Nutshell Camera turns your photos into mini-movies

Or maybe it turns mini-movies into artistic expressions. Whatever the case, it's pretty 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
2 min read

Nutshell Camera Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Want to add some decorative text to your photos? Many folks turn to an app like Over. If it's video you want to spruce up, maybe you've tried something like Pinnacle Studio or Videohance.

Somewhere in between lies Nutshell Camera, a new app from the creators of Prezi. The latter is known for turning boring slide decks into cool animated presentations. Nutshell brings that mentality to the consumer side of things, effectively giving you another way to jazz up your images.

You snap three "photos" in succession, then overlay them with things like text, graphics, and animated elements.

But these aren't really photos at all. Nutshell isn't like Prezi, zooming from one static image to another. Instead, you're actually capturing a mini-movie divided into three distinct scenes, then adding some nifty visual extras.

It's a simple idea, but executed nicely here (save for a few bugs). All you do is point and shoot, shift to another subject, point and shoot again, then shift and shoot a third time. After a few seconds, Nutshell serves up your three scenes, allowing you to add captions and the like to each of them.

The app offers three caption styles and dozens of animated graphics: lightning bolts, starbursts, swirling musical notes and about a dozen different animated potatoes for some reason. You can drag and drop these items anywhere on your scene. Interestingly, they grow larger as you move them toward the bottom -- ostensibly to make them appear to be in the foreground.

Once you're done with the stylistic stuff, tap Save. Presto, you've created a "nutshell," which you can share via social media, email and text. You can also add a nutshell to your Prezi account if you have one and from there add it to one of your presentations.

In my tests, Nutshell wouldn't let me select different scenes to edit unless I saved my project first. Even then, my additions would sometimes end up in the wrong frame. There are definitely some bugs to work out and the app would benefit from some additional options -- not the least of which is better transitioning between the end of the nutshell and its looping restart.

Still, it's fun, it's free and it's definitely different from other apps that let you share snippets of your life. That said, if you've found something else you think out-nutshells Nutshell, talk it up in the comments!