Horizon ($1.99)—an iPhone app that can ensure you’re filming only horizontal videos despite how you may be holding the phone—has been around for awhile already, but recently came out with an update. In other words, even though I already loved the idea of the app, I now had the perfect excuse for testing it out and writing it up.
Many (if not most) of the apps I end up writing about I delete either immediately after or within a few weeks. There’s only so much room on my Phone’s hard drive and I dislike digital clutter. I’m not one of those people that has screen after packed screen full of apps where you have to use the search function to find what you’re looking for—that is if you even remember what you’ve got. On the contrary, I keep things pruned down pretty good. The point I’m taking forever to make is that the apps I keep are pretty spectacular.
Horizon is spectacular in a jaw-dropping way. The idea itself is novel. As you may have realized in the back of you’re mind as you’ve read recent articles on DailyTekk, I’m on a mission to shoot more, and better quality, video this year and Horizon is one of my go-to apps for doing just that.
Some apps play in a crowded space and can add only incremental value to your videos (like add filters). While Horizon does have some built-in filter functionality, it’s core offering, it’s reason for being, is so uniquely useful that it’s in a league of it’s own. This app clearly has something cool to offer… the only question was could it deliver or was it gimmicky in a Samsung “next big thing” feature sort of way.
Horizon delivers on it’s unique concept and does so in a big way. You might think there would just be one option for recording always-horizontal videos, but there’s not. There’s the “Rotate” mode which I actually like the best because it works best with accessories like the Shoulderpod S1 filmmaker’s grip and then there’s the “Flex” mode.
Rotate mode places a rectangle on your screen that’s basically the length of your iPhone’s screen when it’s straight up and down (the shorter length of the screen). No matter how you rotate your phone that frame stays exactly the same size.
Alternatively, the Flex mode lets you zoom into or out of a shot simply by rotating your phone. Holding your phone vertically will be zoomed out and as you rotate it horizontally it will begin to zoom in (fully horizontal is the same as fully zoomed in using this mode). All the while it of course keeps your shot horizontal at all times.
Choosing a mode simply depends on what kind of shot you’re going for and what type of accessories you want to use. As a basic rule of thumb I’ve found that Flex mode works better for objects that are a bit further away/[highlight] while Rotate works well in just about any situation.
There is actually a third mode—”Lock” mode—which will keep your phone locked in either vertical or horizontal mode… but won’t keep your filming horizontal.
There’s also a photo button next to the record video button that is useful for taking stills that are more or less horizontal. As I’m looking at the screen right now lining up a shot, I can see that either my furniture is ever so slightly off or the camera is… but just ever so slightly.
When you shoot a vid with the Horizon app, it [highlight]doesn’t automatically save to your camera roll. Depending on your personality, you’ll either like or dislike this feature. Personally I wish it did auto-save, but it’s hardly a big deal to do it manually.
There are a few extra features in the app that are nice add-ons, but kind of beside the point in my mind. These include a handful of filters and the ability to adjust things like quality and frame-rate.
A lot of attention and care has been paid to the app’s user experience. I love how all of the icons rotate to stay “up” as you rotate the camera.
Mobile video tends to look… mobile. Horizon goes a long way toward making video shot on your iPhone look and feel a bit more professional and polished. For this reason I would definitely recommend adding it to your video app arsenal and incorporating it into your overall movie making workflow.