Advances in smartphone technology have inspired a bevy of native iOS and Android apps designed specifically for shooting, editing and sharing video on 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.
iMovie for iOS is the go-to app if you're shooting video on an iPhone and can't get back to your desk to edit with the original desktop version of the program. With just a few quick taps, you can pull together a professional-looking presentation. Get started by collecting video clips on your phone to create original projects. Projects come in two flavors: Movie and Trailer.
The Trailer templates offer a defined structure for sequencing your clips, adding transitions and effects, and they feature built-in professional soundtracks of music and effects. You can also add your own music or voice narration. The Gear button lets you access sounds, transitions, Instagram-style filters, and themes. At any point, the app lets you trim, split, duplicate, adjust playback speed, and add text and special effects. The iMovie Theater feature shares your movies with all of your devices.
Videohance is a simple app with elaborate enhancements, making it an outstanding choice for on-the-fly special-effects action. The app lets you shoot either a 1 x 1-inch square or 16 x 9 HD video and construct still-photo slideshows by shooting or importing any video or still image stored in your phone. A huge array of stylized presets gives your output a defined look, while tuning features fix and enhance saturation, brightness and exposure.
Snazzy special effects — like Light Leaks, Grit+Grain, Gradients, Blurs and others — combine to make your video unique. You can also add stylish frames; adjust motion and speed; trim, split, and duplicate clips; and add your own iTunes audio selections and transitions. The app's interface is vertical, making it easy to use one-handed, but the output is conveniently horizontal. The app features a variety of options for letting you export videos to social networks such as Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp and Tumblr.
Vizmato is a thoroughly delightful app for shooting and editing video from both front and rear cameras. The app's themes — like Hip Hop, Haunted, Chaplin, Lovestruck and 8MM — join special effects like Noir, Nostalgia, ‘70s, and Blockbuster to make your videos shine.
By joining up to five separate clips, you can affix built-in moods, looks and tunes to your movie, and film through special-effects modes. Or, you can just shoot straight with your iPhone camera and layer in effects afterward. Then, share your movie with the Vizmato community or on your favorite social networks. An in-app purchase of $3.99 removes the watermark, and subscriptions with online storage are available.
Launch VidLab if you want to execute a variety of creative options on your video project, collage or slideshow. The video 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.
Quik swiftly and automatically chooses and edits your photos and short videos to form a fun daily or weekly narrative of your life. The app can combine up to 200 photos and video clips from your camera roll, gallery or linked Facebook, Instagram or GoPro Plus accounts to leverage the app's built-in automated special effects and musical features. Choose a theme — like Action, Boxed, Flick, Raw or Epic — which determines many of your video's special effects.
While the app doesn't offer a tremendous amount of control, you can edit each frame yourself by tapping into an editing module to add text, trim, rotate, adjust volume and speed, and fit or duplicate each clip or shot. A choice of themes and their built-in animations scroll along the bottom of the iPhone display. The format control lets you save in cinema or square format, and then share to the usual batch of social networks or to your camera roll.
There's plenty of buzz around artificial intelligence these days, and Magisto uses it to automatically build stories from the stills and movies you have stored on your phone. Operating like a programmed learning module where each move automatically leads to the next, Magisto lets you punch in the kind of movie you want — business or personal — and then gives you a choice of editing styles, like No Filter, Testimonial, Storyteller, Extreme Sports, Travel, and Food.
You choose which shots and clips you want to include from your camera roll, and then select from a list of recommended themes and music, including genres, moods and instrumental or vocal types. The result is a dynamic movie with spiffy special effects set to the music. After your movie is processed and ready, you can share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. The app's free version limits movie lengths to about 35 seconds, but annual subscriptions are available for $2.50 per month for videos of up to 2 minutes and 30 seconds each, in addition to more expensive business and marketing subscriptions.
Animoto takes a somewhat different approach than other video editors in that it produces a slideshow-style video designed to show off your images and videos quickly, without a lot of hands-on input. You start by adding clips and stills into stylized, pre-programmed templates; then the app handles the production mechanics. Choose your theme and musical score from the app's array of built-in assets; then plug in your images and videos, add text and captions, and preview the result.
You can view a short sample of around 80 style choices first, to get an idea of what the final video will look like. Some Instagram-style clips feature an endlessly looping song, but other styles let you choose from a selection of tunes from genres such as acoustic, children's, classical, hip-hop and Halloween, or you can use your own music. After a free trial period, personal and professional annual subscriptions range from $8 to $34 per month.