How to Make Your Video Footage Look Vintage With Phone Apps

Thanks to digital manipulation and easy-to-use mobile apps, you can have the same retro feel to your videos as your dad.

2018: Our Year In Review

We all love that feeling of vintage footage seen on your mom or dad’s camcorder from the 80’s, don’t we? Well — thanks to digital manipulation and easy-to-use mobile apps, you, too, can have the same retro feel to your videos. Read below our 5 must know tips on how to make your video footage look as rad as the bee’s knees (sorry, stupid old school dad-joke).

RTRO's "Varna" by Mike Dewey.

RTRO's "Varna" by Mike Dewey.

Vintage Apps

There are a multitude of applications you can use to easily achieve that retro vibe to your footage. It’s all dependent upon what you want your final version to look like, as there are multiple options for looks. There’s the Super 8mm feel, a 90’s home video look, or super vibey 70’s imagery. Below are some great options for ponder:

RTRO Camera

Inspired by what the filmmakers on our team wanted, we set out to make an app that all of our filmmaker friends would also want to use. We’re proud of how far we’ve come and we can’t wait to see what you shoot with it.

Retro VHS

Retro VHS is the world’s most advanced VHS app. Film grainy videos like it’s that summer of 1985 again where the only things that mattered were the brand of clothes you wore and drinking soda for breakfast. Snap dramatic selfies and pretend you’re an 80s fitness model. Create videos that look so ancient you’ll be able to trick your crazy grandpa into believing that you invented a time machine.


Impress your friends and have fun adding a premium vintage effect to your videos with another vintage 90’s vibe.


Create old-fashioned 8mm movies in real time on your phone equipped with film grains, scratched, and colorized versions. The interface, often neglected in these kinds of apps, carries a retro camera simulation and looks fantastic adding a whole level of satisfaction to the operation. Effects are applied in real time so you can see exactly what you are getting.


Shoot and edit your images with our superior mobile presets, film-inspired presets, and advanced camera controls. Publish images or curate others to your VSCO profile. VSCO X membership includes over 100 classic mobile VSCO presets, exclusive new Film X™ presets and tools, plus new additions added monthly. VSCO X is a powerful digital darkroom on your phone, raising the bar for mobile video editing.


VideoGrade is a fast, easy to use, color grading App for iOS. Whether you want to radically change the look of your videos or subtly enhance them, VideoGrade has the tools you need. Even better, VideoGrade is now able to process your photos and live photos too!

RTRO's "Springbreak95" by Caleb Babcock.

RTRO's "Aria" by Andrew Stoner.

Low Contrast, Low Highlights

Vintage cameras don’t have the impeccable ability to properly contrast videos, so lowering the contrast in both the blacks and whites will help tremendously during post processing. Using apps like VSCO or Videograde to color grade the colors will frame each piece of footage to mimic the old-school camcorders you see from your mother’s closet.

RTRO's "Chromatear" by Niles Jeran.

RTRO's "Cerulean" by Tristan Kneschke.

Low Saturation

Bouncing off Tip #2, lowering the saturation will greatly enhance the vintage quality to your videography. With the HSL tool (Hue, Saturation, Luminance), you can take full control over every color in your photo. Intensify the colors by sliding your saturation, changing the color hues, and adjusting the exposure in the colors with the luminance too. This will get you closer to the edit you have in mind by being able to have full control of the colors in your photo.

The Best Vintage Video Apps

The Best Vintage Video Apps

Vintage apps are all the rave, but which ones actually stand the test of time? We take a deep dive look into our favorite 5 ones that give us major retro vibes.

RTRO's "Wingman" by Adam Kingman.

RTRO's "Cine-16" by Casey Warren.

Dust, Scratches, and Grains

Ah, yes. The classics.

A sure-fire way to make the footage look evermore vintage than all the rest is to add plugins that scratch, dust, and grain the heck out of whatever footage you’ve taken. Adding variables on top of your already edited frames will top it all off with the cherry so big, you’ll forget you didn’t actually use a vintage camcorder.

RTRO's "Jo" by Taylor Pendleton.

RTRO's "Dadcam" by Caleb Babcock.

Change the Frame Rate

Old school video cameras, like Super 8, are filmed with a naturally low FPS, which is why all vintage footage looks a bit choppy and scratched. Lowering your camera’s FPS will be the finishing touch; use a posterize time effect and adjust the frame rate down to what you desire. We suggest either 14 or 18 FPS, similar to that of a classic Super 8mm camera.

RTRO's "Ranger" by Natalie Allen.

RTRO's "Chromatear" by Niles Jeran.

Have Fun, Folks!