So, you’ve taken some incredible footage on your phone, now what? You could leave it as is, with the awkward beginning and two minutes of nothing between the interesting bits, or, you could throw it into a video editor and hack it up into something more interesting. The best part is that you can do everything right for your phone because there are some fantastic video editors available on Android right now.
What to Look for a Video Editor
A video editor is a complex tool, as such, there are more than a few things to consider when choosing one.
Focus: Video editing is a deep world, and depending on the type of video editing you’re doing, certain design decisions and features will be needed for an app to work for you. With the variety of apps available today though, it shouldn’t be too hard to find one that matches your tastes and needs.
Multi-Track Timeline: This type of timeline allows you to stack multiple video clips, audio tracks, and images on top of each other in the timeline to create your videos. This is a nearly universal feature for desktop video editors, but on mobile it’s noticeably less common. If you’re looking to do anything close to complex editing, you’re definitely going to want this. Those focused on simpler editing projects could make do without though.
Basic Features: Splicing (cutting clips to different lengths), cropping (zooming in on clips or adjusting the aspect ratio), and rearrangement (moving clips around in different orders) are the basics of video editing, and any app you use should support them to some extent. Text creation and scene transitions are also basic tools but aren’t as necessary.
Advanced Features: Things like chroma-keying, color grading, or keyframe animation are only needed if you want to dive deep into the editing process. They can make apps feel overwhelming and cluttered, but they also allow you to create unique videos in your own style.
Special Effects: Many mobile editors boast hundreds of special effects you can add to your videos to make them stand out more. This could mean a simple fade-in transition, or it could mean fire surrounding your entire body —different apps will offer different types of effects.
Assets: Chances are, you’re going to want to add some music to your edit. Other times, you may need a premade graphic or piece of stock footage. This is where an asset store can come in handy, and there are quite a few apps that offer such a thing. These help you get the assets you need legally. Usually, you’ll have to pay for each asset, but some apps come bundled with them or offer assets as a perk for their premium versions.
Payment Model: Speaking of premium versions, it’s very rare that a good video editing app will be completely free. Most of the time, you will pay in some manner, whether that’s for assets, more features, or to get rid of ads or a watermark. Apps usually ask for a one-time payment or a subscription that charges you every so often.
Now that you know all that, let’s start talking about some apps.
Advanced Editing: KineMaster
If you want an advanced editor built with phones in mind, then KineMaster is one of the best options around. The basics are all covered, such as splicing, adding text, and transitions, but what’s more impressive are the professional tools included, such as color grading, chroma-keying, blend modes, and keyframe animation. Bundle all that with a multi-track timeline and you can create some impressive stuff with KineMaster.
KineMaster also has an extensive asset store where you can purchase stock video, music, and graphics for use in your edits. KineMaster has official tutorials for its app on its YouTube channel.
KineMaster is free to download, but there will be ads in the app and your videos will have a watermark. If you want to get rid of both of those while also gaining access to over a thousand premium assets, you’ll need KineMaster Premium, which costs $3.99 a month or $22.99 a year.
Another Powerful Option: PowerDirector
Another editor that gives you all the tools you need to create complex edits is PowerDirector. You can freely add in text and transitions, but you also have access to more powerful tools, such as color grading, chroma-keying, and keyframe animation. Frankly, PowerDirector and KineMaster are pretty similar to each other feature-wise, so it just comes down to which one you like using more.
Like KineMaster, PowerDirector also produces its own official tutorials on its YouTube channel. You’ll have to make sure the videos you’re watching are for the mobile version though, as there is a desktop version as well.
PowerDirector is free to download, but if you want to edit 4K footage, gain access to hundreds of effects and transitions, get rid of the watermark, and use even more tools (such as video stabilization), then you’ll need the “Premium” subscription, which costs either $4.99 a month, $9.99 a quarter, or $34.99 a year.
Scaled-Down Premiere: Adobe Premiere Rush
Adobe Premiere Pro is an industry-standard desktop video editor that’s used to edit everything from big-name movies to YouTube videos. And, while Adobe may not have packed all that power into the mobile version, Premiere Rush still proves to be a worthwhile video editor.
Featuring a fairly similar (but massively simplified) UI to its desktop counterpart, users of Premiere Pro will feel right at home here. Premiere Rush features a multitrack timeline and allows you to color-grade and add text and transitions to your clips. It even has some motion graphic templates built-in to give your videos some added flair.
Premiere Rush is free to download, but if you want cloud syncing so you can edit on any device (as it’s also available on macOS, Windows, and iOS), 4K exporting, advanced audio tools, and the previously mentioned motion graphic templates, you’ll need the “Premium” version, which costs $9.99 a month (and comes with 100 GB of cloud storage). You can also get Premiere Rush Premium if you pay for Adobe Premiere Pro for $20.99 a month, or the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite for $52.99 a month. (You can find more information on this on Adobe’s site.)
Fast and Free: Quik
Quik has one goal: make video editing as fast and hassle-free as possible. With plenty of prebuilt templates and transitions alongside an intuitive UI, you can create great-looking videos in Quik in a matter of minutes. The app even tries to automate some parts of the editing process like syncing and splicing, but you can do that manually as well if you’d prefer.
While Quik was designed with GoPro footage in mind, it works with your normal phone camera as well. Some free-to-use music is also included in the app, but you can also import your own music if you’d prefer.
The best apart about Quik though? It’s entirely free—no strings attached.
Have Fun: Funimate
It can get boring to edit videos with the same standard effects you see in every editing app. That’s where Funimate comes in, as it features many easy-to-use effects and animations all with an emphasis on being, well, fun.
With 100 built-in effects at your disposal, you can create some unique videos with Funimate. The app even allows you to create your own effects if you’ve got the time and drive for it. For those looking to stand out from the crowd, Funimate is the app to use.
If you want even more effects, transitions, and animations, you can purchase Funimate PRO, which costs $6.99 a month or $49.99 a year.
For Posting: InShot
Videos that are posted to social media tend to use a vertical or square aspect ratio, which is exactly what InShot focuses on. With a multitrack timeline, plenty of professional and fun effects to choose from, and a variety of transitions to keep things interesting, InShot is the perfect app to create great-looking videos to share with others.
InShot has an asset store where you can buy various packs of stickers and effects, many of which are free, but they seem to max out at about three dollars per pack. This is also where you can pay to remove the InShot watermark from your videos and get rid of ads for the one-time payment of $2.99.
For Vlogging: VLLO
VLLO aims to simplify the vlog editing process as much as possible. You can quickly merge and splice clips together, add some simple animations and transitions, and add in various effects and filters to give your video that perfect final touch. If you want to create your own vlog without spending hours in the editing process, VLLO is the app to use.
VLLO is free to download, but if you want access to some more advanced tools and effects (such as backgrounds and a mosaic tool), you’ll need to pay a one-time payment of $6.99 for the full version. If you want to get rid of ads, however, that’s a separate one-time payment of $1.99.