How to capture slow-motion video on your old iPhone

You don't have to buy an iPhone 5S just to enjoy slow-mo. As the old saying goes, there's an app for that. And it's way cool.

Rick Broida Senior 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").
Rick Broida
3 min read

Even a fast-moving puppy can be made to go slow with SloPro.
Even a fast-moving puppy can be made to go slow with SloPro. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

The iPhone 5S is barely a week old, and already users have learned how to capture and share slow-motion videos, resulting in more than a few collections of cool slow-mo clips.

Feeling left out? You can stop right now. Slow-mo is nothing new, and iPhone 5S owners aren't the only ones who can enjoy it. Older devices, including iPads and iPod Touches, can capture slow-motion video -- not at quite the same frame rates as the 5S, but with some pretty nice results all the same. Here's how.

1. Install
Start by downloading SloPro. It's a free app that's compatible with all camera-equipped iDevices, though only the iPhone 5S can capture 120 frames per second. The iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, and iPad Mini can manage 60fps, while everything else (iPhone 4S, iPad, etc.) will limit you to 30fps.

2. Shoot
The first time you run the app, you'll see a preview window with a bright red button. Tap it to immediately start recording video. (You can also tap your iDevice's volume-up button, same as with shooting in the native Photos app.) If you need extra light, toggle the flash icon in the upper-left corner. And if you want to lock the exposure (a very handy setting, especially when shooting indoors), tap the little gear icon in the upper-right corner.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

When you're done, tap (or press) again to stop recording, then tap the little thumbnail image in the lower-right corner. That'll take you to the Videos page, where you can tap your recording to see how it looks. By default, SloPro records in "Slower 40 percent" mode, but you can actually adjust the speed via in-app editing.

3. Edit
SloPro lets you adjust playback speeds -- not just for videos shot with the app, but also for those already in your library. If you want to access one of the latter, return to the aforementioned Videos screen, then tap the Download button in the lower-left corner of the screen. From there you can choose a video to speed up or slow down -- or both!

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

The editing process goes like this: from the Videos screen, tap any video, and then tap the Edit button.

You can then tap the speed-setting button to apply a different frame rate to the entire video, then tap Play to see an immediate preview. SloPro gives you not only three slow-mo speeds, but also three fast-mo.

If you really want to have fun, though, choose either 500fps or 1,000fps. Next, tap Render (you'll see it glowing) and choose from the three available options: Optical Flow, Frame Blend, and Ghost. Optical Flow is recommended for the two high-speed fps options, whereas Ghost adds a nifty trailing effect. Frame Blend reduces the jittery look that comes from video shot at 30fps (like on my iPhone 4S).

Depending on the length of your video and selected frame rate, it can take a few minutes or quite a bit longer to finish the rendering process. During testing, the app crashed a few times on my iPhone 4S. But when it worked, the results were simply amazing.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Cooler still, the app lets you mix and match speeds and effects using the scrubber at the bottom of the screen and the Speed In/Speed Out buttons.

4. Share
When you're done, you can select any single video, then tap the Upload button (again, bottom-left corner -- now it shows an arrow pointing up out of a box) to share it via Facebook, Viddy, or YouTube.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

5. Go Pro
Although SloPro is free, there's a Pro version (SloPro Pro?) that lets you e-mail your videos, save them to the Camera Roll, and export raw 60fps footage. It also removes the SloPro watermark, which can definitely be a distraction. The Pro upgrade, available as an in-app purchase, costs $3.99.

That's a small price to pay if you want to show up a show-boating iPhone 5S owner and his slow-mo videos.

Here's a very quick sample: