Most new smartphones these days come with the ability to record video in 1080p, which means many of us are walking around with pretty decent camcorders in our pockets. But there’s more to making a good video than merely capturing the moment. Oftentimes, you need a video editor to go in and clean things up.
Luckily you don’t have to go fire up a PC. Here are five video editors you can use directly from your Android phone or tablet.
Those of you who have used a video editor on a PC before know that they tend to come with a certain look. There’s a timeline at the bottom. Clips are available in the top left, and a preview sits in the top right. CyberLink’s PowerDirector will give you that familiar interface on your Android device.
This app is one of the more advanced options out there. You can drag and drop scenes as needed, add audio tracks, insert title text, select from a number of transition effects, apply filters to your videos, and export files up to 1080p (after a $5 in-app purchase, otherwise you’re limited to 720p). You can also send them straight to Facebook or YouTube when you’re done.
Some apps need a bit of work to transition comfortably from desktop to mobile, but this isn’t one of those times. The Windows version remains the more powerful option, but Android’s mobile adaptation is hardly as dumbed-down as you might think.
Download: PowerDirector for Android (Free with in-app purchases)
AndroVid takes the opposite approach. Here you aren’t cramming a traditional movie editing experience onto a smaller display. Instead, your options appear as large icons or thumbnails that scroll across the screen.
The change in feel doesn’t mean you can’t get much done. You can still clip video, add audio, and apply effects, but you probably won’t want to attempt anything too advanced. I would consider this option ideal for videos that don’t require much editing. Delete that awkward time you spent fumbling around at the beginning, apply a transition effect or two, add some background music, and off you go.
I find the interface unattractive and the ads annoying, but you don’t have to deal with features tucked away behind in-app purchases. And those adverts go away if you get the pro version for $2.
If you want something easier to use than PowerDirector but are put off by AndroVid’s lack of polish, try KineMaster. The app comes with a traditional video editing interface, but it also makes adjustments to accommodate the touchscreen and users with less experience. That’s not to say you’re giving up features. KineMaster is about as advanced as Android video editing gets.
You still have your timeline, a preview, and the ability to apply layers of text, mute background noise, and other such tweaks — things are just laid out differently. KineMaster can also hold your hand through adding a title, some effects, and background music if that’s all you’re looking to do.
Here’s the thing: KineMaster is going to cost you. The free version plasters a watermark on everything you make. Removing it and unlocking advanced features requires a subscription that goes for $5 a month or $40 a year. Alternatively, you can pay $6 just once to use the premium features for thirty days. That might be all the time you need to get through your project.
Download: KineMaster for Android (Free with subscriptions)
Mobile processors simply don’t offer the same amount of power that we can find on desktops, so when you’re making edits and exporting files, everything is going to take more time than it would on your PC.
WeVideo says one way to get around this is by doing your video editing in the cloud. Let its remote machines apply changes more quickly than your local hardware could.
The downside of this approach is that you have to wait for video clips to upload before you can get started, and you have to trust your files to someone else’s servers. Then you have to redownload everything when you’re done. If you don’t find this off-putting, then you will be treated to a modern interface that is different from traditional video editors and pretty easy to navigate on a touch screen, even with a complete lack of video editing experience.
Download: WeVideo for Android (Free with in-app purchases)
Video editing is complicated, and not everyone has the time or patience to sit down and develop the skill. Magisto is for those folks. The app takes your video clip, uploads it to someplace remote, applies a few timely edits, inserts music and extra visuals, then produces a file you can share on your social networks.
Magisto isn’t an app you will turn to for professional work, but it can take a few awkward recordings and disconnected photographs of your niece’s graduation and turn them into something awesome. Share it for a few giggles without devoting too much time.
Download: Magisto for Android (Free with in-app purchases)
Lights, Tablet, Action!
If your phone or tablet didn’t come with one, be sure to download one of the many video players available for Android. This way you can enjoy what you produce without having to first send the file over to another device.
Whether you’re producing casual videos for the family or making touch-ups to a clip you’re going to throw on the web for work, there’s an Android app that can get the job done. Just be patient, as things may take a bit longer than they would on larger, more powerful machines. Still, video editing has come a long way since Android’s earlier years.
What kind of video editing are you looking to do on a phone or tablet? Maybe you have a ton of screen recordings lying around that you’re looking to clean up. Do you already have a go-to app that isn’t on the list above? Share your recommendations and experience with others in the comments!