Posts Tagged ‘review’

iPhone App Review – ReelDirector

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Ever since I purchased the iPhone 4, I’ve been shooting home movies with the built-in 720p video camera. I enjoy the convenience of having a high quality video camera with me at all times, without having to carry around an extra device, like my Kodak Zi8. The iPhone 4 video camera makes it easy to shoot and share videos right from your phone. You can even trim the length of clips, if you just want to share a short clip. But what about video editing on your iPhone?

Well, as they say, there’s an app for that. In fact, filmmakers are now experimenting with producing short films entirely on their iPhones. I don’t know that I’ll be creating any narrative shorts with my iPhone, but the thought of having a video editing app did intrigue me, so I went over to the app store to read about the available options.

Of course, Apple is really pushing iMovie, but I was skeptical when I started reading the user reviews (pretty negative). I also considered Splice, but finally settled on ReelDirector. I used it for the first time last night to edit a short video of my son playing on the playground near our house. There are a few reasons why I chose ReelDirector:

  • VARIETY – ReelDirector offers several different video transitions that you can add to your video. You can also create titles in a variety of different fonts and sizes, and place them almost anywhere on the screen.
  • SIZE – ReelDirector is only about 10MB in size. iMovie takes up about 30MB.
  • QUALITY – As of this writing, Splice cannot export finished videos in HD, but ReelDirector and iMovie can.
  • PRICE – ReelDirector is about $1 cheaper than iMovie.
  • SPLIT – In ReelDirector, in addition to trimming the length of a clip, you have the option of splitting one clip into two, which can be very handy.

Note that there are pros and cons to the video editing apps currently available. ReelDirector may have more features and greater flexibility than iMovie, but render times are incredibly long by comparison. Plus, you can’t preview an edited video in ReelDirector without rendering. In iMovie, you can. I’ll post more of my thoughts on the app as I continue to use it. For now, here is a great side-by-side comparison of ReelDirector and iMovie.

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Working with the Canon T2i

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

I’m excited to say that we’ve added another camera to our video arsenal. We recently acquired the Canon T2i, a great DSLR that shoots full frame 1920x1080p HD video in variable frame rates. Last weekend I spent some time shooting test footage, so I could get to know the camera a little better. Then I brought the raw footage into my editing system to see if I could establish a good workflow. Below are three clips I shot over the weekend. Here are some of my first impressions with the camera:

  1. The shallow depth of field that you can get with these cameras is pretty remarkable.
  2. Boosting the ISO will always add more grain to your shot. If you are shooting indoors and you don’t want a lot of grain in your image, keep the ISO as low as you can and add more light to your scene.
  3. It’s a good idea to invest in some neutral density filters for exterior shooting. Using ND filters will allow you to keep your shutter speed at a slower setting. Increasing the shutter speed will cause your video to strobe more, creating a very staccato feel. Of course, this might be just the effect you are looking for.
  4. Unless you are using Premiere Pro CS5, you will probably need to use some intermediate codec to convert the native MOV files into a format that your NLE can work with.
  5. The T2i provides manual control over exposure and focus, and offers three different HD movie modes – 1080p/30fps, 1080p/24fps, and 720p/60fps. There doesn’t seem to be any manual control over white balance, but if you know of a way to change it, let me know.
  6. Establishing rock-solid focus marks for your scene will be difficult without adding some kind of follow-focus system on to your camera. It’s not impossible, but it will take some rehearsing.
  7. Make sure you purchase SDHC cards with fast transfer speeds. That will ensure better recording and better playback.
  8. I love the LCD screen. Very large, very clear.
  9. The ergonomics of hand-holding the camera isn’t as awkward as some people make it out to be. Is it different? Yes, but you can easily adapt.
  10. The image stabilization in both the kit 18-55mm lens and the 50-250mm lens seem to respond very well. I didn’t use a tripod on any of my test shoots and was pleased with how the IS in each lens reduced hand shake.

Again, these are simply my initial impressions and observations. I’m sure I will post more as I start using the camera on client projects.

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