Saturday, 17 July 2010

Directing for reel

iPhone 3GS Tilt & Shift Photography from magnusphotog on Vimeo. © Magnus Andersson

If you don't like the iPhone and/or hate reading about it, you should probably skip this post. Furthermore you'll also be spared the details on what a sad life I live, when an app on a mobile phone can give me so much pleasure.

For the rest of you; above you can watch a slide show of photographs which I took on the iPhone 3GS. Nothing special about that of course, lots of other phones have got much better cameras, but not many of those are as much fun, or as versatile.

With the release of the iPhone 4 I got a bit intrigued about iMovie on the iPhone. Of course I tried installing it, but having an older handset meant that I wasn't allowed. Bummer. So I looked around to see what else was out there to edit video and I found ReelDirector. I now realise that a lot of people have been raving about it already; its been out for quite a while - but as soon as I tried it I fell in love with it.

I readily admit that I don't shoot a lot of video, either professionally or personally, BUT having the ability to create slide shows from still images natively on the iPhone is such a treat. Its been a while since I used Soundslides and that program is just a pain in the arse. The advent of Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere and even iMovie on Mac's made it all so much easier, and now its even easier on your mobile.

ReelDirector outputs to .MOV and you can either email it or save it to your camera roll as a compressed version. The rendering takes an age of course, the processor on the 3GS isn't as powerful as on the iPhone 4, but leave it for a while and soon you'll hear the bell announcing completion.

Music rendering can occasionally throw up a little time shift, notably a second or two of slowing down the pitch, but apart from that it works just fine. The amount of transitions that you can choose from is very versatile and the only big gripe I have about the app is that there is no way of choosing orientation of a new reel, i.e. will the latest output come up as a landscape or portrait video?

Extremely annoying and I do hope that the creators - Nexvio - will issue a fix for this soon.
On the plus side, you can use music from your own library (albeit not directly from the iPhone, you have to do it from your own computer over Wi-Fi first, but its easy enough) and you can combine still images with video if you so wish, split clips etc. A lot of people seem to prefer ReelDirector over iMovie as well, and that says a lot.

Above all though, ReelDirector is so much fun to use and for £2.39 its a snip! This little app combined with the previously mentioned ZoomIt and a SD recording camera gives you one of the most compact multi media production kits on the planet. Other planets have even smaller stuff, but sadly they don't ship to Earth yet.

PS. Here's a link to the same slide show uploaded to youtube, but I find that the resolution seems to be a bit lower over there compared to Vimeo, maybe its just my eyes?

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