Apps like Instagram introduced easy-to-apply smartphone photo filters, so that even as we scoff at the idea of having to get film developed, we can make our digital shots resemble the vintage pics that were snapped back when Gerald Ford was president. And many of these filtering apps can also give the same gauzy, warm hues to video.
Despite recent strides made in the important field of nostalgia-simulation technology, there has been a gaping hole when it comes to producing the grainy, tracking-distorted, timestamped artifacts of VHS—until now. Rarevision is offering VHS Camcorder, a video recording app for iOS that adds a layer of distortion so thick, it will make your friends say, “Gag me with a spoon.” It also allows you to fudge a bogus timestamp, providing incontrovertible proof of your existence as an adult in March 1, 1984 (or March 1, 2084, for that matter).
Back in the Reagan era, anybody could have their own portable video-recording device, provided they had an extra $2,000 laying about, and were content with terrible resolution, sickeningly gradual zoom, and dismal battery life. But now, all you need is your phone, the VHS Camcorder app, an MP3 of “Take On Me” (and a third or fourth app to mix the audio and video), and your social media output can become one long, fetishistic ode to the low-fi ’80s. And for Android users grousing that Apple sucks, or that this app isn’t totally radical, take a chill pill, bro. An Android version is currently under development.