Freemium app Action Movie FX comes from Bad Robot Interactive, the software arm of the studio behind "Star Trek" and "Super 8." So, yeah, they know special effects.
Rick BroidaSenior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
As all movie-makers know, if you want to put butts in the seats, you need splashy special effects.
Like, say, an explosive missile strike or an alien attack. And who doesn't love a massive car crash?
Bad Robot Interactive's Action Movie FX 2.0 lets you add Hollywood-style effects sequences to the movies you shoot on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.
It works like this: Choose a sequence, then start filming. When you're done, the app lets you choose where in the clip to insert the effect. After a few seconds of rendering, presto: you've got a clip that looks (and sounds) like a big-budget special-effects shop worked on it.
This is really cool, and really fun. The app comes with four free sequences -- a rollover car crash, a missile attack, a giant boulder crashing through the ground, and a massive falling rock slide -- with various two- packs of additional effects available for 99 cents apiece.
Start with the boulder. Put your phone or tablet on a level surface -- say, a tabletop -- and start filming for at least 5 seconds. The resulting effect is incredibly cool; it looks like the boulder is actually crashing through the surface.
When you're done, you can share the clip via Facebook or e-mail, or save it to the Camera Roll for additional editing elsewhere. (Pinnacle Studio for iPad, anyone?)
Obviously, it would be nice if Action Movie FX offered a bit more versatility, like the option to make a sequence longer or make it slow motion. But it's so simple, so fun, and so impressive, I really can't complain. Whether you're a budding filmmaker or just a kid who wants to blow up his sister, you'll love this app.