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.

Making Footage Look Vintage

We all love that feeling of vintage footage seen on your mom or dad’s camcorder from the ’80s, 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 is a multitude of applications you can use to achieve that retro vibe to your footage easily. It depends 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 to ponder:

RTRO Camera

Inspired by what the filmmakers on our team wanted, we made 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 track your crazy grandpa into believing that you invented the time machine.


Impress your friends and have fun adding a premium vintage effect to your videos with another vintage 90s 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, and new monthly additions. 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 can now process your photos and live photos too!

Tezza App

A super popular & beloved app for anyone needing something reliable and rad-looking. Particularly popular for content creators and influencers needing something trendy (yet simultaneously timeless), every feature is hand-crafted with you in mind to help you achieve the aesthetic of your dreams. What's even better? It's female-founded and female-created, so the tastefulness is undoubtedly there.

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 of 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.

RTRO's "Wingman" by Adam Kingman.

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

Dust, Scratches, and Grains

Ah, yes. The classics.

A surefire 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.

💌 There's More!

Enjoyed this read? Subscribe now and receive all the latest and greatest articles straight to your inbox. All original. Community first. 100% ad-free.