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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

iPhone 3GS Gets Video Tools

The cornerstone of a whole new set of tools for the iPhone video enthusiast is ReelDirector, a full featured editing environment that allow you to assemble, trim and cut clips, apply transitions, titles and credits and record voice over - all without ever leaving the iPhone 3GS. In the last few days, with the upgrade to version 2.4, Nexvio has added the ability to add soundtrack music. This is a fast, on-the-run video editing set that even the most professional video editor or producer can take advantage of in assembling videos without the aid of a computer or dedicated editing bench.

The essence of the ReelDirector editing environment is the clip assembly screen, where you can see a timeline of you video, photo-stills, and audio clips along with the current frame where the playhead is active. The elegance of ReelDirector is simplicity and the application should serve as a reminder to Apple programmers who messed up the iMovie interface and perhaps could even simplify the Final Cut apps to locate the user in current mode and place in their projects. Never-the-less, once you project elements start to come together, regardless of the users ability level with video editing, you'll be surprised at the capabilities of the iPhone to assemble sophisticated videos with simple touch and drag interface. With virtually no keystrokes, commands or multiple drop down menus, you can do you entire project while waiting in line at the motor vehicle license bureau or dentist office. We've come along way.

A good friend who has been a film/video producer for 25 years said when I showed him ReelDirector, "We are going to see a feature film shot and edited on a iPhone real soon."

And there are a few other apps that also portend the future of film/video making on the iPhone. When used in conjunction with ReelDirector, these little aaps add style and flexibility

SLOWMO

This video app allows you to capture video in slow motion, accelerated motion or take an existing clip you've shot with the iPhone's built-in video software from you're Photo Gallery and render it in slow motion. While this application will allow you to take a single clip and apply the effect to varying results, using it conjunction with ReelDirector in an montage of editing treatments, it becomes more powerful as an add-on to ReelDirector and a methodology in preparation for editing. This provides storytellers with a set of tools to make your productions more impactful and interesting to view.

VINTAGEMAKER

I cannot help but feel VintageMaker is the first in what could be a class of applications for videomakers on the iPhone. Currently, VintageMaker has three style templates - 20's Movie, 60's HomeVideo, and Black & White.

Essentially, using video filters and music, VintageMaker takes a video clip and applies a look that is evocative of the name. The 20's Movie applies black and white as well as a scratched celluloid effect, speeds the frame rate 2X (although you can adjust it faster or slower) and you can select piano music that sounds like the soundtrack that might accompany a 1920s silent film. After rendering the clip for the special effect, you can then import it into ReelDirector in a longer piece or add title cards, end credits and voice over narration to complete your movie.

VintageMovie's other effect is 60's home movie that adds a orange/reddish cast common to film stock from that period, scratches a jittery frame effect and the sound of a 8mm projector to evoke the feel of the 1960s.

While the styles are specific in their use, you can easily imagine of suite of effects that could be applied to video for other effects or corrections to video that will evoke specific moods or placements in time and place or for effects used in genre's like sci-fi, westerns, film noir rock-vids, or experimental video.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

iVideocamera Brings Video to non-3GS iPhones


For a long time we've known that the iPhone 2 and 3G were certainly capable of recording video. Jailbroke iPhones have had, through a software app, been able to record video but now Apople has approved iVideocamera for the App Store.

Some of the limitations on this app are bewildering. For instance, the frame rate is low and you are severely limited by not being able to record more than a minute at a time. The price for iVideocamera is .99.

I would add the caveat that this is a severely impaired application and that one might be better served by installing Qik on the 3G iPhone and/or iVidCam (version 2.0) ($.99). iVidCam looks like the best option for 2G and 3G iPhone users at this time because the screen res is higher and it can record unlimited sized clips (depending on space available on your phone).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ReelDirector Let's You Edit Video


ReelDirector 2.0 is a new iPhone App that allows you to really edit your iPhone clips into a movie very simply and intuitively on the iPhone. And for a limited time ReelDirector is available in the Apple Apps store for $4.99 as opposed to its regular retail price of $7.99.

With ReelDirector you can assemble multiple clips, trim and split, apply transitions, titles and rearrange your edit in the time line. You can also import still photos and (since version 2.0) apply the Ken Burns effect to animate their motion. A very important feature for YouTubers and video bloggers is the ability to add a voice over narration track. Once you've rendered your final edit you can email it or save it to your camera roll. All this makes the full assembly of a edited video possible without ever leaving the iPhone and loading it into a editing program on your computer.

A few enhancements would make this app dynamite. First, allowing users to add a music score from their iTunes library would fill it out and make it a full-featured editing environment. Second, being able to preview the entire assembly before rendering (even if the preview could not show transitions or titles) would be valuable to the average editor.

And third, while you can post your finished videos to YouTube from your camera roll or using other third party apps like Pixelpipe, it would be fabulous to use the Shared button to upload directly while presently you can only send it to yourself and friends using email. And the email feature is severely limited due to the duration and file size limitation on the iPhone.

Most owners of this app will tell you it is a bargain at $4.99.