The video business has been a perpetual state of innovation and change. What started as an industry that documented motion using large cameras and small reels of film, has evolved into a world of micro-cameras capable of 4k resolution. Cameras can be mounted, pitched, positioned and manipulated to gather nearly every angle imaginable. And when the aspiring video producer needs to deliver on a project – yep – there's an app for that.
It was only a matter of time before industry zealots were forced to give way to mobile technology. With smartphones that offer better picture quality than some professional-grade camcorders, tablets that boast powerful editing alternatives without the need for terabytes of data and RAID rendering resources, the video world has truly become one where old school traditionalists might need to quickly adapt, or they might become as obsolete as the equipment that once made them great.
However, mobile video production applications do have their limitations. For one, it will take some time before you see feature films edited on a tablet. And you won't see the evening news shot and edited on a smartphone anytime soon. That said, you can rest assured that if it saves money and delivers comparable quality, engineers and managers are working tirelessly to develop ways to cut costs, improve efficiency and deliver applications that help create high quality videos.
Rage Against The Mobile Machine
As smartphone saturation continues to grow around the globe, the opportunities for mobile video resources increase exponentially every month. According to Nielsen, the renowned research firm, in the United States, nearly half of all mobile phone users (49.7 percent) have a smartphone. With more than one billion smartphones on the market – and if you believe the market speculation from Informa stating that retail tablet sales will explode from $34.5 billion in 2011 to more than $120 billion in the next five years – our world will be even more inundated with walking media makers, capable of showing and telling the world with touch screens from sea to shining sea.
Smart device users are certainly not dummies. What was once considered a device used to read books or download games that feature crashing cardinals and punished pigs, is now recognized as a reliable video business tool. According to an infographic published by Go-Gulf.com, smartphone users are utilizing their devices to stay connected via email and social networks, but a surprising statistic is that nearly half of all subscribers have used their smartphones for video or music.
Free For All
As mobile video demands grow, the resources developed for smart device users will continue to spike as well. Whether it's an app that allows video editing software to splice together your home movies, or an easy video editing app that applies video filters to give that clip of junior riding his bike a vintage feel, there are several free apps that anyone can download and start using right away. Here are some of our favorites:
1 – Splice – A mobile video editing software suite right at your fingertips, Splice allows users to capture, cut and distribute polished productions across a wide range of social media networks. "Splicers" can add text, music from their iTunes catalog, apply filters and even drop in timely sound effects to give your videos a bit of Hollywood, right from your phone. Splice is available for Apple iOS products.
2 – Cloudee – You say you've got amazing videos of your recent rock climbing adventure, eh? Well, the Cloudee app allows users to push the clips off their phone into a private storage bin aimed at making your videos easier to share with the viewers that matter to you. This free Apple-based app also allows users to create folders to help categorize all your content.
3 – Viddy – Viddy shut down December 2014
4 – Golden Light – When your video light kit involves Mother Nature and the Sun floating through the sky, having an app like Golden Light that tells you when the sun’s light will be optimal for shooting can be the difference between getting the perfect shot, or delaying your production yet another day. Golden Light is a free Apple-based app created by Videomaker that gives you the Golden Time as well as Bue Hour for sunrise and sunset, just select the time and worldwide place you plan to be and let Golden Light dial you in. The Golden Light app is one of more apps in the works from us to come for video production – stay tuned!
5 – Videolicious – If you're looking for an app that offers easy video editing, look no further than Videolicious. With this simplistic, Apple-based app you have voice and single-swipe control of your content, and you can add video filters as a bundle of options that allow your videos to take your productions to a whole new level. The free version of Videolicious will give users the ability to produce single minute length films, while a multiple cost tier allows users to both increase their video capacity, but also implement additional resources.
Pay To Play
Free apps are great, but limited in capability. When someone consciously decides to use their mobile device to produce high quality video content, free can only go so far. When making an investment into mobile apps designed to deliver easy video editing, it's imperative you do your homework and find the app that will offer the best results for your money. Just like with most things in life, the more you pay, the more you get – so if video filters, memorable transitions and unlimited sharing options are commodities you value in your video editing software apps, then here are a few recommendations you should consider:
6 – Clesh – Mobile devices do have a few crutches – limited storage, minimal RAM, shrunken screens, to name just a few. The solution? Cloud-based video editing software apps. Clesh is an Android based video editing app that allows users to store, edit, render, and deliver their video virtually, without having to have their smartphone handle the heavy lifting. Users can publish in brilliant 1080p HD, and increase efficiencies by utilizing cross-platform functionality between your mobile device and desktop computer. Clesh does come with a one-time investment or year-long commitment, but if instant access and delivery is important to you, consider grabbing this app.
7 – Video Camera – The name doesn't do justice for what this Apple-based app is capable of delivering. Intuitive capturing and editing options allow Video Camera users to apply transitions, music and graphical elements, while users can take complete control of their camera's capabilities by manually adjusting zoom, focus and exposure. The cost of Video Camera is $20.
8 – iMovie – This basic video editor was the first introduction into video editing for a majority of consumers who bought Apple computers. However, as iPhones, iPods and iPads gained popularity, users wanted to be able to produce and share their movies. Unplugging iMovie from the desktop into the mobile realm is a comfortable move for producers looking for easy video editing options, as well as video filters that allow producers to tweak the look and feel of their content. Additional templates allow users to simply drag and drop their content into a timeline that will deliver memorable moments for years to come.
9 – Pinnacle Studio – Producers looking for a workhorse video editing software app, Pinnacle Studio for iPad offers several differences from iMovie. Users can build their video projects in the Storyboard format, then tweak using the more precise Timeline format. Full 1080p HD output support makes for amazing results. With a price of $13, Pinnacle Studio for iPad is worth looking into.
10 – Final Draft Writer – Creativity strikes at the strangest moments, so be ready with Final Draft Writer. Whether you're a gumshoe grip with a great idea, or a director with decades of screen credits to your name, time is money when it comes to flipping a script. Final Draft Writer allows users to quickly create industry standard scripts, flush with camera cues, stage directions, and character development notes. This app rings in at $50, but if scriptwriting is your forte, pony up the cash – you won't regret it.
11 – MovieSlate – Manual clapper boards are so 2011 … with MovieSlate, your entire crew will revel in the technological advantages the MovieSlate app brings to your production. Integrated timecode features, shot list tracking, and even a soundboard upgrade option, this app makes life on set – and in the editing suite – much easier. Available for iPads, and other iOS devices expect to pay $25 for MovieSlate.
12 – Storyboard Composer – Technology is a great thing, especially when used to capture the mood and moment of something that hasn't happened yet. Storyboard Composer allows users to produce amazing moving pictures that help "sell" a concept. This pre-visualization composer allows directors to put their ideas into motion, while cast and crew can get a better understanding of what their efforts will bring to life. For $15, this is a must-have tool in your mobile movie making belt.
13 – Lighting Designer – When your productions need a little bit – or a lot – of light dropped into your set, knowing how many lamps you'll need, where to place them, and optimal angles for each light source will save your crew time and energy during setup and strike. Lighting Designer gives you a secret weapon in increasing production efficiencies. With more than 200 types of lights and rigging to choose from, users can share the results with crew members and ensure everyone is on the same page. Lighting Designer runs for $25 and is compatible with iPad.
Using your mobile device to produce video content may not make you rich and famous, but it can certainly help you hone a few parts of the craft. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of apps available on the various mobile markets that you can try. Many offer free or inexpensive versions to sample and put through the paces.
Our advice to you would be to try a few apps out before you buy the full versions. There's nothing worse than dropping a pile of cash on an app that either doesn't work for you, or doesn't work with your device. As with any investment, weigh the benefits against any risks you foresee in using your mobile device to produce video work. Video editing software is inherently challenging by nature, but tremendously rewarding when all the elements come together in a harmonious final product that leaves your audience singing your praises. Take all those challenges and put them into a mobile format and you've got the conglomeration of technology and innovation. Couple that with your creative side and the mobile world is your stage – go out there are start capturing it.
Dave Sniadak is an award-winning video producer. His clients include several Fortune 500 companies, professional sports franchises and small businesses.
SIDEBAR – Mobile Teleprompter
Teleprompters are always a point of contention for video producers – to use them, or not to use them? Often times, traditional teleprompters are both cost and size prohibitive for the average consumer. On top of that, any talent not accustomed to reading moving text can come across looking like a deer in headlights with eyeballs that move left to right in eight-inch increments.
Several equipment manufacturers are exploring ways to integrate smartphones and tablets into the teleprompter arena. For example, Datavideo has a package that allows you to build up a prompter package that fits your smartphone, while Autocue offers mounting hardware that can adapt a tablet into a teleprompter. And Listec launched their iteration of the portable prompter movement with their PromptWare PW-04 system. Your iPad can work with ikan's PT-Elite which is fitted with ikan's Elements 15mm rod support, and a complete prompting system.
Some of these systems are great in theory, but will require the eyesight of an eagle to be able to pull off a smooth delivery. While innovation and advancement is driving the video industry, teleprompters that rely on smartphones and tablets are still in the infancy of their lifespan, so we welcome continued improvement in this arena.
What other video producing apps do you use? Let us know!
The video producing app market for tablets and smartphones is growing daily – if you use an app or know of one that is great for video production, let us know in the comments section of this story or on Videomaker's Facebook page.