My Kingdom for an iPad Local Data Store
Almost a year ago I purchased the 9.7" iPad Pro, because I wanted to start using an iPad for more than just consuming social media and videos. In that time I have used the iPad on a daily basis at work mostly as a notebook by using GoodNotes, OneDrive and the Apple Pencil. Personally I have started blogging more using the ByWord and an old Apple Magic Keyboard. I also pushed the bounds of the device by recording, editing and posting my podcast, Kilobyte, exclusively from my iPad. The latter involved the Apple USB adapter, Ferrite (for recording and editing), DropBox for hosting, Coda for updating the RSS feed and Workflow to join it all together. It has been amazing how much I can accomplish now that I have a basic understanding of importing, exporting and saving using iOS extensions.
One thing noticeably absent from that list is making and editing videos, which seems odd given how easy and natural it is to use the iMovie app for simple videos. It isn’t excluded because I haven’t been making videos, because since August I have posted a bunch of drone videos on my YouTube channel, but they were all made using a Mac. I have avoided using the iMovie for iPad for one reason, video file management difficulties.
My drone footage always ends up on a Micro SD card either from my GoPro camera or the DVR inside my FatShark googles. At this point I can chain together a few dongles (MicroSD adapter to SD Card Reader to Apple’s USB adapter) and get them into the Photos app on my iPad, which will automatically upload them to my iCloud Photo Library. The problem is I don’t want these raw video files in my iCloud Photo Library and more importantly I don’t want my iPad to spend battery or bandwidth uploading over 1GB of data to the internet. Yes internet connections are everywhere, but they aren’t all created equally and sometimes it isn’t polite to just destroy a coffee shop’s internet bandwidth.
All I want is a folder inside an app where I can copy files from the USB drive without having to go through my iCloud Photo Library. I am not asking for an OS level filesystem, just something in an app that won’t get synced to the cloud. My ideal iMovie workflow would let me create a new project, plugin a USB card, select the video files to import (regardless of folder structure) and pull those videos into the app so they are stored locally just like the projects are stored today. After editing the movie and uploading it to YouTube, I could then choose to delete the project file including the imported videos.
If there is ever hope of getting audio and video professionals to switch to the iPad for work it is requires support for enormous file sizes and external disks. The cloud based data providers like iCloud, DropBox and Google Drive just fall down when working on enormous media files. I really enjoying editing podcasts using the Apple Pencil and think it would be just as much fun to edit video, but right now it just doesn’t work for me.