I wasn’t expecting SHAREfactory. Making it possible to copy captured videos to USB, sure. Uploading directly to YouTube and maybe other sites, which still hasn’t happened yet, definitely. But I didn’t expect Sony to put so much effort into making a video editing tool like SHAREfactory for the PS4. I’ve made a few videos with it now:
I don’t mind too much that it encourages you to make Sony-branded trailers out of your videos. It doesn’t force the issue, or that would be a problem. Hopefully more interesting themes will be available in the future.
I like it, but it could be better. Of course I wouldn’t expect a console video editing app like this to be perfect, but without demanding too much, there are a few things that I think could improve it significantly.
1. Show clip markers
When I go into the normal interface for trimming captured video clips on the PS4, for TowerFall Ascension at least, it shows a little marker above the clip at each point where I restarted the level. I think this is something developers have the option of putting in, where they can put in a flag to highlight points that users might be interested in finding quickly, like chapter markers on a DVD (though there aren’t buttons to easily skip directly to them). But while SHAREfactory has more precise controls for trimming clips and even lets you use different parts of the same long clip separately, it doesn’t show these markers anywhere in the interface, so it loses that time saving feature.
2. Reduce the inconvenience of limits
SHAREfactory and PS4 captured clips in general have a duration limit of 15 minutes. This is fine, but it is a problem when you are trying to stitch together a 5 minute clip using parts of multiple 15-minute clips in SHAREfactory, because it won’t let you add a clip if doing so would put the duration too far over the limit. So if I have a project which is 6 minutes long and I want to add 5 seconds from another 15 minute clip I have, the only way to do it is to go to the PS4 interface for trimming clips and trim down the 15 minute clip, which means I will lose the rest of that clip entirely. Hope there was nothing else in there I wanted.
This is ridiculous.
I don’t mind that the system the technical limits. But where possible, they should only be applied when the user attempts to render the movie.
3. Audio improvements
It would be nice to have the ability to use at least two concurrent audio tracks in addition to clip audio. Say, a commentary track and a background music track.
I’d really like to have the option of pulling the audio out of a captured video clip for use as an audio track. This would make it possible to start the audio for the clip before the clip is visible. I can see why this isn’t in the current version, as there needs to be a way to make it easy to keep the audio from getting out of sync with the video. That’s not a trivial problem, but it’s not insurmountable.
But most importantly, it should be possible to make audio volume fade in and out to specified levels at specified times.
4. “FX” improvements
More stickers might be nice, and it would be good if all stickers were usable from any theme. I don’t know why anyone would want to use most of the stickers that are currently available at all. (PlayStation controller buttons?) If possible it would be cool to be able to just make basic shapes of whatever colors we want, so we could put them together into our own basic symbols. In the Towerforge video, at 4:30, I wanted to add a little lightbulb above my character’s head to make light of the idea popping in my head for how to handle that enemy. But there wasn’t a lightbulb sticker, and when I started to cobble one together out of the limited available shapes, it seemed like it would just end up worse than not having it at all.
“FX” (stickers and text) should have more easily editable start and end points. Right now they appear at the time the cursor was on when they were added, and last until the end of the clip. This is suboptimal for several reasons: in order to make something appear briefly on the screen and then disappear, I have to split the clip at the point I want it to disappear. This may or may not cause a noticeable hiccup in the final video (it did in the preview when I tried it, but I didn’t try to render the movie with it).
It also means that in order to edit the title screens for all of the above videos, because I was adding more text, I had to first delete the transition between the initial clip and the title screen, since the transition made it impossible to actually set the cursor at the real beginning point of the title screen clip, even when pressing L1 to move the cursor to the beginning of the current clip. Then I had to add the text (with the cursor at the start of the clip) and re-add the transition. If I didn’t do this, the text would pop in while the title screen was fading in.
If they are going to add durations for FX (as I hope they do), then they might as well go ahead and add some simple animation capability. I think just a start and end transform with linear interpolation, plus opacity animation for fade in and fade out, would be fine.
5. More themes
Presumably these are coming, since there’s so much space for them, but I’d like to see a lot more themes. The existing ones have really cool transitions and things, but I don’t know why I’d ever want to use them on my videos for the most part, unless I was making a video of inFamous: Second Son in the case of that specific theme. I’m expecting more ad-themes for specific new games as they are released, but it would best if there were some generic themes with cool transitions. I’m sure Sony has access to plenty of video experts who can come up with something cool.