Films made on phones need editing if you want to tell a story well.
Maybe you don’t edit but just upload immediately. That’s fine too, your film will be immediate and capture a moment but might lack the polish a small business, or blogger might need for product presentation or storytelling.
The blog at Dash Kitten was a 2017 and 2018 Nose to Nose Finalists BlogPaws® in the movie category and we aim to encourage new movie makers on their movie creative journey. [Updated September 2018]
Free Movie Editing Apps
There are free filmmaking apps which is a great place for a new user to start. Each one is slightly different but they all do the same things:
- trim clips,
- add text,
- add music
- and filters- help moderate exposure
- other fun stuff (depending on the brand).
The software you can download is often a preview of a paid app which means you can try before you buy.
“Something to remember if you aim to do a lot of movie making on a smartphone. Free is a great place to start but be prepared to invest in software at some point for real functionality that allows you to be creative with your movies.”
Mobile Phone Film Making Software
We have been researching the kind of software available for both iOS and Android phones. If our post on movie tips inspired you, keep reading for some of the best apps on the market today. Just remember, there is a learning curve with any new device or software so don’t be too hard on yourself as you practice.
What Should Smartphone Movie Editing Apps Do?
One thing to remember is that the kind of computer power usually needed for editing on a full-sized machine, may not be available to you on your smartphone. Advances in technology is increasing the number of apps that bring you close to a fully featured ‘editing suite” But remember that your ‘phone screen will always be quite small compared to a computer screen so if you have the option to download and edit take it.
It is important you are happy using an app
The app should be friendly, intuitive, and have enough features to allow you to create a good movie. You also need to feel comfortable. We recommend trying plenty of apps. See which software works for you. There is a learning curve but you should never feel intimidated by the software.
- Most apps allow you a free trial with limited functionality – this is great as it allows you to get the feel of the software before you buy. We are recommending three apps for Android and two for iOS, and, while we can’t play with Android apps ourselves we use iMovie apps and have a good idea about what a useable video editor should include.
You should be able to create a good quality film from the app of your choice
PRO TIP You need to be able to do the basic tasks listed here. As you expand your skills and knowledge you can call on more of the apps functionality to help you grow:-
- Easily edit/trim clips to tell your story
- Adjust colour and brightness
- Add text
- Add filters/special effects (like slow motion)
- Use Transitions (the little effects between clips)
- Preview your movie and edit again…
- Share easily on social media
- Upload easily to a computer or the cloud.
Three Android Movie Editing Apps getting a lot of positive press
Power Director (free)/$5.99
This is an impressively featured Android (4.3 and upwards) video editor. It also has special effects and slow motion facility. Power Director works with a ‘timeline editor’. The number of features is impressive. Video effects, collage creation, voice over and soundtrack capabilities – look interesting? The full range of features can be found here. Worth considering if you want to provide quality product promotions for a sponsor’s tasty cat food.
Kinemaster Pro (free)
Android 4.1.2 upwards. An impressive smartphone video app, and all the more covetable for being free! There is a long list of features including multitrack audio, colour adjustment and voice recording (for voice overs). Kinemaster is used by mobile journalists, YouTube creatives, educators and short film producers – which should be enough to make you give it a try. The app is versatile enough to give you professional polish, and also turn its technical hand to make lightweight fun movies.
FilmoraGo Android Free/$1.59-3.99
This is the friendliest movie editor for smartphones on the market. It has a range of movie editing tools including an all-in-one video editor that allows you to reverse videos, slow and speed up clips, add transitions, overlays and filters. You can also add titles and adjust colour and sharpness. The free option has a logo on the clips which can be removed once you purchase the app.
NOTE FilmoraGo is meant to be for iOS as well as Android but the feedback from Apple users is not wholly positive so we do not recommend it when you can access the two apps below.
Two Beginner Apps for iOS Devices iPhone/iPad
One of the big hitters in the smartphone editing market iMovie comes free with all recent iPhones. You can also buy iMovie in the App Store. A full list of the many features can be found here and they make it the best budget editor you can get under the iOS banner. The App makes editing strightforward for those using an iPhone, and we have edited on an iPhone 4S as well as an iPhone 6s.
The range of trailers and themes adds an extra weapon to the armoury of those who don’t think they can move smartphone movies. Trailers are a lot of fun and very easy to create. They come complete with a pre-set layout and music – job done and lots of fun!
This stellar app for iPhone and iPad is the most full featured and immensely versatile app on the market for iOS.
Luma Fusion is a powerful multi-track video editor. It is used by active professionals. People like journalists, film makers and pro video producers. If that sounds scary listen to what the creators have to say:
“If you’re not a “Pro” yet. Our video tutorials, world-class free support, and incredible community of video enthusiasts and professionals on our forums will help you get there.” This is an app whose creators want you to get the most out of it and are ready to step up and help.
Professional Standard Smartphone Software
Once you have got your first movies made and know your apps, you may want to aim for professional quality. If you are aiming for a professional polish on the move, these can be an asset.
Our recommendations are a good place to start experimenting. Research into professional standard apps for your smartphone to find one you can work with. Why? These are much more complex and sophisticated than the apps you start with. There is a very good assessment of the best professional apps here. The best apps for filmmakers 2018 will include some of the following enhancements:
- More detailed control over many features such as zoom or white balance.
- A more adjustable frame rate. This is different throughout the world. Frame rates can also control and create more effective movie effects.
- Sound. Audio meters, professional sound metering including stereo. (Device and ‘phone dependent).
- Geotagging support
Professional Apps for the Smartphone
Cinema FV-5 for Android. An extensive range of professional standard features. it is amongst the best film production apps for android.
ProShot – for Windows ‘phones.
Now, you have our recommendations for apps for mobile phone filmmaking! Go and play with the app of your choice.
The play part is important. Fool around, using footage of your cats going through a training routine, film your drinks bottle from a variety of angles. Use video clips you took on the bus. ANYTHING you like. Then practice, and practice and practice! Then come back and show us the fun you had.
If you need movie making tips, don’t forget our valuable post here on taking those next steps.
Movie Editing Apps Cat in Charge