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  • Cheryl Tan

Video Editing on the iPad Pro with LumaFusion

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

Written by Soon Kai Hong


For the past few weeks, I’ve been dabbling with the iPad Pro, and I’ve been trying out Lumafusion. Now, I was a film student, and my background is in primarily Premiere Pro, and since last year, Da Vinci Resolve. So like many others, I was a little skeptical about video editing on my iPad, Pro or not.

But now, I have to say that the overall experience was a pleasant surprise and I think that if you’re new to video editing, Lumafusion might be a great way to start. So in this video, I’m just going to share some basic advice, and perhaps some tips to help you get started.

First, here are the things that you need, and things you might want to have.

Of course, you need the iPad itself, Pro or not, updated to the latest iPad OS. And actually, that’s all you really need for hardware. But I do suggest getting the Apple Pencil, and the Keyboard Folio which will help with shortcuts, and just the overall experience.

Another item that you might want to get is a USB-C Hub, like this Hyperdrive we’re using, which will allow you to connect multiple external drives and other features such as HDMI output or plugging in your headphones.

As for software, just two things. You need Lumafusion, and an app called Documents.

So that’s it. Just a minimum of three things. Your iPad with iPad OS, Lumafusion and Documents. The rest, get them if you can but if not, it’s all right.

So the first thing you want to do is to offload the footage that you shot into the iPad Pro. With iPad OS, this process is now much easier. Simply open up Files, and you’ll be able to see everything in your iPad, similar to your Mac or PC.

For me, I have a portable SSD, and if you plug it into your iPad, you’ll be able to access the contents right in the Files apps.

Once you’ve chosen the footages that you want, copy them, and navigate to On My iPad, then LumaFusion, then User Media. Here, just create a folder, name it however you want it, and transfer the footage over.

You’ll also be able to easily access iCloud, Google Drive or a NAS if you have one, and do it that way. Now you’re ready to start, so fire up LumaFusion.

Create a new project, name it as you like, and select the framerate of the footage which you shot, or intend to edit on. I’m here in Singapore, so I’m choosing 25 frames per second since we use PAL. As for frame aspect, this is entirely up to you.

Most videos are shot in 16:9, that’s one of the most common standards, but for me, I prefer a more cinematic aspect ratio, so I’m going with 2.39:1 Widescreen.

Once you have your project set up, click the icon on the top left corner, which will bring up Sources. As you can see, there are various places you can import your footage from, but since we’re running iPad OS, you just need to select Imported, and you’ll immediately see the folder with all your footage which you’ve created earlier.

Now for the purpose of this video, I’m not going to explain all the shortcut keys, especially for those of you out there, who don’t have the keyboard. For those of you with a keyboard, holding onto the Command Key will bring up the full list of shortcut keys.

But don’t fret, Lumafusion is perfectly usable, even without a keyboard. So now, you can start to edit.

Tapping once on a clip in your project window will bring it into the program window and you can then preview it. If you want to bring it down onto your timeline, simply drag it down.

You’re free to place the clip on whichever layer you want, but for starters, you can simply put it on the first layer.

If you want just a specific part of that clip, you can drag the yellow brackets at the sides to the point you want. These two are basically the In and Out points of the clip. Once you’ve done so, dragging the clip down to another layer will only take the portion which you’ve set.

So you can now simply try putting a few clips together, and to preview what you’ve just placed, tap on the timeline to return to it, and press the play button to see your handiwork.

When you have a slew of clips, you can then use the Pinch method to zoom in and out of your timeline, and of course, you can simply swipe across the timeline to scrub through your edit.

Okay so I now have quite a few clips lined up, but I want to edit a specific clip further. Tap on the clip, and then select the pen/marker icon down below. This will bring up the Clip Editor for the specific clip you selected.

Here you’ll be greeted with 4 tabs. First of which is Frame & Fit. You can adjust the clip to your liking by playing with it like you would a canvas, or for more precise controls, you can use the sliders at the side.

The second tab is Speed & Reverse. This allows you to speed up or slow down your footage.

The third tab is Audio, which is basically where you can edit the parameters of the audio of the selected clip, and or add effects such as delay or distortion.

The last tab is Color & Effects. Lumafusion already has a preset pack of several effects and LUTs. But if you want to import your own LUT, you can also do so.

But of course, as you’re editing, especially for cinematic vlogs, you want to have music to cut along to the beat. Same as before, you can simply import your music via an external drive, the same process as transferring your footage into your iPad Pro.

However, if you want the iPad Pro to be the only editing machine, and you don’t want to use additional devices, you’ll have to search for music using the iPad Pro itself.

If you’re starting into video editing, and don’t have a subscription to sites like Artlist or Musicbed, I would highly suggest using Audio Library from YouTube. The music selection is all royalty-free. Just remember to credit the author or artist, with the included description that comes with each music.

Once you’ve chosen some music that you like, navigate to download it. But here’s the catch. If you are on Safari or Chrome on the iPad, clicking on the download link will simply open up a preview of the music file, and you can’t actually download it. This is where the Documents app come into play.

First, copy the URL of the download link. Open up the Documents app, and select Browser. Paste the URL into the search address bar, and then, you’ll get the option to download it. Same as before, download into the same directory in Lumafusion.

Now if you head back to Lumafusion, you’ll now be able to preview that music track in your Imported folder, and just drag and drop into your timeline.

Note however that this process may not always be smooth sailing, some of the downloads require you to connect your Spotify account, some will send a link to your email, so it’s not always that easy. But this is one way to get royalty-free music, especially if you’re just trying out editing or are on a budget.

Also to note is that video clips in Lumafusion have their audio embedded within the clip itself, unlike Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve. So, to remove the audio, you’ll have to mute the audio of the track itself, which you can do by tapping on the icon.

That’s all you pretty much need to know to start editing! Once you’re satisfied, you then have to export. Tap on the export icon in the bottom right corner, and select Movie. You can then choose to export to various directories, even straight to Google Drive or YouTube itself. Choose the export settings that you want and export. Simple as that.

Honestly, I think Lumafusion has really great potential, and I do think it’s a great way to get started on video editing.

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