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3 free video editing tools anyone can use – Mobile Edition (Part 3)

3 free video editing tools anyone can use - Mobile edition 3If you’ve read part 1 and 2 of this series you’re probably convinced you can make decent video on your mobile device.  In part 3 I’ll discuss a third app that gives you yet another choice for creating video on the go.

WeVideo is a cloud-based video creation and editing tool. I wrote about the web version in the Desktop Edition of this series, but now we’ll look at the mobile app version.

The app is available on both Android and iOS and is free to download. It’s completely free to use with no limitation on the app (but more on that in a bit). The web version has significant limitations on the free version so it was nice to see that I could use all the aspect of the app without an issue (mostly).

Video Editing

WeVideo uses a storyboard format for editing. Unlike the other apps I’ve looked at, there doesn’t seem to be any naming scheme for creating a new video. The main screen just has a plus sign (+) with the words “Create New”. If you have multiple videos you’ve edited, you can choose to see them all by clicking on “My edits”.

So the videos are not called projects or trailers or movies. Just edits. But once you get used to calling your videos “edits”, you’ll find that there’s quite a bit of capability in the app.

You can trim each video clip you include by clicking on it, then dragging the markers to the points you want to use. You also get a display of the time to the tenth of a second. So even though you’re using fingers to move the trim bars, you’re able to be fairly precise.

For images, you’re able to set the duration and the animation (also known as the Ken Burn’s effect). You manipulate the image to the place where you want the animation to start, then do the same for where you want it to end. The app will then use a zoom effect to go from the start to the end. The speed depends on the duration you’ve set for the image.

You can also add text to each video clip or image. When you choose text, you’re given a traditional text box to enter your text. You can select the font, font colour and opacity, background colour (to the text box) and the timing for the caption. There are many built in fonts you can use which is nice. And there’s a spectrum of colours for the text as well (though not a full spectrum).

Audio editing

On the main storyboard screen you can select a music track that will play over the whole movie. They provide a good selection of free music in categories like “Feel Good”, “Suspenseful”, and “Cheerful”. You can also pick music from your own library.

When you’re editing a video clip, you can also adjust the volume. But unless you set the volume to zero, this will play even if you have music selected for the entire video. There doesn’t seem to be any automatic adjustment for the music versus audio clip volume. In my experiments they both just went on at a fixed volume, which at times meant the audio was just awful. But to be fair I didn’t really spend too much time trying to make a clean audio track, so maybe it is possible with more effort spent on manually adjusting the volumes on each clip.

Here’s the sample video I made based on the mCommerce Summit in order to be similar to the two previous videos.

Beyond editing

The WeVideo app was interesting to me because of the potential to synchronise it with the Cloud version. This would allow a quick and dirty video on my mobile to be polished with more extensive editing capability online.

I signed into the app using my WeVideo credentials and expected the video I’d created to show up when I logged in online. But it didn’t. At the time I was working from my car while waiting for my daughter to finish some activities. I didn’t have the best network connection so I assumed it would all sync when I got home on Wi-Fi.

But it didn’t. I made the video two weeks ago and it still doesn’t show up in my account. I’ve contacted them through the in app option for “Feedback”. I asked them if the videos should sync, and if not why is there an option to log in. A day later I received a confirmation email that they’d received the feedback. I’ve received no response still.

Their website explicitly says, “WeVideo Video Editor App for iOS / Android is a super easy to use storyboard-style video editor that connects to the WeVideo Cloud for further online editing if needed”. So I looked around some more through the knowledgebase and Academy videos (their online training programme). In the end I decided I should email them to ask what the problem is and if the videos should have synched in time. But I couldn’t.

They provide zero email support to free account holders. They did have an online form I could have used, but would they even answer since I only had a free account? I eventually sent in a question to the contact form and I’ll update this post when/if I get an answer.

I could find nothing on the site that said that you need to be a paid user to sync between the app and the online version. But my guess is that’s the case given that collaboration is also a paid feature.

Exporting

Since the video doesn’t sync though, the only export option is to save the video to your device. You have no choice in the settings or encoders used. The movie above was exported in a .mp4 format. When I used MediaArena to examine the file I found the following parameters:

wevideo info

If I’m reading the information right, the video is HD, but not full HD. It uses the AVC1 codec for video and the AAC for audio. Chances are if you care about these details you’re going to want to use a full-fledged video editing tool on your desktop or laptop anyway.

But WeVideo could be a great place to start working on the video if you’re out on the go. And if you only use the app version, you aren’t constrained to only five minutes of publishing time as you are with the online version (for free accounts).

Other tools and considerations

The three apps I mentioned, WeVideo, Premiere Clip and iMovie are not the only mobile video editors out there. Samsung ships new the Galaxy 7 with an app called “video editor”. No fancy name but it is a great built-in tool for making quick videos. Other manufacturers may have the same thing.

If you find you aren’t happy with the ones you’ve tried, it’s worth checking out other free ones, or even inexpensive ones until you find what’s best for you. Some of the most popular editors didn’t make it into my choice of three because they had a minimal charge to purchase the app. Here a couple of others you may want to consider if you’re willing to pay a little money:

  • Powerdirector (Android and Windows mobile)
  • Pinnacle Studio Pro (iOS)

More apps are born every day, so if you’re unhappy with what you have, take some time to Google for other options and read reviews.

 

Oliver Burt

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