IOS Cen­tral Re­views

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - BY J.R. BOOKWALTER

When the ipad was in­tro­duced, crit­ics dis­missed the de­vice as only good for ebook read­ing, in­ter­net brows­ing, and ca­sual gam­ing. But when imovie de­buted on the ipad less than a year later, it was clear Ap­ple’s tablet am­bi­tions were more grandiose.

Al­though great for quickly as­sem­bling short videos, the free imovie for IOS never quite lived up to lofty ex­pec­ta­tions. There’s no in­di­ca­tion the no-frills app will ever ac­quire the more ro­bust mo­bile videoedit­ing skills of Fi­nal Cut Pro—and that’s just fine, be­cause there’s al­ready an app that does this quite nicely.


Lu­ma­fu­sion ( go.mac­ is the first mo­bile video edi­tor that lives up to the hype, one so ridicu­lously fea­ture-packed, it seems un­fair to pay the de­vel­oper so lit­tle ($20) for it. Rather than rein­vent the wheel, Lu­ma­fu­sion en­ables old-school mul­ti­track edit­ing—three tracks for video with au­dio, plus three for au­dio only—in a mod­u­lar user in­ter­face rem­i­nis­cent of the clas­sic Fi­nal Cut Pro.

I’ve tried all of the third-party mo­bile edit­ing apps. They’re ei­ther too cum­ber­some or have lim­i­ta­tions that make them un­suit­able for more am­bi­tious projects. Worse yet, most of these apps feel like they were de­signed by peo­ple who never edited video be­fore.

Not so with Lu­ma­fu­sion, whose com­pre­hen­sive tools are laid out in a log­i­cal, in­tu­itive way that will be in­stantly fa­mil­iar to any­one who’s used desk­top non-lin­ear edit­ing soft­ware. Even on the iphone, the user in­ter­face is sur­pris­ingly spa­cious and easy to use, es­pe­cially after watch­ing the quick start video linked in the Help menu. Mul­ti­ple pre­set lay­out op­tions ac­com­mo­date al­most any edit­ing style.

The universal app checks off a lengthy list of pro­fes­sional fea­tures: Sup­port for frame rates other than 30p (24p, 60p, and PAL stan­dard 25p or 50p), rip­ple and slip edit­ing, the abil­ity to shut­tle or mark in/out points from the source viewer, live au­dio mix­ing, ad­vanced ti­tles, and most re­mark­ably keyframes, which al­low ba­sic size and po­si­tion an­i­ma­tion.


Un­til re­cently, edit­ing video on IOS was lim­ited to me­dia from the Cam­era Roll. IOS 11 and the Files app changed all that, but Lu­ma­fu­sion kicks things up an­other notch with sup­port for im­port­ing from (or ex­port­ing to) cloud stor­age and SMB­com­pat­i­ble net­work-at­tached servers like my ASUSTOR AS7008T.

Once im­ported into Lu­ma­fu­sion, tap on a clip in the Sources panel to open it in

the viewer, then trim start and end ac­cord­ingly. Thought­ful touches abound: Swipe down to mark an in point, up for an out point, or make pre­ci­sion trims by dou­ble-tap­ping the viewer to go full-screen.

Be­fore drag­ging a clip from the viewer and drop­ping it onto the time­line, you can switch be­tween over­write and re­place edit modes at the tap of a button. By de­fault, Lu­ma­fu­sion per­forms in­sert ed­its, au­to­mat­i­cally shift­ing ad­ja­cent clips to make room for the one be­ing added; it’s also easy to re­place ex­ist­ing clips by drag­ging a new one on top of them.

Be­yond ba­sic edit­ing, Lu­ma­fu­sion shines at spic­ing up projects with a gen­er­ous se­lec­tion of ef­fects, tran­si­tions, ti­tles, color cor­rec­tion, and a small (but high­qual­ity) li­brary of roy­alty-free mu­sic built-in. The abil­ity to key out footage shot against blue or green screens is par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive and works re­mark­ably well.

Still on my wish list is icloud sync be­tween de­vices—you can’t start a project on the iphone and pick up where you left off on the ipad with­out per­form­ing an ar­chive and re­store. But that’s nit­pick­ing, con­sid­er­ing the ex­haus­tive num­ber of things this app can do.


When it comes to edit­ing video on an IOS de­vice, Lu­ma­fu­sion has no equal. This is the poster child for how a “desk­top class” mo­bile app should per­form and re­de­fines what’s pos­si­ble on a smart­phone or tablet. ■

Even on the iphone, Lu­ma­fu­sion keeps the user in­ter­face un­clut­tered and easy to use.

A live au­dio mixer and com­pre­hen­sive video tran­si­tions make the dream of mo­bile edit­ing a re­al­ity with Lu­ma­fu­sion.

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