There’s no doubt that video has become the leading format for marketers keen to keep engagement levels high on social media. An uncomplicated way to convey the personality of your business, people reportedly watch over 2 billion videos a day on Twitter alone (Hootsuite).
A 2018 study by Social Media Today reported that just by having the word ‘video’ in an email subject line increased open rate by 19%. And not only does it entice clicks, but the use of video has also proven to be capable of increasing landing page conversions by 80%.
Android and iOS now feature AI capabilities as standard, to recognise a collection of photos and turn them into a video on your phone - which can be uploaded to socials instantly. But with millions of videos being created daily by marketers, these limited AI functions just don’t cut the mustard. Give us better music, captions and slick transitions - it’s 2021 after all.
With this in mind, we’ve shortlisted the best video editing apps which enable you to create awesome social content from the palm of your hand. Every product shortlisted has been put through its paces by our professional Videographer, Laura Evans from Let's Talk Video Production. Laura used each app to edit a snippet of our Meet the Team Video in order to offer her expert opinion on the functionality available.
Use it when: you’re getting started
We’ll go for an old classic to start; iMovie has been free for Apple users since 2013. The simplistic and intuitive design means that those new to editing can create video in minutes, and the more experienced still have plenty to play with.
Apple hasn’t updated the app in 5 years, so the 29 templates you choose from can end up becoming repetitive. That being said, there’s not a huge amount to be improved upon in this app in terms of functionality and features, which may be why they’ve not given it a refresh.
Quick tip: Use the app preview to create content to showcase your work easily with screen recording and transition options.
iMovie is a classic, simple editor and it's great that it is free and can be used across your different Apple devices. Competitors pull ahead when it comes to their focus on what modern users need when it comes to social video content, with better integration for additional features and consideration for social platforms, such as different ratios.
iMovie is good for technophobes and quick drag and drop editing for simple videos for YouTube and even green screen presentations, but lacks the depth of other apps and tech-savvy people will become quickly frustrated by the lack of options and flexibility.
Use it when: you want to be creative
Where iMovie is moderate in its effects and templates, KineMaster goes entirely the other way, boasting over 800 effects to choose from. KineMaster is incredibly powerful so the quality of the video is vastly improved. Many effects and features are available on the free version of the app, meaning that you can create much more customisable content. This is great to use for Instagram stories, whose in-app editing can be frustrating to use.
The free version does have its limits; when you’re ready to download your video, you’ll only get a watermarked, low res version. The subscription choices are either monthly or yearly, so can be an expensive option in the long term if you wish to only use ad hoc.
Quick tip: Before you spend any cash in the effects store, preview the effects for free on your video.
This is a really accessible app and if you have an older device or operating system, this could be a good option for you. KineMaster is instantly instinctive to use and makes it very clear where you can go for further support, with a good bank of video how tos and user generated content to show you how to use the app. You get quite a bit of control, even with the free app (although number of exports are limited on the free version). For example, using sliders for correcting different aspects of the visuals and the ability to select some different frame rate and bit rate options when exporting.
If you use the free version then you will see adverts in-app and there will be a watermark on the exported video. You can upgrade to remove these and to remove restrictions on the visual quality of exports. Upgrading also grants access to a wider range of visual effects and media. It's worth bearing in mind that it is a subscription model and not a one off purchase.
Overall, this was a very easy app to use. I liked that you could add stickers and it was easy to add some eye catching movement to graphic elements. They have clearly considered what features are really useful, such as easily pulling out a white block to sit behind text, thus making it easier to read.
Use it when: you need something quickly
Fans of Wondershare were thrilled when the phone friendly Filmora was announced. This app boasts all of the usual features that you expect with a video editing app, but the design makes it pleasing and fun to use. It can easily reformat the size of your video so that it’s transferred quickly to any specific social media type.
Although, generally the app itself is good, trimming videos and adding new clips in seems to come with a bit of difficulty when using your fingertips. So, while this is great to get your video edited and customised quickly, those who want extra may wish to look for something more advanced.
Quick tip: Whilst their music library isn’t massive, you are able to upload your own music from your phone.
Downloadable stickers and packs put this app in the "fun" selection rather than too serious. The interface is super easy to understand and it's a doddle to add and move graphics. Automatic settings are good here, allowing you to match graphics to clip or video lengths and you can place on the screen by picking from a number of presets or do this manually if you prefer. This is a very easy app and decent for social videos with various options for ratios and then for frame rates and resolutions when exporting. Pay up to remove the watermark.
Use it when: you’re looking for high-quality
Experienced video editors did a happy little jig when LumaFusion 2.0 was launched. This app is one used frequently by professionals because of it’s power - you can produce 6 video and audio tracks for one project, which is unparalleled in its type. Although the app may be slightly daunting for newbies, the sleek design means that it doesn’t take long to get to grips with its features. LumaFusion isn’t free but is reasonably priced considering the level of what you can produce. One of the best features is that you can easily connect the display to external sources, meaning you can view your video whilst editing from your device.
Quick tip: Use the overview for a quick way to see where you’ve made edits or inserted any graphics
Less accessible for older systems but with good reason - LumaFusion has the most depth and complexity of them all and needs a beefy operating system that supports its many features. What it can do on a device is exciting and it may be the only editing program you need for a long time. The multi track editing layout looks professional and is easy to use.
Users have more control over details with features such as X/Y indicators that show exact placements of graphics and the ability to use key frames and animate movement into shots. Even the colour selection has more depth and there is impressive customisation available throughout the app.
You are instantly directed to external tutorial videos and can use a button to show icon labels in the app and you may well need these helpful resources as this is a deep, feature rich program.
Technical information about clips can be pulled up and this app had the most controls over technical aspects and exports. I am sure that if I spent more time with the app there would be even more to talk about.
This app is worth the money for tech lovers who want more control but others could be overwhelmed by the many options.
Adobe has had a few goes at apps for video editing, but with Rush, they’ve finally cracked it. The interface is designed to be clean - it may seem simple at first, but don’t underestimate its abilities. The Auto Reframe tool analyses your videos, aiming to recognise what the main focus is. It’s not 100% accurate, but is easily amended and can help save lots of time when it gets it right. If you’re subscribed to Creative Cloud, you can also use this app on your desktop, meaning that creating more high-end and detail orientated video is easily accessible.
Quick tip: you can easily integrate your social channels with the app, as well as following their guidance for how to tailor your video to your chosen platform.
Where other apps booted straight up, this one required an extra level of signing in through an Adobe, email or a Facebook account. It started with a handy (but skippable) tutorial that walks you through the steps of creating a simple video within the app. Filters and sliders allow you to correct visuals, simple transitions are clearly labelled for use and there are lots of fonts. However, moving graphic elements and file management was not as instinctive as others in my opinion. There are ratio options for social media platforms and you can use this app across devices but I did not find it quite as instinctive and exciting to use as some others.
Now you've got the lowdown on the tools to create video from your phone, why not learn about how to swerve boring corporate videos? Check out our podcast with Luke from Hightower Video.