More Than Cute Cat Videos: Socialcam Review

Socialcam [link removed – no longer available] is a new video app for the Apple iPhone and Google Android operating systems that streamlines video sharing among social media communities Facebook and Twitter. The app also allows you to configure accounts from YouTube, Posterous, Tumblr, and Dropbox for additional online sharing options. Socialcam can best be described as for video, and comes packaged with assorted filter presets that make your mobile phone videos look notably more professional and arguably more hip. This article reviews the iPhone version of the app.

The app boasts a similar camera interface to the built-in iOS camera application, as the Flash On/Off key is located in the top left-hand corner and the Front/Back Camera Orientation key (iPhone 4 and 4S models only) is located in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Where the Option key resides in the built-in camera app however, Socialcam has substituted a Help key, which exists solely to remind you that you swipe the screen to apply filters, tap to focus the camera lens, and pinch the screen to zoom in and out. The filters themselves do a great job of dressing up otherwise average-looking iPhone footage. The best part about the presets is you can preview what they look like BEFORE you shoot a quick swipe of the screen is all it takes to cycle through the lineup. The filters range from classy (Bleach) to ostentatious (Vice), and although the parameters of each filter cannot be modified (i.e. add more contrast, desaturate, etc.), the designers have done a decent job of making the presets feel distinctly different from one another. So despite the relatively limited number of filter presets (ten in all, including the No Filter option), you definitely feel like your getting your money's worth (especially since the app is free).

Examples of what the filters look like in action can be seen in my video review of the app HERE [link removed – no longer available].
(***Note the footage was shot at night in low light using three MR-16 lamps with a warmer color temperature, so the footage will look a bit yellowish out of the gate.)
The most important aspect of the app however, is the ability to share your customized videos via Facebook and Twitter all in one inclusive app. Socialcam allows you to log in via your Facebook account, Twitter, or even Gmail for seamless integration of your social media contacts.

Here are the inclusive application settings for configuring user preferences:
Account Settings Menu – Allows you to configure your preferred login account such as updating your profile pic and changing your password.
Notifications Menu – Gives you the the ability to enable / disable push notifications when your videos receive new likes, are tagged, earn a new follower, or get new comments.
Video Menu – Allows you to save your videos to your camera roll library (defaults to On) and the option to show Facebook videos, which deserves a quick word of caution. Socialcam defaults to allow instant posting via your Facebook account (the sharing option for Twitter defaults to Off.) This applies for EVERY video you capture with the application, so be sure to set the Facebook sharing option to Off if you plan on experimenting with shooting practice videos or capturing anything, ahem, too personal, or every one of your friends / followers will be able to see what you've just shot within seconds. Under the Account Privacy setting, you can also choose to manually approve followers, automatically approve friends, or approve all followers, so you have some degree of control over who can see your mini masterpieces.

The app also features a Trending page, which features (presumably) random popular clips selections from assorted Socialcam users. The selections range from witty to link bait, but beware which titles you view if you have Facebook sharing enabled, as all your contacts will be updated on your viewing history. Admittedly, I'm not a big social media aficionado, but Socialcam makes for strong motivation to shoot and share away. The majority of the filter presets don't have much value on a professional level, yet the app definitely has an intuitive and user-friendly interface that makes online clip sharing a breeze.

Platform: Apple iPhone iOS and Google Android Cost: Free Social Media Functionality: Facebook, Twitter, Gmail Developer: Socialcam Year Released: 2011

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