8 Apps to Create and Edit Videos on Your Phone
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It’s insane how much video editing you can do on your phone these days. When I started making GIFs in 2013, my entire process was on the computer. I struggled through Adobe Premiere and After Effects tutorials to figure out editing, animation and color grading (I also dipped a toe into Davinci Resolve). While there’s a lot that I still can’t do on my phone, I’m consistently surprised by how much that gap closes every couple of months. These days, I would say that 40% of my video work happens on my phone. It’s taken a bit of digging around, experimenting and a lot trial and error but these are my favorite video editing apps:
This is VSCO's newest addition to their editing tools (available via their VSCO X subscription) and it’s incredible. While it’s not quite professional color grading, it gives me enough control over the colors and tones in videos to create an aesthetic without thinking about LUTs. For videos going on social media, the quality is definitely good enough.
The VSCO video editing capability is quite new, they launched in August 2017, so there are a few small glitches at the moment. For example, with photos each preset usually has a small preview image but that's not working for video yet. Or maybe it's just not working on my account. I have my presets organized so my mostly frequently used ones are up at the beginning and I can pretty quickly find the one I want even without the preview.
The app version of the classic Apple video editing software. You can put together short movies or trailers by pulling in videos, photos and audio. With longer videos, you can add transitions, speed up or slow down clips and split clips. I find it a bit cumbersome to use but it’s one of the best apps I’ve found for editing together a quick video.
iMovie has all these hidden features and apparently you can flip videos but I didn’t realize that until recently so I’ve been using rotate & flip to change the orientation of videos. Also, it’s easier to use than iMovie so if I just have one clip to edit, this is my go to. (hat tip Paul Octavious for introducing me to this app and Luis Rodriguez for the iMovie info)
Boomerang is a tool by Instagram. I always think of it as a GIF/video hybrid creator. It creates those bouncy videos you see on Instagram. When I was a Digital Media Manager for a restaurant group, this was the only app I could get other people to use with any sort of regularity, probably because it’s very approachable and easy to use.
A little warning: this app can be a pain to use. It’s orientation is locked to horizontal and you just have to work with that. I hunted around for a stop motion app for a long time and while Stop Motion can occasionally be a bit annoying to use, it gets the job done.
Another tool created by Instagram. I love it and have loved it since it’s original release. Being able to create a stabilized and sped up video with only a phone is totally magical. On it’s own a hyperlapse video is sort of unexciting but I always take a few to sprinkle into larger projects. Every now and again, very serious artists will try and dismiss this little app around me and it gets me so worked up. Having this sort of capability on a little phone is incredible!
Instagram has a few built in tools for video that I really like, for example their trim option is more precise and easier to use than the iMovie equivalent. Since I’m not always ready to share the video as I’m working on it, I occasionally switch into airplane mode to work on a video without posting it (when you go to post, it will safe to your camera roll and you just cancel the upload before switching out airplane mode).