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Record Better Media: Picture and Video Masterpieces

You can't beat a dedicated camera for clarity, control, and quality, but smartphones come close enough for most of us-this magazine has even published iPhone photos. Use these tools and techniques to amp up your device's multimedia power:


Boost your phone’s native camera with Camera Zoom FX ($3;, which bundles a self-timer, time-lapse tool, grid overlays, shot stabilizer, optical zoom, and a burst mode into one app.

Capture hi-res panoramas
with ProCapture ($4;, which links up to 12 photos into a seamless vista and mimics a wide-angle lens with its Wide Shot mode.


Fix common lighting problems with the Blux Camera Pro app ($3;, which analyzes light, suggests filters, controls zoom, and corrects errors.

Eliminate hand-shake with Luma’s video stabilization app (free;, which uses the iPhone’s gyroscope to measure the camera’s motion and digitally recalibrates the image.


Master the time-lapse with Timelapse Helper (free; for iPhone and TimeLapse! Calculator (free; explorerdc.blogspot .com) for Android. Enter the interval (two- to three-second intervals are best for fast-moving subjects like people and 30-second intervals are best for stars) and the frames-per-second you want in the output video, and the app calculates the shooting duration.

Make a Video Masterpiece

If you want a coherent trip video, you’re going to have to do some editing.

Start the film with a voice-over describing the trip: intent, participants, potential challenges.

Keep clips short. Five- to 10-second snippets throughout the video keep the pace moving and the movie engaging. Shoot for an overall length shorter than five minutes.

Overlay clips with text— titles, date, time—to add context to footage.

Intersperse B-roll (footage of hiking, chatting around a campfire, cooking dinner) to break up the narrative and action clips.

The Mobile Cutting Room

In-phone editing apps let you compose a video story and share it with your social networks, no USB cord required.


Nothing is easier than Vine (free; iPhone; Shoot up to six seconds of video (the interface is good for both short clips and montages), then upload them to Twitter with the push of a button.


Magisto (free; iPhone, Android; does the moviemaking work for you: Choose your clips and music, and the app automatically analyzes and arranges clips into a coherent movie.


VidTrim Pro ($3; Android; vidtrim lets users pick from a variety of effects, plus trim clips, frame-grab, and compress videos for easy sharing across multiple devices and platforms.


Splice ($2; iPhone; is your best bet for more sophisticated editing techniques, such as pulling from multiple audio tracks and embellishing the movie with sound effects or filters.

[Pro Tip] Turn your phone or tablet into a cartography library and you’ll never go off the map. Trimble Outdoors allows users to save Mega Offline Maps—bundles of maps organized by state, county, or national park. Preload your phone with them and you can use them without a data connection ($10 and up; free with an Elite subscription;

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