Snap’s new Dual Camera actually is a little different from BeReal

Four screenshots of Snapchat interface showing two shots captured in one screen on each screenshot.

Snap is letting users capture content with their front and back cameras at the same time and — hang on, why does this sound so familiar?

On Monday, Dual Camera launched for Snapchatters using iOS on at least an iPhone XS/XR globally, with an Android rollout expected in the coming months. The mode allows users to capture content via the front and back cameras simultaneously, and though it sounds eerily similar to the Gen Z-beloved BeReal, Snap promises that it’s not exactly the same.

“We here at Snap design for our community and we’ve been working on this feature for several years now,” said Jane Meng, Camera Product Manager at Snap, to Mashable. “What we think makes it really special and will hopefully resonate with Snapchatters is both the creative layouts we have as well as the ability to add creative tools after the fact, such as post-capture AR Lenses, or stickers and captions. Snap is a place where young people are already communicating and chatting with their best friends, so we think it just makes a lot of sense for our community.”

Composite of three Snachat screenshots showing a woman and man posing, a city skyscape, and the man sitting on a couch while the woman poses.

Three photos captured with Dual Camera in vertical layout, picture in picture, and cutout, respectively. The AR Lenses are also at play in the second and third shots.
Credit: Jennimai Nguyen

Dual Camera was announced earlier this year as part of the creator camera mode called Director Mode, but with this launch, the feature will be available for all types of Snaps — whether that’s an artistic and polished Spotlight submission or a quick response to a friend. It will be housed in the main camera bar and will look like a double camera icon.

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Once Dual Camera is selected, users will be able to pick between four layouts: vertical, which places the front and back camera shots one on top of the other; horizontal, which places the shots beside each other, picture in picture, which places the front camera shot in a small icon in the lower right corner of the back camera shot; or cutout, which places the front camera subject into a green screen-like effect against the back camera image. Snapchatters will also be able to add music, stickers and AR lenses to their content after capturing it in Dual Camera mode. AR Lenses will also eventually be able to be added during capture mode in Dual Camera as well.

In testing out Dual Camera, I found the mode to be very easy to understand and conducive to more creative and silly ways to capture content. I especially appreciated that the AR Lenses easily found faces and applicable objects easily on both front and back cameras, though I did find myself wishing they were already implemented into capture mode. As someone whose friends don’t often use Snapchat to communicate, Dual Camera actually makes me more interested in using the app to capture videos and photos in the new format for my own personal enjoyment, and possibly even for posting on other platforms.

While the double camera usage does invoke the same feeling as BeReal, the noted absence of a window of time and specific feed of Dual Camera content makes the tool feel — well, more like a tool, rather than a chase after an entirely different community already curated on another app. Dual Camera feels like a smart application of tech for the Snap userbase that happens to already be climbing in popularity elsewhere, unlike, ahem, other apps.

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Dual Camera will also continue to live in Director Mode, which will also house Green Screen, Camera Speed, and Jump Cut, all expected to launch in the coming months.

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