Can Adobe Clip tip the balance on expectations for what mobile video editing apps do?
This third installment in our series of posts on simple, lightweight alternatives to the standard desktop platforms for video editing touches on the rise of a fully-mobile workflow and practicality of using a mobile device app to edit your marketing videos. Are the options out there for editing video on mobile devices really strong enough? Can Adobe Clip tip the balance on expectations for what those apps look like? We’ll examine those questions and more as we break down five current mobile apps for video editing.
Before we dive into our review of the mobile apps for video editing, we should remind you that the last episode of our video chat series on BLAB allowed us to talk to @JoshYTsui about his use of mobile devices in the video production workflow, and we touched briefly in that episode on what it takes to use only mobile devices to shoot and edit any kind of video, including those used for content marketing. There were some important lessons learned, and Josh gave some great recommendations for equipment and apps to check out, so be sure to go back and watch if you get the chance.
Next time on #OMGVMS, we take the time to talk to one of the companies we referenced in post two of our three post series, where we focused on “browser and cloud’ editing options. @ShredVideo’s unique approach to using machines to take some of the pain out of the video editing process should make for some interesting conversation, so be sure to check out the link at the bottom of this post to subscribe over on BLAB.
The Mobile Device Tools
Diving into our analysis of five of the options out there for editing video on mobile devices, we can see that they basically fall into two different categories: those that have non-mobile device options to boost their abilities, and those that don’t. All options live squarely in the cloud, however, so even if you are editing videos you shot on the same mobile device, you should expect for your data plan to be taxed in synchronization if you’re not connected to a wifi network, so watch out!
More than any of the other options in this list, Videohance could be described as an effort to do for video what Instagram did for phone photos. Their core value proposition is around adding artistry into the mobile video creation process, so expect for that to feature more prominently in their UI than any other features. As of the time we write this, Videohance is only available in the Apple App Store, so if you are using Android as your platform of choice for mobile devices, you’ll have to find another option. You’ll also be limited to use of an iPhone 4s or above. If you’re interested in taking a look at some of the end results of videos that have made use of this app’s unique color and filter adjustments, you can see some great examples on Instagram under the tag #videohance. The app also allows you to adjust camera speed and motion for favorite look and feel, and the interface for moving clips around and trimming edits combines with the ability to add photos and motion to develop a video with your very own “Ken Burns Effect” fairly easily. Their use of the GPU to allow for live preview of the filters for look and feel goes a long way toward inspiring the kind of creativity that Instagram’s trademark “filter” approach provided for mobile device photography, but it remains to be seen if the trend of filtering your videos will catch on as strongly.
One easily identifiable trend in digital video--certainly among app makers--is the ability to edit and share videos socially, and that’s the primary driving force behind another mobile video editing app, ShotClip. There have been a few apps for social or collaborative video editing that have already come and gone, including one from digital giant Facebook, but the idea seems to have some staying power, and ShotClip seems to be taking some steps to make sure it survives. Being available for both iPhone and Android is one way to make sure more of your friends, family, coworkers, customers, peers, etc. can join in the fun. One other unique approach to this process is ShotClip’s set of “ShotLists”, which are essentially paint-by-numbers suggestions for filming clips that can then be auto-arranged into a final project that more closely resembles a “professional” approach.
Among the most exciting of the collaborative, mobile video editing options for folks interested in creating videos for content marketing has to be Videolicious. But be warned, all that awesome is not for free. It’s more than just an app, and it is the first of the two mobile focused editing platforms in this list that is supported heavily by non-mobile devices (desktop interfaces). It’s also rare to see an app that so quickly makes such a compelling case for its own existence in a video demo, which is something you just have to see:
The ability to quickly brand videos coming from employees all over the company and support the entrance of those videos into a channel with editorial control is brilliant. I can see so many applications for this tool beyond media environments and brand newsrooms, from employment branding to university recruiting to social good and fundraising. This single platform solves so many problems on the surface that I can’t imagine it will stay quiet for long, and, based on all indications, it takes a much more solid approach to the UI problems presented in a mobile video editing context than even the big players like Adobe’s Premiere Clip.
If anything, the release of Adobe Clip for mobile video editing reflects how huge the market really is for video and for the ability to fully integrate mobile devices into a healthy video production workflow. Along with that, however, come a host of challenges from huge array of consumer devices, a learning curve for users, and the obviously taxing requirements on memory and processor speed. One of the ways Adobe has sought to solve some of those problems is simply to lean more heavily on Adobe PremiereCC as an assistive tool. In fact, Adobe Clip is less of a freestanding video edit tool in a mobile device and more of a mobile “video pre-flight” tool for PremiereCC. Their approach to memory and bandwidth are assisted by this choice, and the way they make editing work travel well back and forth between the desktop and mobile device contexts via xml is noteworthy, but there are some serious features missing from the mobile arm that make it prohibitive for anyone to use who does not have any interest in taking what they do on the mobile device and finishing it on a PremiereCC desktop. Even Apple’s own iMovie for iOS seems to be more feature rich as a stand-alone native mobile device tool that has support from a desktop equivalent. While I’m certain there will be plenty of organizations for which this system will be the perfect fit, I find it hard to think of this as having any lasting impact on the ecosystem in terms of the expectations for the ability of mobile devices to be fully integrated into production workflow without some serious iteration and feature development.
Last, but certainly not least, is another of the “assisted by non-mobile device” category, this one supported by what is arguably one of the oldest and most popular brand names in web based digital video out there, Vimeo. What Cameo from Vimeo does, it certainly does well and with style. Another of the “only available for iPhone for now” apps, it certainly has taken that choice to limit platforms in a direction that sees its developers really maximizing the UI for a standard iPhone user’s behavior and expectations. It integrates swipe behavior into the editing process in a graceful way and is probably the best of any in this list at getting good looking text on top of your video. It is wise for them to focus on the use of “themes” into the interface in order to lower the barrier of entry toward effecting solid look and feel changes to clips while assembling them, but I could see a need for that theme set to expand over time. Vimeo has always been the tortoise to YouTube’s hare when it comes to video online, and many of their decisions reflect the strategy that “slow and steady wins the race.” Personally, I think that, given the built-in community of video DIY folks for Vimeo, they should really be innovating even more toward the goal of fully integrating mobile devices into a video production workflow, and rightfully ought to be leaders in the charge to create a fully realized, fully mobile, optimized production workflow, but I’m certain Videolicious is closer to the mark on that by far. This is understandable, given that Vimeo must focus on the primary business of streaming, but perhaps a partnership would be beneficial to both in the future?
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed and received some value from this three part series on alternatives to the common solutions for video editing in a production workflow. We’ll be continuing the conversation about adding video to your content marketing strategies both here on the blog and as a part of our ongoing video chat series on BLAB.
Be sure to join us for our chat with folks from @ShredVideo about taking the pain out of the editing process by making the machines do more of the heavy lifting. Until then, see you on Twitter under #OMGVMS to join the conversation!
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