Socialcam is today announced that it has reached a 2m download milestone in the last 6 months of its existence. It is also releasing version 3.0 of its popular video shooting and sharing app which brings a series of filters that you can apply to it, much in the way that Instagram works for photos.
It ‘s not the first app to do this, of course, but it is one of the only free apps that does it and allows you to shoot and share any video you want, regardless of length. Many other apps of this type require that you limit your filtered videos to 15-30 seconds.
The way that Socialcam built the filtering engine is interesting all on its own, as the team used Photoshop to create representative images, then converted them to filters for video. They also devised a system that allows them to tweak these filters on the fly. This means that they will be able to offer a way for users to customize their own filters at some point and upload them to the Socialcam site, although that functionality is still down the road a bit.
What it does allow now, though, is the ability for Socialcam to push out new filters to the app as they come up with them, without having to issue a whole new app update.
I’ve been playing with the latest version of the app for a few days and the filter implementation is really slick. When you’re about to shoot a video you simply flick between the looks on the preview screen to find the one you want and then begin recording. Once you’ve shot the video, you title it and shove it in your pocket, no lengthy conversion process to wait for.
This lowers the barrier for shooting and sharing and makes the operation painless. Your video will upload in a low res version for quick viewing and get saved in a higher res version on your phone. You can also choose to save the full quality video right to Dropbox.
The filters come in two flavors, with 8 styles to start:
Vintage: 1970’s, Bohemian, Noir, Sepia, Rouge
Experimental filters: Acid, Foil, Electronica
There are some very cool things about the way that Socialcam works that further their efforts to make it the primary way people share video from mobile phones. For one, Socialcam shows you not just a single preview frame of video but a preview split into four quadrants that sample various frames in the video. In fact, those four frames are carefully grabbed by code written into Socialcam that seeks out faces in the video, prioritizing those moments with people, presumably your friends, in them.
The ability to launch the app directly to the camera mode and the way that it now synchronizes comments between Facebook and Socialcam make it as seamless an experience as possible. No more having to jump between Facebook and the app to answer comments from viewers of your videos.
These kinds of details make it one of my favorite ways to quickly share videos on the net and with my friends. You can grab SocialCam on the App Store or Android Market free.