You see them all over Facebook news feeds, those videos that don’t fit into the standard movie or TV viewing oblongs but instead are upright representations of users simply not turning the smartphone or camera to an orientation where they would create a widescreen video. Those portrait videos that your mother probably makes on her smartphone, and that some people refuse to watch can now be a thing of the past thanks to Horizon.
Here you are shooting a video with your iOS device, trying to catch all the action when suddenly, your arm gives out and you need to change to your other hand. The video, upon watching later, shows loads of camera shifting and orientation changing making the video anything but viewable. Perhaps you want to catch that exactly perfect video but have to hold your phone at an angle where it auto-rotates itself into portrait mode making for an odd video and losing that all important angle.
Horizon to the rescue, a new 99 cent iOS app that helps you always shoot your video in the proper widescreen orientation. No matter how you hold your phone, what its orientation is or if you need to rotate your device while shooting, Horizon has you covered and will maintain the horizon of the video and the video orientation as widescreen.
So I wanted to check it out for myself and installed it on my iPad, which I use to make more video than I ever thought I would. Everything from apartment walkthroughs when trying to move to Christmas day present opening scenes. The worst is trying to walk through an apartment and maintain a steady hand and stable angle, so I thought this would be a cool app. And boy is it. Not only does it maintain a steady horizon (though it does nothing to steady your hand), you have three ways to shoot. It can either rotate, be disabled (which is the same as not opening the app right?) or, my personal favorite, rotate and scale. The first simply keeps the horizon stable meaning the viewport will take in the same area at all times and it’s a small window rather than the full screen, so that it doesn’t need to resize. In the Rotate & Scale mode it does just that, it rotates and scales the image to fit whatever orientation the device is in. This essentially gives you a limited zoom functionality for your video. On top of that you can preview a slew of effects like retro, washout, nightowl, movie (more vibrant colors), toon, sepia, grayscale and sketch.
It actually could be used to produce some pretty interesting results. I really dig the zoom-like feature. Too bad they don’t have a demo version that lets you see it in action but doesn’t record.