The breed of entertainment apps are often difficult to categorise, as more often than not they technically aren’t games, but neither do they serve a particular purpose other than making you smile, or go “ooo!” or “ahh!”.
Just because they’re not beasts of burden doesn’t make these apps any less popular, of course. A good entertainment app can top the charts and take pride of place on anyone’s home screen. 8mm Vintage Camera is definitely an entertainment app, but rather uniquely its novelty functions could actually be of real use in some very specific circumstances.
This is because of the sheer quality of the novelty operations is very high, and not just there to put the “fun” in “function.” It’s an app that takes control of the iPhone’s video recording capability, and overlays nostalgic cinematic filters over the top of the image in real time.
These features give the video recording a host of different dust-and-scratches stylings, coupled with colour tweaks into sepia, or (deliberately) badly saturated film tones. There are five different “lenses” to choose from, which add a rough border to the frame, separate the colours, leak light or darken the corners to represent different types of film cameras over the last century.
The viewfinder shows the applied filters in real time, and never drops a single frame. What you see is what you get in the recording, which is saved to the app’s memory until you move it along.
These lenses can be further tweaked with different types of film, adding the discoloured of the 1970s, the aged graininess of the 1920s, or the pallid efforts of several classic lenses. Each type of film can be used against each type of lens, offering a total of 25 different effects that can be applied to your recordings.
In terms of special effects, you can also throw in a muted mic for silent movies, the classic clicking projector noise, or record the sound as normal. A jitter button also allows you to cause the film to roll on command, icing this beautifully nostalgic photographic cake.
Once recorded, films can be saved straight to the camera roll for extraction through the App Sharing feature in iTunes, emailed out, or uploaded directly to YouTube. All great features that ensure the novelty value of the app is easily exportable.
What’s surprising about 8mm Vintage Camera is how recognisable these effects are. Even if you know nothing about cameras, it’s easy to spot the replicated “age” of the image simply through a lifetime of looking at old photos, speaking volumes about the quality and depth of experience behind its development.
Which finally brings us to those special circumstances where the app ceases to be fun, and starts being functional. Any homemade or amateur-made movies needing these effects in their productions would do very well to make use of 8mm Vintage Camera. Recreating these filters with such quality and believability would be a professional job, but now anyone can achieve it right from their iPhone.