Mobile Apps – they’re everywhere, now. Factor in platforms like the Windows phone and tablet, Blackberry and other technology yet to be released, the sea of mobile apps can be vast and overwhelming. How can video producers find the best video production services for their needs? By meticulously vetting the voluminous mound of mobile video app options for you, the Videomaker team has streamlined the best video production apps into an ever expanding list that should help you maximize your time—from pre production to post production—while minimizing the time you spend uselessly swiping your way through the digital jungle of video production apps. This feature provides you with a growing collection of the leading video production mobile apps that could help take your projects to that next level. When you discover more, or if you know of a gem that isn’t on our list, please contact us through the comments section in this story or in our forums.
Potential Mobile Pitfalls
Before we regale you with the amazing benefits of these mobile video production apps, it's important to stress that these video production apps do have their share of shortcomings. A mobile device can't replace the experience of a professional video production veteran on location while shooting a series of corporate videos, nor can it serve as an adequate replacement for extensive edits that your project may require.
Additionally, video production apps are only as effective as the person using them, so before investing heavily in a particular app, be sure you understand the capabilities of the app. There is nothing worse than spending a few bucks on an app that collects digital dust on your mobile bookshelf. If you use common sense before clicking the "Buy Now" button for the latest and greatest app, you won't be left with buyer’s remorse when you receive your next mobile device bill.
And finally, not all video production apps are made for all mobile devices. According to a comScore survey released earlier this year, Android users dominate the mobile device market (nearly 54%) over iOS users (35%), yet a majority of mobile video production apps are designed and launched on the iOS platform. There are a variety of reasons for this, but a study released by Canalys points out that apps tend to be launched to iOS users first because of the smaller number of devices available on Apple's platform; less than 12, versus the more than 12,000 on Android. The fewer the devices an app—let alone a video production app—needs to be optimized for, the faster it can be distributed.
Getting to Work With Mobile Production Tools
The first stages of project initiation for anyone providing video production services is always focused on determining the direction you want your video to go. The pre production process is where you iron out the logistical details of your project like scripting, storyboarding, shot list drafting and location blocking. Here are a few video production apps to help ensure your pre production time is spent preparing to deliver great results in each of those arenas.
A. Pre Production
1. Cinemek Storyboard Composer HD – It's one thing to have a vision for your video, but it's a whole new world if you can use actual photos to help set the scene for your project. Cinemek Storyboard Composer HD allows users to take photos from your location scouting efforts and build a real-time storyboard using actual visuals from your proposed locations. If sketching scenes isn't your thing, this app could be just the tool you've been looking for.
2. Scenios – There aren't many all-inclusive video production apps that do everything you need before heading out for a project…but Scenios is pretty close to doing just that. This cloud based app serves a wide range of roles—scripting, location planning, sharing of video files—but two features make Scenios a rock star app. The ability to video conference within the app, as well as a call sheet feature that allows you to keep everyone on your production team connected.
3. Scripts Pro – Every good story starts with the first line:- "Once upon a time…", "It was a dark and stormy night…", "Four score and seven years ago…". Sure, you can scribble your vision down on a napkin, but why waste the paper? Scripts Pro allows users to not only write the video script, but add production commands, scene blocking and share your progress with other users through a variety of platforms.
4. Shot Lister – Back in the prehistoric days of manually logging shots captured while on a shoot, producers had to use a notepad and pen to keep track of a project's progress. Now, with Shot Lister, the time you spent tracking shots can be spent doing things like admiring how amazingly efficient you are. This video production app allows users to perform a multitude of duties, all with just a few swipes of the screen. From tracking total roll time of shots you've captured, to sharing lists with other users at your shoot, this app is the real deal as you dive into your reel deal.
5. TouchCast – Looking for a one stop shop for all your pro production process requirements? TouchCast offers a smorgasbord of solutions before heading out on a shoot (as well as a plethora of on location production features like a TelePrompter, audio check feature and even social media sharing capabilities. Presently only available for iOS users (iPad 3 and 4), the company told us that a PC desktop version is in the works, as well as Android versions in the very near future.
6. Celtx Shots – In a perfect world, each video producer could handle the execution of every element of every project. However, sometimes projects require us to be in multiple places at once. That's why having an app like Celtx Shots is so beneficial. Design your dream video set, storyboard a script from start to finish, and build a blueprint for production success that video production teams can follow while working in the field. This app gives users the ability to ensure that all creative elements are cohesive, concise and—most important—correct.
7. Filmic Pro & Filmic Classic – This mobile video app for iOS users allows you to take your standard phone or tablet camera and sprinkle in some cinematic magic for breathtakingly awesome videos. Upgrade your files to 1080p, 24 fps, as well as add in white balance and other non-standard features, and you get powerful solutions to what could be a traditionally substandard part of mobile video production.
8. GoPro App – GoPro cameras are amazing additions to any shoot, giving producers access and angles only dreamed of by our video production forefathers. With apps available for both Android users and iOS users, remotely control and monitor your miniature cameras with minimal steps. Users can control multiple cameras, while sharing video files remotely via a Wi-Fi connection.
9. Lapse It – We can't talk about video production apps without acknowledging that timelapse videos have become a necessity for video producers looking to integrate beautiful visuals into their projects. Lapse It, designed specifically with Android users in mind, allows producers to capture stunning visuals, apply a wide range of effects to the files and then share the finished product across social media channels. The app features a pro version that churns out 1080p rendered files to take your project to infinity and beyond.
10. Podio – To use an old children's clichÃ©, making sure all your ducks are in a row is vital to guaranteeing video production success. Podio is a video producer’s dream app, as it allows iOS users and Android users to pick from a wide range of suite options: from lead management (ideal for the busy, professional video production provider on the run,) to a way to monitor expenses, this app works to keep you on time and budget.
11. Stopwatch & Timer App – When time is of the essence, and your production team consists of you, your talent and your mobile device, having a video production app like this one will allow you to hit your mark, without missing a beat.
12. Videomaker Golden Light – In coastal regions, the time right before the sun dips into the ocean is typically called the "golden hour." Here at Videomaker we have produced a video production app that allows you to precisely monitor when the ambient lighting provided by Mother Nature will deliver the perfect amount of glow you need to go. Enter in a few details about your location, and the Videomaker Golden Light app will tell you exactly when the video files captured by your camera will look their best.
C. Post Production
13. Magisto – This free video editing software app takes your mobile video files and allows you to apply fun, yet functional, tweaks to create digital masterpieces. Apply basic transitions, stunning filters and then share your video files with your adoring fans on various social media platforms.
14. Showreel Portfolio – There's nothing quite like letting your work do the "talking" when it comes to leaving a lasting impression. From the start of your pre production process to the finished product turned out in post production, how you share your work with the world says a lot about you. Sure, you can upload your video files to an online platform…or you can use the Showreel Portfolio app, which adds the cherry to your proverbially frosted project. Using a clean, minimalist interface, Showcase Portfolio lets you showcase your video work in a beautiful gallery that can be customized using one of a dozen templates.
15. VideoGrade – Want to really take your mobile video production projects to a Hollywood-esque level? VideoGrade allows you to dramatically alter the color of your video files by applying filters that color correct each frame. Better yet, choose between 11 filters—from Brightness to Vignette—that mask your minor mistakes, and add a dynamic that you can't capture without expensive and extensive lighting equipment.
16. Video Watermark – At the end of the day, your video files are yours, so protect them. There are several ways you can identify your projects, but leaving a watermark on your video is a great way to guarantee your work isn't exploited by other video producers. The Video Watermark app allows users to add text using up to 50 different fonts, while applying simple transitions to bring the digital markers in and out of your video files. A few simple taps on the screen gives you the security you need to keep your work safe for years to come.
17. WeVideo – Remember when your teacher would yell at you for daydreaming and seemingly having your "head in the clouds"? With WeVideo, you literally can work with your head—and video files—in the cloud…with an app that allows you access to cloud based video storage. You can access video files remotely or from a desktop, and ensure that your post production services are moving full speed ahead.
The Down Low on Downloads
Will mobile apps lead to the demise of a traditional, full-service video production company? Maybe not. That said, what video production apps are doing is giving powerful video production tools to both iOS users and Android users to help make their video production services easier, faster and more efficient. Whether you're the only Android user in a room full of iOS users and need free video editing software on the fly, or need some impromptu music bed tracks produced for your independent film, the overabundance of video production apps aimed at making the lives of your production team a lot easier are just a few swipes away.
Become Your Own Developer
So, you've got a great idea for your own video production app. Let's talk about developing that app. You can use a template-based app developing site like App Design Vault to build iOS optimized apps, or something like Android's Developer Tools to build something that will work with Android users. However, let's say you're not good at coding…no worries, there's a mobile app developer for that. That said, be ready to fork over some serious cash. In a survey of IT professionals by AnyPresence in 2013, more than half of all respondents said it takes a good three months and more than $50,000 to develop a typical app. Almost a quarter of those respondents said you can expect to pay twice that much for a legitimate, multifunctional app. Next time you wonder if there's an app to handle a certain part of your video production process, the answer is probably yes; if there isn't, the answer is that there could be, if you're prepared to fork over some serious cash or sweat equity.
Dave Sniadak is an award-winning video producer. His clients include several Fortune 500 companies, professional sports franchises and small businesses.