Give your movies the Michael Bay touch with Action Movie FX

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By Pete Davison Comment

Action Movie FX is an iOS video manipulation app from Bad Robot. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, with additional in-app purchases for extra effects, and is currently enjoying a feature spot in the New & Noteworthy section.

Action Movie FX is a very simple app — it allows users to record a short clip of video and then overlay some spectacular movie-style special effects over the top. A number of different effects are built into the app (though some must be downloaded for free before they can be used) — these range from car crashes to huge explosions. A variety of additional effects are availbale in packs of two for $0.99 each.

The latest update has added a number of effects inspired by the upcoming Activision video game Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Some of the Black Ops effects are locked until the user fulfils certain conditions — for example, to unlock the “Dragonfire Drones” effect, the user must either share the app on Twitter and/or Facebook or scan the Black Ops logo when they see it in the wild. Meanwhile, to unlock the “Claw” effect, the user must watch the official Black Ops II trailer on Facebook when it goes live on October 29.

Creating an “action movie” is a simple matter of recording a short clip and remaining as still as possible. An on-screen indicator shows where the “impact point” of the effect will be, allowing users to carefully compose their shots.

Once the footage has been recorded, the user may then edit the point at which the effect will begin. This allows for the video to have some preamble before the effect comes in, but it will cut off after the effect has finished. Choosing the start point is a simple matter of dragging an icon along the video “timeline” and then confirming the position. The video then takes a few moments to process and is then viewable on the device. After this, it may be shared to Facebook (using iOS 6’s built-in Facebook connectivity), via email or saved to the camera roll. Facebook publishing could use a bit of extra on-screen feedback — once the user presses the “Publish” button, there is no indication of whether or not the file is actually uploading or not, which could lead to duplicate posts from those who believe it hasn’t worked. It’s also a shame that there’s no facility to upload directly to YouTube from within the app — though exporting to the camera roll and then using iOS’ built-in facility to upload to YouTube works just as well.

Action Movie FX is a simple app that works well, sharing issues aside. Its use of Black Ops II-inspired effects is an excellent crossover marketing idea, though it might have been better as a promotional tool if it ended the video with a Black Ops logo rather than simply fading to black. Given the popularity of the Call of Duty series, it seems unlikely that many enthusiasts would be dissatisfied with the trade-off between getting these impressive effects for free and ending their video with a promotional splash screen. Still, it’s even more unlikely that anyone will complain at not plastering their movies with advertising.

Action Movie FX is currently ranked at No. 62 in Top Free Apps, No. 45 in Top Free iPad Apps, No. 8 in Top Free Entertainment Apps and No. 8 in Top Free iPad Entertainment Apps. It is also the No. 123 top grossing app overall, No. 275 top grossing iPad app overall, and the No. 1 top grossing app in both the iPhone and iPad Entertainment categories.

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