Multi-track video editing and post-production apps

Here you will find high-end video editing and post-production apps ideal for using your smartphone to create complex television and online stories and for making documentaries.

LumaFusion (iOS)

LumaFusion is the most advanced video editing app for a smartphone. It is a full multi-track video and audio editor that has many of the functions of desktop software like Premiere Pro, and is available as one-time purchase – currently around $US29.99.

The app offers considerable range with post-production features including colour correction, voice over, imported branded titles and supers. For mobile journalism, one of the important features of LumaFusion is the ability to map the left or right channel of your stereo audio to both channels allowing you to independently manage the audio levels from both an external mic and the camera mic.

LumaFusion files can be exported at many framerates including 30fps/60fps (for NTSC countries) and 25fps/50fps (for PAL countries). You can also export at different aspect ratios – including square (1:1), portrait (9:16), widescreen of many varieties and landscape (16:9). So you can create a version for social media and online, and a version for TV.

LumaFusion can export in SD, HD, 4K and HDR formats for any platform and your timeline can be exported directly to FCPX, or airdropped to an an iPad running LumaFusion for continued editing.

The LumaFusion website has a series of up-to-date tutorials, or you can find a variety of tutorials on the LumaTouch YouTube Channel and embedded throughout the online reference guide.

KineMaster (iOS / Android)

KineMaster is a multi-track video editor for both iOS and Android, with the ability to edit both video and audio, add titles, captions and a logo. It can export at 25 or 30fps, making it suitable for NTSC and PAL countries, and you can export your projects in landscape, square or portrait.

In 2021, KineMaster added the ability to export projects, which can include multiple media and audio tracks, making editing between devices and people incredibly versatile.

The free version of KineMaster has a watermark and ads. The paid version requires a monthly or annual subscription, which varies in price depending on which country you are based in. For detailed user tips and tutorials, visit KineMaster’s website and YouTube Channel. This tutorial will get you started.

VN (iOS / ANDROID

VN, which was mentioned in the previous chapter, is suited to both simple and complex edits, and offers an impressive range of pro features – such as curve speed, green screen / chroma key, keyframe animation, masking, multiple video and audio tracks, and project-sharing. You can add titles, subtitles and captions, and a logo without leaving the app. You can import branded fonts, too. The app offers square, landscape and portrait settings, and has templates for popular social platforms like TikTok and Instagram. 

It allows editing at 25fps as well as 30fps, and you can adjust the bitrate on export. Files can be exported to your camera roll, and / or uploaded direct to social. Mac and Windows versions of VN are also available, making it a fully integrated software package for video editing.

VN has an excellent YouTube channel packed with tutorials, and this tutorial will get you started.

PowerDirector (iOS / ANDROID)

PowerDirector is a multi-track video editor with the ability to edit both video and audio, add titles, captions and a logo. It also offers the ability to transfer projects between your phone and a desktop via the Cyberlink Cloud, so you can start editing a story on the phone and fine-tune it later on a bigger screen. The app does not offer a free version, and subscriptions start at $US19.99 a month. It also only exports at 30fps, making it unsuitable for TV journalism in PAL countries. 

The Cyberlink PowerDirector YouTube channel has more information and tips. This tutorial will get you started: 

For more recent tutorials, visit PowerDirector University on YouTube. This channel isn’t owned by PowerDirector but the tutorials are clear and easy to follow.

Alight Motion (iOS / ANDROID)

Alight Motion offers professional-quality animation, motion graphics, visual effects, video editing, and video compositing features on iPhones, iPads, Android phones, and on Macs with Apple Silicon Chips.  It also offers the ability to import branded animated graphics – an important feature for TV journalism. 

Alight Motion is the closest thing to Adobe After Effects for a smartphone, and in this respect eclipses what is currently available for iPhones.

The free version of the app offers most features, but adds a watermark on exported videos. The paid version enables project sharing between devices, and access to additional effects and easing modes. There are several payment options including a subscription model that will automatically renew until cancelled.

You can access the user guide here, and watch the two-part introductory tutorials here:

Adobe Premiere Rush (iOS / Android)

Adobe Premiere Rush is a powerful multitrack video editor for IOS and Android. If you already have an Adobe Creative Cloud license, then you can access the pro version of the app for free. Otherwise it costs $US9.99 a month.

This makes it one of the more expensive smartphone video editing apps – but for this investment you get a powerful video editor with the ability to add motion graphics, adjust audio, and make colour adjustments – and if you’re a Creative Cloud user, the app offers cloud-syncing meaning you can start your edit in the phone and finish it on a desktop using CC software like Premiere Pro.

The app is also a high-quality video filming app – making it a useful alternative to Filmic Pro.

Read more about the app on Adobe’s website and knowledge base where you can access tutorials and a user guide.

Here’s an introductory tutorial:

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