When editing on a cell phone, one limitation is the size of your finger
Mobile editing that is self-contained on a cell phone has become a reality with capabilities that can be astonishing.
In Part 1 of this two-part series, “Trends in Mobile Editing” we got a look at the growing number of browser-based editing options that let you access full NLE features with an Internet-connected cell phone.
In this second installment we’re going to focus on new systems I saw at IBC2018 that take advantage of the growing computer power of cell phones themselves to enable editing independently on that chunk of chips and screen that you actually hold in your hand.
When I first heard about the $20 editing app called LumaFusion made by Luma Touch, I’ll admit to being skeptical. But after learning how producer/videographer Josh Turchetta used the system to cut and finish a series of 4K productions using just an iPad, I became a believer.
Then, at IBC I had the pleasure of meeting the co-founders of the company, Chris Demiris and Terri Morgan. The pair announced that version 1.7 was just a few weeks away, and one of its most exciting new features was going to be access to the third party stock video and audio library from Storyblocks.
Jay interviews Luma Touch co-foundersTerri Morgan and Chris Demiris
“Storyblocks includes tens of thousands of videos and hundreds of thousands of audio clips and sound effects,” Demiris explained, “and you can draw upon all of them in the middle of your cell phone editing for just $6 per month.”
The new level of software will also give you soft-edged cropping and some new VFX such as an X-ray look. When version 1.8 follows shortly thereafter, its editing will be boosted by a fourth video track and an optional full Pro I/O pack that will enable XML file export to either Apple’s Final Cut Pro or Adobe’s Premiere Pro.
“You’ll also get background upload/download so you can bring material into the system without interrupting the editing process,” Demiris said.
But if you are really going to edit on the go, storage will always be a challenge. Western Digital has made the My Passport series of portable hard drives, in either spinning disk or solid state memory, storage devices available via WiFi and support a transfer rate of up to 400MB/s.
Western Digital's My Passport wireless Pro 3 portable hard drive
“You can even scrub through the video on the WD drives, and only download the clips you actually want to use,” said Morgan. “That will take the load off the memory residing in the iPhone itself."
Later this year, a company called gnarbox (the “g” is silent, as in “gnarly”) is releasing a wireless storage unit called the gnarbox 2.0 that they funded with a Kickstarter campaign.
Tim Feess, co-founder and CEO of gnarbox said, “The gnarbox 2.0 uses an Intel Quad Core, 2.40 GHz CPU, NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) controller interface to SSD storage holding up to 1TB with USB-C backup running at 400-500 MB/sec read/write speeds.”
The gnarbox 2.0 SSD wireless hard drive
There are other edit systems designed for the iPhone, and one of the most amazing I found at IBC is from France, called the CTpro Mobile Video Suite.
Philippe Baudet, owner and CEO of CTpro,said his system takes maximum advantage of the latest iPhone X’s 256 Gigabytes of storage.
CTpro CEO Philippe Baudet
“Because we have very high quality encoding, at about 16 Mb/s, you can get 40 hours of HD content on the phone,” Baudet told me.
But on the very day I was meeting with CTpro in Hall 14 of the RAI convention center, they had just announced integration with the latest SanDisk iXpand flash drive that provides an impressive 256 GB of storage through its lightning connector.
SanDisk provides 256 GB storage on this little drive.
“You can import or export your projects to this little thumb drive from our editing software,” Baudet said, “and since it’s replaceable you have in effect unlimited storage available.
The folks behind CTpro are also serious about letting content creators use the iPhone as a professional camera. The problem has always been that, although iPhone/iPad sensors can record a beautiful 4K+ image, the frame rate of its CPU can vary depending on temperature. Apple calls it, charitably, “variable frame rate” or VFR, with the nominal 30 fps or 60 fps settings only a “target” (25 fps and 50 fps for our European cousins)
So CTpro bypasses Apple’s frame rate circuitry to access the data from the sensors directly and convert it to Constant Frame Rate (CFR) or 30/60 or 25/50.
Imagery can also be improved by the system’s built-in vectorscope which can give you a reliably accurate white balance.
Adding a third party app called Switcher Studio from Switcher, Inc. allows one to sync up to nine iPhones and iPads as additional cameras for a multicam production.
“Once you have finished shooting, you simply exit the recording mode and enter the editing app,” Baudet went on. “You don’t have to import anything since the footage because it is already there. You can also bring in images from your iPhone’s picture library.”
As impressive as that vectorscope was, CTpro offers editors many other professional features to finish your video and mix your multi-track audio while editing it on a full waveform display.
Thanks to audio pre-sets, the final mix will adhere to broadcast level standards without compression.
“But if you want even more finesse,” Baudet finished up, “you can output your project directly to Final Cut Pro X over a USB cable complete with XML file, or send it to Drop Box over an FTP server”
The CTpro Mobile Video Suite is available on Apple’s App Store for a monthly or annual subscription.
The trend toward mobile editing has only begun, but what a beginning. I’d suggest that the addition of a pico projector from which these days you can get up to 500 lumens output with native 1280 X 800 HD resolution, and editors can finally kiss working in Dracula’s cave good-bye.
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