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TouchEdit App Brings Pro Editing to the iPad

COW Library : Art of the Edit : Debra Kaufman : TouchEdit App Brings Pro Editing to the iPad
CreativeCOW presents TouchEdit App Brings Pro Editing to the iPad -- Art of the Edit Editorial


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I saw a demonstration of TouchEdit at a recent Alpha Dogs Editors' Lounge, to a packed audience of interested filmmakers. Lebental has been a professional editor for 28 years and counts Cowboys & Aliens, the two Iron Man movies and Elf among his long list of credits. His career began in music videos and took off with the first MC Hammer music video; he claims to have been the first music video editor to own the nascent Avid. His career grew by cutting numerous hip hop and gangster rap music videos until he got the Hughes brothers' feature Dead Presidents and then connected with director Jon Favreau, who has Lebental edit all his movies. Lebental's co-founder and partner in TouchEdit is Lumi Docan, a post production supervisor and film/TV entrepreneur.


Dan Lebental holding iPad featuring the TouchEdit App.
Although Lebental had edited electronically for decades, when he got his iPad, it brought back memories of film. "It was amazingly cool," he says. "The iPad scrolling made me feel like I did as a young filmmaker because it's so tactile like when we handled film." Thus inspired, Lebental began working on TouchEdit a year and a half ago. "Go Retro...Go Pro" is his tagline for TouchEdit which, he says, "captures the spirit of classical filmmaking while offering cutting-edge digital editing capabilities." "TouchEdit reconnects its users with the essence of real film to create professional quality film edits," he says.

What do you get for your $50? Essentially a frame-accurate editing system that can work with other standard NLEs such as Final Cut X and offers an easy-to-get GUI that is reminiscent of film editing. In fact, says Lebental, TouchEdit is aimed to be "the 21st Century version of the Moviola," (TouchEdit requires an iPad 2 and iOS 6; the 4th generation iPad is recommended.)

The editor can import video and audio directly from the iPad's photo and music libraries. Timecode-based formats can be imported from cloud services such as Dropbox or from iTunes File Sharing. The app supports the same formats - H.264 and MPEG-4 - that iPad supports, and lets users edit directly with footage shot on the iPad as well as media imported from other sources. Lebental transcodes his media with timecode in Quicktime with H.264 compression.

The interface mimics classic editing: the editor has two "monitors" (source and record) controlled by two corresponding "filmstrips," which are controlled by finger-touch. Turn the iPad into portrait mode, and TouchEdit offers timeline-based editing so users can interact directly with the video and eight channels of audio. Using the flatbed analogy, says Lebental, the filmstrips move left to right, the opposite of today's NLEs. Add/edit buttons enable the editor to do overwrite and insert edits. "For those who want an in/out button, a 'grease pencil' button marks ins and outs," says Lebental, who notes that TouchEdit also has both "undo" and "redo" buttons. The eight channels of stereo audio are supported with a mixer. TouchEdit lets editors mix frame rate and format sizes.

Most important for professional editors, TouchEdit transfers all metadata information, if it's imported from Dropbox or iTunes Sharing. Editors can work with lower-res versions of the media or full resolution. Instead of bins, Lebental uses the word "collections" - but it appears to work exactly like bins.

If you get stuck, Lebental has made it easy to get help. "Every page has question marks that bring you to a pinchable diagram," he says. "There are also YouTube tutorials."


At the Editor's Lounge, checking out the new iPad App.

Click images for larger view.


Getting the edit out of TouchEdit and back to another NLE (or elsewhere) takes place much the same way it was imported. It can be loaded via Dropbox or iTunes sharing. Sharing the EDL can be done via exporting FCP XML. A future version will include Avid's AAF Input/Output. Lebental says that soon the app will enable editors to email files and offer the same edit gestures on portrait mode as on landscape. Other upcoming features planned include an evolved marker, voice commands, multi-cam editing and timecode burn-ins. Lebental also plans an iPhone version and another "light" version.

Lebental has already used TouchEdit for an independent feature and was able to store all the footage on the 64 GB iPad.

"Mobile technology is definitely what's happening," says Lebental. "We're in a world where everything has to be quick and nimble. TouchEdit helps end redundancy in production and post. To truly understand, you must touch!" He also stresses that the evolution of TouchEdit is up to the users. "This fits my needs," he says. "Where I go with the product is up to you."

Lebental says he plans to use TouchEdit on the next Favreau-directed film he edits. How useful is iPad editing in the post production pipeline? Time and experience will tell. If you buy TouchEdit and use it on a project, let us know.

TouchEdit is available in the iTunes store here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/touchedit/id588161783?mt=8





Thanks to Debra Kaufman for coordination with Dan Lebental on this piece.
Follow her on Twitter @MobilizedDebra


Comments

Re: TouchEdit App Brings Pro Editing to the iPad
by Casper Davies
I am considering this tool for music video production, fx would be useful onboard,
is there any possible consideration to this & in which ways would this product help best improve project workflow & or execution of ones creative ideas?
Thank you .
@Casper Davie
by Dan Lebental
Casper,
Fx are on the way for TouchEdit. There is also plans for other music video related features such as multi cam. It is already being used on sets to for quick answers about coverage, eye lines and other issues.

Dan Lebental ACE
Re: TouchEdit App Brings Pro Editing to the iPad
by Rob Barros
So far, everyone has missed the point... I am a second generation editor. The technology changes continually, but editing on an "Airplane"? Get real! That wasn't your finer work!

If anything has ever been constant in an edit suite... Is dark, quiet, an desensitized from the outside world.

Don't B.S. me!
Re: TouchEdit App Brings Pro Editing to the iPad
by Dan Dennedy
A $50 price tag on an iPad app is going to deter everyone but the experts. I know it sounds cheap to you guys, but it is expensive in the app economy, which can be difficult to make decent money on, but does not seem to stop many from trying!
@Dan Dennedy
by Dan Lebental
Dan,
You are quite right on the current state of things in the app economy. I am betting on the fact that in the next five years there will be a mass migration of professional applications in every sphere to mobile technology. We have already seen the migrations from mainframe to desktop to laptop. There are already plenty of signs of this in the app market. For right now, TouchEdit is on sale to bring up the user base and demonstrate that a constant flow of new features will appear - possibly as soon as next week!

Dan Lebental ACE
Re: TouchEdit App Brings Pro Editing to the iPad
by Keith Ward
Phillip, I couldn't disagree more. As always, it's the editor, not the tools, that matter. As far as I can see, all this does is give you another platform on which to work. What's wrong with that? It's all digital anyway, whether or not those bits are on a Mac, PC or iPad. More options means more flexibility.
Re: TouchEdit App Brings Pro Editing to the iPad
by Joe Schroecker
Would be great if this App were available for Android, so you could actually work with it [offline](e.g. access to the file system, using portable HD, etc)

cheers,
joe
Re: TouchEdit App Brings Pro Editing to the iPad
by Philip Imbrenda
The more there is less need to make a real investment in the profession of editing the more it will cheapen the end product, the same way The Mac put a lot of very good print houses out of business these gimmicky toys will do the same to cheapen good quality movies and TV shows just look at the stuff that's coming out now all shot on SLR cameras and you can tell, why should anyone invest in a building to house a real production company with a full time professional staff when Joey and uncle Fred can attempt to produce the same thing in the basement of a house for next to no money? I the truth is Dan makes a valid point.

Tv One Productions
+1
@Philip Imbrenda
by Dan Lebental
Phillip,
Adding another tool in our arsenal will not hurt the end product or lessen professional editing. It will help to democratize it. When the 35mm Camera came out everyone thought it was the death of pro photography. In the end it made it clear who was a pro and who wasn't. Likewise, I can buy a pen and paper at the store for a dollar but it doesn't make me a writer. You see the goal is to add a qualified mobile tool to help in the creative process and whether or not TouchEdit is successful this will happen because it must happen.

Dan Lebental ACE
Re: TouchEdit App Brings Pro Editing to the iPad
by Dan Asselin
I have this awful feeling that clients with no knowledge of proxy files will accuse you of "Milking" them if they see you working with this and not delivering a finished product within minutes of the end of the shoot. Sorry....feeling extra paranoid today.
Re: TouchEdit App Brings Pro Editing to the iPad
by Dan Lebental
Yes. We will be adding AAF import/export soon. You are right as well about editing in tight spaces. I've cut too many scenes in Airplanes that I barely fit in with my hard drive dropping on the floor and my laptop dying.

Dan Lebental ACE
Re: TouchEdit App Brings Pro Editing to the iPad
by Mike Cohen
This type of app might actually allow one to do some editing in cramped spaces, such as an airplane. Having tried to edit on a large laptop on cross country flights, I wished my arms were a bit shorter or my tray table a bit longer - either way it is easier said than done. I assume you work with proxy files to save space, then relink to the actual files back on the NLE. Any plans to support Adobe Premiere?
Mike Cohen


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