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Editing photos, videos on smartphone just got easier

New apps make mobile editing faster, simpler, economical and professional-looking

New Delhi: Shubham Gupta, a freelance mobile journalist based in New Delhi, has edited over 400 video stories using a smartphone. His current weapon of choice is the Apple iPhone 8 Plus. “Phone editing is faster—you shoot and edit and publish from same device. It saves a lot of time. It is also more economical and simple as mobile editing can be done by anyone," he says. Gupta belongs to the new generation of professionals who are taking advantage of the recent upgrades in smartphones. The availability of big screens means more legroom for work, higher internal storage allows users to store large files in one go, while powerful chipsets have processing resource intensive tasks such as photo and video editing a lot easier than before.

Gupta uses the LumaFusion ($19.99; iOS) video editing app for its professional-level video editing tools. It has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 on the App Store.The app also offers multiple video effects, colour correction tools, unlimited keyframes to add colour to any frames, along with live audio track mixer allowing users to listen to the mix while adjusting audio levels and the option to edit Slow- motion videos at 240fps (frames per second).

For text-based video stories, he uses GoPro’s Quik (free; Android, iOS) and Splice (free, iOS). The former has a rating of 4.7 on Play Store while the latter is rated 4.8 on the App Store. Quik is simple to use and allows a user to create stylised videos from photos and video clips stored on the phone. Users can apply text overlays at the beginning to create a video story. Splice allows users to manually control the editing process. User can reorder slides, trim videos, apply differ transition effects and filters between clips, add font in frames and adjust the speed of the videos.

However, editing videos for a longer format is still not easy on a smartphone, compelling users to turn to PCs. “For longer formats which are logistically heavy, mobile based editing tools are still not adequate. Then I prefer PC-based editing tools," says Gupta.

Among photo editing apps, Adobe Lightroom CC (premium version 676 per month; Android, iOS) and Google’s Snapseed (free; Android, iOS), is quite popular with photography enthusiasts. Jayanta Ghosh, a Delhi-based freelance photographer uses both for editing photos on his Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Huawei P9. Lightroom CC which has rating of 4.3 out of 5 allows users to carry out basic editing with the free version. The premium version allows users to selectively enhance any part of the photo and offers access to Adobe Creative Cloud for backup. The icing on the cake is the Auto mode which uses Adobe Sensei tool to compare a photo on the phone with thousands of professionally edited photos on Lightroom CC to automatically fine tune colour, exposure and contrast for better results.

Google’s Snapseed, which has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on Google Play Store is one of the most popular photo editing app and one of the reasons of it is the bevy of options users get to play around with in it. It provides the option to change perspective, edit RAW files, remove unwanted people from a picture and enhance focus on the face. Ghosh uses Snapseed to quickly edit sample images at photo shoots to provide a preview to the clients. “After processing the images look much better, but with Snapseed I am able to provide clients an idea of what the image will look like. For final processing I don’t rely on any of the smartphone based apps, as editing on a PC with keyboard is more convenient. It also means better results as the editing apps on desktop offer more advanced tools and options," says Ghosh.

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