The ultimate guide to video editing apps on the iPhone

iMovie, Adobe Clip, Filmmaker Pro, VideoShop, and Kinemaster. Soooo many different apps! What's the difference and why use one over the other? 

I've probably bought WAAAY too many video apps in an effort to find the perfect app that lets me edit my iPhone videos the way I'm used to editing them on my desktop using Adobe Premiere Pro. It has been a confusing round robin of using one video app to do one thing then exporting and importing into the next app to do another thing. Just like with cameras, there is never a perfect video editing app. Gah. BUT guess what? I've found the ALMOST PERFECT ONE! But let me tell ya, it ain't cheap. Read on to see which iphone video editing app was the CLEAR winner.

First let me review each of the apps.

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iMovie (free) - Cielo's grade: B+

Let me just share with you my relationship with this app. It was my first love. It broke my editing er, cherry, both on the desktop and on the iPhone. If you're in the Apple ecosystem, iMovie was probably your first iphone video editing app too. I quickly stopped using the app when I became more advanced with my editing. I left the app to languish in my "Video" folder on my iPhone for years. That is, until a few months ago. I launched it for god knows what reason, and to my sooooo pleasant surprise, it was amazing again! iMovie almost had all the features I wanted such as overlaying video over a video, aka b-roll. I was ashamed that I had been dismissing iMovie as a beginner video editing tool and touting other video editing apps as being better than iMovie. (So sorry iMovie! Am in love with Apple again!)

iMovie UI (screenshot from iTunes store)

iMovie UI (screenshot from iTunes store)

iMove is a great app and like I said, it's not just a beginner tool. It allows for different types of overlaying of video like split screen or picture in picture, or the plain ol' b-roll. It also allows for multiple layers of audio, text, and has some pretty cool transitions to choose from. iMovie almost does everything I want it to with an intuitive interface. The two things iMovie doesn't do that I need it to (and maybe you don't need it, so iMovie might be perfect for you), is allowing for portrait mode and title pages. I need portrait mode because Instagram stories, hello? This iPhone movie editing app is almost perfect. And hey, nothing beats FREE!

 

Adobe Clip (free) - Cielo's grade: C+

Oh Adobe. I really loved this app a couple of years ago. In fact, this was the video editing app I used in my iPhone Videography class (but will no longer be using). Adobe Clip makes it really easy to see your different clips and do the basic things. But now it's been left behind by the other apps. The only reason anyone would want to use Adobe Clip is because it syncs to your Adobe Creative Cloud and you can pick up your editing using Premiere Pro on the desktop. But once you've started editing your video with Premiere Pro, there is no going back to your iPhone to edit that same video. It's a one way street. If you're new to editing, Adobe Clip keeps it really simple. it's very hard to mess up with this one. But if you require anything more than trimming your clips and adding 1 song or audio track, then you will outgrow this app very quickly.

Adobe Clip UI (screenshot from iTunes store)

Adobe Clip UI (screenshot from iTunes store)

Splice by GoPro - Cielo's grade: B-

I started using Splice after I ditched Adobe Clip.  The ability to add multiple tracks of audio for voice overs, background music, and sound effects was enough to make me switch over. The interface was also much more like the normal video editing interface that I'm used to on the desktop. What's confusing about the app though is that there are 2 tabs - one for editing video and one for editing audio. Like, why? (Sorry, that's the ux designer in me nitpicking user interaction.) The app allows for portrait mode though. Gosh who knew this would be so important to me? I know, kind of a lame ask, but blame Snapchat.

Splice UI (screenshot from iTunes store)

Splice UI (screenshot from iTunes store)

 

Videoshop ($1.99) - Cielo's grade: B-

Oh Videoshop. This iphone video editing app is the underog of editing apps. It is a powerful but ignored app. This app actually does almost everything the other apps do but the user interface is clunky. It is feature rich though! It was the first app (to my knowledge) that let me overlay a video over a video. I even declared this was my favorite iPhone video editing app of all time on my Youtube video. This app lets you add multiple tracks of audio, voice over, layers of video, titles, text overlay, video enhancements (exposure, contrast etc), and so much more. The unique thing about Videoshop is that it tells you the different time limits for the social apps. It shows you when you're at the max time limit for Vine or Snapchat.

Video shop UI (Taken from iTunes store)

Video shop UI (Taken from iTunes store)

 

Filmmaker Pro (Free*) - Cielo's grade: B+

I had been going back and forth with Filmmaker and iMovie. I was so excited to have found this pro iPhone video editing app! The interface is very much like iMovie that I get confused which app I am using. Where this app shines is the text effects and transitions. If you are into fancy animations with your text and love stickers, this iPhone editing app is for you! And to one up iMovie, Filmmaker lets you create movies in portrait mode. My one BIG complaint with this app is that it is so darn hard to add music! Why can't I add music from my playlist from iTunes? Why?? You can only add music you've purchased from iTunes. I have all these free songs I downloaded from YouTube's free audio library that I created a playlist  for so that I can access them for this very reason. But Filmmaker won't let me. As a workaround I've had to put the music files in a folder in Dropbox, download them from the Dropbox app on my iPhone and then share it to Filmmaker. Not an amazing experience. 

*$5.99 to remove water

Filmmaker Pro UI (Taken from iTunes store)

Filmmaker Pro UI (Taken from iTunes store)

 

KineMaster (Free trial, $4.99/mo) - Cielo's grade: A-

ALMOST. Almost there. I just want to cry. I just want to reach out to the developers and ask for portait mode. That's the ONLY thing this app can't do. Gah. But ok, so this iPhone video editing app does EVERYTHING! YES! And it does it well. (Besides the fact that it crashes kind of a lot after a while. But maybe I'm just trying to do too much?) This app interface is really well thought out. I can edit my video to the milli-second! And I can somewhat see the audio track peaks and valleys so that I know where to cut my clips (to time it with the music). The fact that I'm already talking about advanced editing means this video editing app is for the ADVANCED editor.  But, that doesn't mean it's not simple enough for the beginner as well. This app lets you add multiple layers of video, text, photos, audio, and sound effects. You can control speed and sound of individual clips. You can faaaaaade an audio track to wherever your heart pleases using their volume envelope. You can animate a text layer's intro and other neat text tools. Oh my goodness. This iPhone video editing app does it all. The only thing is that it's not cheap. To use the app without a watermark, you need to fork up $4.99 a month. Which only someone serious about editing would pay for. But you know what, to someone like me, because I've looked for soooo long for something soooo perfect, I'm willing to pay the $4.99. It's like having gone on so many crappy first dates and then finally meeting someone that you just click with. You don't take that for granted. Now I don't have to wait to get to my desk to edit my iPhone movies. I can post my edited Instagram stories almost right away! My small but supportive Instagram following is grateful I'm sure. ;P 

So, if you've read this far, the clear winner of iPhone video editing apps is KineMaster. Yay KineMaster! You guys rock! Let's celebrate! (And then can you guys please add portrait mode so that I can quit rotating my videos and importing into Filmmaker Pro to save as a portrait video? Thank you!)

KineMaster UI (Taken from iTunes store)

KineMaster UI (Taken from iTunes store)

So now I went even further and charted out all of the features for you! Because who the heck remembers which app has what feature. You can download the chart below. You're welcome! 

Download the iPhone Video Editing Apps Feature Comparison Chart!