Convergence - a Review of Nexvio ReelDirector & the Future

Today I created something very interesting. Here it is.

Fairly standard fair for YouTube, right? Nope. The bit that makes this video interesting is the text at the end. This video was shot, edited and published entirely on my iPhone 3GS. The new iPhone app ReelDirector from Nexvio is the app I wished for in an earlier post. The iPhone 3GS is now a miniature video production studio. What this means for the future is quite profound, but first let me talk about the app it self.
The ReelDirector timeline ReelDirector is no Final Cut Pro or even iMovie. It is as simple as a video editor can get. You select and trim videos with the same method that is built into the 3GS, but then you bring those clips into a timeline where you can cut it together with other clips. That is the basic functionality. That alone is a big deal. With those tools you have all you need to tell a story with video. However, ReelDirector has done a little more than that. The app has 27 different transitions that can be used between clips and you can also add reasonably customized titles at the beginning and end of the video.
What is missing? The main thing is audio. Sound is linked to the video and you cannot separate them which is pretty obvious in the video. This means you cannot have the audio from one clip continue underneath another. You also cannot add other sound such as music or voice over -- though Nexvio says they are working to add this. Another feature I would like to see is effects and color correction. It would be nice to optimize the look of the videos while editing them. While they are at it Nexvio could bundle in the functionality of their SlowMo iPhone app, so you can change the speed of video.
Ok, the future. The ability to edit video on the same device as it is shot with is unprecedented (as far as I know). More than that, since the iPhone has 3G, you can upload theses videos straight to a distribution source -- practically in real-time. I shot My Morning Commute this morning. It was uploading to YouTube by the time I was sitting at my desk. The workflow was great. I shot some video, then switched over to ReelDirector and cut the shots in. When I stepped out of the train I just had to shoot the last two shots, cut them in and I was done. I edited the story together as it was happening! The iPhone now represents the convergence of the entire video workflow into one device. Welcome to the world of tomorrow!!
Ok, the iPhone is not going to put Hollywood out of business. The video quality is good for a phone but that is about it and it gets worse when you upload it to YouTube with the built-in photos app (here is a full quality version for comparison). Where I think we will see this convergence utilized first will be in journalism and documentary. A journalist can file completed video reports from the field with a single inconspicuous device. This can be done while on the move and as the story is taking place. The revolution may not be televised, but the story may be told by someone armed only with iPhone. I think ReelDirector is a must-have app for all 3GS owners.


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