Advances in smartphone technology have inspired a bevy of native iOS and Android apps designed specifically for shooting, editing and sharing video from a mobile device. Some apps provide nearly as many options as you'd find in desktop programs, while others are tailored to harness the power of shorter, more random clips in your camera roll.
Like photos, most mobile film clips are shot in the moment and are rarely revisited. These iOS and Android apps seek to change that pattern by making it easier to preserve and enjoy daily memories in full HD and share them with family and friends on popular social networks. Here are some of our favorites.
When you’re out and about, you can rely on the free iMovie for iOS to edit any video you shoot with your iPhone or iPad. Just a few quick taps lets you create a professional-looking presentation. Get started by collecting video clips on your phone to create original movies or trailers. The newest version of iMovie for iOS looks great on the Super Retina displays of the iPhone X, iPhone XS, and XS Max and also uses the Metal API for graphics processing.
The latest update (v. 2.2.6) allows the iPhone 7 or later to connect to an external display and mirror the mobile screen or preview the movie while you edit. (It also works with sixth-gen or later iPads and the iPad Pro 2017 or later.) The app now supports uncompressed 4K video output on 11-inch or 12.9-inch iPad Pros (3rd generation) models.
The app offers more than a dozen templates, giving you a defined structure for sequencing your clips. You can use built-in professional soundtracks and effects or add your own music or voice narration along with transitions, filters and themes. You can trim, split, duplicate, adjust playback speed, and add text and special effects at any time.
Vizmato is a delightful free app for shooting and editing video. It features a streamlined interface that lets you record HD video with live special effects. The latest version includes a slideshow maker that lets you create movies from photos and/or videos with several built-in themes like Basic, Happy, Romance, Party and Holiday. The app's video themes — HipHop, Vintage, Chaplin, Sci-Fi and 8MM — join special effects like Beats, Trail, Mirror, Fluidic and more to make your videos shine. Themes offer a combination of visual filter with embedded music to create an exciting, fun experience. But you can choose each effect and your own music as well.
By joining up to five separate clips, you can add built-in moods, looks and tunes to your movie, and capture video via special-effects modes. Or you can just shoot straight with your iPhone camera and add effects later. You can share your movie with the Vizmato community or on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp or Snapchat. The app is free, but various in-app purchases are available, from removing the watermark ($4.99) to a Visual FX pack ($3.99). A 12-month plan costs $9.99.
CyberLink PowerDirector is a mobile companion to the company's powerful desktop program. It's a full-featured video editor in a tiny package, but you'll want a phone with generous screen real estate to take advantage of all of its attributes. It's impressive how much PowerDirector can cram into a small workspace while offering exceptional workflow flexibility. I was able to download videos directly from Google Drive and start editing them on the phone.
PowerDirector offers a familiar timeline interface, where you can combine videos and add multiple special effects, still images, audio, voiceovers, speed adjustments, music and more. But because of the multitude of features, it takes a bit of tapping around to figure out the interface. After saving your video, you can output at up to 4K resolution and share on social media networks. Be sure to check the specs to make sure that the app will work optimally with your device. Premium features and content such as full-HD production, watermark removal, ad removal and content packs are available free for seven days and thereafter via subscription.
If you’re an aspiring YouTube auteur, Adobe has created an app that’s got your name on it. Adobe Premiere Rush CC — a cross-media, all-in-one app that links desktop with mobile — offers pro-level features specifically designed to quickly get your video out in front of as many eyeballs as possible. With Rush CC, everything is saved to the cloud. You can start an edit on your phone or on your desktop and pick it up later on your iPad, or vice versa.
You don’t have to be a cinematographer to get good results. Rush packs professionally designed motion graphics templates, letting you change color, size and fonts; more options are available on Adobe Stock. Premiere Rush operates via drag and drop for handling photos and videos on the timeline. On the iPad, the app supports pinch-to-zoom multitouch gestures. A clip-editing menu occupies the lower left of the screen and refinement tools appear in menus at the upper right. The app offers a full suite of audio and visual adjustments based on Adobe’s Sensei artificial intelligence engine.
Adobe Premiere Rush CC is available via Creative Cloud subscription or for $9.99 per month. Check it out first with a free Starter Plan. Currently available on iOS, macOS and Windows, an Android version is in the works, but there is no timetable for its release.
VidLab’s interface lets you easily link, rotate and trim multiple clips, but that's just the beginning. With your video assembled, you can add text, still images, voice recordings and music from your iTunes library, or record your own narrative. Slider controls for contrast, vibrance and saturation give your videos a professional look, alongside a library of sound effects and transitions.
Some basic effects and filters are free, but many are available only via in-app purchases. Collage templates let you load and play several videos in one screen, but you must render the collage before you can add effects. All output can be shared to Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Messenger. The app is available for free, but removing the watermark costs $1.99. Extra video and sound effects, fonts, stickers and filters range in price from 99 cents to $4.99.
As its name implies, Quik makes swift work of automatically finding the most compelling and dynamic photo and video scenes, and adding from a library of transitions, effects and tunes. Just choose the photos and videos you like, and then choose a theme like Action, Boxed, Flick, Raw or Epic that determines your video's text, transitions and special effects.
A choice of themes and their built-in animations appear along the bottom of the display. The format control lets you save in cinema or square format, and then share to social networks or to your camera roll. While there’s plenty of automation to help you save time and effort, you can dive in to edit each frame by tapping into an editing module to add text, trim, rotate, adjust volume and speed, and fit or duplicate any clip or shot. The Flashbacks 24H feature automatically reviews the day’s footage and creates an original composite video for you.
You can adjust photos and videos with Pan and Zoom, horizon correction, and Rotate and Flip. A revamped trimming interface and new smart trim modes like Balanced, Manual, Action, Travel and People are targeted specifically to GoPro footage. But iPhone shooters can still use the Balanced and HiLights settings or trim manually.
Splice lets you select photos and videos from not only your camera roll but also other accounts — such as Dropbox, Facebook, Instagram and GoPro Plus — and pull them directly into your timeline. There are more than 20 video styles with neat-looking transitions and graphics. Despite its array of traditional features, Splice does not feel overly complex, because each action is accomplished with a tap: add photos and videos from various accounts, line them up on the timeline, add and delete fade-ins and -outs, personalize text and choose audio.
There are many audio genres to choose from, and there's even a timeline specifically for editing audio. Detailed instructions on how to use the app ensure that you don't get stuck, but most users should be able to simply dive in and experiment. When you're done with your video, you can share to YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Vimeo, Mail and Messages.