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Revival of the 80s: Making Videos in Retro Style

Have you noticed that the trend for digital "film" materials keeps shaking the mobile photography and videography market? Well, everything has a reason. In this case, it's nostalgia – a strong emotion that takes you back to the early 80s, when snapshot cameras were the ultimate dream.

Light exposure, vignettes and blurring, graininess, and a red date in the corner – all this gives the photo and video a dreamy and vintage effect.

Today we will tell you how to create dynamic content with a retro effect that will go along with trends and captivate your followers.


Setting up camera

Nostalgia for the '80s is all the rage right now, and if you understand how to make the VHS effect in your videos the right way, you can create stylish clips and become a social media trend. Fortunately, to get the effect of an old recording, it is not necessary to shoot with vintage film cameras. It is enough to correctly set the camera parameters and add the characteristic features of the 80s video sequence during editing.

How to set up the camera?
  • First, almost all modern smartphones have a pre-set retro filter when shooting, so you can choose it. However, be ready that the output video quality may be lower.
  • Make the contrast and color saturation as modest as possible. What is it about vintage videos that makes them so appealing? There is some color fading and structural loss. Lower the contrast and raise the brightness a little bit to produce the illusion of "faded" highlights to make the footage look old-fashioned If you want to emulate an even older aesthetic, make your film black and white and avoid using any colors.
  • Apply a vignette. Vignetting is about lowering the saturation or brightness of an image towards the boundaries when compared to the center of the picture. It is also applicable to videos.
  • Adjust hues. The simplest technique to achieve the vintage feel is to change the video's red, blue, green, and yellow hues. Play with cold blues and greens for a Victorian vintage style, then go to reds and yellows for a more modern 80s vibe!
  • Add noise. Finally, adjust the noise effect if your camera has such a setting. Also, add the effect of scratches, scuffs. If there is no such setting, don’t get upset, everything can be done in editing apps, which we will discuss below.

Best apps to apply the retro effect

#1. VHS Cam – Retro Camcorder FX

Remember the vintage camcorders from the mid-80s that weren't very good quality, with distortion, noise, and the date somewhere in the picture? So, now this is not the cost of bad technology, but a real trend. It is very easy to achieve the effect of simulating recording on a VHS tape using the Retro Camcorder FX application. Here you can both shoot in the application and upload your photos and videos, as well as add soundtracks, say, retro music hits. By the way, one more useful feature here is that you can change the date on the video and pretend that it was filmed in the 80s.

#2. Camcorder

The Camcorder is a simplified version of VHS Cam. There are a very minimalistic interface, shooting in one mode, and the ability to upload and convert your videos to VHS format. Also, unlike VHS Cam, you cannot change the date and time of the shooting.

#3. RTRO Camera

Great app for recording short retro clips. Yes, the retro video can be shot in just 60 seconds, but there are a huge number of filters, the ability to do Dolly zoom, choose lenses for shooting, and much more. And the finished clip can be uploaded to Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok right from the app.

By the way, if your clip is of large size, use a free video compressor that will compress your video to the size you need for social media without quality loss.

#4. 8mm Vintage Camera

The 8mm app has always had (and still has) a lot of fans. It is one of the favorites among video enthusiasts, offering 12 retro filters and effects (frames, highlights, sounds, etc.). It is possible to convert previously captured video using built-in effects and choose the format of the video recorded from scratch.

#5. VSCO

VSCO is probably in the top 3 highly-appreciated apps by photo and video fans featuring more than 100 awesome presets, exclusive tools, and new features added monthly. VSCO is a powerful digital lab designed for smartphones that raises the bar for a unique style of mobile video editing.

#6. Instagram

Instagram is the most unobvious app on our list, but it's constantly expanding its functionality, and today it's a great number of ​​animated masks, AR effects, and "live" digital layers with which to style any frame.

And it has a VHS effect as well.

To take a photo or video in VHS style, open the app and go to the general news feed. Click on the camera icon in the top left corner. A window will open for creating "stories" with various effects at the bottom. Scroll them to the left to open the shared Gallery. Type VHS into the search engine and select any of the options you like. It can be saved later for future use.


Final thoughts

Fashion is a tricky thing. Sometimes it makes bizarre zigzags, returning to trends that were considered irrelevant all past seasons. So today, retro fashion, not only in clothes and interior style but also in pop culture, photo and video processing is on the rise.

VHS was blamed for the poor quality: a trembling "soapy" picture, wave curvature, scratches, ripples. However, it is precisely these features and defects that today – in the era of suffocating "refined" visual content – have a special charm, causing an emotional response and a warm nostalgia for lively, gritty, impromptu videos and photos.

Thus, the VHS style is now experiencing a reincarnation, and now you can recreate the classic vintage effect literally on the go – using the applications described above. Try it and share the results on social media!

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