The Best Mobile Applications For Sharing Video
One of the things I love about my iPhone is the ability to quickly take decent quality video and share it. The iPhone does a good job at this out of the box, but there are many video sharing apps out there that provide more flexibility, ease of use, and leverage social media sites to share your creations. To help you select the best one, I’ve created a segmented list of apps based upon how they can be best used.
As part of my research in writing this article, I created a good one page table comparing the apps and their key features. If you’re interested in downloading this PDF, please CLICK HERE.
1. GOAL: Privately share with a single person or a few people.
If you take quick private videos that you want to share with only a few people (e.g. a video e-mail) or perhaps videos that haven’t been edited enough to share to a public crowd, the easiest thing to do is to use the iPhone’s e-mail client (here’s a quick Lifehacker article on how to send video if you’re new to this). You’re limited to less than a minute, but it works across almost all clients and recipients.
If you want to send the physical video file to someone (as opposed to the streaming options I’ll show below), I’ve found a few good notable apps to make things simpler and more powerful.
VideoMail (RECOMMENDED) : A great inexpensive app to fire up, create an video (or an audio or picture) message and easily send to people. It has quality and length default settings and keeps track of the people you send messages to.
MediaSend: If you’ve got multiple pictures or videos that you want to send to someone in one e-mail, MediaSend is useful.
When you send an e-mail with a physical copy of the video attached, you’re always limited to both your e-mail provider, spam filters, and your recipient’s e-mail filter. That’s why using services that store your video file on-line and stream it to your recipients is so beneficial. It’s also easier to further share or post messages if you want to at a later time.
KinKast (RECOMMENDED) : One of the best free video sharing apps out there. The UI is intuitive and very well thought out. It’s one of the few that let’s you easily record and share a video (with no file size or number of message restrictions) to an individual (as well as the social media sites). The free version only stores messages for 30 days and has ads, but it’s a must have. For $5/month you can remove the 30 day restriction and the ads.
Qik: I was one of the early users and lovers of Qik – had it running on my Palm Treo years ago. Qik has gone through many changes since then – most recently being acquired by Skype. The unique thing about Qik is its ability to share LIVE video as well as video chat (similar to Facetime). The video sharing is not as strong as Kincast’s offering – either free or paid. Qik’s free product is limited in that you can only store 25 videos of unlimited length. For $5/month, their premium service allows you to store unlimited videos. I believe that Kincast wins this battle unless you like live streaming.
Thwapr: Thwapr is another option for privately sharing hosted videos. The videos are limited to 5 minutes long, but the service is free and you can store unlimited videos. While it can share via Twitter and Facebook, it’s unique capability is that it can share via SMS (text messages) – without using your personal SMS messages. It doesn’t have an easy way to share via e-mail – one of the product’s big shortcomings. I had spoken and provided feedback on the app earlier this year to the senior management at Thwapr – great group of guys - but they seem to be currently more focused on their business offering.
2. GOAL: Share videos directly to Facebook, Twitter, & YouTube
One of the easiest ways and most common ways that people share video is to post them to Facebook or YouTube. The nice thing about both of these is that you can use privacy settings at either these sites to define who can actually view your message. For example, see this article on how to do this with YouTube. I’ll also group Twitter sharing into this section since it’s the next most established social media site and people often use it for video sharing.
To be clear, our objective is to quickly take a video and post it to one or more of these key social media sites.
Shozu (RECOMMENDED): This inexpensive app ($.99) and web based service allows you to very easily post photos, videos, and text to all your favorite sites with one click. Handles Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and MANY more. A very easy to use and flexible app.
PixelPipe: Very similar to Shozu, but their iPhone app that I have been using for a long time has mysteriously disappeared from the AppStore as of 8/2011. Supposedly, they’re coming out with something new, but there isn’t any detailed information on what they’re doing.
TwitVid: (RECOMMENDED): An excellent free app to easily post videos to both Twitter and Facebook. I wish this app would give you the link to the video it created so you could send the video via e-mail or text – but you have to go to the web site to find that iink.
qTweeter (RECOMMENDED): For those with Jailbroken iPhones, I’d recommended taking a look at qTweeter. It’s a great application that you can quickly open, write an update/tweet or record and send a video to Facebook or Twitter.
3. GOAL: Share videos to A Specific Group Of People (private or public)
Beyond Facebook, there are many applications and networks that have been specifically designed to allow you to host and share video with a group of people — often with better tracking, quality, and a video blog look and feel.
Posterous (RECOMMENDED): Posterous and Tumblr (see next) are very similar. Both allow you to create a public or a private stream/blog that includes video (as well as audio, pics, text, etc.). Between the two, I like Posterous’ UI more and the fact that you’re not limited to video length. In addition, Posterous seems to integrate better with Twitter and Facebook.
Tumblr: Very popular self-blogging site with strong video sharing capabilities. I do like that it allows a single password protected blog (instead of forcing people to sign-up to view a private stream).
SocialCam (RECOMMENDED): Next to Kincast, I think SocialCam has one of the best user interfaces for video recording and sharing. In addition to being able to host and share videos via the SocialCam site, it easily allows you to share the videos to Facebook, Twitter, Posterous, Tumblr, DropBox, e-mail, and SMS. My only complaint is that it doesn’t address the need for private sharing very well – if someone is following you, they can see all your videos. With a minor change to simply allow for videos not to automatically show up in your ‘stream’ this would be great.
Vlix: A decent alternative application. While it limits you to only 60 seconds per video, the sharing options are powerful (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) and it also includes some cool video editing and basic opening / closing titles for personalization. Allows for public and private video feeds as well.
Tout: Think of Tout as Twitter for video. It’s similar to Vlix, except now the videos are limited to only 15 seconds. What makes Tout interesting is that they have some celebrities using it including Jeff Probst, Mitt Romney, Dana White, and others. The 15 second limitation is interesting, but even listening to Probst’s Tout’s, he was often getting cut off mid sentence.
While I’d love to have a single app to use for all things, it really does vary. My top favorites from the list are VideoMail, Kincast, qTweeter, Posterous, and SocialCam. If I had to pick one, I’d go with Kincast. A discussion on video editing on the iPhone will have to be addressed another day!
Please download and play with them and tell me which ones are your favorites (or why you hate mine). Please also let me know if I’ve missed great ones that you use. Happy sharing!