Digital shorts have been around for many years. But microMovie Apps for the iPhone have created a surge in video content created by iPhone photographers and visual artists. A microMovie is a style of visual storytelling or video capture that is based on some app-imposed short time limit.
First in a series of key photo and video imaging app reviews for iOS devices.
Lightt Web Interface - A Bridge to Brooklyn
App Name: Lightt
iOS Compatibility: iPHONE 4, 4S, 5, iPOD TOUCH, iPAD with camera
Light is a motion picture app with a social streaming component for recording and sharing video and photos. It is compatible with most iOS devices, including the iPhone 5. It is a hybrid recording tool with a unique take on capture, playback and sharing. A one-second highlight (clips) is captured with a single tap; each capture takes about 7 seconds to complete.
This unique shooting process removes unnecessary frames and speeds up the playback of a highlight. The microMovie clip above "A Bridge to Brooklyn" was shot as I walked across the bridge last year. It consists of 15 highlights linked together, and runs for 15 seconds. The shooting process makes live, unedited video watchable. The compressed clip format makes it an interesting medium to watch and consume.
Lightt has figured out how to compress time and collapse space during the filming process, eliminating the need for post-production.
5 Things You Should Know About Lightt
Lightt enables you to seamlessly shoot and connect short bursts of soundless, fast-paced motion pictures.
View continuous streams of your own footage, featured users, or people you follow.
Select any motion picture in the visual stream and export as a still frame. (Good enough for online sharing)
Select a Highlight and share it to Tumblr as an animated GIF.
There is a small but growing community of users, including some notable mobile artists and iPhone photographers.
Example 1: Still Images exported from Lightt, saved to camera roll and published on Instagram.
5 Things I Would Like To See Updated
Camera - The ability to lock focus and exposure is a key feature to produce better images. iPhone photographers and videographers expect to see this as a standard features on any camera app—especially one that doesn't allow for importing clips.
Audio - The recording process is unique, and I get why there is no sound. Adding a voice over or ambient track would be a step in the right direction.
Editing - Being able to shuffle content and re-order clips would advance the storytelling process and offer a simple solution to shooting out of sequence.
Saving - Option to save HD resolution video clips to the camera roll would be great.
Sharing - Opening images in 3rd party editing apps or social networks like Instagram or Pinterest would reduce the number of steps needed to share still images.
Creative Artists Using Lightt
There are dozens of iPhone photographers, bloggers and visual artists around the world creating interesting work with Lightt. The uniqueness of the light player & its visual timeline allows us to peak into the lives of others and get a glimpse of a world we dont normally see. It also enables us to learn a little more about the creative users. Here are four creative ways to use Lightt.
1- @Twheat orchestrated an amazing sequence in Hong Kong and got really lucky with the crowd.
2- @pketron shared a beautiful moment of her trip to North Carolina.
3- @bryant directs an impromptu photo shoot and we see exactly how he engages with talent in NYC.
4- @klairechen captures spectacular fashion images from behind the scene image and around the World.
TOP LEFT - Tyson Wheatley: @twheat Click to view this amazing orchestrated sequence "Hong Kong Tunnel Shuffle"
TOP RIGHT - Pei: @pketron Click to view this beautiful day-in-the-life highlight "Untitled"
BOTTOM LEFT - Bryant: @bryant Click to view this fashion portrait "Untitled"
BOTTOM RIGHT - Klaire: @Klairechen Click to view this luxury fashion highlight "Black and White"
Learn more about mobile phone photography at the Adorama Learning Center's new iPhoneography department.
To begin, with you need to download the app, sign up, and create a user profile. It is, after all, a visual social network used to shoot, save, and share. This isn't a standalone video or photography app. The signup process is seamless and the profile highlight is actually a great way to create your very first highlight. I highly recommend having some fun with it.
Once your set up, the next step is really to connect with some friends. They can be added from Facebook and Twitter once you link your accounts and tap the follow button. You can also follow people on the featured channel if you like what they make or you can find friends by searching for them. Tap on the tap 3-dot button_Me_Find friends
Capture, Preview, and Edit
Moments are captured with a single tap; each capture takes about 7 seconds to complete. The process is automatic, and once shooting finishes the 7-second clip is reduced in length to one second. Lightt calls these 1 second clips "highlights."
2 Extended Capture
Capturing a long sequence of highlights is relatively easy. You just continue by tapping the camera to start a new clip. I've captured as many as 75 highlights in a row without any problems. The app will split the sequence when uploading so the maximum for any single sequence is approximately 40 highlights. This isn't something to worry about. Most highlights sequences are about 7 or 8 seconds in length, although there are some pretty amazing creative clips that can be as long as 25 seconds.
Once your have finished shooting the app give, choose the option to finish and post the highlights, or edit to delete any of the clips. The highlight clips can be previewed at this point to determine if further shooting is required.
Editing is very simple. Tapping the edit button makes the highlights jiggle and an "X" appears over a clip. Tapping on the X deletes the clip. What I find interesting is that this editing functionality is also available after your post your content. its a great feature and it is nice to be able to tighten up a sequence by deleting a clip that doesn't add to the overall narrative or story. Sometimes I'll do this a day or so later. The limited editing functionality has forced me to think about the shots I'm going to take
Notes: Its really important to think about your shots in advance. There is no drag and drop or moving clips around. The sequence is which you shoot is pretty much what you end up posting. This is, after all, a microMovie App.
Caption and Share
1 Caption and Share
By default the motion clips are set to public and will appear in your channel for anyone following to see. After you add a caption, the highlight clips can also be posted and shared on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.
2 Sharing Options
At any point in the visual stream, you can stop and freeze the motion. A small box with an arrow will appear on the bottom right of the highlight clip. Clicking on this will bring up the share & delete options.
Share: Tap the share button and it will bring up the previous caption screen where you can title your clip and share on FB, Twitter or Tumblr.
Copy Link: The web link for the selected highlight is copied to the clipboard for use anywhere you like. Clicking on the link plays the highlight in the web player.
Make Private: Makes a public clip private & you are teh only ne that can see the highlight clip.
3 Share By Email
Selecting this option automatically generates an email for sharing with an image, weblink url and subject line.
4 Save Image
Lightt allows for previously shot images to be saved to the camera roll. Check out "Example 1" above to get an idea of the quality of the images saved. I regularly export images from my timeline and post them to instagram, pinterest & my blog.
Playback and Comments
1 Friends, Me, and Featured
The home screen has three main areas:
Happening now: This is the channel that shows all the highlights from the people I am following.
Featured: Curated channel by the team at Lightt that showcases the latest clips from usearound the world in realtime.
Me: This is my personal channel where I view all my saved highlights, both public and private.
2 The Player
The streaming player connects all your highlights overtime and plays them back in a linear timeline. I can quickly rewind or fast forward to other highlight by simply thumbing thru the timeline. There is really no other interface that allows for the rapid consumption of motion visual information at a pace controlled by the user. If your interested check out the @NYC channel where you can thumb thru 90 days of footage in less than a few minutes.
3 Likes and comments
Light is also a social community and anyone can like or comment on a public highlight. What is really nice is that you can sit back and watch a stream of highlights and like the content that interest you without interrupting the viewing session.
At any point in the visual stream, you can also stop to comment on a particular hightlight. Tapping on the conversation bubble will activate the keyboard. Once saved, your comments are then connected to the specific series of visuals.
Lightt offers a different take on visual storytelling, and an interesting way to create or view visual content without too much effort. The bursts of motion pictures play back seamlessly in a streaming player akin to a stop-motion animation, and Lightt does a good job of capturing the essence of the moment in the shortest amount of time possible.
Shooting a one-second motion highlight does takes time. It consists of 13 still images and requires 7 seconds to record. The clips are so short, that you really do need to keep the iPhone still. Its not a natural way to shoot but the results seem to be worth it, even though at times it does feels awkward. The resulting images play back as a speed faster than realtime which makes the consumption of motion pictures fast, efficient and enjoyable.
The Hybrid shooting feature enables the export of still frames from visually interesting content. This functionality could give Lightt a huge advantage in building its social network over many of the other micoMovie video apps. Of course, the results remains to be seen. Mobile phone users may be more interested in investing time with a collection of unique microMovie apps like @vyclone @vineapp @cinemagram @directr @videokits @montajapp and @videostarapp.
Need help or just a creative nudge? Check out the Adorama Learning Center for more articles on iPhone Photography & check out the lastest iPhoneography gear on the iPhone Toolshed.