Mixmoov: A Browser-Based Editing App That Will Drive You Crazy
Two weeks ago I reviewed browser-based video editor WeVideo and was amazed. Amazed not because WeVideo is a competent iMovie replacement for the casual editor (which it is), but amazed that a browser-based editor can work at all.
Today I'd like to have a look at another browser-based editor. This time it's Mixmoov, a white-label business to business solution for cloud-based video editing. "Business to business" means that Mixmoov will license their video editor for "customized" purposes. I could, for example, integrate the Mixmoov editor into the Edit on a Dime site complete with personalized branding, which is a pretty cool idea if you think about it. Imagine if we ran an 'Edit of the Week' contest. How sweet would it be for us to have a branded editor on the site already loaded up with clips in the cloud for readers to edit and submit?
I appreciate that a business to business app is not in the normal purview of Edit on a Dime, but as it is a free editor that consumers will be able to use in a variety of forms, it's definitely worth a trial spin.
Let's take a look at the functionality of the stock, unbranded, version of Mixmoov. I'm using the demo version, which doesn't allow you to save file sizes larger than 50mb and limits your export options. Because of this—(and especially because of the no save option)—I worked very quickly in case something went wrong and my work was lost. The folks at Mixmoov did provide me with an account for the full-version, but I wasn't able to upload clips properly. Perhaps I will revisit the app in the future once some of the bugs have been worked out.
As you can see from the gallery of screen-grabs below, to intermediate to experienced editors, the Mixmoov interface is easy to decipher. You've got your timeline, preview window, and clip bin, which also doubles as your work area for transitions, filters and text.
I tried Mixmoov on a mid-2011 MacBook Air using both Safari and Chrome. The experience was unpleasant from the start as both browsers repeatedly crashed, forcing me to start from scratch. This was so frustrating I almost abandoned this review a couple of times but felt that, no, I had to tough it out. First world problems indeed.
Once the clips were uploaded to the system, it was a simple matter of dragging the bits of video I wanted onto the timeline, and adding transitions and filters. You can trim your clips in the timeline by clicking on a plus and minus button on the clip itself or by clicking on the 'Cut Video' button in the Preview window, which opens up the trim editor. This process was cumbersome and, when opening the trim window, involved some waiting time; this is where you really miss having a local application rather than an app that renders in the browser.
Now, let's get to the biggest problem I had with Mixmoov. You can't, at least in the demo version I was using, preview your video in the timeline as you edit. You have to open up a separate 'Preview and Publish' window to see how your work cuts together. This is nuts as you can't stop the preview playing back to fix the edit in real time as you would in any other editor. Instead, you close the window and you're back in the timeline. But you're not at the place you were looking at in the preview so you can't accurately trim your clips. This interface convention makes Mixmoov really more of a toy than an app any editor would want to use. In fact, the lack of a proper timeline preview was so frustrating that I'm not including an edited video sample in this review. It was too fraught of an experience to cut together the number of clips I had and get into them decent shape in time to post this. This is not an experience I had with WeVideo or any of the other apps I've tried so far for Edit on a Dime.
- Simple and slick interface, people can jump into simple editing without any handholding
- Ability to import clips directly from YouTube
- Repeated plug-in failures, much time wasted in re-uploading clips
- Trim window nowhere near as easy to use as WeVideo's magnetic timeline
- Can't preview your work in the timeline
- Contact Mixmoov for pricing
Who's it For?
- Businesses who want to include branded editors on their sites.
Browser-based editors are a fascinating idea and are a great demonstration of the power of modern computing devices and platforms. But when it comes to handling large video files (unlike processing photos for instance), you can't get away from the feeling of flakiness and escape the fear that it's all going to crash at any moment.
These browser-based systems don't have the robust feeling and comfort that comes from using an app that resides on your PC or mobile device. That being said, as I mentioned at the top of this post, it's amazing that these things work at all, and there's a huge potential for applications that allow people to edit video collaboratively. Perhaps one way to go at this point is for the media to be stored in the cloud, but for the applications themselves to reside locally.
Of course the demo version of Mixmoov is free, and if you're in the market for your own branded editor, you should check it out. It's quite possible that I had a relatively unique experience regarding its failure to upload clips, and I'll happily update this post if that's the case. But personally, I can't get away from the lack of a time-line preview. The fact that I'm not including a demo video of my work with Mixmoov in this post is testament that this editor is more of a toy than a useful tool.