A new free iPhone app wants to take the ease of editing and sharing photos that Instagram has perfected and bring it to video.
Viddy is a fun way to take short videos (15 seconds or less), trim them, add pre-set effects and then share the fun with your friends via Twitter, Facebook and/or YouTube. The app shows Foursquare and Tumblr as "coming soon," so don't feel left out if you are a fan of either of those services. Viddy also has its own service, so if you don't feel like sharing with anyone but other Viddy users, you're in luck.
It occurred to me what a clever name this app has -- "vidi" in Latin is pronounced the same way and translates as "I have seen." That's a very apt description of what Viddy does, telling your friends and followers what you've seen with your eyes and your iPhone.
To find out more about this clever and well-executed social sharing app, read on. Be sure to check out the gallery below for screenshots of the app in operation, as well as a short Viddy that was shared with YouTube for demonstration purposes.
Setup of Viddy is a piece of cake. Upon launching the app for the first time, you're given a choice of either logging in or registering with the Viddy service. Registration takes just a minute and requires a valid email address. Once you're signed up, there's a way to add a simple profile that can include your real name, a nickname and an avatar photo. Setting up other services -- Facebook, Twitter and YouTube -- is done by tapping a configure button and entering your credentials for those services.
If you'd like to follow the video efforts of your friends, or get them interested in Viddy, there's a Find Friends feature that searches for Twitter or Facebook friends who are already using the service. If they're not on Viddy already, it's easy to invite them.
Using the app
When Viddy is launched, the Feed display is visible. Feed shows three lists of videos by people you're following, by popularity or by "trending." I find myself watching the videos my friends are making as well as the really popular ones. Each video is playable by simply tapping on it, and the short length of the videos makes them load quickly, even over 3G.
Once you've watched a video, you can express your feelings by tapping "like" or "comment" buttons, add a tag or tap a skull and crossbones button to flag a video as inappropriate. The last button is a way for the Viddy community to self-police content and keep it fun for everybody.
Of the five buttons at the bottom of the Viddy screen, the next is Faves. It's a way of keeping track of favorite Viddy movies that you've watched and enjoyed. The Share button is next, and it's the way that you share your content with the world.
Tapping Share displays a simple dialog that asks you to choose a video source: the iPhone's camera or the video library. Selecting the camera as the source displays the standard iPhone video screen. Tap the Record button to begin recording, tap it again to stop recording or let the recording go until it reaches the maximum duration of 15 seconds.
If you select the Video Library for your source, all of the videos in your Photo Library are displayed. Selecting one that is longer than the 15 second limit displays trim handles that are used to edit the duration. Next, you apply effects to the video clip. At present, there are only five choices: None (no effect), B/W (monochrome with slight vignetting), Crystal (saturates colors, adds odd shadows), Hued (adds pink and green tones to the video) and Junkd (looks like the pieces of film found on the cutting room floor).
Sliders allow you to change the intensity of each effect and choose the volume of both the ambient sound and the soundtrack for the video. Currently, you can't add your own music choices to the soundtrack; each effect comes with a predefined piece of music.
As soon as the effect has been applied and you're pleased with the results, a tap on a Next button lets you add a title, add a location tag through Foursquare, add other tags then select the services on which you want to share the video. Tap Done, and the video is uploaded. When you have the services set up and know what the effects are like, you can shoot, edit and share a video clip in less than a minute.
An Activity button shows a list of what you and your friends have been doing on Viddy, and the Profile button gives you the option to change your profile settings with a few taps.
Conclusion, and the future of Viddy
I think Viddy is going to be hot. The app is easy to use, it's stylish, and it adds movement and sound to social sharing. 15 seconds is a perfect length for sharing -- it's too short to be boring, but it's long enough to keep your friends entertained.
Viddy is planning on adding new features and "additional apps and services," which sounds like a way to monetize the service. There's also a note about "premium production packs," which will add new effects to the app for a fee. That's similar to the model that Hipstamatic has used, where you can buy virtual lenses and film via in-app purchase.
My only complaint about Viddy is the icon. So many photography and video apps are using an icon with a lens on it that it makes it difficult to identify a specific app by sight. Surely they can design an icon that's more unique and representative of what the app does.
For those who love to share their lives with others and who want to go beyond just sending out photos, Viddy is a win. By giving away the basic app, a lot of people will download and install it; by charging for production packs down the road, Viddy should have a nice revenue stream in the future.