If you’ve always wanted to create cool short videos on your iPhone, but shied away thinking the hurdles of editing were to big to overcome, Cameo might be the app for you. The free app is reminiscent of Vine or better yet HTC Zoe, but without the still images. Using Cameo, I made a short film about my love of coffee. While the results won’t yield any Oscar nominations, it left me impressed with Cameo. I’ve been able to take a group of short video clips, add wonderful film effects, a title and background music, all in a matter of minutes.

videos on iPhone using Cameo

When you first launch Cameo, there is a quick sign up process that can be handled with or without Facebook. Once signed up, you’ll see a feed of the most popular videos. It has a very Instagram vibe, allowing for users to comment and like your Cameo videos. If you’ve connected via Facebook, one of the perks is being able to find friends who are also on the service. There is a search tool, but it’s limited to searching by name. As of now, you cannot search based upon your Twitter followers or by your contacts. Inviting your contacts is built-in to the app, but functionality is still set to ‘coming soon’.

The bright red video camera icon is where the magic starts. The app will remind you to shift to landscape mode, a great tip for anyone shooting video. Tap to start filming and it will create a series of short 6-second clips. This isn’t the type of app for shooting a long form video, but you aren’t heavily constrained by time, as you are with an app like Vine. Under 2 minutes should be the target for your final edit. When you are finished telling your story through a series of clips, the fun starts.

Film title

There are three settings. First, you set your title. Cameo uses this to create a quick intro title. The second option is for setting a soundtrack. Cameo allows you to select music from your library or from a section they call ‘Featured Soundtracks’. These are a select group of songs that have been carefully curated by their staff. A play button allows you to preview your audio. There are roughly 20 tracks, all of which you might hear during a trip to Starbucks. Indie, modern and heavy hipster influence. All they tracks lend themselves nicely to video making and should work well in a variety of projects.


After setting your title and soundtrack, it’s on to the film effects. Cameo offers you a choice of 15 effects. There are color hue effects or you can select classics like 8mm. When browsing the effects, each will provide you with a video preview, a description of the effect and the category groupings. For example, I used 16MM, which included Film Series, Vintage, Color Filter and a Border.

Film effects

Tap the green button to select your theme and the app will start building your preview.

B&W film effect

For a 24-second video, my previews were built in under 30 seconds. Like me, you might find yourself applying different effects before finalizing your project. The film quality effects are nothing short of amazing and applying them to your video couldn’t be easier.

Coffee Cameo video

Masterpiece completed, you can share your Cameo on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. By default, your video is also shared on Cameo, although there is a setting to opt-out. I had a few issues sharing on Facebook, which I’m sure will get ironed out. Once you hit share, the app races into action, upgrading the video to HD before sharing it. The app also offers a setting to save videos to your camera roll and you can save previous projects.

Cameo review

If you enjoy shooting videos and have a creative streak, Cameo removes all of the hurdles to making beautiful looking short films. There aren’t any choices when it comes to modifying the typeface of your title, but perhaps that’s a feature we’ll see that in version 2.0. Easy editing, curated soundtracks and awesome effects make Cameo a must have app.

Cameo (free) is available for download from the App Store.