Video editing on iPad gets an upgrade
$19.99 From Luma Touch, luma-touch.com
Made for iPhone, iPad Needs iOS 10 or later
The iPad has become a great device for a lot of creative tasks, but video has always been a bit of a weak area. iMovie is great for simple stuff, but is very limited. Other apps have come and gone that have attempted to add the tools people are used to from desktop video editors, but none has set the world alight. LumaFusion is the best attempt yet at fitting a full-on video editor on tablet, and though it’s not perfect, it’s powerful and smartly rethinks some elements of editing for a touch-focused world.
If you’ve used iMovie on desktop, its basic interface won’t surprise you at all. At top left is a clip browser, for choosing stored video to import (you can also send video to it using iOS’s Open In option from a storage app); at the top right is a preview window of the currently selected video; and at the bottom is the timeline for putting together your movie. Double-tap a clip to open adjustment options, which mostly use sliders. The timeline can hold multiple video and audio tracks, and acts magnetically (as in iMovie) by default, but you can switch that option off, which is great for Final Cut 7 diehards. Drag things around to move them, while double-tapping a clip opens full adjustment options for it. You can detach audio
from video clips, insert or replace clips easily, and add text and transitions.
Lots of stuff has been rethought for the touch interface. Precise scrolling is handled through the use of virtual jogwheels, and many advanced options are only shown in context to avoid clogging up the screen – but what’s here still fits neatly in to how you expect a desktop editor to work.
That said, there will be stumbling blocks: you can keyframe things such as video effects and positioning, or audio level, but it took us a little while to understand exactly how. Once we got it, we were kind of blown away by its elegance – though we wish you could smooth the curves.
Accessing advanced options such as color tweaks or frame positioning means a lot of fussy bars and buttons, so LumaFusion is built heavily around saving preset styles (and you can copy and paste effects easily), which you can then add directly from a menu on the timeline. It’s very smart for the kind of mid-level-pro stuff at which LumaFusion seems aimed.
However, there is a frequent awkwardness that holds us back from completely worshiping at LumaFusion’s feet. We found adding and working with transitions harder than it needs to be (especially on multitrack works), and the timeline snapping isn’t always reliable. Losing the Undo button when working on video imports is also frustrating. And there are key features we want to see added, including image cropping, shape drawing, a named list view for picking videos, audio effects, and chroma keying. With these, and a little more refinement, this will be truly phenomenal.
THE BOTTOM LINE. The best video editor on iPad by far, and worth the money, but not quite a desktop replacement yet.
LumaFusion doesn’t feel cramped, even on 10-inch iPads.