Splice–App Review

A scant five years ago, I was talking to a class at the second ChurchMedia.net national convention. I somehow started talking about the future of video. I spoke about cell phones with their nascent ability to shoot video. I wondered aloud what would happen in a few years. Would cell phones get to the point where they could shoot useable video? Would they get to the point where someone could take a cell phone, import the video into a computer and use that for a church video?

It wasn’t long ago that I saw this first-hand. As our pastor left for a trip, his video to our congregation was shot on a then just released 3gs. It didn’t stop at shooting usable video, though.

With the advent of the iPad and iOS 4, iMovie was released to enable iPhone 4’s to edit the video that they shoot. This left iPhone 3gs owners scrambling for a way to edit their videos. There were hacks that enabled iMovie on the older software, but there wasn’t a good cheap solution until very recently.

Today I read about the app that I as a videographer have been waiting for–a cheap or free editor that would allow me to take the footage that I created with my iPhone and piece it together quickly and elegantly.

It’s called Splice. There are two versions of Splice, a free iAds supported version and the full version. The difference in price is $1.99. I downloaded the free version, skeptical that it would allow me to do what I wanted to do–make cuts, add cross-dissolves, & maybe add an occasional title.

Splice did not disappoint. I quickly made a video combining two short clips I’d shot earlier. I added and then removed the cross-dissolve between the two clips. I decided that I needed to fade up from black and fade to black at the end and once I created a black frame by taking a picture with my finger covering the lens of my iPhone, I could do that.

I quickly added a test title at the front and was generally please with the results. I previewed a couple of times and then exported a “high quality” version (640×480). I think this would be good enough for most current web requirements, although I wouldn’t want to show it on your 40′ screen at church.

Splice is limited, though. As someone who cut his teeth ten years ago on Final Cut Pro 1.0, I missed the ability to tweak text, transition times, and the like. It won’t replace a robust editor, but the ability to make a quick and dirty edit in the field, adding background music or a voice over, is something unimagined not long ago.

If this is a first step, we can only imagine where this will lead. In another five years, pixelated ugly cell-phone footage may all but be replaced by neatly trimmed little video packages constructed in minutes and uploaded just as quickly.

I’d recommend this to anyone that wants to have the ability to tweak their iPhone video and take it to the next level. I’m even thinking of forking over my $1.99 to support such fine work.