Mixing video clips with music can instantly turn your lazy shooting efforts into proper movies that appear to be made by someone who really knows what they are doing. There are plenty of movie making tools available for desktop platforms, but in recent years, the genre has developed pretty nicely on smartphones as well. iOS offers apps like VideoBite and vjay, which can be used for some pretty serious video editing, but in a somewhat simplified manner. straight 8 is a new iPhone app that is in the same ballpark as vjay, albeit with a style and comprehensiveness of its own. This app allows you to apply effects and other adjustments to your videos in real-time, right during an ongoing shoot. There are plenty of music clips, filters, and templates on offer that make using straight 8 a real pleasure.
straight 8 comes with a thorough set of instructions, which keep showing up whenever you navigate to a new part of the app. A good place to start is the ‘More’ tab, from where it is possible to configure some basics. To make sure you are never disturbed while recording, use the ‘Silent mode’ and ‘Call Alert’ options. For new users of straight 8, setting up an account is easy. Just hit the ‘View Account’ button and the app will guide you through the sign up process itself. An account is helpful if you want to upload videos to the straight 8 network, or are looking to browse through the clips posted by others.
Since straight 8 lets you add music to videos, it is better if you sort out the ‘Music’ tab before starting a new project. You can listen to song previews for free, and downloading them requires no spending either, but every time a song is used in a film, the user gets charged $0.99. It’s a similar story for the ‘Pro Kit’, which offers plenty of ‘Looks’ (a collection of effects and filters). All look cost $0.99 each, and have to be unlocked via in-app purchases.
straight 8 has a very detailed graphical tutorial for when you actually start shooting. The app’s recorder is not too complicated, but still has plenty of features. In auto mode, you can manually adjust focus, exposure and white-balance by tapping any area of the screen. The ‘Pro’ mode lets you actually lock these three values by long-pressing the desired point, but it’s in the ‘Kit’ mode that the real magic happens. Kit lets you mix multiple effects in varying proportions. If you have purchased a few Looks, you just have to select them and let straight 8 take care of the rest. There is also the option of picking effects by hand, setting their intensity level and then saving the combination for future use. Once you are done shooting a scene, hit the white button located in the bottom-right corner and move on to the next scene. When you are done with the video side of a project, it’s time to add music to it. straight 8 allows users to control the volume level of the original recorded sound and added music separately.
straight 8 is a free app, but all its in-app purchases can get a little annoying with the passage of time. It would be nice if the developer releases a pro version of the app that comes with everything unlocked for a fixed price. You can give this iPhone-optimized app a go by heading to the following link.