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Video Editing on the iPad: How does Avid Studio Stack up to iMovie?

Ashley Kennedy
By Ashley Kennedy
By Ashley Kennedy

iPad Video Editing Apps: iMovie vs. Avid Studio—who wins?

Last week, Avid Technology released Avid Studio for iPad, now available for $4.99 in the App Store. This app release ends Apple iMovie‘s pseudo-monopoly on tablet-based video editing. (iMovie for the iPad also costs $4.99.) With the two apps currently at the same price, we thought it’d be an interesting exercise to compare the two side-by-side.

iMovie

Avid Studio

Media Acquisition You can use existing media from your camera roll, albums and playlists. You can also record video from the built-in camera, or capture media that you transfer from your camera via a camera connection kit. You can use all media available on your iPad, including any media that you download and transfer via iTunes. You can also record video from the built-in camera or capture media that you transfer from your camera via a camera connection kit.  When you start the app, Avid Studio scans your iPad’s entire photo/video library, and properly organized and categorizes by Event, Album and Faces (for Photos). If you have more/different media the next time you start the App, Avid Studio detects this and re-enumerates your media.
Basic Editing There is support for inserting, editing, splitting, rearranging and trimming your clips. You can add transitions and basic DVE effects.  All editing is performed in the Timeline. iMovie contains an optional Precision Editor, so you can see the handles of your clips as you trim. There is support for inserting, editing, splitting, rearranging, and trimming your clips. You can add transitions, motion effects and 2D and 3D effects and can composite your clips (see Editing Extras, below).  Avid Studio comes with a storyboard area, as well as a Timeline, where you can execute frame-accurate trimming with the precision trimmer.
Image Editing Every image is automatically edited with a “Ken Burns” effect, which either pushes in or pulls out of the image. This effect uses face detection to keep faces in the frame during the zoom. The images start off as a still when you add them.  But, you can easily add the equivalent to a “Ken Burns” effect to it (Avid Pan and Zoom)—Avid Studio allows you to manually set your Start and End frame compositions to include pan and zoom movement to your images.
Audio Editing iMovie can play up to three audio clips at the same time. You can also add background music, which is set to loop by default. When looping is enabled, you can use one (1) music track as background music throughout your entire sequence.  You can adjust audio levels, view audio waveforms, add fades, and you can also record audio straight into your project. You can dynamically edit and trim up to three (3) tracks of audio simultaneously (not including audio associated with your video clips), and insert them anywhere you want in your sequence. You can also adjust levels, view audio waveforms, and add audio fades.
Editing “Extras” iMovie currently doesn’t contain any major features that Avid Studio doesn’t have. There is video compositing and Picture-in-Picture support (i.e., the ability to play two images on screen at once).  You can size, position, and rotate your secondary image however you like. There is also a 3D multi-layer “montage” feature, where you can drop photos or videos into various “drop zones,” and it assembles a traveling montage of your clips.
Titles You must use one of the iMovie theme titles. You can use an Avid Studio theme, or you can customize your own title.
Exporting and Sharing You can export directly to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, CNN iReport, iTunes, or to the iPad’s Camera Roll. You cannot export it to a computer-based editing program (i.e., iMovie) to continue working. You can export directly to YouTube, Facebook, Email, or as a video file. You can also export to Avid Studio (for PC), which allows you to edit the project further. (Avid Studio currently does not exist for Mac.)

As you can see, Avid Studio emerges as the clear winner across multiple categories—beating iMovie on its own Apple-laden turf. If you’re interested in trying it out, make sure to get it within the next few weeks, as the price is slated to increase to $7.99 soon.

Have you used Avid Studio for iPad? What do you think of it?