App

Make ultra-sharable little video clips with this cheerfully silly camera zoom utility

Price: Free
Version: 1.0.2
Size: 23 MB
Developer: This Also
Platform: iPhone & iPad

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There’s something of a trend right now in the world of viral videos in which short, zoom-heavy clips are matched with over-the-top music to create amusing little vignettes. Nobody can explain why a slow zoom on a cat’s grumpy face set to seven seconds of intense trap music is funny, but it sure is. This kind of thing, popularized by apps like Snapchat, can be a bit alienating if you don’t understand what’s going on – but like the best things in life these videos can have a strangely universal appeal, which is probably why they get shared so much on Facebook.

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Press and hold record to zoom

Anyway, the point is that now it’s super easy – and free! – to make your own videos of this ilk. Whether you intend to share quietly amongst friends or break the internet with a hilarious clip of a man sleeping on the tube, ooo is a fun and silly camera toy that makes smooth zooming incredibly easy while automatically dubbing snippets of original music tracks over the top. It’s a simple app with a single purpose, but it’s a lot of fun to play with and it performs its single duty very well. It’s not just suitable for weird comedy videos, either – for anything that requires a smooth zoom, simply disable the weird music and the app runs rings around the standard iOS camera. It’s a nifty utility.

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Finally, a good use for 3D Touch

Users can toggle between three different ways to zoom: newer iPhones can use 3D Touch to zoom more or less dependent on the pressure applied to the screen; you can swipe upwards to zoom, with the speed of your swipe directly mapped to the intensity of the zoom; or you can set a perfectly smooth, uniform zoom that continues indefinitely. Each has its uses, and we appreciate the choice – regardless of technique, the app only records video for the length of time you keep your thumb held down. As soon as you let go the clip is automatically saved straight to your camera roll. No rewatching, no editing, no exporting. This seems a little odd at first but makes sense for an app designed for short, snappy interactions.

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It’s easy to share long-distance videos of your unsuspecting workmates

Diving into the settings reveals a flurry of other useful options, including an excellent stabilization mode to keep your videos nice and smooth. You can also mute the audio, disable the music, and reverse the direction of the zoom. Along the bottom of the viewfinder itself is a slider controlling zoom intensity, which is great for limiting the maximum zoom so you can pre-plan how far the video will go. At the highest settings it goes really far – much further than the standard camera’s limit of 10x digital zoom. This is where that stabilization mode earns its keep, though there’s nothing the app can do to avoid the inevitable pixelation that comes from over-reaching.

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Maybe we zoomed a bit too far on this one…

The musical snippets, crafted by the developers themselves, cover a range of genres and really add something to the video clips. It’s a shame there are only seven to choose from – and it would be nice to be able to preview the audio in advance so we don’t have to try to figure out whether “smooth butter” or “goat battle” will be a better fit for the clip – but overall these songs are great and it’s a lot of fun to let the app select one randomly each time you shoot a clip. It’s a shame the social network Vine is dead because these super-short videos combined with this kind of music would be a perfect fit for the platform.

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Tap to change the track

In an era of one-stop shops that can be a little overwhelming to use, we applaud ooo for picking one relatively simple task and doing a great job of it. The app is free, with no ads or in-app purchases, and we think it’s a great addition to any Home screen.

Review: ooo – play with zoom on your iOS camera
Equal parts amusing and useful
For
  • Simple and cleverly-built tool
  • Great, funny audio tracks
  • Three ways to zoom, all uniquely useful
Against
  • No way to preview the music tracks
  • Slight lack of instructions on first open
4.3Overall Score