Adds impressive variable soundtracks to iPhone videos. Lets you adjust musical intensity. Helpful Rehearsal mode.
A few bugs in testing. Slightly nonstandard interface. Only shoots square video. Does not allow editing of finished soundtracks. Can't use existing clips. Resulting videos are watermarked.
- Bottom Line
Moodelizer lets you create customizable, professional-sounding background soundtracks for your iPhone videos. But the app is limited and occasionally buggy in its first release.
We've all seen those blockbuster movies, where the music builds up in intensity to match the action onscreen. Now, thanks to Moodelizer, you can do the same for your home iPhone movies. The Swedish company has been making software for the pro video community since 2012, and this iPhone app is its first foray into consumer territory. After the success of Dubsmash and Musical.ly, Moodelizer adds a unique twist that could well make it the next teen sensation among music and video creation apps.
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Setup and Pricing
Moodelizer is free on the iTunes store, and there are no in-app purchases available—yet. The app is a moderate download for a media app, at 98MB—that compares with Garageband's 1.4GB! You need to give it privacy permission to access your camera and microphone. It runs on iOS 8.2 or later, and I tested it out on my 64GB iPhone 6s running iOS 10.2.
Moodelizing Your Videos
Moodelizer's interface is as simple as it gets, though a couple of its touches are a bit nonstandard. The square viewfinder takes up most of the screen, with a large colored button below to choose your theme. At the top are just two more icons, a microphone to turn sound recording on and off, and a smiley face that's a somewhat nonstandard representation of selfie mode. The standard iPhone camera-with-rounded-arrows icon would be more recognizable for the average iPhone user. In this first release, you can only add soundtracks to video you shoot from within the app. There are 16 music themes, including the EDM-like Dubber and Sitcom, a selection that inserts laughter when you raise the control puck.
The way it works is that, after choosing a soundtrack theme, you move a control puck up and down across the square onscreen viewfinder while shooting your movie. Moving up increases the music's intensity, and moving right switches among three variations. It all happens seamlessly, with instruments being added, but it's not simple repetition. Moodelizer hires real musicians and composers to create this new music format. You get 60 seconds max for your video, but I found that when recorded for that maximum time, I got an error and my video wouldn't save. But as Vine showed us, 60 seconds is really 10 times longer that you need to make an amusing little video.
With the Sitcom theme, swiping up and right results in loud laughter, while swiping up and left yields booing. It's a good thing that the app includes a Rehearsing mode for a trial run-through of your mini movie so that you know how where to add the boos and where to add the laughter. For other themes, Rehearsing simply lets you know how each quadrant sounds. For example, the fun Happy-Sad theme lets you move between upbeat and downbeat moods. But I confess that Rehearsing mode at first confused me, and I ended up not shooting at the right time, thinking I'd been shooting while actually just rehearsing. But after making that mistake a couple times, I got the hang of it.
Another interface difference between Moodelizer and most other recent social video apps (such as Vine) is that you don't record by holding down the record button; recording continues until you tap the button again. A simple trimming function would help here for those videos that ran too long, but you can always trim in the iPhone's Photos app. Another post-production issue is that Moodelizer always watermarks videos with its brand—I guess it's a fair exchange for getting the app free. At this point there's no way to disable the watermark the way you can in Prisma, via Settings. In fact, in Moodelizer's minimal interface, there are no Settings at all.
As in the hit app, Musical.ly, your subject can hear the music while you're shooting—or not, if you choose not to let them. But having the actor hear the soundtrack can inspire their actions. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of lip-syncing or karaoke, so Moodelizer's adjustable-intensity background music is a welcome option in a world of Dubsmash and Musical.ly.
My test videos were truly enjoyable for both subject and cameraman. The soundtracks created bestowed a surprising amount of interest. The ability to adjust the mood to your needs is also welcome, unlike the soundtrack feature of Apple iMovie, which either adds bland, canned background music or forces you into its own scripted emotional symphonic progressions with its Trailers feature.
There is a long list of what the app cannot yet do, however. For example, you can't apply its effects to existing videos on your iPhone; you can only shoot in a square aspect ratio; and you can't re-edit your background music afterwards.
Moodelizer's creators have told me that there's a long roadmap of product improvements, so hopefully the app will address these omissions.
Sharing and Output
Moodelizer doesn't boast its own social sharing network the way Musical.ly and Dubsmash do. Instead, it simply uses the iOS standard share sheet to get your soundtracked creation out to the world. But that's a lot of outlets: Instagram, Vimeo, Facebook—all the places where most of your contacts congregate in cyberspace. And it saves all your creations to the iPhone storage for later sharing.
Whatever Mood You're In
This is just the first release of the Moodelizer app, and its makers told me that a lot of added functionality is on the roadmap, such as automatically creating soundtracks based on video analysis, making the soundtracks editable, a karaoke feature, geolocation, and VR capabilities. And the company has its work to do in ironing out some bugs, in addition to adding these option. All that said, even in its present form, Moodelizer offers a unique and appealing capability—customizable, professional-sounding background music for your iPhone videos.
Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine’s lead analyst for software and Web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine’s coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of Web Services (pretty much the progenitor of Web 2.0) for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine’s Solutions section, which in those days covered programming techniques as well as tips on using popular office software. Most recently he covered Web… More »
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