Hands On With Adobe’s Premiere Rush Video Editor for Android
Mobile video editing tools have struggled to keep up with the exploding demand from a wide variety of users — ranging from professional video bloggers to casual users sharing their experiences. There are plenty of simple, consumer-oriented tools, and some cool special-purpose tools like DJI’s Mimo, but most of them don’t tie into a larger ecosystem or full professional workflow. Adobe has been working to change that with its Premiere Rush entry-level video editing tool.
Available since the fall on Mac, Windows, and iOS, Rush is now shipping on Android. The app has a deceptively simple interface but is powered by the same underlying engine as its beefy sibling, Adobe’s Premiere Pro. That means it benefits from the same high-quality rendering, motion-graphics templates, and presets, and that its projects can be directly imported into Premiere Pro for further work. I’ve been using Rush on Windows since its release, but as an Android phone user, I haven’t been able to try out the mobile version until now. After using the Android version, I’ve come away impressed.
A Clever Implementation of Rush’s UI on a Phone Screen
It is no easy feat to cram a powerful video editing interface into a touch-only device and a phone-sized screen, but Adobe has done a remarkably good job. Essentially all the capabilities of desktop Rush seem to be there, although they can be a little harder to find. The UI is responsive, and for anyone used to the mobile version of Lightroom, will seem familiar.
However, the small screen and being touch only does have its drawbacks. First, an errant finger can cause all sorts of trouble. It is remarkably easy to forget that you’re in a particular mode and accidentally duplicate content or add an unwanted title, for example. Fortunately, Undo is only a touch away. It can also be hard to select small screen elements. When I inadvertently added extra copies of a title to one of my clips, it wasn’t easy to select it precisely enough to delete it. Before I managed to do that, I’d added a couple more. It can also be tough to see exactly what is happening between clips. Short transitions are almost invisible.
But overall, the interface is very usable, although I can’t wait until it runs on some larger-screen devices. There is quite a bit of good online tutorial and help material, but much of it uses the desktop version of Rush to illustrate how to do specific tasks.
Powerful Video Editing at Your Fingertips
For starters, you can add, rearrange, and edit video and audio clips very intuitively. It is easy to apply color looks (presets) or make up your own. Similarly, you can add video overlays and zoom or crop clips on the main track with simple gestures. Rush lets you use up to four video and three audio tracks. You can also rotate video clips or change their opacity with its Transform tools.
Powerful titling is easy, since many of Adobe’s Motion Graphics templates come with the (400MB+) download of the app, and more are available through Adobe Stock. There are also some pre-loaded Transitions, although not nearly as many as their are titles. You are limited to editing your video in portrait mode, at least for now. In the future, I suspect the tablet version will support landscape mode editing. However, you can view at least view individual clips in landscape mode.
Integrated Social Sharing
An increasing amount of mobile video is never processed on a traditional computer. Instead, it’s being shared to social media right from the user’s mobile device. Premiere Rush makes that an incredibly simple process, with fully integrated support for YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Adobe’s Behance. You simply choose Share, Export (render) the video, and then pick the service you want to use.
As you might expect, rendering in high-resolution is fairly time-consuming on a mobile device. 4K video rendered on my Google Pixel 3 at about 1/10th of playback speed by my estimate. You can also sync your project with the Adobe Cloud and then render it on a beefier machine if you want.
Excellent Audio Editing Features
Adobe definitely hasn’t neglected audio in Rush. You can have up to three audio tracks, composed of anything from music to voiceovers. Rush will attempt to automatically categorize audio as music or voice, so you can edit appropriately. It even features Auto Ducking, which is pretty impressive for a mobile application. Since you’ll almost certainly be using it with a phone lacking a headphone jack, you’ll either want an excellent pair of Bluetooth headphones or a high-quality audio adapter. I’ve had good success with Moshi’s Digital Audio Adapter, that also lets me charge my phone while using the wired Audeara headphones I have loaded up with a custom profile that helps work around my high-frequency hearing loss.
Cloud-Friendly, But Not Cloud-Mandatory
To use the full power of Premiere Rush, you’ll probably want to let it sync your projects to your Adobe Cloud account, so you can work on them on your other computers. But Adobe has wisely made that optional, because you have to pay for your Adobe cloud space, of course.
What I’d Like to See in Premiere Rush
There are two big features I really need for Rush to become my go-to video editing tool across the board. The good news is that Adobe has said they are working on both of them. The first is support for ChromeOS so that it can be deployed on bigger, beefier systems like the Pixelbook, Pixel Slate, or some of the excellent Chromebook offerings out there. The second is full support for Premiere Pro LUTs. This is particularly important for drone videography, where custom LUTs definitely improve the video output from most consumer and prosumer drones. With that feature added, I could use Rush even for many of my desktop video projects, rather than having to deal with all the complexity of Premiere Pro to assemble a simple flyover video.
Pricing and Availability
For starters, Rush is of course bundled for anyone who has a full Creative Cloud license, or who has a single-application license for Premiere Pro. You can also try it out for free but are limited to three exports. A standalone license for Rush costs $10/month for individuals, $20/month for teams, and $30/month for enterprise customers. Right now, the products only run on a few smartphones, but of course, Adobe will be expanding this list:
- Samsung Galaxy S10/10+, S9/9+, Note9, Note8, S10e
- Google Pixel 3/3XL, 2/2XL
- OnePlus 6T