If you’re missing the halcyon days of Photo Booth on the Mac, when just about everyone was posting pics of themselves on a rollercoaster or under the sea – complete with weird, juddering camera artefacts in the background – then you’re in luck. Apple has released an update for their video-editing app Clips which takes advantage of the iPhone X‘s camera to put you in slick, AR environments, and it looks petty great.
Clips has been around for a while, providing an easy, Vine-like interface for stitching videos together and adding stickers and titles. It was never as comprehensive in its tools as something like iMovie, but it did the job when you wanted to whack something together quick. The 2.0 update today adds a bunch of features, but the one everyone’s talking about is the new Selfie Scenes function, which only works with iPhone X.
Basically, Selfie Scenes plonks you in a bunch of 360º animated environments, while also applying cool filters to your image, so you can feel like you’re actually in a cool cyberpunk city and not sitting nude in your bathroom at 7:30 in the morning. It looks good.
It needs the iPhone X because it relies on the TrueDepth camera system, which uses infrared to determine depth – so it can understand the difference between subject and background much better than your old MacBook’s camera could muster. It’s the same tech which powers the new Face ID facial recognition system, as well as the iPhone X’s much touted selfie portraits and Animoji.
The results are pretty solid. The scenes look great, and spinning around the environments in AR is immensely satisfying. Because it uses the front camera, you need to be reasonably close for it to function, and sometimes – like in the Photo Booth days of yore – you’ll see parts of the background pop in. As with the iPhone X’s portrait mode, the TrueDepth system can get slightly confused if you’re in front of a featureless background like a white wall. Hopefully this is something they can refine with software updates.
Clips is only for video, by the way – there’s no inbuilt option to use it for regular old photos. I’d be surprised if they didn’t add the functionality at some point.
There’s even a couple of licensed tie-in scenes, as with the facial filters on apps like Snapchat and Facebook. In Clips, there are two Star Wars scenes for you to insert yourself into – and Rian Johnson, director of The Last Jedi, jumped on Twitter to show them off:
Takin me back, Clips. Takin me back. pic.twitter.com/8d5NcQ1bgd— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) November 9, 2017
Very fun. The Clips 2.0 update also adds support for iCloud, so you can start editing on your phone and finish up on your iPad, as well as a bunch of new stickers, titles and royalty-free songs you can set your next skateboard stack compilation to.
Folks, be prepared. Augmented reality selfie stuff like this is absolutely the future, and you should be prepared for Snapchat, Instagram and the like to get on board.