VHS Camcorder app review: strikingly simple

How hard would it be to make an app that accurately recreates a VHS camcorder in a smartphone? That's the question the folks at Rarevision asked themselves when they set about making the VHS Camcorder app for iPhone. What we've got here is the app itself – an app that describes itself with four words: "Best. Throwback. Videos. Ever." Rarevision also suggests that you'll be able to "impress that girl you're obsessed with by using our app to convince her you built a time machine."

The basic interface for the app is just about as simple as a real VHS camcorder. On the right you've got a Record button, on the left you have a Menu button. On the lower half the screen you have zoom (T and W) buttons, and in the lower right-hand corner you have a Play button.

The Play button brings you to a set of videos in-app where you can choose to share or delete. Unfortunately – for whatever reason – this console doesn't allow sharing direct to YouTube. The good news is that every video you capture here is also on your standard Camera Roll, from whens you can share with all apps with ease.

We tested this app on an ancient machine – an iPad 3rd Gen – just to make certain all the capabilities we'd want would be here for several generations of iPads and iPhones. Turns out Rarevision is extra kind to "older" devices, allowing several keen options for video.

We have the option of showing the date on our recording (which of course we do, for optimum VHS flare), and the option of spoofing said date. You can change the date to whatever date you like.

You've got the option of recording in color (faded color, of course), or Black and White, and you can change the "skin" of the camcorder interface to either Consumer or Professional.

With our several-years-old iPad, we had the option of recording in the format you see here in our demos or in Widescreen. We could choose between 480p, 720p (as you see in the cat video here), or 1080p (as you see in the dog video). We could choose a frame rate of 23.976 (as you see in the dog video), 25, or 29.97 (as you see in the cat video).

Perhaps the most excellent option is a switch which reads: "Tilting devices makes things worse."

This app costs $3.99 and there are no advertisements inside. You pay once and you have it forever, just like the good ol' days. We highly recommend VHS Camcorder in V.1.0, and hope that its developers continue to support it well into the future.

And where's the Android version, you might ask? "We're working on it!" says Rarevision – hopefully it'll be out soon!