with enough tracks to ensure that you are not using the same music every few videos.
But What Do I Use This For?
Clips creates short videos perfect for social networking. Also, it does not care what network you use to upload them. It uses the integrated share sheet in iOS, and anything that can process a video can receive it. You can even send your video as an email attachment, or send it to iCloud Drive.
I made a slideshow of some clips from a recent concert I attended. I played around with the video, but didn’t realise the app had opened a previous project rather than the new one I thought I was creating. This a mistake caused Clips to put the audio at the beginning of the slide show. After I had played around with the app for a while, I figured out how I could have fixed my mistake.
Unfortunately, once you delete something from clips, it is gone forever. I used the pictures I took to create a new slide show along with a track I owned from iTunes. My only real complaint about the app is that it does not open ready to create a new video.
In a way, this is a tool that frees you from having to use the in-app tools provided by Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. It has a neat interface that facilitates video creation without tying you to a specific service when you finish. Ultra simple editing also makes this a great way to make a short YouTube video.
Have you made anything with Clips? Send us a link to your creations in the comments.
Image Credit: SSokolov via Shutterstock.com