Horizon is a new app for the iPhone (currently on sale for just $1) making the rounds today that attempts to eliminate a major annoyance of modern society — portrait videos.

Horizon uses the iPhone’s motion sensors (the accelerometer and gyroscope) to automatically scale and rotate input from the camera to generate videos that are always in landscape, no matter how the phone is actually being held.

It works by measuring the tilt of the phone and then offsetting the effect digitally by rotating the video by the same amount in the other direction. This results in a final image that is always orientated correctly. The app does this for every frame of the video. Thanks to the power of the processors inside iOS devices these days, this processing happens seamlessly. In my testing, On an iPhone 5s, a one-minute clip was corrected and saved by the app in less than a second.

Similar to how digital image stabilisation works, the app has to crop the source video to make the illusion work, so some detail is lost in the process. However, the output is generally of good quality. There is some noticeable stutter if you are constantly shifting the phone in your hand, but this issue shouldn’t crop up that much in ‘normal’ circumstances. The demo video (above) offers a fair representation of what the final product looks like.

Horizon is currently on sale for just 99¢ on the App Store.

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6 Responses to “Horizon for iPhone always records landscape video, independent of device orientation”

  1. Come on iOS 8.. Make. This. STANDARD!

  2. RP says:

    Yep, this should be standard on EVERY smartphone.

  3. Reviews show that it’s jittery, and even the trailer shows it jittered when the person rotated his iPhone. I’ll probably give it a shot, but knowing my luck, another developer will release a competing product that resolves the stabilization issue first.

    • oneokami says:

      Yeah. I have the app and it does indeed jitter when you change the rotation. At first I thought it was just my hands not remaining steady but the more I tried it, I could tell it was the app generating that effect. As I imagine the average person isn’t shooting serious video on their phone the jitter isn’t that big a deal as it’s really not all that bad IMO. I still personally find it overall a nice value for the $.99 given it enables me to shoot landscape videos comfortably in one hand.

      I agree with the earlier comments, though, it’d be nice if this kind of feature was built in to the 1st party camera app.

  4. Problem is: Stupid/tech illiterate people who shoot in portrait mode won’t buy an app to solve the problem that they caused themselves (and don’t even realize its a problem, otherwise they would stop doing it).