Mobile

Forget Vine, Cameo’s cloud-powered app lets you create short films on your iPhone

Image Credit: Cameo

Cameo aims to do more than just let you shoot bite-sized video clips on your iPhone — its cloud video editing platform lets you turn those clips into two-minute long short films.

The goal? To let you share stories, not just repeating clips of your cat struggling to stay awake. It may also inspire a new generation of filmmakers.

A Cameo short created for NYC’s Fashion Week by Patwhite

We’ve seen plenty of video apps come and go, but Cameo’s cloud ties gives it a distinct advantage. It lets you keep a large library of video clips without eating up storage on your phone (the clips are deleted from local storage after they get uploaded), and it lets you render your short films without eating up processing power and battery life from your phone.

By comparison, Apple’s iMovie app on the iPhone takes over your iPhone as it renders video (a process that can take more than 10 minutes depending on the length of the video). By removing those frustrations, Cameo lets you focus more on the creative aspects of film making.

Like Twitter’s Vine app, Cameo lets you shoot six-second 720p video clips from within its app. Unlike Vine, those Clips are immediately shot up to Cameo’s servers, where they sit and wait until you use them to create a Cameo short film, which can be up to two minutes long. The app lets you do basic clip trimming, and you can edit your longer short films simply by dragging and dropping your clips.

Since everything is stored on the cloud, Cameo is also able to offer some truly unique features. For one, you can collaborate with up to three friends in real time. All of the clips you and your friends record show up within the app, and you can create short films using any of your friends’ clips. Down the line, having all of your clips in the cloud will let you combine and edit clips shot across multiple devices, founder and chief executive Matthew Rosenberg tells me.

“There’s this concept of ‘elevator apps,’ ultimately Cameo is not that,” Rosenberg said in an interview. Instead, it’s meant to be an app where users want to spend more than a few minutes tweaking their short films.

Cameo offers its own take on filters, “Themes,” which can give your short films a colored tint or the look of 16 mm film. You can also add a soundtrack to your short films, either through music in your iTunes library, or songs selected by the Cameo team. The company has been scouring up-and-coming bands in the New York City area for its built-in library, so there’s a chance your videos could feature a band right before they make it big. (Isn’t that the ultimate hipster dream?)

As Rosenberg tells it, Cameo was in development long before Vine debuted in January. He’s also not sweating the competition too much, noting that Vine and Instagram’s video sharing helped set the stage for what Cameo is offering. Now that people are used to creating and sharing short videos on their phones, they may want to do something more.

Cameo may be up against some stiff competition, but from what I’ve seen of the app, it could be attractive to plenty of budding filmmakers. It’s a simple way to create things like music videos (Rosenberg says some bands are already using Cameo for just that), and it could also be useful for editing together quick news reports. Cameo has the ability to create branded themes, so news sites could quickly tag all of their mobile video content with professional looking signage.

Another big thing Cameo has going for it: The videos users create are fun to watch. Some Cameo videos are more like music videos, some are like traditional short films, and others feel completely avant-garde.

By giving people the freedom to edit together many clips easily, Cameo seems to be unlocking even more creativity than its competitors.


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