When it comes to mobile video-making, there’s definitely an app, or several, for that. It is possible – and indeed pretty simple – to film and edit a promo video using just one device. Frankly, it’s the raison d’etre for Make Your Own Video Training Academy.
We’ve tested a whole bunch of video apps for their usability and functionality, and have narrowed it down (for the time being at least) to these 13 apps. Of course, those app geeks are beavering away night and day to bring us new ways to make the job simpler – or more fancy, depending on how you like it – so we’ll keep an eye out for shiny new apps that trump these.
In the meantime, here are our favourite video making apps for iOS (Apple) and Android devices that do the job and don’t cost the earth. A small note on cost: there are plenty of free apps for filming and editing videos but not all of them are good. The ones we’ve handpicked work really well with the material we teach in our book, workshops and online course (coming soon). If you just want to edit your Nan’s birthday party clips, there’s definitely something free and frivolous waiting for you in the app store.
For shooting footage, you’ll find the camera that comes with your device is pretty darn good without having to use a fancy-schmancy app (that’s if you’re using a device less than about 4 years old). But if you did want to try something that gives you more control over focus, lighting, aspect ratio, white balance, frame rate etc, here are two that will do just that.
HeyCam! (iOS, free) – we like this because it works with the HeyMic! bluetooth microphone. This is ideal for speakers, presenters, trainers and facilitators who want to film their talks with clear audio, but don’t want to use a wired mic. It’s pretty simple too, with slightly more control over focus and lighting than your device’s default camera.
Video Teleprompter Premium (iOS, lite version for free or $18) – this is a real time saver if you’ve got a lot to say but find it tricky to remember a script. This app allows you to read a script at the same time as filming yourself with the front camera.
Unless you’re a one-take wonder, knowing how to edit your footage into a coherent and punchy sequence is a useful skill to learn. We teach this in our book, at our workshops and on our online course (coming very soon). Once you’ve mastered the basic principles of video editing, you can apply these to pretty much any simple video editing app. The apps we recommend here are all ‘multi track’ editors – this means footage, images or graphics can be layered over the top of other footage.
iMovie (iOS, free) – iMovie comes installed on Apple devices. It’s really easy to use but it does have its limitations such as pre-defined text styles that can’t be customised. For entry-level editing it’s plenty good enough though. You can’t add subtitles in iMovie so if you want to do so you’ll either need to edit using a different app that allows subtitling, such as Kinemaster, or add them afterwards using Vont (see Cropping).
Kinemaster (iOS & Android, lite version for free or $39.99 per year) – this is a fantastic editing app that’s flexible, easy to use and more customisable than iMovie. You can also add subtitles with Kinemaster. We teach with this in our training workshops because it’s available for both iOS and Android devices. We have also negotiated discount codes for our workshop learners so they get 30 days of the full version for free.
PowerDirector (Android, check Google Play for cost) – this is another great editor, with very similar features (including subtitling function) to Kinemaster. It also supports 4K footage, which not many other editing apps can boast.
FimoraGo (iOS & Android, free) – this is a playful app, with some fun fonts and shape overlays. Probably more suited to home movies, but might also be fun for business videos of a more whimsical nature.
Square videos are big news on social media. A trend started by Instagram, other channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn now support square videos. Square is good because it fills more space in a news feed than traditional widescreen videos. Some smart devices now allow you to film in a square aspect ratio, but video editing apps have yet to catch up. The way around this is to film with your device held horizontally, framing all the action in the centre of the screen, edit with an editing app as normal, then crop the video to square using a cropping app.
Vont (iOS, free with in-app purchases) – this is a slick app that not only allows you to crop square, it also lets you add letterbox bars at the top and bottom of a widescreen video and add text. Pretty useful if you want to keep the video widescreen but use it in a square frame. You can even change the colour of the letterbox bars to match your branding. You can also use vont to add subtitles.
It’s important to backup your footage and edited videos in case you want to use them again. From a mobile device, the easier way to backup is to use a cloud storage solution. Once you have selected a preferred supplier, either set your device to automatically backup images and footage when you’re connected to wifi, or backup individual clips manually. The following backup suggestions work across all platforms, and all offer an amount of storage for free. You will need to upgrade to a paid plan if you need more space. It’s best to set up an account using a computer, then download the app to your device and login using the same account details.
Google Drive – Google Drive not only provides space, but you can also create documents and spreadsheets from within it. The first 15GB of storage is free, and to upgrade to 100GB only costs $1.99 per month.
Author: Ruth Duggal