Shooting and sharing videos has never been so easy, with a wide selection of mobile apps available to capture, edit and distribute your footage. Some are squeezed-down smartphone versions of powerful, desktop, video-editing software, while others are inventive new tools for the Instagram generation of social sharers. There are specialist video-making apps for special effects, stop-motion and even virtual reality film-making, and novelty apps to raise a smile with face swapping or retro filters. Here are 20 of the best apps to try in 2016, whatever your level of expertise.
If you’re looking to edit video on an iPhone or iPad, Apple’s own app continues to be one of the most accessible options. Simple touch controls belie powerful tools for editing your clips together, before sharing them with friends.
All free unless otherwise stated
Twitter’s Vine app started off as a way to make looping six-second videos, but it recently announced plans to up the limit to 140 seconds. Vine’s one-touch system for shooting clips that then flow together remains very clever.
From werewolves and zombies to earthquakes and meteor strikes, FxGuru is a fun app for adding Hollywood-style special effects to your own clips. Filming your child playing with a giant, menacing mech-robot was never so easy.
Android users looking for a direct equivalent to Apple’s iMovie should check out this. It’s easy for whipping up quick films with your footage, but its more powerful features are worth tinkering with for even better results.
This app from Mattel is for Minecraft-mad children who want to make stop-motion movies with their favourite characters, from pigs to creepers, which are sold separately. Kids will get the hang of shooting quickly, and have lots of fun.
Wherever you’re planning to edit your footage, FiLMiC Pro is one of the best apps to shoot it. Perfect for everyone from beginners to videography pros, it has bags of features – slo-mo, time-lapse, all manner of aspect-ratio options and even a vertical-orientation mode.
Virtual reality headsets, from Oculus Rift to Google Cardboard, are growing in popularity. Splash is one of the first apps that helps you shoot 360-degree video to be watched on them, as well as shared with friends who can watch them without a headset.
A mobile craze in 2015, but Dubsmash has legs well into 2016. It’s an app for creating “lip dub” videos, where you mime along to famous songs and film/TV quotes, then share the results with friends – on social networks or (a recent addition) by messaging them within the app.
Another powerful video-editing app which, like iMovie, has its roots on desktop computers. It’s been updated smartly for touchscreen devices though: editing together your videos, soundtracks and photos is a cinch.
Instagram has a number of spin-off apps, including Hyperlapse and Layout. But Boomerang is very inventive: it shoots 10 photos quickly from your front or rear camera, then turns them into a GIF-like looping clip.
Originally focused on capturing video, MoviePro added editing features to make it a good all-round option for budding mobile film directors. Shooting, editing and sharing are easy, but it has some surprisingly professional depths to explore too.
Watching live streams of other people playing games has become one of the hottest forms of online TV. Mobcrush is a way to broadcast your own mobile gaming skills direct from your device (on Android) or via a companion Mac app (on iOS).
Adobe is one of the most experienced companies making professional video-editing software. That’s reflected even in its mobile app for more casual users, although pros will like the way it can transfer clips to their desktops.
Facebook liked this face-swapping app so much that it bought the company, although MSQRD remains available on the app stores. You can shoot and share unsettling videos, swapping your face with a friend, even broadcasting live on Facebook.
PocketVideo is one of the video apps aimed specifically at “creators” – vloggers pushing videos out to YouTube, Snapchat and other social networks. Its mix of filters, titles, stickers and GIFs is a recipe for entertaining vids.
One of the newest apps on this list, Videorama is a jack of all trades: clip-editing, animated text titles, soundtracks, visual filters and even special effects (explosions included) are part of the package, as well as simple social-sharing options.
This app used to be called Replay before it was bought by wearable cameras firm GoPro earlier this year. It’s one of the most user-friendly apps for editing together video clips, photos and soundtracks, especially with its automatic mode to do the hard work for you.
It’s oh so 2016 to pitch an app by promising it’ll “get more likes on Instagram and Facebook”, but Vue isn’t just for social show-offs. It’s an accessible app for creating montage videos, complete with digital stickers and filters.
An app for anyone old (sorry, experienced) enough to remember wielding a camcorder in the 1980s. This shoots video on your smartphone and makes it look like 30-year-old crackly home videos, with faithful zoom, date and dodgy audio features.
Finally, an app targeted at talented film-makers and broadcasters rather than casual users. Kinomatic is stuffed with pro features, including keeping your lighting settings between shooting sessions.
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