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Directr Mobile App for iOS: Quality Cell Phone Videos


Overview of Directr:

Similar to social video creation apps like Socialcam, Viddy, Keek, Tout, Klip and Vloggo, Directr hopes to help users create cell phone videos to share with family and friends. But instead of pleasing its users with cool effects, Directr wants to help its users make better quality videos. It does this by providing users with a set of video templates that resemble storyboards. Users then take the shots that the storyboard requires, and share their videos via Facebook. The app is free, and available from the App Store for iOS devices.

Getting Started with Directr:

Once you've downloaded the Directr app to your phone, simply tap the icon to get started! Directr features an animated, step-by-step tutorial. The first thing you'll need to do is sign in with Facebook, making sure to set your privacy and sharing settings to your liking. Directr will also ask your permission to access posts in your news feed - this will allow the app to alert you when one of your friend's uses Directr to make a movie.

The Directr Layout:

The app features a clean user interface with hot keys for exploring new videos, creating your own videos, and adjusting your profile and user settings. If you share information between Facebook and Directr, you'll be able to check out your friends' latest videos within the app. If not, you'll have access to the most popular public videos created by other users with the Directr app. The "Direct It" feature lets you use any of the videos you find as a storyboard for your own video.

Shooting a Movie with Directr:

Now that you're logged in, you can start shooting movies with Directr. You'll see a big purple plus sign at the bottom of the screen - that's the icon you tap to start a new project. Before you begin shooting, you can choose to use one of Directr's templates or to start from scratch. The app comes with loads of free storyboards, and also lets you purchase additional packages. Each of the storyboards lasts for a different short duration, and is composed from a different number of shots.

Each shot includes two simple controls: titles and shooting. Directr shares lots of friendly tips as you shoot, including a reminder to tilt your phone to landscape mode, and drag a bulls eye to your desired area of focus. Simply tap the screen again to record, and Directr will hold the shot for the duration designated by the template. Once you save the shot and return to the template screen, you'll see a numbered rectangle next to your footage. This keeps track of how many takes you've saved for each shot, and lets you choose from them when you assemble your rough cut.

Exporting and Sharing Your Movie:

Once you're happy with your cut, the app will "print" your movie, which will export it to your camera roll. This process is a little bit slower than real time, but compared to editing the footage yourself with a separate editing app, it's a real time-saver.

After your video has processed you'll find it in the "Completed" section of "My Movies". From there, you'll be able to share the movie with Facebook, Twitter, SMS, and email. You can also download the movie to your camera phone to watch and share it later.

I noticed that it was difficult to re-focus the camera within the same shot, so it's generally good to decide your subject before you start shooting. Also, since the app's storyboards use specifically timed shots, its tough to catch candid moments. Besides these small set-backs, the app is fun to use and creates great, watchable movies. By automating two of the hardest parts of cell phone video - focusing and editing - this app makes shooting movies fun.

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