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By saving time you will make more money. You will produce better videos and have more time to focus on good creative aspects of your project. Through iPhoneography you can do this all while ditching the editing stations and terminals for something a lot more portable.
I love shooting and editing on iOS devices; you know that by now. People ask me why all the time. The answer is quality. Plus, the process is much faster, more efficient, and more streamlined. It allows us to create more content quicker and in today's world, that is key. We can even be more creative. Recently, I had a shooter and editor text me from a shoot and ask, why aren't we doing this shoot using iFilmmaking? My only answer - I couldn't get the client to buy in. Good enough for Bentley and Subway, but not for them. Ok, so we rolled out a Canon C500. This made the shooting and editing process much longer and in this case, yielded little return.
So, let's start with a workflow for editing on iOS devices and then talk apps that can make it even faster. First, start by shooting your footage with an iOS device. Then, take the USB camera connection kit (assuming you’re using a different device to edit than to shoot with or that you shot on multiple devices) and plug it into your shooting device and then the iPad you’re editing on. Once you connect the two devices, you’ll need to tell the device with the footage on it to trust the device it's plugged into. It will then open camera roll. This may take a few minutes if you have a ton of footage or pics on the shooting device. Next, you select the clips you want to import and tell it to import the clip. I love editing on my iPad Air.
If you have clips shot on other devices, like traditional cameras that you would like to include in your edit, you can do several things to import them. In many cases, you will need to transcode them. This is doable with the free app, MPEG Streamclip. The next step is to get them over to the iOS device. From there, you can upload it to a Cloud service like Dropbox and download it to the device, saving it to the camera roll. You can also load the clips on wireless storage, like the Lacie Fuel wireless hard drive or the Kingston MobileLite (which takes SD cards or USB drives). These will connect wirelessly and allow you to save the clips to your camera roll, similar to what you did with the Dropbox setup.
Another option is to create a DCIM folder on a SD card that has been exFAT formatted (use disk utility on a Mac to do this), load your MP4 transcoded files onto the SD card, and then put them in the DCIM folder. Then, connect the SD card to the iOS device with the SD card reader with a lightning cable. The iOS device will think the SD card is a camera or footage shot on a camera with no human interaction. You can then import the footage as you did in the other scenarios. It will function exactly like in the first scenario (connecting an iOS device via the lightning connector). In some cases you can skip the transcoding step and go right from camera SD card to iPad. But this depends on the camera and the type of footage shot (how it was encoded by the camera).
Now that the footage has been corralled, you are ready to start editing. First, I would recommend creating a new folder (album) in camera roll and begin sifting through your footage. Then, create shorter clips of each clip you intend to use, by making in and out points, trimming, and then saving the clip as a new clip. Finish up by moving the new clip to the folder (album) you just created for the project. Next, bring the video that needs color correction into the VideoGrade app and color correct. Then, export those clips to the camera roll. It should be a very short process for each clip. You can then move those clips to the project folder (album) you created or create a new one for them.
I like editing in both iMovie and Pinnacle Studio. For quick edits or creating a skeleton, I like iMovie. It's fast. For more complete edits, I like Pinnacle Studio. With Pinnacle, you can sync audio and be frame accurate. It's currently the only editing app you can do this with on iOS devices.
With both iMovie and Pinnacle, you can have two tracks of video (which is actually plenty) and have several tracks of audio. With both apps, you can also add music from your library or from Cloud services, as long as it's not DRM or copyright protected.
If you download the music from a Cloud service, like Dropbox, it will ask you what app you want to open it in; choose either iMovie or Pinnacle. You can also create your own music in GarageBand. When you’re done creating, you can send it to one of the apps. Also, if you need to do voiceovers, do it in GarageBand or in the editing apps. I prefer doing them in GarageBand. You will have to change the timing to automatic and turn the metronome off.
Now, edit your story. It's simple in both iMovie and Pinnacle. You can add effects and graphics. You can also add plug-ins, like Magic Bullet Looks. However, there are some apps that are faster.
An app that is amazing for turning projects around quickly is the Videolicious app. With Videolicious, you should start with creating a skeleton in iMovie or Pinnacle and then export it. Then, import it into Videolicious. In Videolicious, you start by selecting the shots you will use as your cover footage or B-roll. There is a way to create your skeleton in Videolicious, but you will need an enterprise account, which won’t be free, and it's a little more complex to do here. After picking your B-roll or cover shots, you will get the chance to “tell your story.” You can either do this live on camera, as it's happening, off camera as a voiceover, or by video import. Video import is where you can call up your skeleton that you previously created but is lacking B-roll. Once you select the skeleton, it will play. As it's playing, you will click on your B-roll shots (that you picked before) to add in. It's that simple. Videolicous does the work for you. The live experience is the same, expect you are doing the skeleton part live and it's only you on camera.
In Videolicious, you can also add logos to the front and back, graphics, and music. It's really an amazing and fast app. If you mess up, you can start over.
Another great app to help you make a better, finished, edited, and engaging project is TouchCast. With TouchCast, you can either create a video from scratch (including putting yourself on camera), create a background using a green screen and add effects, or you can create an engaging project from an imported project that is either fully or partially edited (like a skeleton). In the later case, the app allows you to import your already edited project from camera roll to work on. You can then create actionable, touchable graphics and pictures that can link to all sorts of stuff. It's like VH1’s pop-up video on steroids, where you can click on and engage the pop-ups. It's really great and easy to use. You have total control over a slew of parameters. It's interactive.
To make your edit even more professional, use Intro Designer or IntroMate to easily create intros from templates or make your own. These can be complete with audio transitions, sound effects, and music.
If you want to do a live edit with multiple cameras, you can use an app called Recco MultiCam. This app allows you to connect multiple iOS devices over a Wi-Fi network. You can even do this by creating a personal hotspot on one of the devices. Once all the devices (up to four) are connected to each other, you will use one as the main device, which will also serve as the video switcher and control interface. Next, hit record and switch between the devices at the appropriate times. When you are done, the main device calls for the footage from the other devices via Wi-Fi because while you were recording, the app was only looking for a low-res reference signal for monitoring. Once all the clips are over to the main device, it performs the edit. This entire process takes very little time and looks very professional. For a nearly 2-hour shoot/edit, it only took an hour to process afterwards. But, I didn't have to do anything. This final edit is full HD at 1920x1080. You can then export the final video to camera roll. You can also pull the footage off each iOS device individually for further editing. This is great for events, concerts, and studio shoots. I think it’s great for journalism as well because you can have both an interviewer and an interviewee easily on camera and switch between them when each one is talking. Traditionally, the questions on camera and the reaction shots are done after the interview.
If you want to do this live, Recco Live MultiCam is the app. But, it's currently not HD video. There are some other apps, like CollabraCam, that are HD. But currently, this one is the best and my favorite. I really like this app.
One another note, using tools, like apps Stop Motion and TimeLapse, let you create stop motion videos and timelapses without having to edit them so you can just drop them into your edit project. This also greatly cuts down on the workflow and time. It’s great. Traditionally, it would take forever to create in post with after effects, your editing system, or another tool. As a result, we now use these elements more than ever and it's great!!!
The biggest pitfall I can call attention to, is that, while these main editing apps work like a lot of NLEs (nonlinear editing systems), they are a lot more susceptible to creating flash frames. So, make sure to go over all your work carefully. Also, there are some weird limitations and quirks to iMovie, including length of B-roll clips and how you can edit them in. But, you will quickly and easily figure out solutions. Last, my biggest pet peeve is that none of these editing apps have audiometers yet. I am sure it's coming, but I don't know when. So, the reality is you should do your best and boost the levels quite a bit. You can see an audio wave, so that helps. Also, get a good pair of speakers. I like Bluetooth to listen back (Samsons are about $100). Also, get a good stand for editing, like the Just Mobile one. This will help a lot for your final mix, which you should also listen to on headphones.
That's the video editing rundown on iOS devices. Try it when you can and play with the different apps and features; that's truly the best way to learn. But, it's also a way for you to see how great, easy, and fast this can be. A few weeks ago, I cut five segments in five hours that would have taken me days to do in the past. As always, if you have questions or feedback, hit me up on twitter @realifilmmaking. Also, please note I am making weekly appearances in the Adorama NYC super store to answer any technology and integration questions you may have. Please visit the store’s Facebook page or ifilmaking.com/instore for my schedule, as it changes weekly.
Michael Artsis is an Adorama Technologist and a five time Emmy Award winning host, anchor/video journalist, shooter, producer and director. Michael's awards include the Society of Professional Journalists and Long Island Press Club. Michael works in live and non live programming and does everything from documentaries and sports, to business and entertainment. Michael also has a digital marketing and video/stills production company. He is the founder of artsismedia.com, BeTerrific.com and iFilmmaking.com. He makes personal appearances in-store weekly to talk tech and does seminars on iFilmmaking.