Hands-on: YouTube Capture app improves Apple’s video sharing options

As part of its apparent onslaught of pre-holiday app releases, Google has released a brand new app for iOS users aimed at improving Apple’s video sharing capabilities on the iPhone. Called YouTube Capture (or, on the iOS home screen, simply “Capture”), the free app lets you either record movies directly from the app or import them from your device’s camera roll. From there, you can make basic edits to your clips and then upload them to YouTube, Google+, Facebook, or Twitter, expanding the options beyond the one option Apple offers.

The application is quite simple, but this is also its main strength.

The app is very simple and straightforward – there’s not much to discover apart from its main function of recording videos. YouTube Capture requires you to sign in to use the app, but it’s automatically associated with your YouTube account and optionally your Google+ account if you have one. The app also gives you the option to link it to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, so you always have the option of uploading to one (or more) of these services at once.

Compared to Apple’s only option for downloading videos, YouTube, it’s a great thing to have. Of course, you can upload videos individually to services like Twitter and Facebook through their own apps, but it’s much more convenient to have this capability from a single app. This feature alone is probably enough to make people want to use it – everything else is just an extra for the general public.

You can do some basic edits in this app like trimming your clip or adding automatic color correction.

You can do some basic edits in this app like trimming your clip or adding automatic color correction.

Still, there are a number of benefits, such as the ability to apply automatic color correction and stabilization to your movie. YouTube Capture also lets you trim your video length with a convenient drag-and-drop interface, and you can set the privacy level of your videos from the app before uploading them to YouTube or Google+. (It looks like the app can post to Facebook, but it doesn’t give you the option to make the video friends-only or public.) You can also set a “soundtrack” for your video, although that seems to limit you. to a number of presets offered by YouTube.

The app lets you change your privacy settings for videos uploaded to YouTube or Google Plus, but not Facebook.

The app lets you change your privacy settings for videos uploaded to YouTube or Google Plus, but not Facebook.

For those getting into making movies on their mobile devices, YouTube Capture isn’t quite what you can get from something like Apple’s iMovie for iOS, which offers a lot more options to spice up your movie. Again, the two apps aren’t exactly comparable – iMovie costs money, for one thing, while YouTube Capture is free – and their audiences are slightly different. YouTube Capture takes aim at the most basic mobile video creator who might not care to edit an edited movie – someone who just wants to throw funny cat videos on as many popular sites as possible.

In that case, it’s hard not to recommend YouTube Capture, at least over Apple’s default offerings. It’s a smart, simple little app that seems to work well (from our limited testing so far). And don’t worry Android fans, old Uncle Google hasn’t forgotten about you.

Shirley K. Rosa