Pocket Spielbergs: the 12 best video editing apps for mobile

Turn your home movie clips into Cannes-worthy mini-epics with a few simple swipes

No-one wants to see a 30-minute video of your cat being mildly amusing; and even that 60-second comedy classic Drunken Mate Falls Off 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 some of these editors and get cracking on your masterpiece. After all, you’ve only another 29-and-a-half minutes to chop out!

iMovie

Considered a benchmark iOS release, 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 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 recent Apple hardware, it’ll even deftly deal with 4K.

Download iMovie for iOS (£free)

Clips

Designed for speed and aimed at the social media generation, Clips dumps traditional timelines, titles and the like, for something more immediate.

You record clips in-app or import existing movies by ‘recording’ them into the Clips square viewport, rearrange thumbnails, slather everything in effects, and hurl the result at your network of choice.

Live Titles and animated posters add further creative scope – and if you’ve an iPhone X, Selfie Scenes can make it look like you’re aboard a Star Wars spaceship doing your best (i.e. worst) Vader impression.

Download Clips for iOS (£free)

PowerDirector

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. However, you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription (£3.49 – although as low as £1.79 if you pay for a year upfront) to rid your movies of watermarks and export at up to 4K.

Download PowerDirector for Android (£free + IAP)

LumaFusion

While iMovie is great at what it does, it’s ultimately geared towards casual use. If you want to take things to the next level, try LumaFusion.

Designed for efficiency, and aimed at mobile journalists and filmmakers, the app includes multi-track editing with realtime preview, superb (and occasionally bonkers) animation, effects and transitions, and a powerful titler.

It’s the closest you’ll get to desktop-style video-editing app on your iPad or iPhone.

Download LumaFusion for iOS (£19.99)

KineMaster

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.

But like PowerDirector, it’s a pity the developer saddled the app with a restrictive subscription payment model rather than a one-off cost: the monthly subscription will set you back £2.91, or you can get a year for £23.25.

Download KineMaster for Android (£free + IAP)

VideoGrade

O Brother, Where Art Thou? has a lot to answer for, given that most modern Hollywood blockbusters are now colour-graded to within an inch of their lives. Still, as VideoGrade proves, such tools can perform magic on mundane clips – when in the right hands.

Load up a video and you can radically transform how it looks by using adjustment sliders, bring new life to ancient footage with careful use of effects, or simply remove a colour cast from an otherwise perfect shot. Whatever you go for, just avoid ending up with teal and orange, eh?

Download VideoGrade for iOS (£5.99)

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