iPad Video Editing

Thinking about moving my mobile photo editing to my iPad, it occurred to me that I could do the same for video editing. Maybe even finding a program that would be simpler to use than the one I used on my desktop Windows PC, namely HitFilm Express.

It’s a very capable program – and it’s even free –, but a bit of an overkill for my simple needs, hence I never really liked to use it, so I admit to have only poor motivation to cut and edit my underwater film snippets. Which again resulted in not working with my movies, not learning what works and how to improve, and so on. A vicious circle. I can edit photographs in my sleep, but with video, I still don’t really know what I am doing.

Anyway, poking around led my to LumaFusion for the iPad. It also works on an iPhone, but the screen size is really limiting. The program is easy to work with, especially if I use a Pencil,1 which allows to very precisely move sliders, adjust clip lengths, and all that sort of activities for video editing. LumaFusion is also pretty capable, but it allows to get up-and-running quickly and easily, and then dive deeper as needed.

As my first exploratory project, I cut together the video below, from a dive of the St. Gabriel wreck in front of the coast near Flic-en-Flac. Looking at the raw video clips I had, I decided that my goal was to show how a wreck dive actually looks and feels like – try to convey the mood.

Hence, no colour corrections – all actually looks that blue down there –, no music, but just the sound as recorded by the camera, which is mostly my breath and the bubbles.2 Many divers are anxious to see as many as possible different creatures and whatnot, and they tend to be unhappy otherwise. “Have you seen this, or that?” is part of a typical conversation after a dive. I don’t care. For me, it’s meditation. I just want to be down there, in the calm, no idle talking, just floating, enjoying the three dimensions one is able to move down there. Looking out from the wreck, and only see a mysterious world hidden in shrouds. That is the contents of the video.

I love underwater wrecks. They are metaphors for what will happen after humankind has destroyed itself, in a hundred or thousand years. Technology and other man-made artefacts will decay, and the surviving nature will take over again. Look how corals use the wreck as a home, and fish find shelter there.

My current underwater camera, a Sony RX100 II, shoots 1080p, 25 frames per second. Even my 2017 model iPad Pro did quite well running LumaFusion for selecting the useful clips, pulling them together on a timeline, cutting, shortening, transitions, all that, including exporting the resulting video. With iOS 13, you also have access to files on iCloud, Sync, and other cloud-based storage, as well as external media such as SD memory cards, no need to go through the iOS photo library. Yay. The battery drained quicker compared to, say, reading a book, but considering that video editing is pretty taxing on the CPU and the GPU, this is no surprise.

  1. Apple lingo for stylus↩︎

  2. In case you are not a diver, the sound of the bubbles is somewhat louder for the diver compared to the camera recording, as second stage of the regulator, ie. the one you keep in your mouth, is closer to the ears than the camera, and the exhaled air passes near or over your ears. ↩︎