Luma Fusion: Professional Video Editing on iOS

I’ve had Luma Fusion, a professional-level video editing app for iOS, on my radar for months now. The tutorials I’ve viewed have impressed me, and content created with the app is top-notch. I’ve kept putting off the purchase because I like to limit the money I spend on tools per month, and other more immediate needs have been popping up. I’ve also been leery of purchasing the app because it lacks the ability to auto-sync external audio, making my Tascam recorder more difficult to use, and the limitations of iOS storage in general.

With the arrival of Bump, however, my minor misgivings no longer give me pause. I’ve got a video maker’s dream subject living in my house, being all sorts of cute 1, and using Final Cut to put together videos of the cuteness seems so klunky. The MacBook has to be set up, the external hard drive needs to be mounted, and the footage has to be imported and transcoded before I can even begin to think about editing. On the iPad I pull out the SD card from my camera, use the adapter to import media to the iPad, and then off I go in Luma Fusion. It may seem like only one less step, but it’s both fast and doesn’t require me to be at a desk to implement the workflow. It’s also a lot less to carry around.

So how does Luma Fusion hold up to a more mature application like Final Cut Pro? Pretty well, it turns out.

I’ve already mentioned the inability to auto-sync external audio with a video clip, which is a bummer. A feature which also depends on audio sync, multi-camera editing, is also not as easy to accomplish in Luma as it is on its desktop ancestors. It can still be done, as Luma can handle up to three video tracks in a project, but the files will have to be synced up by hand. These two features are the ones I am most bummed about, but I don’t see any technical reason for them not to exist. This gives me hope they will appear at a later date, though given the track limitations Luma may only ever be able to handle three camera setups 2.

One feature which Luma Fusion does have is audio ducking, which is a pain to do in Final Cut Pro. Ducking is when one track serves as a “master,” and any time audio is active on that track all other audio will have its volume lowered. It’s very slick, and accomplishing the same result in Final Cut requires keyframing – that is, making the changes by hand..

Luma Fusion’s titler is also a setp above Final Cut’s, which I’ve found to be “passable but klunky.” Editing titles on Final Cut is a chore, in Luma it’s a joy. Each title can be customized and can even be set up to have different layers, which is something Final Cut relies on a separate application to achieve. Which Luma’s titler is nowhere near as powerful as Apple Motion, for quick 2d creations on the go it’s quite nice.

Yesterday I purchased the application and was editing in moments. The interface is well-designed, and I was able to figure out how to access source footage, set in and out points, and add clips to the timeline without any problems. Other features, such as tapping on either side of the playhead to create a cut, I picked up during my pre-purchase explorations. Luma Fusion has a good number of fans on YouTube, and the company’s own tutorial videos are quite good, new users shouldn’t have any issues jumping in.

One of my struggles, due to the way iOS handled storage, was what to do after I complete a project. Final Cut organizes work into library files which can be moved from drive to drive to drive as needed 3. While iOS has been getting better with file storage, it still has no direct support for external drives. I feared this would mean I would have to export my finished work, then delete both the project from the app and the source files in my camera roll to recover storage space on my iPad. It turns out this is not the case, as Luma Fusion has a brilliant archiving feature. This bundles the current project, along with all source material, into a zip file. This file can then be shared to to different cloud services, a network drive, or even an app. I archived my first Luma Fusion project to my WD MyCloud drive, so now I can go back to the project at a later date and continue as if nothing had changed. It’s still not as good as being able to use reference material from an external drive, but it’s very well done. I’d also love some way to be able to import stills from Lightroom, but I’m excited to have this tool at my disposal.

As for my project, here it is below. Welcome Bump!


  1. And keeping me up between the hours of 11 PM and 3 AM three nights running, the Bump’s internal clock needs resetting. 
  2. I think I can live with that. 
  3. Source material can be added to the library file, making portability a snap. Migrating material between libraries not so much. 

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