How to Connect an External SSD to LumaFusion on the iPad Pro.

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I really like LumaFusion for video editing on the iPad Pro. It’s very powerful, very cheap, and works very well, especially for vlog-style stuff. The only real downside is that it’s kind of a pain in the ass to get footage onto the iPad, and most of the places you import it to will then automatically start uploading to iCloud, burning through countless gigs of bandwidth just to be deleted when the video is done. I decided to fix this problem using a few little bits of tech. First up the SSD. I went with a SanDisk Extreme SSD in 500gb size. I have three 128gb SD cards that I shoot on, so I figure 500GB should back them all up at once if I fill them all up. That’s honestly orders of magnitude more than I ever shoot at once.

Next up, I needed a USB Type C dock. I generally default to Anker, and this time was no exception. I went with the PowerExpand+ 7-in-1 hub. It features a PD charging pass through, a Type C port, two USB 3 ports, an HDMI port, and both SD and MicroSD card readers. I’ve only used it a handful of times (I just got the SSD today), but so far it’s been awesome. Speeds seem good and all the ports work, and I’ve actually tried them all. I don’t know what speed it’s charging at, but it was enough to charge my iPad Pro with the SSD attached while editing in lumafusion with screen recorder running at the same time. Has to be outputting at least the 18w of the factory iPad Pro charger.

So, you have your SSD, which by the way is WAY smaller than you think it is when you look at a picture online. This dude only weighs SOME AMOUNT. It’s seriously VERY portable, slightly longer than a credit card, but not as wide. It also doesn’t require any kind of external power either. Just the one Type C connection will handle power and data. Connect the Anker Hub (or really any hub with a Type C data port and SD card reader) to your iPad, then connect power (if you want), and the SSD to the hub.

Stick your camera’s SD card into the hub, then open the files app on your iPad. You should see both the SD card and the SSD over to the left hand side in the files app.

At this point, you could actually just add the SD card to LumaFusion, but where SD cards are relatively slow in read speed, the SSD is much faster. Plus I like to collect all of my photos and video clips that go into making a video and accompanying article and put them in a folder in one place. I often shoot footage with both my Hero 8 Black and my Sony ZV-1, so it’s nice to have all the footage from both in one place. Further, I back up all of my files for all of my articles and videos to an external drive connected to my thunderbolt dock, which is then backed up to BackBlaze (What can I say? I’m paranoid). When I do it this way, all I need to do is copy all the folders over from the SSD to my external HDD once I’m back at home, and then everything is nearly organized and backed up with very little effort on my part. So go ahead and open your SD card first, hit “Select” in the upper right hand corner, then select the videos you want to use. Down at the bottom right corner, hit “More” and then “Copy” from the pop up menu.

Now tap on your external SSD on the left, make a folder to keep things organized if that’s how you roll, then long press and hit “Paste”. You’ve now copied your videos over from the SD card to your external SSD. Repeat those steps for any other videos or videos from other cards.

Once you have all your files on your SSD, it’s time to fire up LumaFusion. Make a new project and name it whatever you want. Click on the “Sources” menu in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Pick “Files”, then “Add link to folder”. A file picker kind of interface will pop up. I just select the whole external drive, that way I don’t have to add each folder on it individually. Now in the future, as long as you don’t change the name of your SSD, all you need to do is plug it in and it will be available in LumaFusion. You can now preview all the files on your SSD, trim them, edit colors, speed, and orientation, and put them into your project.

Once you’re done, export your movie as normal, pick your resolution and quality settings, and when you go to pick a destination, click on “files”, let the movie render, and when it asks you for a location, you can just save it directly to the external SSD. This makes it MUCH easier to connect to a Mac or PC and then upload to Youtube from there. The bastard YouTube App for iOS stops uploading unless you keep it open, on the screen, with the screen on. If the screen goes to sleep, it stops uploading. If you navigate away from the YouTube App, it stops uploading. For this reason, I always upload from my Mac which will just upload in the background while I do other things. So yeah, once it’s saved to SSD, just unplug the SSD and go stick it in your Mac to upload. DONE.

Hopefully this has been helpful to someone, it’s definitely made my lumafusion workflow a LOT faster when shooting with cameras other than my iPhone.