– Free Video Editing Apps –
Here’s a 60-second video I put together in the free video editing app Filmora (by Wondershare) for PC.
When I owned a video production company not that long ago, we had a saying: “All it takes to make movies is miles of cable and lots of money.”
I should also add that no one back then did it for free, either. Typically, I charged clients $5,000 a finished (edited) minute. Unless it was a 30-second commercial, and then I charged according to what it would cost me to hire a crew, rent lighting and mics and cameras and, in some cases, a sound stage.
Not to mention the talent (actors and actresses). They weren’t cheap either.
By the time I added it all up and put my 100% markup on top, the client could easily be shelling out $20,000 or more for a 30-second spot.
My, how times have changed.
To do a really professional commercial in 2018, I’d still need to do all of the above, of course, and the client would still have to pay big bucks.
But I guarantee that I can — depending on the type of commercial it is — shoot, edit and upload a 30-second spot that’s almost as good — just using my Android phone and a free production music soundtrack from one of the sites listed below, or directly from YouTube.
All of it edited right on my smartphone.
Amazing! But you can do it, too.
Here — in alphabetical order — are the editing programs I would use to put it together. All are fairly good — although by necessity. some are limited when used only through a cellular connection. Nevertheless, all these free video editing apps are downloadable from Google Play, and all should serve your purposes of sharing your videos, images and visual epiphanies.
The Adobe Premiere Clip app allows you to freeform a bit. Many other apps limit your editing choices, fitting you into a template by default.
Open your project by clicking the “plus” symbol. Then decide which music, photos and video segments — short or long — you might want to use.
This is your “tray” and it’s helpful to have everything you think you might need already there. It will therefore be available for your next shot. (This assumes you’re not editing from a set script).
Freeform or Automatic
You must decide whether you want to be in control. Or, whether you want to let the software take over. Thus, the choices you have: Freeform or Automatic.
The Automatic setting will sometimes do a good job of assembling a show and setting it to music. It’s supposed to synchronize the speed of your scene changes to the music beat.
My experience with the Automatic setting was less than optimum — the changes were uneven and provided cuts only, even though the slower music seemed to require dissolves.
When you open your show in Freeform mode, options open up a bit and I was able to easily put together this very basic short slideshow, using their music. You can do the same to share an interesting brief video recap of your trip to Iceland (or wherever) on Facebook instead of boring friends with many individual photos no one will look at.
Want more control?
The Freeform setting also lets you put filters on your footage, insert titles, trim up each clip to suit your needs and even adjust the soundtrack volume.
In this mode, you can also slow down a clip, making a cool effect right in the middle of a fast sequence. Watch the timing on the music here, though — best to use slo-mo as a musical note is held in place for a few seconds.
There are adjustments that can be made as well for shadows, highlights and even exposure — if, for example, your footage was shot either in low or high level light conditions.
Hard to get a bad shot
Although, frankly, the sophistication of the smartphones these days rarely allows a bad or overexposed shot. Just try not to shoot someone backlit against a window without applying a strong light source from the front as well.
This editing program is a bit dull when it comes to transitions, I’m afraid. You’re limited to crossfades, which is usually just as well for most shows — particularly if you’re looking for a dreamy or somber effect. Stick with straight cuts if you want to match a music beat.
Our Bottom Line: This is a good basic editor for the non-adventurous types.
Here is a sophisticated video editing platform that is cloud based, yet very responsive and versatile.
To access its powerful video creation engine, you really just need a strong, streaming Internet signal and a device capable of running and editing real-time video.
Its intuitive drag and drop user interface, housed in a unique storyboard screen, lets you concentrate on what you’d like to present, and in what order — rather than trying to move your images around on a timeline and hoping they’ll fit.
Animoto also offers a very robust music library that can be searched and sorted according to the tone of your creation. Fast, slow, pensive, tense, cinematic — you should be able to find the right music track for your show.
I regularly use Animoto to create Book Trailers — like the coming attractions you see in movie theaters, only promoting a particular book. Here’s a 60-second sample that has racked up thousands of views on YouTube. It shows the dramatic capability of the Animoto application and provides an indication of what you’ll be able to do in creation of your video.
Editing a show in Animoto
To edit a video in Animoto just open the storyboard screen and add your images and short video clips (10-15 seconds).
Add title slides as needed or insert blank ones to create a little extra time between images. I have even been known to add two or more blank slides to achieve a certain degree of timing and match certain visuals with the beat of the music.
However, this can also be achieved by clicking the gear icon (upper right) and clicking the Auto switch to the On position.
I prefer the new Mode theme personally, as well as Innocence and Light Panes. These themes showcase large photos well.
I’ll have a separate post one day soon exclusively on Animoto, so be on the lookout for that. It’s my go-to software — easy and still very effective.
However, its only free for edited shows well under a minute. If your program runs longer than that, you should seriously consider buying a one-month pro subscription ($14) to get a classy video that’s also easy to produce.
FilmoraGo for Android works in much the same way as any of the other free video editing apps. You can also use the desktop version on laptops, PCs and even Macs. First, decide which clips you want to use in your show and put them in your “tray” for easy access.
You can get them from anywhere, of course. They can be your own shots, clips found on Facebook. Or even downloaded (with the right software) directly from YouTube. For this, I prefer 4K Video Downloader.
That’s where I got the footage for the OKGo 60-second tribute that’s at the top of this post. I want to be clear, however, that I put it together on my laptop — not the Filmorago Android app. If you haven’t seen it, click the link or scroll to the top. Took me about an hour and a half — including the time it took to learn the easy Filmora user interface controls.
In Filmorago, click the “Next” button to go to the screen where you’ll actually be doing your editing. There will be thumbnails of all your video clips and images on the screen’s bottom. This is your timeline and you can touch, hold, and drag the thumbnails into the sequence you prefer.
It’s all in the touch
With one touch, you can now try out any of the preloaded “themes.” Again, this is assuming you are either in a hurry. Or you just don’t want that “hands-on” experience of matching music and clip together.
With this software, you’re allowed a little creative leeway. When it comes to transitions, subtitles and even the aspect ratio of the clips, you can experiment a bit. Although unless you really know what you’re doing, your video can suddenly careen out of control here. Remember that when it comes to effects, the pros believe that less is truly more.
In addition, you’ll be able to control saturation, brightness and contrast. And, you can even speed your clips up or down, depending on your creativity.
Picture In Picture (PIP)
A truly impressive feature of this free video editing app is picture-in-picture. This allows insertion of another image or even another video into your master track.
And you have complete control over how your PIP arrives and departs — sliding, fading or even spinning out of frame.
We recommend this app wholeheartedly, even though it adds a watermark on your finished work (as many other free software editors do.) Although curiously enough, the cell phone version I put together here didn’t put one anywhere – just a title card at the end of the video.
Remove the watermark for a small fee — and keep the super-full featured video editor for future productions. It’s well worth the investment, in my opinion, after having tried them all.
Our Bottom Line: This may just be the best of the bunch when it comes to video editing apps — free or otherwise.
With this free video editing app, you’ve got to be a bit more hands-on. It does have a Project Assistant mode, but these templates are a little dull, in my opinion.
Decide also on any text you might want to add — either as separate “slides” or as captions. And upload a good music track — an MP3 that, hopefully, is Creative Commons. (That’s the fancy word for free to use without paying anyone for a license.) Get one from YouTube. They have plenty of good tracks available for download. And they’re arranged by genre and even mood (cinematic, aggressive, happy, etc.)
More features on tap
If you like what you see, stick a fork in it — it’s done. But if you crave more, open the advanced video editing console to access such functionality as:
- Special effects
- Add more media
- Add more text
You can also, within this console, decide just how long clips or images stay up, in addition to cropping the footage or even adding some new video you record right then (a video “selfie,” perhaps.)
Finished? You can watch it, add it to your projects, upload it to Dropbox or send it out far and wide via social media. A miniscule watermark will be displayed in the upper right corner of the frame. But if you’re okay with giving these folks a little free advertising in return for a free video editing app, I’d say it’s a fair trade.
Our Bottom Line: With the advanced option, this app lets you spread your creative wings a bit.
We’ll make this review short and sweet, like this app. Magisto is strictly for those who don’t want to take the time to really edit their video. They just want a good show they can share fairly quickly with friends on social media.
So if that’s you, Magisto is your almost-instant movie app.
The free version of this online software is easy-peasy. Just import all the video and image files you want to appear in your show, placing them once again in your virtual “tray.”
Next, you’ll need to decide on a template from the limited number presented to you:
- Rock & Pop
- Hip Hop
- Dance & Electro
Choose a soundtrack from the Magisto library (matching the genre you’ve chosen) or add your own. Then, you’re ready to just press the “Make My Movie” button.
You’ll be waiting for what seems like forever for the app to do its thing (just a couple of minutes), but the resulting finished movie is pretty cool, loaded with effects and pizzazz.
Then, sharing your new creation is just a click away. Have fun!
Our Bottom Line: This is a glorified slideshow creator that denies any really interesting edits or creativity on your part. But it will do a yeoman job of creating a more-than-shareable montage of your latest pictorial efforts.
This dandy video editing app also is aimed squarely at the younger generation who view their phones as they do oxygen — without them, they might suffocate.
Real person-to-person conversations? That’s for my parents, dude. Texting is way easier.
But I digress.
Movier Maker Filmmaker YouTube & Instagram will ask that you create a special ALIVE account, so you can share your new video with all your friends.
That’s fair. It even gives you an Instagram-like profile and the ability to follow other people — like all your way cool friends!
Tap the Video Story icon and you will have begun the process. This app will do a quick inventory of all the videos and images stored in your phone and place them at your fingertips.
Then it’s just a simple matter of selecting an appropriate storyboard/theme and — just like Magisto — this software will do its thing without any further need for your involvement.
Add some hashtags and you’re ready to share the resulting masterpiece with all your friends. And just so you won’t be surprised, this app outputs your show in a square format. If you’re cool with that, you’re good to go. Otherwise, try a different program.
This editor combines convenience with easy editing and output, Like many of the other online free edit suites, Quik specializes in getting your video finished up and out the door — quick(ly).
You’ll start off as before, importing your video clips and images (actually, it does a pretty good job of finding them for you), Then, it’s simply a matter of rearranging them in the order you prefer.
Add a music soundtrack and you’re good to go. Effects are added automatically and are pretty basic: cut, dissolve and a few others.
So the good news is, editing becomes a no-brainer. Quik determines when and where to cut to the next scene, driven by the music beat. The bad news is that virtually all your creative ideas will be for nought as Quik just does its thing automatically.
Still, it’s free. So plug in your shots and let this bad boy slice and dice them into something you can share.
Our Bottom Line: Like its brother and sister apps reviewed here, this one does a good job if your expectations are not very high.
We may have literally saved the best for last. VivaVideo allows you to either download your footage and graphics directly into your phone — or shoot some original footage right on the spot — complete with PIP and special effects while shooting.
Either way, you can’t really go wrong, as VivaVideo makes the process of shooting and editing seamless and professional.
This robust software package runs smoothly, and has more than 60 effects available. In addition, its editing tools are both intuitive and easy to distinguish on a full-featured, clean-looking dashboard.
Try a variety of transitions, effects, filters and music tracks — or upload your own. There’s even a voiceover functionality built into the program.
Our Bottom Line: This free video editing app will unleash your inner creativity — even when you’re on the go.