Make a Cameo appearance with this collaborative video app
These days you don't just shoot video, you tell a story. And you don't just tell a story, you collaborate with others to create a blockbuster from various perspectives. Cameo, a new video app and platform for the iPhone released Wednesday, offers a choice on how you can frame your experience by letting you and your friends make cameo appearances in each other's cinematic productions.
In the new consumer video aesthetic of less is more, Cameos are brief. The app allots just two minutes for each film, regardless of whether you feature only your own clips or mix in other narratives. Each clip is a maximum of six seconds long, and even then you can trim to the most relevant parts and interweave them together.
The emphasis is less on length than on the emotion behind an experience, says Matthew Rosenberg, cofounder and CEO of Cameo, who began working on the app two years ago. He's convinced that video is the best way to express emotions and visceral experiences.
To create a Cameo, you can shoot through the app or choose clips from your camera roll. As you shoot, the clips are automatically uploaded to Cameo's clip source server, where they are processed and rendered in 720p HD. With "desktop-caliber" rendering in the cloud, there's no stress on your iPhone resources, Rosenberg says.
With Cameo, built-in professional assets enhance your clips. As you build, trim, and reorder multiple clips, you can add captions, have a unique musical score from a hand-picked selection of original music, use your own background music, or go without accompaniment. Visually, the apps's 22 built-in themes give a range of looks to your video.
For example, you can outfit your video with effects like 8, 16, and 35mm; VHS; colors like purple, blue, and green; or effects like Luminous, Analog, Pop, Chromatic, and more.
Little touches like the title, special effects, credits, and music help make the videos uniquely personal despite their professional production values.
With Cameo, anything you shoot can include up to three friends, but they must be specifically invited to collaborate on a video. Unlike MixBit, which lets you choose from any video you want to use, collaboration with Cameo requires you to connect specifically through Facebook or simply with other Cameo users nearby.
Shooting with Cameo is easy, and tapping the screen conveniently lets you alter the exposure and focus. However, I would also appreciate a way to zoom into a scene other than just moving closer with my feet. The developers say zoom is on the radar for future updates.
There's no shortage video apps for every mobile platform, but popular ones like YouTube Capture, Montaj, and a host of others, not to mention Vine and Instagram, are single-user apps. Cameo more closely resembles MixBit, which features more collaborative filmmaking.
Cameo is free, as is the storage space where your videos reside. You can share your masterpiece on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and via email for a link that you can embed in your blog. You can make new friends, follow other users, and favorite and comment on other Cameos.