Interview with Hongyu Chi, of ReelDirector

Today we feature a mini interview with Hongyu Chi, president at Nexvio Inc., the company that brought us the very first true video editor for the iPhone 3Gs, the ReelDirector. Check in for more!

1. What were the technical or API limitations you had to put against while developing the ReelDirector?

Hongyu Chi: Currently there is no equivalent of a framework such as QuickTime or DirectShow on iPhone. We have to build this from ground up. One huge limitation is that we can not read musics from iPod library and mix them into video tracks – we knew this would be the most requested and obvious feature.

2. Are there plans to incorporate your slowmo/fast-motion engine on the ReelDirector too?

Hongyu Chi: Yes, though not with high priority, it is in our laundry list.

3. Are the current editing done inside ReelDirector “lossless” like Apple’s trimmer is? If not, what re-encoding settings do you use?

Hongyu Chi: We use “lossless” whenever we can, but obviously to apply transitions, title, etc. we have to re-encode, in which case iPhone’s original encoding settings are closely matched.

4. Are there plans for visual plugins (e.g. color grading, geometry) that would require the re-encoding of these clips? Is this even possible on the 3Gs?

Hongyu Chi: I’d say it is possible, when Apple would open up some more APIs from it’s private framework. We are more than eager to integrate the effects from our photo app – CinemaFX into ReelDirector.

5. What about sorting or arranging the clips via “bins” or via date, to easier finds the clips someone wants to use without going through hundreds of clips?

Hongyu Chi: We wish Apple would have more options to manage the videos and photos within the photo library without hooking up with iTunes. Or maybe we’d have an app for that in the future, but accessibility of the photo library is too limited to make such an app really user friendly.

6. What is your opinion on Apple not allowing background apps on the iPhone? Could in the future this become an issue if you would like to implement a render as a bg process?

Hongyu Chi: It isn’t quite an issue yet because it is well known and users are understanding about it. But we do hope that some iPhone essential functions would run on top of apps, e.g. incoming phone calls would not interrupt a process.

7. Are there any plans for automatic upload to Youtube and possibly Vimeo?

Hongyu Chi: Yes, YouTube has outstanding APIs and no reason not tapping into it.

8. Are there any plans for an Android or WebOS port? Have you researched if all this is possible with their current APIs?

Hongyu Chi: Not yet but we will look into it after we finish polishing out current iPhone apps.

9. Do you see Apple going for 720p HD recording soon on a future model? Do you think your Reel Director engine can easily adapt in such a case?

Hongyu Chi: I do not see a big push for that. Usability always triumphs tech spec for Apple and this has been well received by users. ReelDirector would adapt smoothly, because this boost would come together with increase of processing power, memory, etc. and our core framework is not tied with any resolution.

10. What is your opinion (if any) on the h.264 vs OGG war as the HTML 5 standard?

Hongyu Chi: As a developer we sure would like to see a standard for internet video settled. I am pretty content with h.264 for now. Used ogg’s audio codec before and love it, it has a long way to go because a lot of hardware and software companies have already invested tremendously in h.264.

Catch up with Nexvio on Twitter