Early this year I started to use my smartphone to shoot video. I also thought it would be convenient to use a tablet to do the editing, especially when travelling. (Back home I use Sony Vegas to edit my videos.) But it turned out to be quite a challenge to find a decent Android video editing application.
In the Apple world there are a few choices for, I am told, decent video editing on an iPad or perhaps even on an iPhone: Pinnacle Studio’s video editing app and perhaps Apple’s own iMovie. But they only exist on iOS, not on Android.
I started the hunt.
It is not easy to know what to choose. There are many video editing apps out there but much of it is not necessarily useful. Much of it is actually pure junk.
What I want is the possibility to
- put together a complete (short) video from multiple clips
- add some sound
- render HD (preferably 1080p) video
- work locally on the device and not in the cloud (it must work without an internet connection)
- preferably the possibility to do some adjustments
- basic functions like trimming, cutting, and simple transitions
What I do not want is, for example:
- “Fun” or fancy effects or various silly “themes”
- Video editing in the cloud
- Video editing that stores my video in the cloud
- “automatic” video
So I decided to try a few. I copied a few raw videos to a folder that I created on my android tablet and started to test them.
Here are my initial reactions.
Many of the apps fell foul of what I do not want. Many apps were “fun” apps for people who want an app that automatically does something “amusing” with their clips. A bit like Instagram for videos. That was not what I wanted.
Testing video editing apps on Android tablets
Here are my comments:
(Android) Video Maker Pro
I create a new project and “add” two clips. They call it “import”.
I select the files I want to use for the video. The app responds “the video clip download was started, you will be notified when they’re ready”. Then nothing happens. 5 minutes. 10 minutes… Noting happens. What “download”?
Perhaps it will work better if I shoot the video on the device so that it appears in Gallery. But that’s not how I want to work. I want to shoot on a smartphone, transfer the files to the tablet, and then edit on the tablet.
I simply can’t get it to load my videos.
I read somewhere that this was an independent continuation of the no longer existing Google android video editor. Don’t know if that’s true.
Magisto (Magical Video Editor)
Several FAILS with this application:
- It “automatically” edits my videos by choosing the most interesting parts. Come on! Is that what you call video editing app? Buy the premium service and you can edit “longer” movies. Longer means more than 2.5 minutes.
- To edit, it uploads the videos to the Magisto site. A) I want to edit off-line. B) I don’t want to have my videos on this Magisto site. I want to have them where I decide to have them.
- Cumbersome interface with no editing capabilities.
As one could guess, no video editing capabilities. Basically just for trimming. You can also make a screen grab and some other smaller manipulations, like saving in different formats. You cannot merge two videos.
AndroMedia Video Editor
Extremely slow to launch.
In the PlayStore description is says that it is “designed for phones” so perhaps it is no good on a tablet? First time I started it the app launched a browser window with the message “your android device is infected, click OK to scan your device” from an unknown URL. Is this perhaps a malicious app?
You can actually compose a video by selecting several clips. You can crop and trim the clips and you can select transitions.
But there is no way you can preview the video without rendering the full project.
And it does not render 1080.
This seems to be identical to Video Maker Pro. Consequently, this does not work either.
You can do some basic video editing on individual clips. Seems to work OK.
However, if you want to combine several clips into one video it can only do the most basic things: place the clips in order and merge them. Anything more than that you have to do to each individual clip before you select them to merge.
A reasonably good video editing app, but not good enough.
One of the few apps that did not immediately get a “fail”.
Video Editor and Maker
Looks similar to Video Maker Pro, so seems to be built on the same core.
Has the same flaw: it fails to import any videos to work with.
Video Maker Pro and Android Video Maker Pro
Launched as “the android equivalent to iMove on the iPad”. It seems to have a number of issues though.
My major issue is this, quoted from the intro to the app: “WeVideo Video Editor & Maker for Android syncs with the cloud and can be edited with full creative control with the WeVideo.com editor. All your videos and projects are stored online, safely, for you to edit wherever you are.”
I do not want my videos stored on the WeVideo servers “in the cloud”. I do not want to edit them online. I want to have my projects locally on my tablet and edit them locally on my tablet.
So in effect it is useless for my needs.
From the demo videos it looks as if it can do some simple editing, but not much more than the most basic things.
Clesh Video Editor (€3.99)
Same issue as with WeVideo: it works online. It is not a local application, so it is not of interest to me. (Although a quick look at the interface gives me the impression that it has some interesting functionalities.)
The only worthwhile alternatives
Video Editor (by Samsung)
My tablet comes with a built in video editing app, called simply “Video Editor”. It is by far, very far, the best of the video editing apps that I have tried.
It does not support 1080 though. I hope it will come.
A big surprise.
It is a big drawback that it does not do 1080p.
Kinemaster and Kinemaster Pro
Unfortunately it does not work on my tablet (Samsung Tab2 10.1). It only works on a limited selection of devices. However it does work on my android smartphone. I installed the free version of the app there and it looks promising. And it works!
But I do not want to do the video editing on the phone. I want to do it on the tablet.
So it is not really what I want.
Having nevertheless tried it out a bit on the phone it seems OK. The interface is not very intuitive. For example, it took me quite a while to figure out how to render a file. But it seems you can do most of the things that a simple video editing app should be able to do.
A real pity it does not work on my tablet.
You need to get the (paying, but not expensive) Pro version if you really want to use it for your videos.
A possible new contender
Just recently a new video editing app has appeared, CyberLink’s PowerDirector. I have not tried it yet but it looks promising. Unfortunately it is not compatible with my tablet, so to use it I will have to get a new tablet… Or use it on my phone. But I don’t want to edit on the phone.
It looks as if there is still no really good video editing app on Android. There are a few, very few, decent ones: Samsung’s Video Editor and KineMasterPro. Perhaps the new arrival, CyberLink’s PowerDirector will be a good solution and at least I hope that it will spark more interest from competing app developers.
But for the moment it looks as if I will mainly stick with Sony Vegas on a PC and only occasionally use Samsung’s video editor.
Or have you found something else? What are you working with?