Sunday, July 3, 2011

iPhone Editor Reviews

         First I will start with the iPhone's mainstay, iMovie. It can be purchased for $ 4.99 from the iTunes store. When first opening it loads up quickly. It has the ability to hold multiple projects at the same time, which can be accessed underneath the Movie House Marque. Workspace wise, it appears on the surface to be a crisp workflow. Importing video and stills were easy, though it does require moving through multiple screens for each import. One quirk about it is that each download ise inserted in front of previous imports, most NLE's that I have experience with don't work this way but it only takes a minute to get used to. Editing is slow and cumbersome, there is very limited room for adjusting clip length which my fat fingers found difficult to manage and forced multiple attempts for each cut/trim.  Transitions are limited to two- Crossfade and a stylized wipe. For the majority of transitions anything more than a crossfade becomes kitschee, it is comforting when you have multiple options than just two.       I found that the truncated ability of the title editor, with its annoying insistence that you work within its templet structure disappointing. You can work around this by purchasing another app (extras4iMovie) but why should I go through another app just to display text in my video. The inclusion of themic music is a nice touch, particularly when you need some background music to pull the video together.
      After having spent several hours editing multiple video clips using this app, I have come to the conclusion that while relatively stable, is a pain to work with. You can get the job done,but only within the confines provided. Then again it is on my phone......I am editing 720p video on my phone!

Splice - Video Editor (Free)
      The next big player in this market is Splice.  Available (currently on sale for $.99) from the iTunes store as well. This editor has some significant improvements over iMovie. One of them isn't loading time. It takes forever to load up( I believe that the improvement take longer to load). However, once it is loaded a near-fully functional NLE is at your fingertips. Two quick peeks at the "How to..." videos on had me off and running. The cramped work area that plagued my editing with iMovie was solved by Splice by dropping the chosen clip into a new screen, enlarged and by itself, where you can manipulate it as you see fit. Outside of its annoying tendency to crash at various stages( most often when previewing the edits) it is a significant improvement over iMovie.. There is an ability to purchase some "extras" from the Splice store(i.e. sound effects, music, borders,etc...) but I don't believe any of that should be to necessary. Think iPhone Foley, and check out for royalty free music.

Either editor can give you the ability to edit video. That is the most important ability. I personally will continue to use Splice as my iPhone editor (CS5.5 on the laptop) but you cannot go wrong with either.

So now you have an edit, but you want more! More from your iPhone ? "What more can you do?" You ask. Color grading !!!! For my next review I will be checking out Red Giants "Movie Looks" as well as Nexvio's "CinemaFX for Video".

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

Saw the Wienermobile in the parking lot while getting gas. Decided it would make a good subject for testing out the iPhones video and video editing capabilities. Edited using Splice. Audio comes from an old 1960's ad.

Splice introductory "How to" Video

Monday, June 27, 2011

iPhone Mania

I have been struck down with iPhone mania. Almost all of my video, lately has been done with the tool that is always on me..... My iPhone 4.

Here are a few examples. Both were filmed using Filmic Pro... an excellent video app! The editing was done rather tediously with the app iMovie (what can one expect. ITS A PHONE!). Color grading was by either 8mm or by Movie Looks .

Finding Isabella 

This was edited while in standstill traffic on our local outerbelt, using iMovie. This was my first use of this app and it felt very cumbersome to use. I muddled my way through it to kind of get what I wanted out of it.  I want to thank the LP truck driver who shut down the freeway for making this possible.

Fountain Delight

Another all inclusive iPhone creation. Shot on Location at Easton Towne Center. Edited on location and uploaded to Vimeo while on location. Shot with Filmic Pro.....Edited with iMovie.....Color graded and stylized with 8mm.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

LCD viewfinder tutorial using recycled video camera parts.

Here is a little tutorial I made showing how I converted an old EVF from an ancient video camera and adapted it to my T2i. I actually was able to do this build completely from parts I already had.


I have had this idea for a while, but procrastination put it off.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Anatomy of a DIY filmmaker.......

Why do I build it ? Why to I look at various asundry items where ever I go and think about how I might use what ever it is to make some "necessary" and "much needed" equipment ?

This is a complex question. The simple answer is MONEY, or the lack there of to purchase the overpriced  niche equipment that pervades film and video. My introduction into the DIY filmmaking fraternity was with my first "steady-cam". I looked at some footage I had filmed of my daughter at the park and despaired at the shaky footage and how I could use it.

The Beginning........
Thus began the RESEARCH. I combed through  blogs and forums as well as Youtube for hints, tips, how-to's. With the video's posted by WSCLATER documenting his steady-cam build, I proceeded to construct my own version.By scrounging around I was able to  construct it using some t-track, roller blade bearings, an old aluminum ski pole and an over-sized socket, as a counter weight. I built a usable assembly that could be construed as a video stabilizer. Having only spent a couple of dollars on washers for the build, I was hooked. This was the beginning..........

DIY "Spinner" DOF adapter.........   

What followed is a series of constructions that have included a "spinner" depth of field adapter, 3 different fig rig combinations (one is completely unique), a skater dolly (thanks to Emm at cheesy cam ), a dolly track for the skater dolly, 3 adjustable lighting c-stands, a monopod rig, and a slider dolly, with more equipment to come. Each piece of equipment eating valuable time in research, so much so that my wife began calling it my "Porn".

The second incarnation of the "Fig" rig.
Designed by the guys at .
Even though several of the things I have made, I could afford to purchase, I think the satisfaction that I get when someone asks "Where did you get this?" combined with the lopsided admiring look they give  upon my answer, provides more than enough incentive to keep making other equipment in the future. I believe that it this is the true reason why the DIY bug continues to lurk. So with many more builds to come and perhaps a tutorial or two I close with just a thought. "When you build it, Keep It Simple Stupid !" and maybe your wife may not seem to mind that much of you looking at "porn" .


Monday, March 28, 2011

The five second film

I recently entered a 5 second film competition on Vimeo. ( )
I found it quite gratifying and a bit challenging. First off, five seconds is barely enough time to film a sneeze much less create a coherent "story". I found that I ended up filming almost 20 minutes of footage that got boiled down to approximately 18 seconds. I couldn't make it any smaller so I "cheated". By using a series of 6 frames, each showing  a portion of the sequence, the project was salvaged. I  staggered (time-wise) the in-out points so the video had somewhat of a flow. I didn't win, but it forced me to delve deeper into this craft in an unforeseen way!

Morning Glory from John Phillips on Vimeo.

Check out some of the best projects (in my opinion) from this competition.

Here are the links to the winners.

Congratulations to the Winners !!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Blog has been started.

DuLitai Productions now has an official Blog. To celebrate I am posting the first of my "Home movies that don't Suck!".  So Enjoy!