AMITIAE - Sunday 15 February 2015

Nutshell Camera: iPhone App for Making Amusing Videos from 3 Camera Shots

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers

Nutshell Camera

I sometimes complain that it is hard to find something new in photo apps. I am rather keen on these, especially with the way the iPhone 6 camera is able to produce some quite good output. This week, however, maybe I have been lucky.

I earlier reviewed a neat app called Darkroom that has a feature that allows users to save their editing changes as a personal filter, and now I find another new app that creates video from still images.

What is not to love about an app with a squirrel as icon and the name Nutshell Camera? As soon as I saw this free app, it was being downloaded. I lose nothing just having a look.

The description seemed good: snap three pictures, add captions, choose graphics and the app will turn it into a short video. This is not expected to be a major cinematic production of course, and the idea of sharing with family and friends, points more towards social networking than work of Art; but apps like this are successful and please people who do not bring major analytical tools to the table. Is it fun? is the most important question.

There is a brief video just after the opening screen and this gives an idea of what to do, and shows that the stages are quite simple.

I took my three test photos in the kitchen, just panning slightly between shots. Once each photo is taken, the video is set up. When done, I was able to add text to each of the images, although this is not a requirement and may be deleted. I noticed one shortcoming here in that the typing suggestions on the iPhone keyboard were not accepted if tapped. There could be an improvement here.

Nutshell Camera Nutshell Camera Nutshell Camera

The user is offered a large panel of graphics that can be dragged to the screen and positioned. Like the text, an Edit feature allows any component to be dragged off the screen to a trash area.

The video may be played and as well as panning between shots, there is a limited use of the Ken Burns Effect adding to the output.

I saved the test video and it appeared in the photo album. This was a 10-second .MOV file and not the .GIF I had expected. There was also a Share button which linked only to Facebook or Google. I did not try these. Instead I accessed the video in the Photos Library and mailed a copy to myself. It was shown as being 966 KB and there is a small watermark bottom left of the screen.

The output is as silly as one wants to make it, but that is the point of Nutshell Camera. I expect a number of families with youngsters will have some fun with this, but I also envisage a potential for some simple instruction videos too.

This is certainly recommended.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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All content copyright © G. K. Rogers 2015