Movie Looks by Red Giant Software icon

Movie Looks ($2.99) by Red Giant Software is an app that applies artistic filters to the video taken on your iPhone. In includes 16 filters with another 24 available via in-app purchase.

Movie Looks by Red Giant Software screenshot

As incredible as editing HD videos on your phone with iMovie is, there are obvious limitations that prevent the mobile version from being as robust as the Mac version. Cost might be part of the limiting factor, but performance would likely drop with each process intensive feature added.

An easy method of boosting video editing tools is through a variety of apps that assist amateur filmographers with their works. Movie Looks from the maker of Noir and Plastic Bullet isn’t a whole new video editor, rather it is a specific tool to be used in conjunction with iMovie, Vimeo or other editing apps.

The premise of Movie Looks is- brace yourself- to make your videos look like movies. The two included filter packs, Quick and Essential, provide typical but beautiful filters commonly found in photo editing apps. Black and White, Face Light, Pop, Vintage Color, Bronze, Cinematic and Grunge are just a few of them.

The remaining 3 packs, Popular Film, Black and White and Blockbuster, are only available through in-app purchase. While this is somewhat frustrating for an app that you already have to spend $3 for, Red Giant Software has informed me that an update is coming this month that will include 8 more of these filters, free of cost. Native iPad support should also come with that update.

Currently you cannot edit video clips longer than two minutes or portrait videos but these are also promised to be alleviated in future updates.

Actual editing of the video is extremely straight forward. Just select the clip that you want, select the frame (still) that you want for the preview, and then choose your filter. Once you have made your decision, you render it for saving or further editing .

On the iPhone 4, 720 HD filtering is possible, which is nice, but rendering times increase with resolution. A minute+ video took me nearly 15 minutes to process. I have worked enough with video editing to expect that an HD video will take quite a while to render with a 1 Ghz processor, so I can’t be too critical about this.

I was mostly pleased with the results. Check out my own (HD) tests here. I tried three filters on some video of my favorite little test subject and then compiled all of them using iMovie.

Movie Looks includes some great features to enhance your videos. It works relatively well and can take your home movies to a new level. However, it is currently limited by what you can work with and most of the good stuff requires in-app purchases on top of the initial cost. Film fanatics should buy this but everyone else should hold off for a few updates.