Shooting, Transferring, and Editing Footage On Location

We’re exploring the efficiency of sending your mirrorless camera footage to your phone to edit on-the-go. Find out when it is—and isn’t—practical.

A few years back, with the introduction of Bluetooth in cameras and capture apps on smartphones, it became practical to send pictures to your phone directly from your DSLR or mirrorless camera and edit on your phone. Fast forward a few years, and it then became possible to send video from your mirrorless camera to your smartphone.

With editing apps like Adobe Rush, you could effectively edit your content before you even got home. So, is this doable when out in the field, and more importantly, is it also practical?

Connecting Your Camera & Phone

First, we need to link the phone to the camera. Although in the video tutorial I’m using the Fuji X-T3, this is practically the same steps for most camera brands. Make sure you download the capture app before you leave the house if you intend on editing in the field. After all, you might not have data coverage.

Connecting Camera and PhoneConnecting your camera and phone will be largely the same process no matter what brands you have.

With both your camera and phone turned on, first go to the setup menu. Select connection settings, Bluetooth, and then click the appropriate setting to pair your phone to the camera. (The exact steps will vary across brands).

Then with your smartphone, you need to turn on the capture application and connect to the camera. The connection between the camera and the phone isn’t governed by satellites like phone coverage. So, you don’t need to worry if you’re in an area with no coverage. However, pair them before your exploration because it can sometimes take a while.

Follow your camera’s instructions. Now your phone and camera should be registered to each other.

Transferring Video Files To Your Phone

Now there are two methods through which we can import directly to mobile from the camera. The first is live view shooting. Depending on what brand you use, you can select for the video clip to come over to your phone after the live shoot is over. Do not do this. It’s a prolonged and painful process because you have to operate the camera through your phone—again, that would be depending on what brand you want to use. Ideally, you want to shoot your content and then transfer the image data using the specific Transfer Images function.

With everything set up, and your content shot, you would simply open your capture app. Then, select images to transfer, or in this case video.

Transfer Speeds for VideoOne major drawback to transferring high-quality footage to your phone will be the file sizes.

However, in this instance, due to the file size we can only transfer six clips at a time. And yes, that time window does read one hour and eighteen minutes. While I’m confident we won’t have to wait that long, it’s also improbable that this will magically jump down to five minutes. 

Slow Camera-to-Phone Transfer SpeedsExpect long transfer times with 4k and higher footage.

This is the issue. While technology has grown to the point where we can transfer video to our smartphones, so has the video quality. You’re not moving 720p compressed footage; these are high-quality 4k videos transferring across the wireless network of a camera. And importantly, these are short small clips of flowers and the rural scenery. So, I can only imagine the increase in waiting time when you’re trying to transfer files longer than fifteen seconds. 

With our files finally transferred, we can now open Adobe Rush to get editing.

Editing On Mobile

A few years ago, Adobe released Adobe Premiere Rush, a somewhat little brother to Premiere Pro. There is less functionality but also less of a learning curve in comparison. It’s an excellent tool for new video editors to jump in and hit the ground running.

It also serves as Adobe’s first mobile video editing application, as the software works across desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Many smartphones now shoot 4k and high-quality HD video footage. So, I imagine that the app was primarily intended for creators to film on their phone, import to Rush, and edit on mobile to then upload to Instagram or YouTube, opposed to bringing the mobile footage back home. 

Editing Video in Adobe Premiere RushAdobe Rush is perfectly suited for editing smartphone footage. Image by Maria Symchych.

So, can we do that with our transferred mirrorless camera video files?

Absolutely. There’s not a lot to be said about Adobe Rush. It does as it says on the label. It’s a reliable mobile video editing app, and once your video footage is on your mobile, it’s as simple as importing the clips from your camera roll and editing as you would an NLE at home.

Importing Video Clips to RushOnce you have your footage on your phone, editing with Rush is simple.

Adobe Rush syncs across all platforms using the Adobe Cloud. Therefore, in practice, you could open up Adobe Rush when you’re back at home, start editing the proxies you saved in the cloud, and continue where you left off without ever importing the footage from your camera—at least until you need to render high-quality files.

Although, on the note of that, it would be interesting to see if we are transferring the original file from the camera to the phone.    

File Comparison

Prolonged Transfer Tiles for File SizesThe original file will transfer when you import your footage instead of a compressed version.

Here I have the imported video file from the X-T3 memory card and the downloaded, transferred file from iCloud. If we dig around through both of the file properties, we can see that we are indeed moving the original file. This likely accounts for the prolonged transfer times.

It is important to note that this field test was only conducted with the X-T3, and there might be some variances in times with other camera manufacturers. However, given that most 4k mirrorless camera video files linger around the data rate, it’s unlikely that there would be a drastic decrease in transfer time.

Conclusion

So, where does this put us? In all honesty, we intended this video to be a companion to other mobile content on the channel. The prospect of editing your mirrorless camera footage on your mobile before you even got home seemed too good not to cover. But paradoxically and somewhat ironically, because the video footage is of such high quality, the transfer time from camera to mobile is just unrealistic to practically think about editing while out.

This is not negating bringing your footage onto your computer, having Rush create proxies, and then editing on your phone, or creating content straight from your phone and editing on Rush. But at this current moment in time, until that transfer speed increases I see no benefit in even attempting this method.

If you have a long flight or something, sure, but I wouldn’t spend thirty minutes in a field transferring footage to a phone. Consequently, I think we should apply the concept of “just because you can it doesn’t mean you should” to the prospect of editing your camera footage sent directly to your phone.

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