No-one wants to watch that 30-minute video of your cat being mildly amusing, and even that minute-long clip of a drunken friend falling off of a chair is too long. But cut out the boring bits, drop in some transitions and add a soundtrack, and you’ve got social media gold. Possibly.
So whether you’re a budding Hollywood director armed with a smartphone, or just someone who wants to make an Instagram clip look more Instagrammy, grab one of these editors and get cracking on your masterpiece. After all, you’ve only another 29-and-a-half minutes to chop out!
Considered a benchmark release on iOS, and impressively similar to the Mac desktop version, iMovie should be on every iOS device. The app makes it ridiculously easy to splice together shot footage, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
You can also use it to add titles, music, voiceovers and photos to your work of art - and if you want to cheese it up, take your pick from a bunch of TV-style templates and movie trailer themes. With the latest Apple kit, it’ll even deal with 4K.
Download iMovie for iOS (£3.99)
Android often ends up second-best when it comes to creative fare, but that’s not the case with video. PowerDirector in many ways echoes iMovie, providing a user-friendly but powerful editor.
Clips can quickly be arranged and trimmed, titles can be added, and you get a decent set of transitions to experiment with. Pay the one-off IAP (£3.94) to rid your movies of watermarks and export at up to 1080p.
Download PowerDirector for Android (£free + IAP)
Pinnacle Studio Pro
While iMovie is great at what it does, it’s clearly geared towards casual use. If you want to take things to the next level, try Pinnacle Studio. This long-established editor - the desktop version has been around since the ’90s - provides a wealth of powerful features.
Although editing is fast and intuitive, you get plenty of control over speed, transitions, picture-in-picture, pan-and-zoom, audio edits, and titles. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to a desktop-style video-editing app on your iPad.
One of the most impressive things about this Android video editor is that it’s so simple to use even on quite a small smartphone. It uses screen space remarkably well, making it a cinch to arrange your clips, add additional layers (captions, images, and even ‘handwriting’), quickly import extra footage, and play around with effects.
It’s just a pity the developer saddled it with a restrictive subscription payment model rather than a one-off cost. (You can get 30 days for £4.02, or start subscribing for £2.91 per month.)
Download KineMaster for Android (£free + IAP)
Movie Edit Touch
This one shows that Windows Phone at least has the potential to match Android and iOS in the app stakes.
It’s a generously featured video editor that works much like iMovie, allowing you to make frame-by-frame edits, join clips up with neat transitions, add titles and soundtracks, and export the results as HD movies. It’s fast, well behaved and powerful.
Download Movie Edit Touch for Windows Phone (£free + IAP)
Formerly known as Replay, Quik was primarily designed for Instagrammers, but is suitable for anyone with pics and videos sloshing about on their iOS device. Suitably, it’s all about creating videos — fast. You decide on a selection, pick a theme and — BAM! — there’s your masterpiece.
You can make a few tweaks — style; pace; font; titles; filters; trims. For the most part, though, this is all about letting an app take the strain, turning a pile of photos into a promo, or random baby or pet videos into something guaranteed to make everyone blub.
Now the app’s owned by GoPro, the many IAPs have vanished, giving you free access to 28 varied video styles. Additionally, it’ll rummage through your on-device videos and compile new movies to watch every week, meaning you needn’t even lift a finger (bar to open the app and tap ‘For you’).
Download Quik for Android (£free)
Download Quik for iOS (£free)
Although iMovie and Pinnacle Studio Pro are stuffed full of tools and effects, LumaFX is a must-have install as well. Essentially, it’s all about fixing single clips, whether you were holding your iPhone wrong, meaning everything plays sideways, or your footage ended up with a colour cast that makes everyone look like they’re about to vomit.
With a few taps, LumaFX lets you flip, reorient and rotate footage, adjust its speed and aspect ratio, and apply all manner of effects. Whether you want to subtly adjust contrast and shadows or transform a home movie into a deranged 1970s Eastern European animation, LumaFX is a few quid well-spent.
Given its impressive feature-set, you might sit down with Splice and wonder what the catch is. This entirely free (and ad-free) app enables you to import and arrange clips, each of which can be individually edited.
You can add text, transitions, and filters; speed can be adjusted; and there are multiple audio tracks (including one for voiceovers). Destructive trimming within clip edits is the only real niggle — trims and cuts can subsequently all be removed from edited footage with a single tap, but this workflow lacks the flexibility needed for experimentation. Otherwise Splice is great for quickly editing movies on your iPhone.
Download Splice for iOS (£free)
Adobe Premiere Clip
With Premiere’s pedigree on the desktop, it’s a bit odd to see the name used on mobile for such a comparatively simple product. But Premiere Clip gives you a straightforward means of arranging clips and exporting the result.
It’s designed for speed, so isn’t particularly feature-rich, but is a decent download for anyone heavily immersed in Creative Cloud — or Android owners wanting something quick, simple and free. (iOS owners should instead first check out the superior Splice.)
This app comes across like an automated editor for anyone who considers using Replay a bit much effort. Point Magistro at a bunch of images and photos, pick a theme and some music, and then have a cup of tea. When you’re done, Magistro will be too, and you’ll have a highly animated short, based on the content you provided.
For free, movies are limited to a minute long. Pay for premium (from £3.99 per month) and you can create longer movies with more clips, and get unlimited downloads. If you only want to save the odd movie, you can do so at 79p a pop.
Download Magistro for Android (£free + IAP)
Download Magistro for iOS (£free + IAP)