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Cameo enters the social video world with a clever and powerful app

Cameo is a new free social video app that aims to compete with the likes of Vine and Instagram. The app sports some powerful features and has enough advantages that people who love to share videos will want to give it a shake.

The app allows you to take as many videos as you want. All the videos are rendered in the cloud at 720p, and a copy is saved to your iPhone so it can be uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr.

One clever feature is the ability to share videos in real time with friends, so if, for example, you're both in different places at a sporting event, you can share each other's clips and build them into your own video creation. Like Vine, clips are limited to six seconds, but you can combine those clips into a video that lasts as long as two minutes. As you shoot new clips, new ones are being rendered in the cloud, so you are not waiting for things to finish.

When all your clips are done, you can select music, either from your own library or from clips provided by Cameo. You can title your video, and choose a theme. Then the video is rendered on the Cameo servers, which is pretty quick, and then you can share.

I gave the app a try and found it very well thought out. A novice can get a great-looking video the first time out without ever consulting a help file. You can comment on friends videos, or follow what they are doing.

I found the six-second clip limit restrictive, but once I got into the rhythm of the app, I was less bothered by it. The themes are very well done, and don't feel like simple filters thrown on top of video. The themes are sort of all or nothing. You pick a theme and go with it. You don't get to fiddle with transitions and effects.

There are a lot of iPhone owners who never touch the video feature they have, but Cameo could give them a good reason to explore video as a creative and social outlet that isn't complicated to use.

Like all apps, Cameo will mutate and improve, but it is already a strong contender and everyone who uses video on their iPhone, and those who don't, but are thinking about it, owe Cameo a look.

Cameo requires iOS 7, and it's not universal. Your best bet is an iPhone, which is what it is really designed for.