It is often with a head full of memories that we return from vacation, but also with a smartphone and tablet full of photos and videos. Rather than abandoning them in a forgotten directory, why not group them into short thematic movies that are fun to share and watch?
If video editing was once an activity mainly done on a computer, the power provided by our smartphones is now sufficient to handle this practice. Application publishers have understood this and now offer free applications for editing, just like on PCs and Macs.
The editors have selected for you the best free video editing applications for all user profiles so that everyone can give free rein to their creativity on Android, iPhone and iPad.
1. VN Video Editor
With VN Video Editor, the video editing applications offered by the big names in the industry, such as Adobe and Apple, have some serious worries. Offered by Ubiquiti, a network hardware manufacturer more used to offering routers, other servers, VN clearly has nothing to envy to the competition.
The application offers to create video montages from scratch or to be based on pre-existing Templates, adapted for a formatted publication for TikTok, or to be published in Reel and Instagram Stories.
Browsing the files stored locally on the smartphone is amazingly smooth and allows you to import your video clips in no time on the timeline when it can take several minutes on other applications. Each of the imported videos can then be repositioned in the order you want with a simple drag and drop.
Very complete, VN Video Editor is based on an interface that would almost make it look like a professional application. Everything is there, or almost: the Timeline, divided into several tracks, can host videos on which stickers, picture-in-picture content, text and of course music can be superimposed. Each imported clip can be resized, trimmed, pruned and enhanced with filters and other effects. VN Video Editor offers a multitude of options for editing your video so that it fits perfectly to your expectations. You can adjust the playback speed of your clips, integrate effects in the middle of them, apply transition effects between two videos or directly modify the rendering of a passage by changing its opacity, playing it backwards or applying a momentary stop effect.
All the edits made in VN Video Editor can be saved for later modification. As for exporting the final video, VN offers to apply automatic settings (probably defined according to the capabilities offered by your smartphone), or to manually select the resolution (540p to 4K), frame rate (24 FPS to 60 FPS), and Bitrate level (1Mbps to 150 Mpbs) or to enable HDR.
+ Totally free, no built-in purchase
+ Very many editing tools
+ Simple, but very complete interface
– Not enough video templates
– In English only
2. Adobe Rush
Formerly paying for more than three projects exported, Adobe Rush, which officially replaces Adobe Premiere Clip, now allows unlimited exporting without any purse strings. The app, which is available on Android and iOS, does require you to have a Creative Cloud account (in a free version, though you don’t necessarily have to be a subscriber) and to log in.
Once you get into the app, you can create your first project in Rush and start importing your videos. The app is able to draw from content stored locally on your smartphone, but can also connect to the Cloud to let you choose files stored on Creative Cloud or Dropbox.
The editing table interface, available only in portrait view, is built around three workspaces: at the top the video preview, in the center the timeline that can be enlarged or reduced by zooming in with two fingers, and at the bottom of the screen the banner for accessing the various editing tools.
If each imported clip can be shortened manually by acting directly on one of its ends, Adobe Rush also offers the possibility of splitting or duplicating them. Once selected, each element can be modified using the tools available at the bottom of the screen. You can add text, effects, change the color rendering with various filters, adjust the associated audio track, and transform the clip as desired by rotating, cropping or changing its opacity. The video can then be punctuated by transition effects between the different clips, and dressed up with the music of your choice. Adobe Rush even includes a tool for inserting a voiceover, recorded on the fly.
When your editing is complete, the finished movie can be exported in a maximum definition of 1080p, Adobe reserving 4K export to Creative Cloud members with a paid subscription.
+ Ability to edit 4K videos
+ Well thought out and easy to master interface
+ Ability to change the format of the current project
– 4K export reserved for Premium members
– Required connection to Creative Cloud account
Made free by Apple for devices running iOS 10 or purchased after September 1, 2013, iMovie seduces with its extreme simplicity and multiple features. You import your photos and videos from your local storage space or your iCloud account without the possibility, alas, of synchronizing your other online storage spaces such as Google Photos or Dropbox.
iMovie focuses on making the various manipulations of multimedia content as easy as possible. You can rearrange your files with a swipe of your fingers, add transitions between each shot to make the animation smoother, and even produce a Ken Burns effect to create movement within a frozen image.
The application also introduces a number of additional features that deepen the work of customization. The addition of a soundtrack is done with a tap from your own music, even giving you the possibility to superimpose sounds thanks to the multi-track support. A text editor allows you to format and integrate titles, transition effects are left to your discretion, filters add style to your projects, and in and out fade options take care of the finishing touches.
iMovie automatically saves your videos in the application. You can export them to your computer via iTunes, save them locally in 360p, 540p, 720p, 1080p or 4K (for compatible devices), or sync them directly to your iCloud account.
+ Many customizable effects and transitions for a neat rendering and finishing
+ Partial multitrack management
+ Videos exported up to 4K
– No sync possible with other online storage spaces than iCloud
4. GoPro Quik
If GoPro used to offer a multitude of applications on smartphones, the action camera manufacturer has done a major cleanup, preferring to group them all together in one application. Quik has thus become GoPro Quik: Video Editor, a video editor essentially designed for automatic editing, mechanically generating neat movies from your files.
To do this, you need to go to the dedicated section, Studio, where you can Create an edit. GoPro Quik then proposes to import your content from the gallery of your mobile device, your Google Photos space or your Facebook account. Using its algorithm, the app captures the moments it deems most important in each file and highlights them to create a fully customized clip. Once the montage is generated, you have the option to apply a style from a selection of predefined themes and pre-recorded music. We appreciate the synchronization between the sequence and the rhythm of the music which guarantees transitions and meticulous finishes.
GoPro Quik has a few additional tools that allow you to manually modify your sequence. You can rearrange your files, add text, change the font, crop a point of interest that is not properly evaluated by the app’s algorithm, shorten or lengthen the display time of each shot, embed your own music, change the starting point of the soundtrack, and even disable the app’s outro without paying a cent.
GoPro Quik exports your videos in 720p, 1080p, 1440p and even 2160p (4K) depending on your wishes. You are then able to save them locally or generate a link to share with your friends or on social networks.
+ Algorithm that captures the interesting moments of your videos
+ Ability to manually rearrange your videos
+ Videos exportable in 720p, 1080p, 1440p and 4K.
– Contents limited to 75 photos and videos
–No multitrack management
5. Adobe Premiere Clip
A watered-down version of Premiere, Adobe Premiere Clip was officially removed from the App Store and Play Store in September 2019. Instead, Adobe prefers to focus on Premiere Rush, an all-in-one cross-platform app. However, while iOS users are definitely missing out, the app can still be installed manually via its APK file on Android.
Adobe Premiere Clip brings together basic editing options within a streamlined interface. You can import photos and videos by capturing them on the fly with your smartphone’s camera, or dig into your local or online storage spaces, with the app supporting data syncing with your Creative Cloud, Dropbox, Google Drive and Google Photos accounts.
Adobe Premiere Clip offers two types of creations: automatic or free. In the first case, the application automatically generates the video montage that you can then modify with the free editor. In the second case, you cut, organize and modify your sequence manually. You can also add music, integrate a watermark, program fades, arrange the exposure, equalize the volumes or apply filters to dress up your montage. Adobe Premiere Clip can also automatically trim the video track to the beat of your chosen soundtrack.
Adobe Premiere Clip’s backup options include recording locally in 720p or 1080p, syncing to the Creative Cloud, which you must log into to use the application, uploading directly to Premiere Pro CC, or sharing on YouTube and Twitter.
+ Perfectly intuitive and adapted to touch interfaces
+ Features an automatic editor and a free editor
+ Numerous customization options for a neat rendering
+ Synchronization of the modification history with Premiere Pro CC
– Required connection to your Creative Cloud account
– No multitrack management
– No ability to add text or edit transition effects
Downloadable for free, KineMaster is an editing application that offers many paid options via integrated purchases. Therefore, as soon as it opens, the application suggests subscribing to an offer in order to unlock its full potential. However, it is possible to skip this, although the application likes to remind you on its main page to subscribe.
Creating a project in KineMaster is very simple. The application first proposes to configure the preferences of your project. You have to fill in its name, choose its ratio, define a display mode and a duration (for photos), and adjust the duration of the transitions that will be used in your project.
The application then dives into the deep end. On the left of the editing table, you will find the project options, in the center the video preview and the timeline, and on the right a very well thought-out wheel to navigate through the different editing tools. It is used to import files into the project, add layers (for effects, text or stickers), insert audio files, and even to record an audio commentary on the fly.
You can edit a clip by selecting it, which will display on the right side of the screen all the possible tools and actions. You can then cut them, adjust their speed, rotate them or apply various effects.
KineMaster also offers an online store from which you can download video content, effects or even music to integrate into your projects, some of which are however reserved for premium subscribers.
As for exporting your videos, you can do so in any resolution, up to 4K, with a frame rate that can reach 60 FPS. However, beware of the export, the application proposes to subscribe, falsely suggesting that the export of a project is reserved only for premium members. A button “Skip” displayed at the top right of the screen allows you to skip this screen to launch the export of the movie. The only regret in this free version is that a KineMaster watermark is automatically applied to the exported videos.
The +: + Intuitive use of the editing table
+ Many downloadable contents
– Too many subscription suggestions, especially when exporting
– Watermark in the free version
With its rather neat interface, InShot offers a simple and intuitive editing path. You add as many elements as you want to your editing, and the work of cutting, classifying and organizing the clips can begin. The application offers many formats, including some specially adapted for Instagram, TikTok or YouTube.
Depending on the orientation of the chosen videos and the type of editing to be done, you can choose to zoom or adapt the video to the applied ratio. InShot also allows you to customize the type of fill (background, color, blur) to be used for the empty bands visible around the main video.
Clips, added one after the other, can be moved in the timeline with a simple drag and drop. It is then possible to adjust the size of each video in your edit by selecting them one by one and then adjusting the handles displayed on either side of the clip. InShot allows you to apply modifications and adjustments to the selected clip, or all the videos used in the montage. You can add text and stickers, split clips, adjust the soundtrack of each clip, change their playback speed and even apply a freeze or reverse playback effect.
InShot offers a number of paid options: when a filter or effect is not included in the free version, the application displays an “Unlock All” button allowing you to subscribe to access all of InShot Pro’s content. Finally, edited videos can be exported in 720p or 1080p, and a watermark, which can be removed only once in the free version, will be automatically displayed at the bottom right of the movie.
+ Many predefined ratios
+ Very easy to master
+ Many image adjustment and correction settings
+ Video export in 720p or 1080p
– Watermark applied on exported videos
– Many effects and paid options
8. Adobe Spark Video
Originally designed to allow entrepreneurs to create videos for social networks and the web, Adobe Spark Video will do the job perfectly to edit a perfectly polished vacation movie in a few minutes.
The app is simple to use since the video is built around a system of slides, on which you just have to press to insert a media. If the main goal here is to edit a movie, it is possible to integrate photos, fixed text, or even icons.
The cutting of each clip is done individually by pressing a dedicated button, and not from the timeline like in more professional applications. Nine predefined themes can be applied to the video, which can be either wide or square.
To give the video a rhythm, it is possible to add a soundtrack, by integrating music stored locally in the multimedia library or in the iOS file manager. You can also select a song from the music catalog included in the application. Once the project is finished, the video can be exported directly to the device’s film, or shared online. Beware, however, that in its free version, the application displays a logo Adobe Spark Video at the bottom right of the video, as well as a final slide indicating that it was made with the Adobe application.
Download Adobe Spark Video for iPhone (Free)
+ Several predefined themes
+ Integrated music library
– Only two possible editing formats
– Impractical video import
– Watermark and Spark ad slide on final video
– No option to choose export quality (limited to 720p)
Very complete, PowerDirector is aimed at a more advanced audience than Adobe Premiere Clip. Excluding any form of automatic or semi-automatic editor, the application forces you to manually edit your video. You import your files from your camera, internal storage space or Google Drive.
Although it may seem intimidating, the editing platform of PowerDirector is easier to learn than it looks. It has a familiar structure with the preview window, the timeline, the timeline slider and the juxtaposition of video and audio tracks. All the features offered by the application are accessible from the editing window for greater comfort.
PowerDirector aims to make its application a quality tool, capable of combining professionalism and ergonomics, knowing how to adapt to the touch interfaces for which it is intended. The result is rather convincing, the various editing operations being carried out with ease. We appreciate the porting of many options that are essential to good project management, such as multi-track support, titling, effects, audio mixing parameters, traditional image framing tools, and speed and color settings.
In its free version, PowerDirector allows you to produce your videos in HD 720p. You can save your montages locally or share them instantly on Facebook and YouTube.
+ Complete and successful porting of a traditional editing software
+ Multitrack support
+ Numerous transition effects
+ Precise settings of many parameters for a neat rendering and finishing
– The free version includes a CyberLink watermark on all videos and limits their production to 720p HD
– Slightly cramped interface on smartphone screens
As amazing as it is unexpected, Canva offers a quite honorable free video editing tool. If you don’t know Canva yet, it’s an online service that offers many graphic creation tools of all kinds, including a multitude of templates that can be used to create content. Video editing is no exception, since it is possible from the mobile application to quickly create small video montages without having any knowledge of the subject.
The application, which requires registration, offers a section dedicated to video in which you can start from scratch on a blank page, or rely on established templates. The application also offers several formats, from the most classic to formats adapted for social networks, mobile platforms, etc.
Once you’ve selected your format and template, Canva lets you import the videos stored on your smartphone. You can organize them as you like on the Timeline, trim them, crop them, add zoom effects and even apply transitions between each of the clips that make up your video.
As for export options, they are numerous. Canva offers to export your projects for direct publication on social networks (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, etc.) on your feed or in stories, to save them on the Cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, etc.) and much more. It is also possible to save the edited movie locally in high quality MP4 format.
+ Many predefined formats and templates
+ Easy to use
+ Suitable for immediate publication on social networks
– Many built-in purchases
– Rather limited clip editing functions
– Lack of fluidity in import navigation