Review of GoPro's new App "Splice"

Yesterday GoPro released the "simplest way to transform your GoPro or iPhone footage into fully customized, professional-looking videos." Otherwise known as the App Splice. [Version 3.4] GoPro's other video editing solutions haven't always been as awesome as their cameras. Let’s see if Splice is any different.

If you're a TL;DR type person, skip to the bottom. 

Content Equality

Splice does an awesome job of making all your memories easily shareable.  It pulls from your iDevice's Camera Roll so that you can mix GoPro and iPhone media seamlessly. Splice offers the most seamless way to blend these two sources of footage, to date. It unlocks a ton of sharable content by making iPhone’s footage accessible.

WorldStar Content: The Portrait Problem 

For the person that films all iPhone footage in landscape mode, this is great! Splice has just given you a ton of content to share. However, if you’ve ever seen a WorldStar fight video, it seems iPhone videos are more natural in portrait. If you really must share that portrait video, you have two options: 

  1. Use 100% portrait content. Splice gives you the ability to format portrait video.
  2. Crop and resize the videos, producing potato quality content. Like this:

Put another way, your options for sharing portrait iPhone videos are, "WorldStar Fight" style-formatting or low-quality video. Pick your poison (and don’t film Portrait videos in the future.) 

Your Pictures are Fair Game

Splice has an awesome feature called “photo motion” which makes still images more interesting in video. Splice's use of picture content in video is a strong point.

Lipstick on a Pig 

Splice has an awful flaw that it attempts to hide. The video takes a long time to import. During that eternity, Splice tries to keep you busy. After all you haven’t picked music yet! The app has your iTunes Library, and their own built in music library, which is surprisingly good! Splice tries to have you kick-back, choose your song, and you’ll videos will be ready on the other end. Thats the Lipstick. 

Here Comes The Pig

Ever since Spotify, my iTunes library is draped in cob webs. Exactly the reason Splice comes equipped with it’s own Library. Problem solved!

This is exactly where the app should send you digging through their musical crates, but It doesn’t because it’s poorly designed. You cannot listen to any of the songs on their library while your video is taking a life-time to import. All you can do is pick a random song based on genre and title. 

As you’re reflecting on how dumb that is, you figure out it gets worse! Your iDevice has been bricked.

Yes! While importing video you can’t close the app, or lock the screen. If you do, you’ll have to start all over again. If you plan on importing video above 1080p, prepare for an iBrick for + 5 minutes. 

Welcome to iBricksville 

You have one chance to import all the pictures and videos you need for this epic film. After you hit “import” there is no going back! You can’t add more content to the same “project.” Splice makes the rules now, and he's grumpy! He’s not helpful or forgiving. When you realize you forgot something, you’ll learn it’s no small error. Your editing progress will be sacrificed. Splice has planned a second adventure through iBricksville. Starting over requires another content “import.” A poor user experience, indeed. 

Weather’s great on the other side! 

After you iDevice returns from the dead, the editing and video playback is super smooth! Other video editing software I’ve used is prone to choppy playbacks and/or near freezes. This app had none of that which was impressive.

Not respecting your elders 

Typical unedited GoPro footage is quite boring. It’s all about picking out the highlights. This is one of the few things GoPro Studio understood. Unfortunately, that knowledge was not passed to younger generations aka Splice. 

Enter: Edward Scissor Hands 

For paring-down your footage, you get two options: 

1) “Trim”- cuts fat off the beginning and end of a clip. This works perfect! 

2) “Cut” - should be “cannon-ball.” It blows a hole in the middle of a clip with zero precision. Here’s a play-by-play of the awful process that is a “Cut”. 

  1. Before you make a cut, it warms you of the terror to come. 
  2. If you proceed, there is no going back. The video has to re-import to process the “cut.” Importing means the iBrick is back, baby!
  3. You probably messed up the “Cut” so you’ll have to scrap the shot, which is the best option at this point. The other option is completely start editing process over. Remember, there’s only one chance to get your content in a “project.” Grumpy-ass-Splice says “this error is punishable by two iBricking sessions.” 
  4. If you’re lucky, that the “cut” is successful! Your next problem is that you can’t add a transition in the middle of a clip. Hopefully your video doesn’t look too bad without it. 

Pro-Tip - Crop video in Photos App

The best thing a Splice user can do is, use the iPhones video cropping feature in the “Photos” app. After your pared-down clips then import into Splice. This way you can grab the highlights, avoid lengthy imports, and the dreaded “cut” feature. Yes, this app is in need of work-arounds. 

Save-up for a Gimbal 

Splice has no post-production video stabilizing features. GoPro footage is usually shaky and your Splice videos will be too! Here's the proof!

 

iPad Splice vs iPhone Splice 

Predictably, the iPad app is a bit easier to use because of the larger screen. However, it was a bit more glitchy than the iPhone version. (Likely due to my iPad's older processor.) 

Which iDevice’s storage to sacrifice?

The iPad’s superiority highlights my final problem with Splice. I don’t have the same pictures and videos on my iPhone and iPad. This is intentional. I also never use the camera on my iPad. A lot of what I like about Splice assumes that the content is already in one place. That assumption is usually wrong. In reality, these are the steps to creating a video in Splice: 

  1. Upload the GoPro content to the GoPro app. 
  2. Save the content to your iDevice of choice. 
  3. AirDrop your iPhone content to your iPad since it's the choice device.
  4. Or put up with the iPhone app’s drawbacks to avoid step #3.

It’s too much file transferring for my taste. That’s not to say making a GoPro video by some other method is any less tedious. It is to say, if GoPro thinks Splice is the solution, it's got a long ways to go.  

TLDR: The Verdict 

With as negative as most of this review is, I actually like this app. It’s not flexible and has idiotic moments, but I think Splice is useful for its purpose.

Of course, no one is going to produce professional level video on their iPhone. This app offers a simple way to throw a few clips together before you post a casual video on social media. Each video I made took between 10-20 minutes. I would imagine once you were familiar with the software it would take even less time. It’s strength is that it treats all content, GoPro or iPhone, pictures and videos, the same. Giving you more social media ready content to share. 

Download it here


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