Before we start this LumaFusion review, here’s a little background on myself; I’ve been producing videos for over a decade now, it all started with a web cam and Windows Movie Maker on Windows ME (I know, eww!) with me later moving to a laptop with Windows Vista, continuing to use Windows Movie Maker until I started using iMovie in ‘08 on my iMac, with me now using Final Cut Pro X.
It’s long been known that iMovie for iPad is a joke. While it has a really nice user interface, it lacks a lot of tools people need to edit serious videos. When I purchased my iPad Pro a few years ago I wanted it to be my main portable computer and the fact is while it is capable to do some really amazing things, in my opinion video editing wasn’t one of them, until I discovered LumaFusion by LumaTouch.
It’s a game changer. It does have it’s flaws but the pros outweigh the cons. LumaFusion packs many powerful tools that I love and it comes with a pretty lightweight user interface. If that’s all you needed to hear before making your purchase than go right ahead. You won’t be sorry. If you wish to know more about the application than strap in, because this article is going to take you on a wild ride!
Let’s talk about the design of LumaFusion. When you first launch the app you’ll see the LumaFusion icon on the launch screen… Personally I think the icon doesn’t do the app justice, it makes the app feel like a toy rather than a tool. I didn’t have a great first impression but I kept on diving into the application to see more because other people were raving about it online. The general user interface of the app is a nice blend between complex and simple. I had a really hard time fumbling around the app at first but now after using it for a week I think I know where everything is. That being said, their are a few buttons I still don’t know what they do and unlike an Apple app, theirs no “?” button that gives you onscreen hints to what things do. The app features a very similar interface to other video editors. It really reminds me of iMovie ‘08 in the fact that you have your viewer on the upper right, media storage in the upper left and a timeline that runs on the bottom. The timeline is also magnetic which means that if a piece of media is tied to another piece of media then when you go to move it, the rest will follow too. This is something I really have come to love with Final Cut Pro and iMovie.
LumaFusion has a lot of great features built in. You of course can do clip cutting, transitions, titles, etc… But you can also do pip clips that you can actually scale to however you like. I use this feature for the logo I place at the bottom right of all my videos. iMovie for iPad does not allow me to do that and that feature alone has prevented me from using iMovie for iPad. You can also do color corrected like saturation and contrast on video clips which is just unheard of for an iPad. Even iMovie for the Mac doesn’t have that feature. You can also monitor audio from a unified control panel, mark clip beginning/end, copy clip attributes (and paste them) and keyboard shortcuts! Those make editing very handy if you have an external keyboard like Apple’s smart cover attached. Another feature I really like is the ability to set a project frame rate and resolution. This app allows you to edit 4K video at 60fps which iMovie does not allow.
Currently LumaFusion has the ability to connect to Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and OneDrive. Why not iCloud Drive? This is my biggest disappointment with the app. Sure I can import iCloud Drive media from the iCloud Drive (Files) app but that’s an extra step that I don’t want to have to take all the time. I also don’t like that I have to import the media to LumaFusion than edit. Then again I’m just spoiled to Final Cut Pro where I just have to take a file from the Finder, drag it to the timeline and then Final Cut will import it in the background while making the clip usable immediately. It’s also worth mentioning that I cannot figure out (if there is a way) to delete media that has been imported into the application. I also hope that LumaFusion will support iOS 11 drag and drop. I do like however that the app tells you how much disk space you have left in the app, that’s pretty handy.
In LumaFusion you can set the app to have a different interface layout which is really nice if you don’t like the iMovie ‘08 style interface. The app can support up to 3 simultaneous video clips stacked on top of each other and 3 simultaneous audio tracks. This makes it really cool if you want to have 2 pip elements on a video clip. Titles however do count as a visual track so you cannot have 3 visuals (like a video or photo) and a title. Just something to keep in mind.
People tell me all the time that editing video on iPad with the Apple Pencil is phenomenal and before LumaFusion I really didn’t see what they saw. Now after using it I can really see the benefits. I would like to see the LumaFusion developers add in additional Apple Pencil support like automatically cutting a clip when I draw down on a clip with the Apple Pencil.
While LumaFusion does appear to hands down offer one of the best video editing experiences on the iPad, there is one or two features I would love to see integrated into the app as time goes on…
•Better iCloud Drive integration
•iOS 11 Drag and Drop
•Advanced Apple Pencil Support
•Delete Imported Media
•Native AFP/SMB/FTP File Support
•iOS 11 Metal 2
•Bubble Suggestions for On Screen Tools
LumaFusion helps complete the Mac to iPad transition for me. I do most of my typing on my iPad Pro, spreadsheets, smaller podcasts, photo editing/sorting, and file management. Now thanks to LumaFusion I can add smaller video editing projects to my list of things iPad Pro is great at. It’s worth mentioning that I wrote this review using iPad Pro and Pages. Special thanks to the folks who developed LumaFusion for providing a copy of the application to review. I hope that some of the features that I mentioned above make it into a future release of the application because I think it’s just about perfect, and that’s saying a lot coming from me.
LumaFusion 1.3.3 is now available, with keyboard commands, new aspect ratios and frame rates, and many other improvements pic.twitter.com/8eRG87Fl14
— Luma Touch (@LumaTouch) June 22, 2017