Hands on with YouTube Capture for iOS

If you love sharing freshly shot video among family and friends—or with your far-flung network of Facebook, Google+, and Twitter intimates—you're in luck. There’s a large number of shoot and share options available on the Apple App Store.

But none of them had YouTube in its name—until now. Google, the parent company of YouTube, which is now practically synonymous with home-made video, has released Capture, a free app for shooting and sharing video on the iPhone and iPod touch. It’s no accident that YouTube Capture arrives smack in the middle of the holiday season, which provides a veritable marathon of home-made video opportunities.

Getting started with Capture is no-sweat simple. Just download the app, sign into your Gmail account, and then connect your account with your YouTube channel.

Preferences and settings

YouTube Capture's simple, cursive instructions guide you each step of the way.

With the Get Started screen, you can start swiping your way through a set of video preferences such as Enhance Automatically and Stabilize. Then, you can choose to see all your existing videos through the app by enabling the Camera Roll setting. The last part of the setup lets you define where you intend to share your videos, and that includes the usual suspects: Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, in addition to YouTube, where the video will post by default. For whichever options you check, you can upload your video simultaneously to all.

Under the Gear icon, other settings let you choose whether to have the landscape lock on or off, or to rotate the device as a signal to begin recording. If you have the landscape lock on and you try to record a video in portrait position, an icon will appear after you click the Record button to remind you to rotate your device.

The upper left-hand corner of the app’s interface lets you decided whether to illuminate the scene by turning on the iPhone’s light, and whether to use the rear- or front-facing camera.

The red Record button is hard to miss—it's mighty and bold.

Editing

YouTube Capture offers very little in the way of actual editing. However, unlike the iPhone's built-in camera app, you can choose a general correction of the video using the Enhance button. And if you chose color correction and image stabilization in the settings, the app will also do those fixes for you. Both programs let you trim the video with Trim sliders.

You can upload to all four supported social networks simultaneously, or keep your video private for selected viewing.

The Trim feature in YouTube Capture is non-destructive in that it wil not actually cut your video to the trimmed size but rather only upload the portion of the video that you did not trim. That means you can export the entire video to another editor, and have a record of your shoot in its entirety.

For quick and dirty jobs to sound a little more polished, Google has included YouTube Soundtracks that you can attach to your video, spanning a number of moods, including Ambient, Blues, Classical, Electronic, Folk, Melancholic, Happy, and more. There’s only one musical selection for each category, and no option to use your own music for the soundtrack.

There are some basic privacy features connected with YouTube Capture. The info and settings pane lets you specify whether you want the video to be public, unlisted (access by link only), or private. You can also choose to allow or not allow the app to post updates for you.

After you finish recording your video, you’re ready to upload it to the nearest social network by tapping the Upload button. Tap on the top to review your video. It then prompts you to enter a title for the piece.

The Location Sharing button will record your current location, if you want to include one. You can tag your video with keywords and give it a category. You can also assign a Standard or Creative Commons license to your movie.

Once you click the Upload button, the video starts uploading to your YouTube channel. My first experimental video of 17 seconds took less than a minute to upload. Another video of 30 seconds in length, shot and uploaded in less than optimal conditions on the subway, was produced from start to finish in less than five minutes.

Some glitches

You can add metadata and choose privacy settings.

For the most part, YouTube Capture did everything it promised. Recording a short video was easy, quick, and satisfying. However, there were some issues, one of which was disturbing: I had a problem recording video with the iPhone’s light. Every time I tried to light the scene, it crashed the app. One way to unfreeze the app—oddly—is to hit the rear facing camera icon, right next to the flash icon.

You should also expect it to take a little time for all components of your video to be processed on the YouTube site. After creating a video, I decided to go back and add a soundtrack, but the soundtrack did not play the first time I watched the video online. A few minutes later, however, it did play.

Be aware, too, that YouTube Capture restricts uploads to 480p and 720p.

YouTube Capture is optimized for the iPhone 5 and is available for devices running iOS 5 or later. It’s compatible with iPhone 3Gs and later. The app is not available for the iPad at the moment. Oddly enough, Google says a future Android version is in the works, but gave no estimated release date.

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