By Paul Parcellin, Staff Writer
July 16, 2015

If you're planning to add videos to your site and don't have a lot of money to spend on hardware, you can save a bundle by using your smartphone in place of a dedicated video camera.

You might plan to share your video on YouTube, Vine or Instagram, but there are a number of other cool video apps that you might want to look at first. Some of them are free or cost only a few dollars. Here is a selection of tools you might want to look at when planning your video:

The video novice will probably learn a great deal simply by jumping in and shooting a first video and learning through trial and error.

Montaj

You may have the uncle who insists on showing his unbearably tedious home videos at every family gathering. Maybe your relative could use Montaj to soothe the pain. It's a free app that lets you assemble six-second video segments that you either shoot in the app or import. You can create video montages and add sound, too. Assemble pieces of video on Montaj's storyboard with a shake of the phone. To erase and start over just give the phone another shake - kind of like the Etch A Sketch drawing tablet.

Montaj is useful to those who want to get a speedy video message out to their contacts without spending a lot of time editing.

Game Your Video

You can shoot a video, and it may look sort of boring. You may want to add effect to it that will make your video look like the stuff you see on TV, and that's where Game Your Video comes in. It's an app that makes adding special effects to your videos easy. You can apply many different kinds of live motion effect, audio enhancements, filters that change the color and texture of your images, as well as nifty editing tricks such as reverse motion, cut and join and split screen.

Game You Video also lets you play more than one video at a time, and it offers three different video capture resolutions. You can apply effects as you watch a video, and you can add text to your videos, too.

Viddy

Many times you may find yourself trying to quickly get something on video, and you don't have the time for a lot of fine-tuning. Viddy is the app to grab when you need to keep it simple. All you have to do is point and tap and this free app does the rest. It's so easy to capture footage that you can almost do it without thinking at all. The only drawback is that output is limited to 30 seconds, but for many simple videos, that's enough. Pause, resume recording, create custom filters and produce polished presentations with Viddy. You don't even have to know how to edit video.

1TapVideo

If you're the kind of videographer who sees the perfect shot and then fumbles for the "Record" button, you ought to look into 1TapVideo. As the name indicates, all it takes is one tap to get your phone recording.

Just point and shoot. It's hard to mess that up. 1TapVideo features a large red "Record" button, so it's easy to find, even under the most trying of circumstances.

This 99-cent package offers auto focus, tap to focus, auto exposure, white balance, a variety of capture resolutions and decorative filters.

iSupr8

You may have never had an opportunity to shoot with Super8 film, that almost forgotten home movie format that first came on the market in 1965. But iSupr8, a $1.99 video app, can make your videos look like you shot them on that vintage film stock. Better still, iSupr8 lets you edit your footage, or pick from its feed of shared videos.

The app makes your video look like old style film by adding dust, dirt and grain to your videos. You can even choose which vintage film stock you want your videos to look like.

You also get several different filter styles, and you can purchase additional bells and whistles that will add to the effects you can give your videos.

Magisto

Even if you have a lot of clips that don't seem to go together, you can use Magisto to put them together for a presentation on your Web page.

Just choose the clips you want to put together, add some still photos if you like, and select a theme song from the app's music library. Magisto will condense the media and package it into a single presentation that you can share with others.

If you need to cut your video pronto, Magisto might be the app for you. Plus, it lets you add lots of special effects that will give your videos a professional touch.

1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

Horizon

Many videos are captured on the fly, and when you're moving fast you might not have time to think of every detail that might need attending.

You may notice that some videos are recorded in a rough and ready fashion - vertically instead of horizontally. It's not so easy to record horizontally, and you may find that the landscapes you shoot come out crooked.

What if you had a tool that could make those out-of-kilter landscapes look nice and level? Horizon uses your device's gyroscope to level your videos automatically.

Horizon also provides a number of other features that can help you create professional looking videos, including a choice of various resolutions, lock focus and exposure as well as filters and tools to help you share video on social networks.

Filmic Pro

If you want to take your videos another step higher in quality, you might want to look at Filmic Pro. The rich features that you'll get from this app won't cost you much - just $4.99. It may take a little time to learn to use some of the tools available to you, but you're liable to find that it's worth the effort.

Create and preset your own special effects with Filmic Pro, or you can select from the ones built into the app, such as frame rates, preview, image stabilization, resolution and geotagging, among others.

You may find that Filmic Pro offers as many options as some dedicated cameras, and it can provide you with high-quality output just like the big cameras do.

Post Script

You probably won't want to shoot a feature film using these apps. But for shorter videos that you post online you may find that these tools are easy to use, and they also make your videos look professional. If you want to add more complex special effects, you might think about using Filmic Pro - it probably has most of the featured you want, and you can own it for a pittance. That's an economical way to make videos.

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