An in depth review of CollabraCam: An iphone/ipad app for multi-camera video production

An in depth review of CollabraCam: An iphone/ipad app for multi-camera video production

Everybody has an artist inside and if your inner artist is a movie director or a camera operator, there’s an app for that!

CollabraCam lets you shoot video with two, three or four iPhone/iPod touch cameras and it enables users to produce videos while keeping post-production to a minimum. A few weeks back we posted a brief overview of CollabraCam but now we’re putting it to the test.

Getting Started

To use CollabraCam all devices should be in a range of one WiFi network –no internet connection required. You could also use MiFi or a mobile hotspot to connect camera operators with the director anywhere and anytime.

CollabraCam is simple and easy to use. It offers minimum settings while allowing users to maximize their creativity. After launching the app, just choose who you want to be; a director or a camera operator. There can only be one director that’s able to give direction to the production from an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. And as we’d mentioned in our initial mention of the app, directors can have up to four operators using either an iPhone/iPod touch.

Directing a Video

On the directors screen you can see the list of connected operators (on the network), just arrange them the way you want and you’re ready to start shooting.

After choosing an operator, directors are able to record the feeds from each camera and can easily switch between camera operators. Directors can additionally send a bunch of silent commands to the operators which will be displayed on the screen of the chosen operator; pan left, tilt down or dolly out.

Exporting Footage

When your movie is finished, the video can be saved as one clip or as individual clips shot by the multiple operators. If you want to get a finished video out quickly, your best bet is exporting the footage as one clip. However, should you want to add transitions and effects in iMovie or Final Cut, the second option is your best choice.

collabracam

The CollabraCam developer Kyle Hilla was kind enough to share his plans for future updates with us and commented on our concerns over cost. CollabaraCam is currently on sale for $6.99 but it does require both the director and camera operators to purchase the app. I think it’d be far better to charge $20 for a directors app and offer the operators app cheaper, maybe even free.

Hilla said “In regard to price… while we can understand your point of view, we believe that CollabraCam as an all-inclusive app delivers the best solution with the choice to be a director or a camera operator. We know everyone will want to direct a video and at the end of the session they are going to want the footage on their device. He additionally stated that a “universal app is very important and will most likely be in the next update”.

Misses

I’ve listed a few things that I would like to see in the app.

1) An iPad app for directors. While the directors are able to use the iPad, it’s just an iPhone version blown up to fit the iPad.

2) Audio communication between director and operators. Visual commands are good but sometimes you need to say something to your slave operators “focus on her face – not breast!”

3) An option to select audio input. The sound input changes as you switch cameras but you may need to use a fixed input from one iPhone.

4) Live streaming. Amateur reporters would love it.

The best thing about CollabraCam is that feeling of creating something with your friends rather than all alone. This app will be very useful for people who like to shoot complex videos with many cameras but don’t want (or don’t like) hours of post-production work. I have a lot of ideas about what kind of clips I can shoot now. The hardest part is to win the fight with my friends for the directors role. Below we’ve included a sample video that was created by the developer. And, here’s a small video I made with CollabraCam.

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