Vlur (iOS) review: Great for making your social videos stand out from the crowd
Vlur is a free video app for iOS that lets you make creative videos with transitions, effects, and background music that you can easily post to social networks.
Similarly to using the Vine and Instagram video apps, you touch and hold to record, then let go to pause between scenes. But where Vlur differs is the things you can do to your videos to make them stand out from the rest.
Vlur is a free download with plenty of good features in the free version, but there are also in-app purchases if you want more filters, transitions, and other perks. You can buy each individually, but I recommend unlocking everything for $4.99 or £2.99. An "Essentials pack" is available for AU$2.49.
Once you launch the app you'll get a brief overview of the app's functions and where each of the tools are. From there you can just touch to start recording to shoot your first video. Vlur has markers at both the 6- and 15-second marks in the timeline that you can use as a guide for both Vine and Instagram videos respectively.
You also have the option to add a video you've already shot, but be aware that you'll only be able to change the filter because Vlur will not recognize the scene breaks you made using Vine. In other words, Vlur's transitions will be useless on older videos.
Selecting transitions between scenes
The free version of Vlur comes with an assortment of nine transitions you can use to spice up the cuts between each scene of your video. Animated transitions that include blur, dissolve, fade to black, and circle open can be mixed and matched for each scene of your video.
It's important to note here that though the app description seems to indicate you're able to switch each transition on the fly, it didn't work in my testing. Instead, you'll need to first shoot all of your scenes, then choose the edit button in the upper right, then switch each transition as it appears on the video timeline. This works fine, but it's not exactly as described in the app description.
If you want more than the included nine transitions, you can purchase additional transition packs for $1.99 that include more complex animations like a spinning cube and vortex animations. There are a couple of packs to choose from, but if you buy them individually, this free app will start getting expensive fast (more on this later).
Adding effects to your video
Along with transitions, you can pick from several filter effects to give your video a unique look. Unlike the transitions, filters can be switched on the fly as you're shooting your video. This means you can choose one filter, shoot for 3 seconds, then choose another filter and shoot for the next 3 seconds, and your filter choices will change as you view the preview. As with the transitions, you'll get a handful of effects and you can get more by purchasing the Filter extension pack -- also for $1.99.
You're probably noticing that this free app is starting to add up, and the in-app purchases don't stop there. You also can remove the Vlur watermark on your videos for 99 cents and expand your video length to up to 5 minutes of video for $1.99.
Fortunately, there is also the option to unlock all transitions and effects, remove the watermark, and expand your video length for $4.99. So, while this app is free to start, 5 bucks doesn't seem like too much to get everything the app has to offer.
Give it your own soundtrack
Finally, once you're satisfied with the way your video looks, you can choose a song from your library to serve as the soundtrack. I got mixed results at this stage of the process. I was able to add a song from my library, but upon realizing the intro to a particular song had almost no music, I decided to switch it to something else. Unfortunately, once I chose a different song, the app kept hanging as it tried to add the new music to the video, making me force-quit to get back into the app.
I sent a message to the developer of the app about this issue, but have not received a response at the time of this review. It's probably something that will be fixed in coming updates, but it's important to note that adding music is a little buggy at this time.
When you're finished with your video, you can touch a share button to send it to Vine, Instagram, or Facebook, or you can save the video and send it through email.
Vlur is a neat app for making unique videos you can post to social networks, and the free version offers plenty of effects and transitions for the job. But if you spend $4.99 you can unlock the whole app, and I think with what you get it's worth your money.
I did encounter some issues when adding my own music to videos, but it's likely the developers will have it fixed soon.
Still, whether you use the free version or decide to unlock the rest of the features, Vlur has easy-to-use tools for making your videos different from the usual fare.