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The Roll iOS app uses AI to simulate crane and dolly shots on iPhone footage

The Roll iOS app uses AI to simulate crane and dolly shots on iPhone footage


Roll uses generative AI to simulate a 3D environment, allowing users to create panning or close-up shots without needing to move their iPhone camera.

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A screenshot taken of the Roll web app displaying various visual effects that can be applied to video footage.
Roll can simulate camera effects on stationary iPhone footage that typically require fancy camera equipment like a dolly or crane.
Image: Roll

Roll AI is a new video creation and collaboration platform for iOS and web that allows users to add simulated video effects to iPhone footage that would typically require professional camera equipment to achieve, such as stabilized pan or crane shots. It’s one of the latest examples in a boom of new apps and services that utilize AI to simplify technical creative processes like photo and video editing.

Roll AI uses its proprietary generative AI models to recreate the filming environment in iPhone footage as a 3D space, allowing users to add text overlay effects and simulate side-panning, dolly, and crane camera movements in postproduction and apply various studio effects like bokeh (background blur). The service also uses AI to automatically edit your footage for publishing. Roll captures metadata from audio and video recordings that the Roll editor later uses to reframe hosts and create scene changes based on any on-screen conversations.

Available starting today, there are technically two products that work together to form the Roll editing platform. One is a dedicated iOS app that uses the iPhone’s camera to record video and automatically upload footage to the cloud for storage and processing, and the other is a web-based app for previewing, editing, and downloading the recorded footage.

Roll says it’s the only remote video calling service that records footage in High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), which provides substantially higher video quality compared to other video compression standards at the same bit rate. Because of this, Roll claims that videos recorded on its platform are “sharper than anything on the market for iPhone capture.” Each recording session supports a single host (who controls the recording) and up to eight call participants.

Roll users can record video in any orientation (provided portrait orientation isn’t locked on the device) using their iPhone’s front or rear cameras and switch freely between the two during recording. Multicam Mode — which simultaneously captures both a wide and a close-up shot — is enabled when using the rear iPhone cameras, allowing users to simulate multiple camera angles using a single device. VFX effects like dolly, pan, and text overlay can only be applied to footage shot in Multicam Mode.

A screenshot of the Roll video application that features four hosts on a call.
When viewed on the web app, Roll essentially resembles a video conferencing platform specifically designed for video editing.
Image: Roll

Users will need to sign up for an account using the same email address on both the Roll iOS app and the Roll website via the Google Chrome web browser so that the account is linked across platforms. The company specifically recommends Chrome for the moment but said that it will be testing the app on other Chromium-based browsers like Microsoft Edge and Arc “in the coming weeks.”

When the iOS and web app are paired together, the Roll platform essentially allows users to set their iPhone up like a glorified wireless webcam that can be used in place of high-end camera equipment in productions like podcasts or webinars. Roll notes that smaller productions that lack the budget for a professional recording studio are typically filmed using video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Teams, and Meet, which aren’t designed to support high-quality video productions. Adding stabilized zoomed-in shots to things like workplace training videos may be overkill, but even those are finding an audience these days, and Roll can at least remove some of the complexities surrounding professional-quality post-video production.

“Creating great video is a massive upfront investment in gear, equipment, learning how to use that gear, software for editing — we’re getting rid of all of that,” says Roll co-founder Faizan Buzdar in a press release. “Using the power of iPhone camera sensors, AI, and the cloud, Roll lets you do all that, much cheaper and faster than ever before.”

There are already apps on the market that allow both iPhone and Android devices to be used as a remote streaming webcam, such as Elgato EpocCam, but the postproduction editing features are what make Roll’s offering appealing here. There are a few membership tiers available: a $49 per month Creator tier that provides five hours of recording time each month and a Pro tier that includes 15 hours of monthly recording and allowances for three additional editors for $199 per month. Roll also provides customizable Enterprise plans with no disclosed pricing and a free “try before you buy” experience that grants users a one-time two-hour-long recording session.

While Roll is currently an iOS exclusive, Buzdar has confirmed to The Verge that the company is planning to add support for Android devices “in the near future.”