Mobile social photography apps are hugely popular. The ease and capability of smartphones and especially the iPhone, has turned everyday people into creative photographers instantly. Apps like Instagram, Hipstamatic really inspired everyday people to capture photos, edit them with cool filters and share them with friends or the public. But what’s next? Motion and video of course!

I just downloaded and experimented with Flixel which is very fun to play with. According to Co-founder, Philippe LeBlanc “Inspired by Cinemagraphs, Flixel is a free iPhone application that enables users to “live paint” their animations, apply a filter and share with others on a variety of social networks including Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook. “

The outcome is a “live photo” or animated GIF that blends image and video to create a really unique media art form. It works like this:

Firstly, capture a short video of anything, people walking on the street, cars driving down the road, a train travelling into the distance. Secondly (this is the cool part), rub your fingertips over the moving part of the video to animate just that portion of the frame, everything else will stay still. Thirdly, apply some lens filters like black and white, dawn or boy blue. Lastly, share your creation with the Flixel community across Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr. Of course this won’t work in China unless you have a vpn. Check out a video of an example on Youtube.

It might sound like a strange idea to most people, but you really have to play and see it action to see how cool it is. Even capturing something as simple as a flickering candle is impressive. To check out the creations of the community, you can search the most popular Flixels by week, month or all-time or featured. You can also see what Flixels were captured around you through its LBS feature.

The app just launched on March 20th and was founded by Philippe LeBlanc and Mark Homza. The team is angel funded and competes with Kinotopic and

The application performs optimally on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S running iOS 5. Try it out!


Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.

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