How to Edit Video on iPad Pro

The iPad Pro’s larger screen makes it an awesome creativity tool, including a video editing platform. There’s more room to handle the tools and the touch interface gives video editors a unique experience.

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The iPad Pro’s mobility helps video editors on the go. You could use a MacBook Pro or another mid to high-end PC laptop, but the iPad Pro’s thinness and touch will do a better job. It changes the way some people work.

griffing tech powermate usb

Touch on iPad Pro gives editors similar precision as a jog dial like this one.

It’s not just about mobility. Finding the perfect frame to begin a clip using touch is easier than using a mouse or trackpad. Professional video editors use powerful video tools such as jog dials: round dials that quickly scrub through clips and then slow down instantly to find one frame to start an edit point. Even enthusiasts can get something like the $45 Griffin Tech’s PowerMate USB (seen above). However, most people use a mouse or trackpad since they don’t have one of these dials. Editing with touch on the iPad approaches the precision we get with jog dials like Griffin’s.

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Can the current crop of mobile video editing apps do enough to make pros put away their computers? Not yet, but we’re getting closer, so we’ll share a few favorite apps for enthusiasts and amateur iPad Pro video editors. Then we’ll look at some accessories and finally a few tips for iPad Pro video editing.

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Please see How to Edit Photos on iPad Pro

iPad Pro Video Editing Apps

Most people will grab iMovie (Free) and nothing else. The iOS version of iMovie handles simple iPad Pro video editing. It includes a few video themes (see below), which govern the overall look of the project. Editors can customize the themes with simple transitions and music. The app also imports iTunes music easily and photos or videos from the iPhone using Photos and Cloud syncing. Users can then share the project using the iOS 9 sharing feature.

imovie themes

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iMovie works fine for family memories and simple videos made for school, but more serious video editors will want more. It doesn’t let the user start their project on the iPad and then sync the project to a MacBook or other Mac automatically. However, users can use the sharing feature in iOS 9. iMore offers a nice tutorial on the best practices for exporting an iMovie project on the iPad Pro to the Mac. They cover it on iPhone, but it works the same on iPad.

iMovie also supports:

  • Themed titles and credits
  • Slide shows using pictures
  • Importing music
  • Voice over
  • Add videos and pictures using the iPad Pro camera (see video above)
  • Shows audio wave form
  • Fades and other transitions
  • Changing the speed of a clip to slow it down or speed it up

adobe premiere clip timeline editor

Adobe Premiere Clip (Free) can handle simple video editing. However, it’s also useful for serious videographers planning to start their projects while mobile. Add videos or photos to a new project from the main screen and the app asks if you want to do an Automatic video or a Freeform video where the user controls the edit.

Choose between Automatic and Freeform editing mode.

Choose between Automatic and Freeform editing mode.

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The Automatic will take the clips and generate a movie that matches the sound of audio files you add. Then it lets the user customize the video

The Freeform function in Adobe Premiere Clip works like a traditional video editing user-interface. Users will first drag their clips around the timeline and then drag to trim each clip. Music must be added from iTunes music downloaded to the iPad because it won’t import songs from the cloud. Users can then use one of a number of themes, add fades and transitions, choose whether to set photos in motion like the Ken Burns effect and then export the project.

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Exporting the project lets users send it to Premiere Pro for further editing. This is what makes it a great tool for pros or skilled videographers. While out in the field they can shoot video and then import it to the iPad Pro (more on that below). They can create the primary video track using the imported clips and then export the project to Premiere Pro using Adobe Creative Cloud. The service subscription costs at least $30/month for students on up to $70/month with access to stock photography.

Adobe Premiere Clip also supports:

  • Exporting to YouTube
  • Saving final projects to the iPad’s Camera Roll
  • Adding cross fades between clips and fading to and from black

pinnacle studio pro for ipad

Surprisingly, the best video editing app lets users create complex videos all on their iPad Pro. Pinnacle Studio Pro ($9.99) efficiently takes video from multiple sources, lets video editors put together creative and even somewhat complex projects, and then share the video to multiple places.

It’s easy to start by creating a new project. Users can add files from the iPad or from other cloud storage locations like Dropbox, Apple’s Cloud Drive or Google Drive. They can then add clips to the video project and place them in the timeline. Clips may be edited using touch or Pencil. Users can also add other content like photos, music, sound and titles. Finally, transitions and  a nice theme can be applied to give the video a consistent look.

Pinnacle Studio Pro offers the most complete solution for iPad Pro video editing in one tool. However, it’s not as useful for people who wish to start a project on the iPad Pro and then finish it in a more complete tool on a computer. The app allows for exporting to the PC version of Pinnacle Studio for PC ($124 for Ultimate). Try out the iPad version and, if you like it and use a PC, then give it a try.

Magisto Movie Maker & Video Editor (Free) will quickly take your media files and organize them into a nice video, like the Automatic mode in Adobe Premiere Clip above. Magisto uses a creation wizard that starts with selecting video, adding music, choosing a theme (see examples in video above) and then adding a title. The app creates the video and then uses iOS notifications to tell the user when it finished. It took a little while to make a short video of less than a minute.

People who don’t care about controlling the results and only want a quick video of their memories will love Magisto.

Magisto only runs in portrait mode. That’s a huge drawback which may stop some from using Magisto, especially since Premiere Clip can also create automatic videos out of files. The Automatic mode in Premiere Clip doesn’t force the user to subscribe to Creative Cloud to use it.

Accessories for iPad Pro Video Editors

The Apple Pencil helps users take control of fine edit points in a video. If you don’t want to pay $100 for one, then grab a cheaper stylus. The accuracy of the Apple Pencil means the user can adjust their clips to the perfect spot. The iPad Pro’s speed handles scrubbing through movie clips, even larger 1080P or 4K video.

twelvesouth parcslope stand for ipad pro

Editing the video on an iPad Pro will work better on a stand such as TwelveSouth’s ParcSlope ($49.99) stand. Use it with the iPad Pro for a perfect 18-degree angle, awesome for working with media or typing.

sd card lightning adapter

To get videos from a camera, use the SD Card to Lightning Adapter ($29) from Apple. Plug the adapter into the iPad Pro lightning connector with an SD card in the slot and open the Photos app. It finds the images and videos on the card and offers to import them into Photos. It’s a great way to move from a camera that doesn’t sync the media over Wi-Fi, something a lot of newer cameras will do.

lightning to usb camera adapter

A Lightning to USB adapter will also help users move photos and videos to the iPad from a camera or even from the iPhone. Users can also sync video over iCloud if the person turns that on in the iPhone’s Settings app. However, large videos will take a long time to sync, especially of they are 4K videos that the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus camera now can shoot. Using the cable will move them over faster.

Tips for iPad Pro Video Editing

In the post on editing photos on the iPad Pro, we ended by talking about workflow. However, the workflow a video editor uses will vary depending on the person, the kind of video they plan to create and the tools they use to shoot and work with video. It also changes greatly depending on whether they want to create the video using only the iPad Pro or if they want to start it on the iPad and then move to a computer using the sync features in Adobe Premiere Clip or Pinnacle Studio Pro. The following tips might make the video editor’s life simpler.

Importing Video and Media to the iPad

For those shooting video on an iPhone, import them using iCloud. It’s the simplest way to do it, but it also can take a long time if you’re syncing a lot of video or high-resolution videos. If that’s the case, move the files manually using one of the following:

  1. Connect the phone to the iPad using the Lightning to USB Camera adapter mentioned above.
  2. Plug the phone into a computer and download videos over the sync cable and import them into Photos. Then connect the iPad and manually copy them to the iPad.
  3. Use AirDrop to move clips directly over Wi-Fi, which saves time compared to syncing over iCloud.
  4. Use Dropbox or OneDrive, which uploads faster than iCloud

I listed the above alternatives from fastest to slowest. However, if you have plenty of time, use iCloud. It’s the simplest way.

Using music and photos helps add complexity to a video. Make sure the audio is on the iPad. This helps speed up the process. Open iTunes and download any music you might use and import voice-over into iTunes.

Android phone users can still use an iPad Pro. Sync using a third-party app like Dropbox, Google Photos, or OneDrive. All three come with Android and iOS apps making this easier than ever.

Audio Quality Matters

If you’re just making home movies, this might not matter as much. For more professional videos, pay careful attention to the audio quality. Use a dedicated mic instead of the phone’s or camera’s built-in mic.

irig mix connected to ipad

iRig makes some nice tools that work with iPhones. If your camera doesn’t include an external mic input, use an iPhone or Android phone with a dedicated mic to record audio. Use the editing app to add both the video and the recorded audio.

Syncing audio and video can get challenging. If you’ve seen a Hollywood movie clapboard, then you’ve seen a trick movie makers use to sync audio and video recorded using separate devices. You can do the same with something as simple as the clap of a hand at the beginning of the audio and video recording.

Use Collections

To make it easy to find the videos in the video editor, create a collection. Use iOS 9’s Photos app or Lightroom mobile, for Adobe users. In both cases this usually means selecting the videos and then adding the selected videos to a collection.

In the video editing app using collections helps the user find the videos quickly. It takes awhile to search through a large video and photo library otherwise.

Make a Shot List

Create a shot list, whether you’re creating a movie, a short film, a commercial for an event in an organization or just a fun family movie. This makes it easier to stay organized while creating the videos.

create shot lists in reminders

Use the iOS Reminders app. Create a new list and then put the shot list there. You can quickly add shots in the field using Siri and then check them off when the shot’s finished.

Shoot 4K Video, iPad Pro Can Handle It

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus can shoot in 4K. A lot of consumer level and pro level cameras can as well. So, consider shooting in 4K video. The iPad Pro can also edit in 4K.

Why shoot 4K even if a user doesn’t own a 4K TV? The 4K revolution is right around the corner and this future-proofs your movies. 4K TVs are dropping in price and TV providers are starting to catch up. DirecTV already distributes a lot of their programming in 4K and cable companies will likely follow their lead soon. The new Apple TV can’t handle 4K video yet, but your iPad Pro and other iOS devices can.

Shooting in 4K results in very large files, so you’ll need to remove the videos to back up after finishing with them project.