Vimeo, one of the most popular YouTube alternatives on the Web, comes to iOS devices as a universal iPhone and iPad app. Available for download free of charge from the iTunes App Store, Vimeo lets users browse video by category, view video, and even edit an upload video on the iPad. When the Vimeo works, it works well, but frequent crashing mean that that you may want to hold off on downloading this app until it's patched.
Look and Feel
Vimeo's webpage features bright, cheery colors, but the Vimeo app's interface carries a decidedly darker charcoal-gray tone. It's not better or worse, just different. It's divided into two sections: a main content area where you can browse and view video, as well as mark clips as favorites and tag those that you would like to view at a later time. There's a column left of this area that lets you upload video, edit video, view your video's stats (plays, embeds, likes, etc.), and access a help menu should you run into any difficulty.
Browsing and Viewing Video
The home screen, by default, showcases featured Vimeo videos. A horizontal strip lets you scroll through the various categories, which include Vimeo Staff Picks, The Vimeo HD Channel, Everything Animated, Music Videos, World HD, Inspirational, Snake DVST, Slowmotion & Timelines, and Designcollector TV. You can either browse within the individual categories, or use the search box to find content. You shouldn't, however, expect to find the same clips you'd find on YouTube. Google's video repository has legal content from record labels and movie and TV studios; Vimeo focuses on indie efforts.
You can log into Vimeo using previously created credentials, or create an account from within the appâ"a nice touch. A logged in user can save clips to the Watch Later list. Vimeo also features numerous sharing options including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress, email, and SMS. Users can also "Like" videos, and view and leave comments.
The Highs and Lows of Video Editing
Unfortunately, you must activate Vimeo's location-based service options from within settings in order to import stills or videos, which is sure to miff those who prefer to not to reveal their whereabouts. I dove in with excitement because video editing isn't a feature that the iPad YouTube app offers.
I cobbled together a slideshow from my photos, added a few transitions, and a title. I was happy to see that I could add audio tracks to my creations, but I couldn't apply any of those that lived on my iPad itself; I'm sure this is in place to prevent copyright infringement (you also can't add video you've purchased from iTunes). Instead, Vimeo let me download music from the Vimeo Music Store. I downloaded Plushgoolash's "Big Gay Water Fight," imported it into my project, adjusted its volume and hit the play button. You also have the option to live record audio.
That's when the problems began. The app randomly crashed during various points in the creation process. It was incredibly frustrating, because I lost my work several times. When I finally got around to finishing my clip, I encountered another problemâ"saving. There's no obvious save button; instead you have to tap "X," which one might think would simply close the project without saving it. But, alas, it saved and closed, bringing me to a screen where I saw an icon of my creation. I couldn't, however, play or upload the clip because Vimeo continually prompted me to "add some clips to the project," as the app saw it as empty because it lacked video files. Frustrating. I started over, this time working with a few home video clipsand this time Vimeo accepted my completed file.
Users with free accounts can upload 500MB of data per week. If you need more, Vimeo is happy to offer unlimited video uploads if you're willing to part with $9.95 per month or $59.95 per year.
Should You Download Vimeo (for iPad)?
Whether this app is for you depends on your video needs. Vimeo lacks the mainstream music videos, TV shows, and movies you can watch on YouTube, but what you get in exchange is a very capable video editor that's unfortunately hindered by frequent crashes. A rerelease with bug fixes would serve this app well. For now, Vimeo is a feature-rich video app that only the crash-patient will appreciate.
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