What You Need to Know about Editing Videos on Your Smartphone

The best video editor is the one you have—and we all have smartphone apps.

Making films on a smartphone is no longer entirely considered to be a humongous joke that only dummy filmmaker-wannabes like to tell. Plenty of filmmakers today use footage shot on smartphones in their films, even some, like Sean Baker, shoot the entire thing on one. But what about the other side of production? What about editing? Can you cut together a decent video using an app? In this video, Darious Britt shows us that, yes, you can. See how easy and effective it can be to edit your videos on a smartphone.

The apps Britt uses in the video are PowerDirector, VideoShow and WeVideo. Of the three, PowerDirector is more highly regarded; some even call it Android's answer to iMovie. For iPhone users, you've got a lot of different options, including, of course, iMovie, as well as LumaFusion, which is pretty impressive because of its multi-track capabilities. (Though it's a bit on the expensive side at $20.)

Now, no one's saying that these video editing apps are a replacement for an actual NLE computer program, but for some people and some situations, smartphone apps are the only option. Not everyone owns a capable computer. Not everyone can afford Premiere, Final Cut, or Avid. Not every project requires the power of standard editing software. Having a simple and cheap app to cut stuff together on can not only be convenient, but necessary.

I edit videos on my phone fairly regularly for a few reasons: 1.) I'm lazy, 2.) I don't have to import anything, and 3.) I usually shoot little videos when I'm on the go and I'm so fickle that if I waited until I got home to edit them I'd get bored with the idea and move on to making an elegant bowl of mac-n-cheese. (Art knows no boundaries.) Do I edit big projects on my phone? Of course not. Do I edit every smartphone video project on my phone? No, but I like having the option.

In the end, it's important for filmmakers, especially beginners, to know that just because you can't get your hands on an expensive NLE or a fancy computer bursting with RAM and top-of-the-line graphics cards doesn't mean you can't edit your work. You better believe I cut together one of my most favorite projects with Movie Maker on an old Dell PC running Windows XP. For the youngins, that means you have more editing capabilities in your tiny phone than I did in my monstrous computer tower, so—no excuses.

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Your Comment


you miss Premiere Clip, that is quite good on android and Ios, and if you can afford premiere desktop you start to edit on smartphone and can finalize on desktop without pain, be cause it's quite optimized to move from smartphone to cloud to premiere desktop with a click.
if you like to play with your phone, and see that you can do more, it's a good chance, and it's free on smartphone.

April 20, 2017 at 1:12AM

Carlo Macchiavello
Director (with strong tech knowledge)

How to edit a video on the phone or how to spend twice a time editing.

April 20, 2017 at 8:12AM, Edited April 20, 8:12AM


I've made videos on my iPhone with Splice, but PowerDirector looks superior. Or, at least, easier to use. Too bad it's an Android app.

April 26, 2017 at 2:25PM

Debbi Mack
Screenwriter/Video Artist