Yeah, I know a lot of apps are trying to be the Instagram of video, including Twitter’s weird Vine attempt, but Magisto captures the feel in a way I haven’t seen with other apps. Instagram is Instagram because it’s simple, slightly cheesy, and easy to share. Magisto is pretty much that — only with video.
You don’t have to do any editing to make a cool video. In fact, you can’t do any editing at this point. You just shoot some video or choose one or more movies that you’ve already shot, pick a theme, pick licensed background music, and let Magisto’s algorithms handle the rest. Once your video is created, you’ll get an email. Share your video on Twitter, Facebook, or by link. You can also export your videos to YouTube.
Here’s a simple video I shot the other day from my phone:
This came from a few minutes of video shot from my phone while my family went sledding. Note: I removed the background music because YouTube flagged it as licensed content. The original with music can be seen here, where Magisto allows comments or a heart-shaped favoriting button–just like Instagram.
Simple is good.
The problem with most home movies is that they’re at least twice as long as they need to be, and they look like they were shot by people making home movies. Video editing software has a heck of a learning curve, and it’s exhausting to make all those choices about edits. Magisto acts as the “easy button.” Magisto, so far, seems to make very reasonable guesses about what parts of the video are important, and the resulting video is short enough to be interesting and easy to share.
However, if you don’t like the results, you’re out of luck. You just have to try again, because there’s no editing.
There’s also no way to upload your own background music or specify that you don’t want a soundtrack. (Update: There is now an option to create a movie without a soundtrack. I referred to information on the Magisto FAQ that was outdated and has now been corrected.) The soundtrack does respond to human voices, though, so it doesn’t drown out your dialog. However, if you have dialog in a movie and want to transfer it to YouTube, you can’t just drop the audio after you get it there, like I did with the sledding video. You need a soundtrack-free option to avoid this. The company claims they’re working on more flexibility with the soundtrack.
Right now the free version of Magisto is limited to 16 hosting videos, and you’re charged $.99 to $2.99 to download a video you made. You can use the Magisto website directly or download free apps for iOS or Android. If you hit the max, you just have to download your files or export them to YouTube before deleting them from Magisto.
Make no mistake, this is not a high end editing suite. This is how you share baby photos. Or a video of your kids sledding. Or movies about your cats. It’s not going to win you an Oscar, but it is fun, easy, and maybe a little hokey.