Since day the first iPad was released on April 3, 2010, people have questioned whether it could be used as a content creation device. There was never any doubt that it was perfect for content consumption, but people today still laugh at the idea of the iPad ever being used as a serious tool for creation. Some think its form factor is holding it back, others argue it has too many software limitations.
Algoriddim’s app vjay has a description that reads: “Mix and scratch your favorite music videos from iTunes or combine songs from your music library with personal video footage into an interactive audio visual experience. Or use your iPad’s built-in camera to create your very own music video live.” That’s right, it’s all about creating and getting creative.
I got to spend some time with the vjay app thanks to Algoriddim. In short, it’s a fantastic testament to the argument that the iPad is a creation tool. You can mix and match video clips, make powerful edits, add stunning effects and more. Let’s explore vjay in more detail.
When you open the app for the first time, the above screenshot is what you should find. If you generally don’t do that much video editing, this probably looks pretty intimidating to you as it did to me. Fear not, once you learn what each control is for, you’ll realize the app is actually pretty user-friendly considering the large task at hand you’re about to accomplish with it. The main screen at the top with “vjay” in the middle is the player window. It’s where all the magic is displayed by combining any videos or effects from the bottom two “decks” is showcased as a legitimate video.
Speaking of “decks,” those are the two smaller screens on the bottom left and right that display two separate videos. You can add audio or video by tapping the large button on the side of it with the film strip and music note. It comes with some preloaded video shots, which are nice if you just want to play around at first and then you can add content from your own library when you’re ready.
The panels to the left and right of the main player where you see the 00:00 provide an additional set of effects as well as a time counter corresponding to each video in the deck while they are playing.
Again, vjay does have a bit of a learning curve to it. It presents you with a lot of different buttons and controls and when you open the app for the first time you may ask yourself “What the hell am I looking at?” but over time you’ll come to appreciate the design. It gets much easier to use the more you do so.
Let me be clear: vjay’s set of features goes above and beyond what is expected of an iPad app. In fact, after using vjay I believe it peaks into the professional-grade zone. There are a lot — and I mean a lot — of effects and tweaks and features and things that are going to make the video you are working on freakin’ awesome.
Let’s start right in the middle with the record button. This allows you to record the edits while you are making them, which in turn creates the video. Stop the recording to watch what you’ve just made on your iPad or Apple TV via AirPlay, delete it, or share it to your camera roll. I hope in the future vjay does add some more direct sharing options to YouTube or Vimeo. Exporting to the camera roll does allow for sharing, but requires an extra step or two.
Underneath that is the Preferences buttons with plenty of options to tweak the video just the way you want it or split the audio/video, among other things. Right below the Settings button is that slider bar you see in the screenshot above. That acts as a transparency toggle. If you slide it all the way to the left, the left deck’s video will display with 0 percent transparency and the right video will display at 100 transparency (i.e. it won’t display at all.) Right in the middle, they overlap each other at 50 percent each. Finally, at the very bottom is a button to choose how you’d like both videos to appear in the same video: blended together, as a cube, side-by-side, as a grid, etc.
Underneath each deck is four buttons. The first one is self-explanatory play/pause button. The next two are a pair: one says “set” with a dot and the other has an arrow pointing to that dot. If you tap the set button while the video is playing in the deck, vjay will remember that you placed a marker at an exact time during that video. Tapping the arrow button next to it that points to the dot goes back to that place, and you can do this as many times as you want to. It’s great for instant replays of cool stunts, etc. The final button with a finger and an arrow going in either direction is for users who really want to fine tune the video to perfection. It includes FX controls, loop/slice controls, an equalizer, and BPM controls. All very handy for the advanced crowd.
Lastly, up on top on either side of the player are a few FX options like crush, strobe, twirl, and fisheye with a slider underneath to determine the extremity of the effect once it’s applied. Loop is my favorite. It acts like the set buttons below the deck in that you can continually replay a part of the video when you tap it and use the arrow buttons to choose how many beats you want to replay.
I’m no expert at video editing, but I get a sense that the possibilities are virtually endless with vjay. If you’re creative enough, its features can be utilized in any number of ways and I’m sure future App Store updates could bring even more. vjay plus iMovie would allow for a seriously high-quality movie. Also if you had any doubts, yes, I think vjay proves that the iPad is absolutely worth of creation.
A few feature requests of my own would be more sharing/exporting options, an easier way to rewind or fast-forward through video (other than just dragging my finger across the video as a gesture,) and some more video effects or filters. Don’t let me leave a bad taste in your mouth though — vjay is a superb video editing app that’s not to be reckoned with.
vjay is available for the iPad (second-generation and higher) in the App Store for $9.99, which after my review, I consider to be a fair price.