While phone cameras still don’t match the quality of specialist photography and filming equipment, mobile devices these days are able to create some seriously good visual content. When it comes to sharing some 4K footage you’ve shot for a personal project or for work, you’re going to want some good video editing apps to get it in shape.
Here are four of the best mobile video apps, for professional editors or discerning amateurs.
One of the earliest of the serious editing tools for mobile devices. It’s still a strong contender, with a range of tools for professionals and amateurs alike. There are a couple of different modes. The simple drag and drop ‘Storyboard Mode’ is for beginners, while the more in-depth ‘Timeline Mode’ is for advanced users.
It’s got apps for Android and iOS, as well as a browser-based interface for desktop. Combined with cloud storage, this means you can switch between working in different environments. This can be very useful if you’re shooting short, timely content on the move but want to polish it later.
The flexibility is really a selling point of this app. It makes up for some of the limitations in editing: the controls lack features such as timecode selection when cutting clips, which will be frustrating for people who need precision. Also, while the app is free and has staged pricing, only the top tier allows exporting higher than 720p. (Unless you want to pay per export for 1080p or 4K, which is utter madness in my opinion.) And it’s subscription based, not a one-off payment, at £15.99 a month for the top package (or half that, if you pay annually). So for serious editors, WeVideo will get expensive quickly. This limits its appeal among the good video editing apps.
PowerDirector should be a top consideration if you’re editing on an Android device. It’s a well designed piece of software. It has controls for mobile that combine precision with ease of use on a touch screen, such as drag and drop to rearrange clips and cutting tools that allow you to cut where you need to (an area where WeVideo currently falls behind a little).
Layer controls and a selection of advanced editing options (such as limited audio mixing tools) mean that you can get some decent results straight from your mobile. You can even use its cloud file hosting to finish off your editing on the desktop app, which has more advanced features (if you’re on Android and Windows that is – iOS and OSX users will have to look elsewhere at the moment).
PowerDirector is currently free to download. However, you’ll need to pay a one-off in app purchase for 4K exports, a second video overlay, and removing ads and watermarks. However, at £5.00 this is still a very reasonable option among the good video editing apps on mobile.
For serious video editors, this is probably the best app that you will find for mobile. It has many of the features you would find in professional editing tools on desktops. The interface is very intuitive. They’ve really thought about how to combine power and usability on mobile devices.
When cutting footage, you can trim to the left or right of the playhead and freeze frame from an easily accessible menu, giving you high levels of control and precision. Layering lets you put in b-roll easily and you can add multiple layers. It’s even got chroma key controls. That’s right, you can do green screen straight from your mobile device. It’s pretty crazy.
But it’s not all about power. The simple controls are done well too, such a useful, intuitive basic audio controls to streamline your editing and a well placed, easy way to undo (which is something you really miss when it’s not there).
It’s free to download – but naturally, if you want to use it for professional purposes then you’ll have to pay for in-app purchases. Unfortunately, it’s on a subscription model, at just under £3 a month (although it’s slightly cheaper for an annual purchase). However, compared to other good video editing apps, it’s still pretty affordable. It’s one of the best options on Android right now if you want professional results straight from your phone.