March 20, 2015

Shooting, Editing, and Color Grading on an iPhone

I shoot a lot of video on my iPhone, and I typically only ever use my iPhone for very minimal editing and color grading. Well, last year I decided it was time to change that, and so I started trying to think of fun, little projects I could shoot and edit completely on the iPhone. Some trips with my son to go apple picking and to play on the playground seemed perfect for this.

I used the built in camera app on the iPhone to shoot the videos and then I used iMovie to edit them. They were both fun projects, but I quickly learned that it’s incredibly hard to edit any video in which my son is the star. With other subjects I can quickly make cuts and edit out the bad parts, but with my own son it was very hard to make decisions to cut out any of the clips. I just don’t see the bad parts.

So what was it like editing on the iPhone? Slow. It was incredibly slow. It was definitely interesting and a new experience, but it was just really slow. Also, I missed a lot of the controls I have with FCP X. iMovie does a great job of managing the little things, like audio fades, for you. It definitely gives the video a little polish. It just seems lacking though. It was interesting to me that on the iPhone you can slow a clip down all the way to 1/4x of the intended playback speed, but you can’t speed the clip up at all. It was also frustrating that I couldn’t layer clips. That’s mostly frustrating because I’ve been so spoiled by Final Cut Pro, Adobe’s Premiere Pro, and Avid’s Media Composer over the years. It seems like a basic tenant of video editing to me, but I don’t have much experience with consumer editing programs.

In the end though, I was left wondering how beneficial it could be to have FCP X on an iPad some day. I imagine it’d be a very useful tool for editing in the field. Bringing a laptop to edit just seems to be difficult in comparison with the ease of use an iPad would afford. I’m mostly thinking about the way a laptop forces you to sit while editing and the fact that you’d have to be much more closely tied to a power source with a laptop.

Anyway, if you have an iPhone I greatly encourage you to get out there and start shooting videos. You can edit them together pretty easily with iMovie. For short, fun projects it’s a really powerful tool.  For processing anything over 5 minutes of video clips, it’s just laborious. You’re going to want to be at a desktop/laptop computer.

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