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Turn Your iPhone Camera Into A Lousy VHS Camcorder

Stand aside Instagram. Now our videos are getting the retro filter treatment, too.

Turn Your iPhone Camera Into A Lousy VHS Camcorder

This app is extremely cheesy, but it’s so charming, and so well executed, that we can love it without burying our affinity under some ironic detachment. VHSCam, by Rarevision, is a $4 app that turns the pristine HD videos of your iPhone into the murky, glitching tape reels that define home videos of the 1980s.

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It’s decidedly, unabashedly retro. And in this regard, VHSCam harkens back to Instagram’s early, pseudo-aged filters, if only the social network had shut off its social feed, grabbed a camcorder, and rode its 1982 Pontiac Trans Am off into the sunset.

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But even though it’s shameless nostalgia, VHSCam actually executes its visual time machine with a serious attention to detail. The omnipresent rolls in the tape are rendered perfectly. The date stamp has the spot-on strange, programmed kerning. The zoom simulation will instantly remind you of the lurching mechanical lenses of yore. Plus, it’s the only app you’ll ever see with the setting “tilting device makes things worse”–a nod to the various video distortions you might get just from handling the camera recording to moving magnetic tape too roughly.

So on one hand, VHSCam is just another silly app. On another, it’s actually a carefully developed emulator of a technology that the youngest generation of smartphone users will probably never use.

Just do us a favor and never actually record your home movies with it. Your kids will want virgin footage to add a throwback iPhone 6 filter.

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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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