These days, the best video editing apps cover all kinds of creative need, whether that's adding pro-level polish or a just quick top-and-tail for social media. If you're confused about which one's the best for you, look no further – we've rounded up all of the best video editing apps for Android, iPhone and iPad in the list below.
We haven't always been spoiled with such a wide array of video-polishing tools. Not long ago, working on video meant being tethered to a massive edit suite, packed with chunky dials – and slots to shove huge tapes into.
Even the onset of digital technology didn’t change things much initially – you still needed a seriously powerful PC, the likes of which few people could afford. Today, a smartphone or tablet potentially gives you everything you need. How the times change, right?
We say potentially, because bottlenecks do still remain. Mobile hardware isn’t all created equal, nor are apps that run on such devices. This evolving list is designed to help, pointing you toward, in our opinion, the best video editing apps available for Android, iPhone and iPad.
With mastery (and a little talent), they provide on-the-go ‘sketch’ capability at the very least, and full-fat editing if you go all-in – perhaps using footage you’ve shot using the very same device you’re editing on.
Right now, our pick for the title of best video editing app overall goes to LumaFusion, thanks to its combination of desktop-level power and surprising accessibility. It is, though, a premium app that isn't currently available on Android, so it's well worth perusing the rest of our list to find the best mobile video editor for you.
Best video editing apps 2021:
LumaFusion is the mobile app synonymous with desktop-grade video editing. Although it’s not quite enough to hurl your PC out of the window, we’ve heard of editors using it to complete entire projects – and it’s easy to see why.
Rather than simplifying editing for mobile, LumaFusion embraces complexity, yet makes it accessible. There’s a multi-track editor – up to six for video/titles/graphics and audio; six more for overlaid effects, music and voiceovers. Tracks can be locked, hidden and muted, keeping everything manageable – even on an iPhone.
The magnetic timeline is flexible and responsive, even when juggling 4K footage, with a useful overview that lets you jump to any point in your edit. And there’s a multitude of effects, color-correction tools and audio mixing features to experiment with. Even the up-front cost, which might look off-putting, is reasonable when you realize it’s a one-off and not a subscription.
In short, if you have video-editing needs on iPhone and iPad, LumaFusion should be your first choice, unless you can’t get on with the interface or it’s overkill for your needs.
Like the idea of LumaFusion’s effects but not its price tag? LumaFX carves that bit off into a standalone app, available for a bargain $0.99 / 99p / AU$1.49.
There’s a sense of trepidation with KineMaster when you launch the app and it immediately wants to rope you into a subscription. But what soon becomes clear is this is powerful, usable software – whether you’re willing to pay for it or not.
Importing clips is a cinch, and the app makes great use of screen space. By default, a large preview is flanked by a toolbar for vital commands (undo, settings and so on) and a camera-like record button with icons around it for quickly getting at media, audio and overlays. It looks cluttered, but feels efficient when working, even on a phone.
For free, you get access to the bulk of the toolset, if not the assets, and exports are watermarked. If nothing else, this at least means you can try before you buy.
If you do pay, it’ll cost you around $23 / £19 / AU$38 annually – reasonable value for the best pro-oriented option on Android, especially if you make use of the assets store. iPhone/iPad users should stick with LumaFusion though.
On the desktop, iMovie has long held a reputation for marrying ease of use with power. It’s no Final Cut Pro, but it gets the job done. You might say the same of its mobile incarnation.
Load a selection of clips and iMovie arranges them on a magnetic single-track timeline. Clips can be rearranged with ease, and you can pinch to zoom the timeline if you don’t like staring at thumbnails.
There’s a title editor (standard or lower third) and although it’s based around themes, fonts, colors and backgrounds can all be adjusted. Beyond that, you can apply filters and transitions, adjust clip speeds, add audio overlays, and experiment with green-screen, split-screen and picture-in-picture effects.
Ultimately, iMovie trades depth for speed. Some features are geared towards newcomers, such as the accessible but limited interface and trailer templates that teach people about film construction and shot types. But jobbing pros shouldn’t dismiss the app, because it’s great for throwing clips together and figuring out narrative flow in an interface that’s fast, efficient and low on distractions.
Like KineFusion, PowerDirector demands you open your wallet the second you fire it up – and is about 50% pricier than its rival. But skip past that and you’ll find a friendly app that sits somewhere between LumaFusion and iMovie, if you’re on Apple hardware – or in a similar space to KineMaster if on Android.
Import clips and they dutifully line-up on the timeline. Select one and you can, by way of the edit button, access a range of tools. It’s less elegant than iMovie or even KineMaster, but the app’s responsiveness and lack of clutter make it pleasant to use. This friendliness extends to early jaunts around the app, where you’re accompanied by comic-like thought bubbles outlining where everything is.
For pros on the move, PowerDirector broadly aligns with iMovie – a place to sketch out ideas rather than create a finished product. For keen amateurs, it’s powerful enough without being overwhelming. Again, though, it seems better suited to Android, given that iPhone/iPad users can instead opt for the superior LumaFusion (pro) or iMovie (consumer).
This Apple app attempts to combine the simplicity and elegance of iMovie with the immediacy demanded of creating video for social networks. To that end, it has a workflow that’s quite alien compared to traditional video editing, and yet it successfully gets you in the moment, focusing on what’s really important.
Ideally, Clips would have you shoot footage inside the app itself, but you can import existing shots – after a fashion. Rather than adding a clip to your timeline, you position it within the viewport, scrub to where you’d like to start, and prod the record button to capture the part you want.
Elsewhere, the app is a grab-bag of fun features, including cartoonish filters, text overlays, Memoji head replacements and live titles. There’s a whiff of gimmick about some of these, but Clips nonetheless has a feature set that effectively balances fun and creativity, enabling you to build tiny social network-friendly movies in double-quick fashion.
6. Stop Motion Studio Pro
We’re heading into specialist territory with this entry. As the app’s name suggests, Stop Motion Studio Pro isn’t concerned with traditional filmmaking – it’s instead designed to cut stop-motion animation.
This is a versatile app, in which you can shoot using its built-in camera, transforming desk-bound objects into a living world. But the app can import existing images and video, the latter of which is converted to still frames. Each frame can be tweaked, and it’s possible to overlay multiple audio samples that can play simultaneously and themselves be edited.
The brute-force nature of certain settings – foregrounds and filters applied to the entire production; a single frame-rate; no transitions bar option start/end fades –means the app doesn’t quite reach its ambition of being properly ‘pro’. But as a means of focusing on what matters, and to map out animation ideas from existing content while on the go (or on the sofa), it’s ideal.
- Download Stop Motion Studio Pro Android ($4.99/£4.99/AU$8.99)
- Download Stop Motion Studio Pro for iPhone/iPad ($4.99/£4.99/AU$8.99)
Whether applied for corrective or stylistic reasons, chances are color grading will form part of your video-editing workflow – at least if you’re not merely hurling random cat videos at social networks on a whim. For anything more considered, though, you’ll want to fix color-cast errors and use color for emotional and contextual impact.
For an app that costs as much as a cheap lunch, VideoGrade provides you with an awful lot of creative control, wrapped up in an interface anyone can understand. Load a video and a plethora of sliders enables you to subtly adjust temperature, sharpness, saturation and color channels; if you want to get more creative, you can experiment with bloom, posterization, pixelation and rotation.
The app sensibly provides a real-time preview, including split-screen comparisons, and the means to save presets. When you’re done, you can export your footage using a number of presets. Whether salvaging a shot or bringing new life to a mundane clip, VideoGrade offers an excellent balance of power and immediacy.
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