An End to the Scourge of Vertical Video: Horizon for iPad Review

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IMG_1057I was watching the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games recently and the geek in me was interested to see what technology the athletes were brining into Celtic Park to record the momentous event. There were the standard tablets, phones, head mounted GoPros, DSLRs, some weird blue ring things which I’m still not sure what they are (please enlighten me if you know in the comments at the bottom). The vast majority of the nations were doing a great job filming their evening, and then New Zealand made their entry. I almost choked on my cornflakes to see that nearly all of them were holding up their iPhones and iPads and filming in VERTICAL VIDEO! Horror of digital horrors.

Vertical Video! Noooo!

Vertical Video! Noooo!

I’m sure not all New Zealanders film with vertical video, but for some reason their fine athletes were. After my wife told me to calm down I began to enjoy the rest of the ceremony and at the point the speeches started, in particular the leader of Glasgow Council who just shouted his entire speech (I thought this was supposed to be the Friendly Games?), I reached for my iPad and fired up the App Store. As fate would have it I came across and app promoted on the home page of the App Store called Horizon. If the New Zealand contingent had Horizon all would have been OK as the app turns all video to the correct orientation no matter which direction you are holding your iPad or iPhone.

Once you open up Horizon you can spin your device around in any direction and the screen will spin around at the same time live in front of you. You can start filming, spin your iPad around to your heart’s content, hold it the wrong way and it will happily keep your video in the right orientation. It works brilliantly.

Notice the non-greyed out area. This is the area that is captured.

Notice the non-greyed out area. This is the area that is captured.

There are a few settings you can fiddle around with. For example, by default the app saves the video ‘in app’, but you can change this to the camera roll. Also by default the app will zoom out when held in landscape mode and zoom in when held in portrait mode. You can turn this setting off so the zoom stays the same no matter which way you hold the device. There are other options, such as the ability to apply live filters to your filming and also options to boost the frame rate up to 60 fps (more if you are using an iPhone 5s). You can also choose from various resolutions, video quality and also front or back cameras.

Horizon is extremely simple app to use and eliminates completely my sad techie pet hate of vertical video. It’s the sort of thing I might buy for my Mum to use as her primary iPad camera app, or even dare I say it my wife, who is prone to the occasional bout of vertical video (hopefully she won’t read this post and maybe the New Zealand Commonwealth Games team will). I am sure that Apple (Google to an extent already do) will introduce this sort of feature natively at some point, but until then Horizon is an excellent choice.

Horizon is available here in the App Store for $1.99

Disclosure: I was provided with a promo code for this app review.

James Potter

My day job is Director of Technology at one of the UK's leading independent schools. I'm on a daily mission to use, and learn to use technology in the most creative, innovative and transformational ways. The iPad ticks all of these boxes. My geekery also extends to a passion for cricket, amateur astronomy, video gaming and bad guitar playing. You can contact me on Twitter with the link below.

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