User-created phone video is currently the biggest thing in media content generation. And with network giant Cisco predicting over 80% of all web traffic will include video by 2020 the corporate drive to become video literate can only build exponentially.
As that literacy gains traction, so expectations of what’s possible on phones are growing. Just a couple of years ago people wanted to know how to knock up simple informal video for social media; now I’m asked for guidance on creating swish titles and graphics with complex animations as well as professional quality multitrack video.
This increasing sophistication has evolved a demand for more capable editing apps. So, what’s currently on offer for the professional or semi-professional ‘mojo’, or mobile journalist?
No matter how skilled a videographer you are, you’re going to need editing software or an app. Clips need to be trimmed and cut, their order changed, sound and visual effects modified, and text added if your video is to look and sound professional.
Editors can be installed on desktop computers or laptops, requiring clips to be transferred from a phone for processing, or they can work on the phone itself.
There’s a lot of video editors available but many lack important features or are infested with ads or bugs. The apps on this short-list are those favoured by professional phone video producers.
iMovie for IOS
One of the first mobile editors, iMovie is either on your iPhone or iPad by default or can be easily downloaded. Its strengths are that it’s free, stable and capable of producing simple yet effective video that looks and sounds good.
Because it’s simple it’s a great introduction to the art of editing for those just starting out.
But iMovie is now very dated and severely limited in what it offers in the way of image manipulation, multimedia resources and text creation.
As demand has grown for more refined end-product, so corporate video creators have gone shopping for more advanced editing solutions.
Chained to a desk
One answer adopted by many has been the traditional desktop editor.
Adobe’s Premiere Pro and Apple’s Final Cut Pro X offer every function and facility the professional editor needs, and they look cool, artful and business-like on the monitors in your office.
But because they’re so brim-full with functions, many of which the semi-pro will likely never need, finding your way round these packages entails a substantial, even painful, learning curve for the first-timer.
And having to transfer your video clips to a conventional PC or Mac for editing negates the key advantages of producing video on a phone – portability and flexibility.
Adopting a workflow which couples the freedom of shooting on the phone with the inconvenience and restriction of editing on desktop seems to me a clunky and retrograde step.
Especially as there are now elegant, low cost and powerful options for editing on the phone itself.
More options – Kinemaster
Kinemaster, available for both Android and Apple phones, is almost as easy to use as iMovie and offers many more functions. Critically, there are much better options for text creation: unlike iMovie, Kinemaster will let you change the font, colour, size and position of text. The downside is that although Kinemaster is free to play with, to use the app for professional purposes you need to buy into an annual subscription of $30-40.
Lumafusion, an edit suite in your pocket
Targeted at iPhone and iPad users for just $19.99, Lumafusion is an astonishingly capable tool which goes from strength to strength with every new iteration. In fact, many adopters claim Lumafusion is almost as fully featured as the top desktop editors. It’s not much more difficult to master than iMovie, yet it can perform all the basic functions you could reasonably want, plus many more sophisticated operations that push the envelope of what’s possible on a phone with current technology.
Just as one example, as well as a myriad of image and audio adjustment features, including green screen, in Lumafusion you can create elegant animated titles and text incorporating your own font and even the exact shade of colour of your corporate logo, and then use Airdrop to share your creation with colleagues for use across the organisation.
An exciting new edition to Lumafusion is Storyblocks, a collection of hundreds of stock photos, video and music items you can use royalty free even for commercial purposes. Users do need to pay extra for Storyblocks but it’s not a huge amount for effectively adding a multimedia library to your phone.
In a Rush?
Mobile journalism is a fast-evolving field, with new apps and accessories being developed all the time. So, what’s on the horizon?
My ideal would be a hybrid app that works seamlessly across devices, synced via cloud. So, you could shoot and edit video in the field and then finish your edit on a desktop when you get back to the office. Or share the production operation with an office-based colleague. It would need to be sophisticated and capable of a wide range of functions, yet easy to learn and use.
An impossible dream? Adobe’s Premiere Rush CC came out in the autumn of 2018 and does pretty much everything on that list. What’s more, by the end of 2019 Rush will be available on Microsoft, Apple, IOS and Android.
Rush has clearly been designed with the requirements of the semi-pro phonographer in mind. Unlike its heavyweight sibling, Premiere Pro, Rush is relatively easy to learn and use straight out of the box, and it does most of the things you might expect of a competent editor without going mad.
You probably won’t make a feature film with Rush. But it’s perfect to quickly throw together a respectable explainer or instructional video in just a few minutes and adjust it to any social media output format you need. And that potentially makes it very useful.
Be aware that like other pro desktop editors Rush is not that cheap. You’ll need to subscribe between $10 and $30 per month for a licence.
Which video editor you chose depends on your desired workflow.
If you want to work on a big screen, impress visiting clients and don’t mind being trapped in the office, your solution could be a traditional desktop editor.
You can gain early confidence editing on your phone with iMovie or Kinemaster, then move on to something more capable.
Premiere Rush CC could well be a blueprint for the future of mobile video editing and claims to offer super quick and easy-to-use flexible cross-device working.
If you want the power of a pro desktop editor on your phone, I would suggest Lumafusion as your tool of choice. This cheap yet very able app will free you up to produce video that looks and sounds good wherever you are, on a train or a plane, in a taxi or in a crowded coffee bar.
And that’s proper mobile journalism.
Picture Credit: LumaTouch: Lumafusion rivals desktop editors for features