Review: I Am In The Movie (DSiWare)

I am in disbelief

Have you ever wanted to be a film director? Have you ever wanted to capture life through the lens of a camera and use it to craft your own cinematic masterpiece? Do you have even a fleeting interest in special effects? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, now’s the time to leave all of your hopes and dreams on the back-burner, because I am in the Movie, a DSiWare application that aims to turn your handheld gaming console into a device capable of churning out blockbusters, fails to deliver on almost every front.

Jumping right in, opening the software lands you at a menu from which you can record and edit video. While this is exactly what the app promises, curiously missing is any form of tutorial. It’s at this point that you’ll also notice that the software is unnecessarily complicated, resulting in a whole lot of frustrating trial and error just to get even the simplest effects to work. If you stick with this one long enough – and if you get some tips from the paltry help menu – you’ll eventually figure most of the features out, but you’ll also find that there’s not much to be seen.

When creating your movie, you’ll be able to record it under one of five channels, each of which features different special effects that you can apply to your video. This helps to better organize the effects and make it easier to pair those that complement each other, but it also means that you don’t have the full array available to you for each separate video that you record. This organization limits what you can do with the software, the first in a long string of problems plaguing the app. Of the effects, many are repeated, some serve no useful purpose, and others simply don’t work. If all you’re interested in is overlaying text on your images, changing the picture colour, or adding a simple audio visualizer over your video, then you’re in luck; anyone hoping to get more out of this one will find nothing but disappointment.

It’s no surprise that the DSi’s .03 megapixel cameras are less than impressive in terms of quality, but when you expect them to record video while manipulating the image, the results are often disastrous. A tremendous amount of light is required for the cameras to detect anything worth capturing, making it nearly impossible for those of us who don’t have access to a professionally lit studio to utilize half of this app’s effects. Adding insult to the injury of sub-par hardware to do the job is the fact that video can only be recoded in 5 or 10 second clips, depending on the image quality that you choose. It’s unclear if I am in the Movie was designed to rival short video service Vine based on this, but if it was, this one is clearly the loser of that match. The audio recording quality is just about as good as the video, sounding exceptionally tinny through the console’s built-in microphone and speakers.

As if all of that isn’t enough, there is also no option to save your videos to the system’s internal memory, delivering all footage directly onto your SD card. As such, none of it is actually viewable on the console, so you’ll have to import anything that you’ve recorded onto a computer in order to watch. Still images and screenshots captured during recording are viewable on the device, but video, the one thing that this app was created for, is not.

I am in the Movie may not be the most user-friendly software, and its effects are very limited, but the biggest issue with it is that it doesn’t fulfil the purpose for which it was designed. The point of this application is to be able to record and edit video footage, but due to both hardware and software limitations it’s impossible to do so effectively. Even if you do take the time to painstakingly record separate segments that result in anything longer than the 10-second allotment, you will need completely different software to combine them into one piece. The Rytmik series of apps allows you to compose entire songs, proving that DSiWare can be effectively used to create something substantial, but recording anything longer than 10 seconds in this app is literally impossible, defeating the purpose of its own existence.

Conclusion

To put it bluntly, I am in the Movie is almost entirely useless software. It’s not as completely broken as one might expect, but it fails to accomplish what it sets out to do. For an application designed for amateurs to edit video footage, it’s amazing to think how little effort was put into making it accessible to first time users. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you own a smartphone then you already have access to vastly superior video and image editing software, some of which probably comes standard on your device.

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