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Avid Studio takes iPad video editing to the next level (Updated)

Updated to clarify that Avid Media Composer is cross-platform. Avid Studio on the desktop is a Windows-only product.

Take that, Apple! Avid has just released an iPad iMovie competitor called Avid Studio. The US$4.99 app is a scaled-down version of Avid's pro video editing tools.

Avid Studio features a timeline and storyboard, plus some iPad-friendly gestures so you can scale images and videos. You can arrange your edits on the timeline for special effects like picture-in-picture.The app also offers 3D animations and transitions, and video tracks can be composited.

Avid Studio lets you export a project to the Avid Studio app for the PC via iCloud, and you can share your finished project via YouTube, Facebook or email. Videos not shot with the iPad camera can be imported with the iPad Camera Connection Kit. The app is supposedly compatible with the iPad 1 (unlike Apple's iMovie), but iTunes reviews suggest that it is not stable on the older hardware.

While Avid's new iPad app is clearly a consumer tool and not a pro video editor, it does show some commitment from the company to Apple's platforms, and may serve as a 'gateway drug' for pros who are considering the Avid suite as an alternative to Final Cut Pro X. The initial poor reception for the release of Final Cut Pro X for the Mac last summer, which dropped many features and angered several professional customers, has provided an opening for alternative products.

Avid (and also Adobe, with its Premiere Pro product) stepped into the FCPX breach and offered discounts to FCPX users who wanted to switch to the pro products on the desktop. Avid's most basic desktop suite runs only on a Windows PC and costs $169, but the company's pro app Media Composer is hundreds (or thousands) of dollars more, and does run on the Mac. Final Cut Pro X is $299 and requires an App Store-friendly version of Mac OS X.

Apple updated FCPX this week to bring back some features that were lost in the FCP7 to FCPX transition, but I think some video professionals and serious hobbyists feel the momentum is swinging away from Apple. [Award-winning editor Walter Murch isn't among the naysayers, at least not anymore. –Ed.]

Avid Studio for iPad will be $4.99 during a 30-day introductory period, and $8.00 after that. The app is a 30 MB download, and requires an iPad running iOS 5.0 or greater. Apple offers its own iOS version of iMovie for $4.99, which has been generally well reviewed.

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