Happy Monday, everyone!
We made it to Issue #122! Thank you to everyone who read last week’s issue ❤️
Deep Dish Swift is a brand new conference being held in Chicago April 30th to May 2nd in 2023. The conference aims to bring togethe Swift and iOS developers of all experience levels and backgrounds in an inclusive environment to share knowledge and experience from a diverse set of speakers. The first day is focused on indie development and and the next two are focused on Swift and iOS!
Today’s Spotlighted Indie Devs
📆 Today I’m featuring Miguel Lorenzo.
👉 Please make sure to follow them or support them anyway you can! 😇 I’m excited to share their indie dev stories.
1) What is your name? Where do you live?
Miguel Lorenzo - Sydney (Australia)
2) Introduce yourself. Education? Background? Main job? Interests outside of tech? Interests inside of tech?
I’m a software engineer originally from a small town in Spain. I studied computer engineering at the University of Huelva and Insituto Superior Tecnico of Lisbon. After finishing my degree I debuted as iOS Engineer in a small consultancy company in Barcelona. I was working for 4 years on several companies in Spain when I got the opportunity to move to Sydney. Since I arrived in 2016, I’ve been working as a software engineer at one of the biggest banks in Australia.
On my spare time I enjoy video editing, music and photography. I play several instruments such as saxophone, accordion, piano or lastly Ukulele (for which I have a Youtube channel full of covers and tutorials).
On the tech side, I love iOS development and I’m always busy creating something. Most recently, I’ve been building on the side Filma, a multi-platform video editing app for iPhone, iPad and Mac.
3) Have you ever considered yourself an indie developer?
Yes, since the very first moment I started flirting with coding I started making apps and products using my skills. It’s not casual that majority of the apps (up to 13 released to the App Stores) were focused on photo or video editing, as it’s one of my passions.
4) What got you started/interested in creating your own applications outside of your “normal” job?
I’ve been always a creative person, doing videos for Youtube or creating my own music. When I decided to do Computer Engineering I discovered a new way to boost my creativity. I could mix up my passions by building apps that were focused on my hobbies. I’ve been always attracted to be creating new apps and the experience of shipping them, getting feedback from the users or improving the UX and utility of those.
5) How do you balance your time between friends/family, work, hobbies, and indie dev?
I try to have a solid structured calendar that manages all my spare time for each of the tasks that my side hustle requires as well as my social relationships. I’m pretty strict with it but I would also never compromise important social events that are linked to my friends or family. For those occasions, I try to predict and plan ahead so I don’t compromise any of the parties. I full-time work every day and have a little break before I start with the “side hustle working hours”. I make sure that there is also time for exercise during the weekdays and I try to minimise the time working on the side projects during the weekends, so I can focus on family and friends by then. This doesn’t mean that I still work on the weekends but I’m pretty chilled about it, making sure my main goals are accomplished during the week rather than on the weekends.
6) Filma - I’m really angry at myself that I didn’t discover Filma sooner! I don’t need to edit or make videos often but I’m always frustrated whenever I do need to do it. It turns out that Filma would have solved so many of my issues! When did you get started working on Filma? Did you make it for yourself? What were your original goals?
Thanks for your kind words about Filma!
I actually started during a summer holiday in Australia (2019). As I mentioned before, I had a Youtube channel for my ukulele covers and I felt like I needed a good app for making my videos on my iPad easily and efficiently. As I’m constantly creating, my motivation was full on when this need came to me and I thought I could do my very own “big editing app” that would help me with my Youtube videos. I have to say that before Filma came to my side-work list of projects I have had delivered several different apps that were focused on small media editing tasks (DonutSelfie, VerticalFit or MovieVid), so I had already gathered a lot of experience on the video editing frameworks and I had already built a foundation knowledge that helped me build it faster.
I’ve done so far the 100% of what Filma is today. My main goal was just creating something to help me with my videos, but I immediately noticed how the app that I was building could be useful for more than just myself. So, I decided to release an MVP in March 2019 on the App Store. A version full of analytics and feedback mechanisms with the aim of gathering as much knowledge as possible from the very first users. Understanding the main pain points, features and musts that a video editing app should have. I was the very first user of the app, as an experienced video editor, I knew many of the things that were really good for editing. However, I wanted to get a deeper insight from other users and use the MVP to drive the building of the best video editing app out there.
7) Filma - I haven’t done a lot of advanced things with Filma yet but one of the coolest things I think I did was take a “Focus” effect and key frame it to follow my son’s face in a video of him trick-or-treating! I never had any way to do this but I figured it out in Filma within a minute 🤯 Why do other video editors make things so complicated? What do you try to do differently with Filma than other video editors?
I think that the fact that I was one of those users struggling with other video editors played a strong role in the way that I designed Filma. I’ve been always keeping in mind all my struggles as well as the great feedback that I received from the first MVP. Bit by bit I’ve been iterating on it by following their advises and requests and trying to think that things need to be simple, easy and fast.
We have a very exciting roadmap based on these principles, our main goal is to get everyone onboarded with video editing. Everyone has a smartphone with a camera and therefore they are already capturing videos that are potential footage for a nice composition, Filma aims to remove any feeling of difficulty from the experience of creating a video, letting everyone inspire and get inspired by their creations. Focusing on the creative part more than the tooling.
8) Filma - Do you have any examples of some of your favorite videos that got created with Filma?
We use the social media platforms to encourage everyone to share their videos with the Filma community. However, I guess this part is still growing and I would love to see some shares from the community that we can shout out. I have a lot of communications via Discord, Instagram or Email where I’ve been aware of how important for those users is Filma on their daily works and that has been really rewarding. Not to mention the very good feedback that Filma is receiving through the App Store reviews.
On the other hand, you can check my personal TikTok account @mig.loren where I show all the different things that you can achieve with Filma. At the end, I wasn’t only the developer, designer or founder, but also the marketing guy and the actor on those videos.
9) Filma - I was super surprised to find out that Filma is also available on iOS! Filma is great on macOS but also being available on iOS is even more amazing 😁 What’s it been like supporting both of these platforms? I can imagine that it might be tough to adapt some components and controls to smaller devices. Do both of these platforms share a lot of common code and does it require extra thinking to work on both platforms? Which platform is the most popular?
I actually started Filma just for iPad, which was kind of easy to port to Mac as they both share similar dimensions and space proportions. It was another whole world when I decided to bring iPhone support to the equation. Video editors are usually not very friendly with small screens so I needed to think about a solution that wouldn’t make me re-do the entire app but still be smartphone friendly.
So I decided to go with a fixed Portrait Orientation, as you would get less options to incorporate a preview of your video plus the timeline and controls on a landscape aspect ratio. I didn’t re-make the main workstation screen but instead used observers to detect the screen dimensions and show/hide a different experience according to the current size of the screen. Meaning that if you resize enough your screen on iPad, you will actually get the same UI as the iPhone is currently showing. The main point was to include so many options, filters, effects and tools on a small screen while having a preview and a timeline. So we decided to have a contextual bottom sheet for iPhone that will appear depending on the options selected and automatically disappear when is not required.
Filma was only compatible with iPad for almost 2 years before we decided to expand to iPhone and Mac. After a while with the 3 platforms running, it was a big surprise that the very first intended platform was the least popular, being Mac the most popular one so far with around 60-70% of the users.
10) Filma - What was your favorite thing to build in Filma? What gave you the hardest time while building?
My favourite thing that I’ve ever built on Filma is the Free Shape Masking. Having the ability to create your own mask shape that is animatable with keyframes and aplicable to any filter, effect or adjustment is something that was always on my mind to be included in Filma, and so we did. It was also the hardest thing to get right, I guess that explains why is one of the things that I still haven’t seen on any other mobile app, becoming one of the main differentiator factors.
11) Filma - What’s next?! Do you have any future features that you can share with us?
Filma’s future is all about AI and simple things that get powerful results. Templating is a word that I would drop here to hint some of the upcoming exciting main features.
12) What’s been the hardest part of being an indie dev? What is the most fun part of being an indie dev?
The hardest part is the feeling of being alone on the sailing. You need to find some many things out by yourself, deal with a lot of legal stuff or see how you have built a great app that is struggling to get awareness and downloads.
The most fun part is shipping every week a new release and receiving the feedback from real users. Knowing the goods that Filma is doing on their lives and reading some amazing messages is so rewarding and keeps the motivation up. I’ve been non-stop for since 2019 and I’m still super excited about it!
13) Is there anything else you’d like to tell the indie dev community about you?
Patience is crucial to make it through on an indie and solopreneur journey. However, when you get the feedback from your customers everything makes sense and you feel so good about it.
Also, it’s okay to fail (I did many apps before Filma with no major impact), at least you’ve put yourself out of the comfort zone, learning so much and being even more ready for the next round. Enjoy the journey more than the goal.
14) Do you have any other indie devs that readers should follow / lookout for?
Aaron Stephenson (@azzoor on Twitter), he’s doing an great job with Accessibility for iOS, an amazing Braille scanner app and most recently his super popular Sticker Drop App.
Newly Released and Updated Indie Apps
Here are some newly released and newly updated apps from this past week! If you would like to possibly see your app in this list, please submit your app to the look at me form 👀
Thank you to everybody who made it to this footer! You either spent the time to read or took the effort to scroll 😊
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