It’s a Mobile World! 12 Powerful iOS Apps for Creating & Sharing Content!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told “stop messing with that photo and just post it”. It wasn’t because the photo wasn’t already good after I snapped it. But rather, I had the tools right on my iPhone to make that photo great.
That said today’s mobile devices have the computing power to edit photos, mix video, and then distribute the content to the masses for them to enjoy and share. However, doing so can take time, skill, and the most costly of all, your money to create high quality content.
Viral Labs has put together a comprehensive list of 11 apps for creating top-notch mobile content on the go. And, since I use an Apple iPhone 6 Plus, this tutorial will predominately focus on iOS apps. Sorry Android and Windows Mobile fans. If would like to suggest comparable Android or Windows Mobile apps, please share them in the comments below.
Just Snap and Edit
For every photo I post online, I normally take a minimum of five photos of the subject or object. Not because I sneezed or someone moved while I was snapping the picture, but rather the world isn’t taking analog pictures anymore. Therefore, the bad photos get deleted and the best ONE gets shared for the world to see.
However, with the flexibility of mobile digital photography brings its own problems. It can be time-consuming keeping your eyes on the auto-focus, auto-exposure, shot framing, white balance, or even direction of your light source. Check out these photo apps that pack some serious options that the native phone app lacks.
The photo app I use the most is Camera+ (iOS only). This nifty photo taking and production app packs some serious features that the native iOS camera app doesn’t even touch. Four different shooting modes, auto and manual focus, exposure, and white balance settings, and let’s not skip a multitude of filters, frames, cropping presets, sharing options, and more setting than you can shake a stick at. Not only can you take pictures with the app, but you can import photos from your camera roll for editing. The only downside is Camera+ isn’t free. It’s $2.99 for the iPhone or $4.99 for your iPad. But if you are serious about mobile photography, look into this app.
If free apps are more to your liking then Snapseed for iOS and Android is a great feature rich alternative to Camera+. The Google made photo snapping and editing app has many of the same functions, if not more, compared to Camera+. The Snapseed interface has changed since its inception, but the amount of powerful features hasn’t. This free professional photo editing app packs an impressive array of filters, adjustments, and editing tools. And, if you’re addicted to HDR, try this app.
There are thousands of free photo editing apps in the App Store and the majority of them come with the same filters and functions. However, not every photo editing app can retouch and enhance your images. From the company that created Illustrator, Lightroom, and Photoshop comes Adobe’s offering to the iTunes app store. Photoshop Fix is a FREE app that packs the “power of Photoshop.” The app can “[h]eal, smooth, liquify, lighten and make other edits and adjustments that give you the precise look you’re after.” Photoshop Fix makes erasing unwanted details easy as 1, 2, 3.
Our final photo app isn’t an editor or retouching app. It’s called Phonto and allows you to choose from over 400 different fonts and a multitude of shapes you can add to your images to give them a bit of personalized flavor or to stamp your watermark on the photo. This app has loads of features for customizing text like stroke, shadow, text gradients, kerning, and many more. Best of all, Phonto is free to use, but comes with in-app ads or you can step it up to the ad-free paid version. And, if you like creating memes, this is the app for you.
Lights! Camera! Mobile Action!
As the demands of smartphones grow more multitask intensive, phone makers are stepping up packing more processor power into these tiny mobile devices. That extra computing power really helps the user out when shooting, editing, and sharing video. So having the right video apps can really take your mobile films to the Sundance level.
The app I use the most to shoot video is Filmic Pro 5 by Cinegenix, LLC. All the way back to iOS 6, Filmic Pro has been my go to video app when I want to control digital zoom, focus, exposure, frame rate, resolution, and my favorite feature of all is the on-screen UV meter. Today, the app packs so many settings even Spielberg would lust over it. Tint, temperature, shutter speed, exposure bias, and “fully customizable slow and fast motion FX” that’s optimized for iOS 9. Filmic Pro 5 also boasts going head-to-head beating some very expensive cameras in a blind audience test. The only downsize of Filmic Pro is it’s not free. Be ready to check your couch for $9.99 for this stunning video app.
Editor’s note: Recently, I emailed Cinegenix’s tech support about upgrading from the old 2.0 to 5.0. I can report Cinegenix’s tech support answered my question quickly and was nice enough to give me a redemption code making upgrading to 5.0 a click and paste away. Wow! I don’t think that’s ever happen to me with any desktop software or mobile app before now.
Once you’re done shooting the next Momento or Blair Witch, you’ve got to edit all that raw video down into a slick-looking viral masterpiece. To get that creative task done, you’ll need a video editor with all the bells and whistles like Apple’s iMovie for iOS. The app packs eight themes, 10 video filters, picture-in-picture overlay, split-screen effects, and the ability to create slow-motion and fast forwarding FXs. Like almost every app, you can share to Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, and even CNN iReport. One cool feature the app offers is the ability to wirelessly stream your mini-movie to an AppleTV or save your film/project to the iCloud straight from inside the app. But if you’ve wondered this app doesn’t isn’t free, the mobile version of iMovie costs $4.99. If free a free video editor sounds better, check out Fly.
Lately I’ve been on a time-lapse kick, shooting hours upon hours of time-lapse video for a product review that I am nearing the end of production. Thus said the time-lapse video app Hyperlapse is an easy to use app. From the brains that brought us Instagram comes this nifty app that pairs “cinematic quality with automatic stabilization” that allows the user to shoot and share seamless videos online. And the good news is Hyperlapse is FREE for iOS. But if you’re an Android fan, try the Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile app. It’s free too.
Another great app for creating impressive time-lapse videos is the free (or full version for $2.99) iOS app called Skyflow. This app packs some nice manual settings that Hyperlapse doesn’t touch like HDR, exposure control, noise reduction, manual focus, and when you’re done you can export your video in 4K resolution. However, the free version does have one big limitation. You can only export video in 540p quality. So try out the free version first and if you like the results upgrade to the paid version.
And our last video app is great for stripping out remarkable images from video. Vid2Pic is a free iOS app that allows you to save frames of video as photos. I could write more about this simple app, but it isn’t needed. Check it out if you’re looking for an easy way to export pictures from video.
Managing Social Media
A smart guy once said “work smarter, not harder”. So when it comes to using social media to spread your remarkable and buzzworthy content, smarter tools that broadcast your message more efficiently are priceless.
Hootsuite (for iOS & Android) is just definitely a ‘smarter’ tool that allows you to spread and manage your content to 35 social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Instagram. The app provides analytics, monitoring tools and allows users to schedule content for distribution. Best of all the app is FREE! However, the paid Pro and Enterprise versions offer more features. I find the free trial meets my content spreading needs. If you want to shorten your time managing social media, test out Hootsuite. Similar to Hootsuite, Buffer is also available for iOS and Android devices that helps manage your social media outlets. Buffer is free, but if you are a power user you might want to look into their various paid packages.
Sometimes sharing that crucial link back to your site can push your post over the 140 characters on Twitter. Luckly Bitly (iOS & Android) can shorten those unreadable URLs into a short legible link. Plus, not only does Bitly shorten links, it provides you with powerful analytics about each URL you submit. And of course this app is FREE!
BONUS! Check out this Hardware to take Your Content to the Next Level.
Today’s Apple iPhone or Google Android smartphone pack some amazing content creation capabilities. But sometimes your smartphone camera needs more light, a better microphone, a sharper lens, or a steadier shot to snap the perfect photo or to shoot the next viral video. Tripods, lights, lens, and mounts are all great hardware additions to you content production tool kit.
One item that easily makes the cut is the versitle Joby GorillaPod tripod. This super flexible little tripod can wrap it’s legs around almost any surface while holding a smartphone, a GoPro, or a point and shoot camera. Remarkably Joby even makes a GorillaPod model sturdy enough even to support a DSLR camera. If you need a steady shot from a crazy place like a tree limb or a railing, the GorillaPod is key. Check out the Joby’s GorillaCam free camera app too.
However, sometimes you can’t get close enough or far enough back to snag that great photo. The Olloclip is the ultimate slip-on lens for your smartphone. Whether you need a macro lens, macro 10x, telephoto, wide angle, ultra-wide angle, or circular polarizing lens, the Olloclip has it. And if you are thinking it’s another one of those cheap plastic eBay slip-on lens, the Olloclip combines quality glass optics with a compact design that fits both the Samsung Galaxy S and most of the Apple iPhones. Starting price for the Olloclip begins at $69.99, but some of the multi-use models can run as high as $119.99. Similar to the Olloclip, the Phocus comes with two lenses that screw into a case which your iPhone mounts in. The Phocus retails for $69.95.
If obtaining better nat. sound or vocal audio would give your film or mini-documentary the professional touch consider adding a lavalier, shotgun, or condenser microphone designed to plug into your smartphone. The Rode Smartlav lavalier is a great add-on if you plan on doing documentary or a broadcast news-style videography. The Smartlav will run you about $80 bucks, but is compatible with most tablets and smartphones including the Apple iPhone. If $80 seems too pricey, the MXL MM160 Lavalier mic is a cheaper alternative running only $60 on Amazon and offers a built-in set of earbuds for monitoring your audio feed. But if a condenser mic would work better, check out the $39.99 IK Multimedia iRig. And lastly, if you are in the need of a highly mobile shotgun mic, check out the tiny and affordable Movo MA200 Omni-Directional Calibrated TRRS Condensor Microphone.
And finally, we’ve saved the best for last. From professional shutter bugs over at Manfrotto is a product that comes with everything AND the kitchen sink. The Black Bumper+3 sports three LED lights, a 1.5x telephoto lens, a wide-angle lens, fisheye lens, and a protective frame like case that also sports a 1/4 tripod thread. At the heart of this mobile photography package is the KYLP+ system that allow the user to screw on any one of three lens. Another cool feature is a trifecta of LEDs that has three dimmable intensity levels. The only downside to the Black Bumper+3 is it only available for the Apple iPhone 5 and 5S and it costs £119.