Google’s simple yet impressive iOS app, Motion Stills, is finally available for Android users, but it’s a very different beast from the original version.
Designed specifically to work with Apple’s Live Photos, Motion Stills for iOS works with the short motion sequences automatically captured alongside each photo taken with the default iOS camera app. It then applies clever digital image stabilisation to produce smooth animated GIFs and videos which can then be shared separately from the original image. The results are often a big improvement over the originals.
The new Android version of the app produces similarly impressive automatically stabilised clips but, because Live Photos are exclusive to iOS, it is forced to function rather differently.
The Android version of Motion Stills instead requires the user to shoot a short video sequence from within the app which then automatically applies Google’s stabilisation magic while recording.
Unfortunately for fans of the iOS version, the user experience on Android is very different and in many ways inferior. A big part of the fun of the iOS original is using the app to browse through all the Live Photos already existing on your phone which had been incidentally captured while shooting stills. Many of these may have otherwise been forgotten or ignored and Motion Stills is therefore a way of finding lost gems within your camera roll.
This experience is missing entirely from the Android version as all Motion Stills must be created within the app itself. You can’t just shoot video with the default camera app and stabilise them later with Motion Stills.
This means you have to decide to create a Motion Still at the time the image is taken. Similarly, while the resulting GIFs and videos can be easily exported and shared online, they don’t automatically appear in your phone’s gallery. You have to export them one at a time.
One new inclusion on the Android version is the ‘Fast Forward’ feature which provides the ability to ‘compress’ up to a minute of recorded video into a short, stabilised clip that runs at up to 8x normal speed for a time lapse effect.
Although it creates great-looking stabilised video clips, the Android version of Motion Still is far less useful than the original. There’s no getting around the lack of Live Photos in Android, but tighter integration with the Android camera would be a big improvement.
You can download Motion Stills for Android on Google Play, or the iOS version from the app store.