In the past, video editing was a very desktop-focused task and most people never would have dreamed of editing a video on a smartphone. But things have changed, and now there’s a long list of video editing apps and tools for smartphones, making it a lot easier to edit on iPhone devices.
That means there’s no longer a need to switch between devices as you go from shooting to editing to uploading. As soon as you’re done creating your iPhone video, you can seamlessly go straight to the editing phase before uploading it for all to see.
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In this article, we’ll talk about how to edit videos on iPhone devices from start to finish and cover some simple tips that you can use to create and edit high-quality footage on your smartphone. We’ll also go over our recommended video editing apps for iPhone for both seasoned pros and complete beginners.
Let’s get started!
Steps for Editing Video on iPhone
There are 9 steps to follow for editing video on an iPhone, and each one is just as important as the last. Here’s a quick preview of the 9-step process for iPhone video editing:
- Step 1: Start a New Project
- Step 2: Edit Down the Video
- Step 3: Add In B-Roll
- Step 4: Add Transitions
- Step 5: Add Titles & Text
- Step 6: Add Music
- Step 7: Adjust Volume
- Step 8: Adjust Color Grade
- Step 9: Export Video
Best Video Editing Apps for iPhone (Paid & Free)
Before getting into the meat and potatoes of video editing with our step-by-step tutorial, let’s first focus on some of the best iOS-friendly video editing apps available for download today. There’s 6 in particular we’re loving at Primal Video:
- VLLO (Paid)
- Adobe Premiere Rush (Paid)
- LumaFusion (Paid)
- VLLO (Free)
- VN Video Editor (Free)
- InShot (Free)
The paid version of VLLO is one of our favorite iPhone editing apps for people who are willing to spend some cash to get a few more advanced features. After making a one-time payment, you can start using it as an absolute beginner and keep on using the app right through to the more advanced side of editing.
Although Adobe Premiere Rush is a monthly subscription, it’s a good one for more advanced edits. The same goes for LumaFusion, a one-time-payment app that’s a great choice if you’re looking for pro-level features to edit on iPhone smartphones.
As far as free apps go, three of the best are VLLO, VN Video Editor, and InShot. The free version of VLLO is missing a few key features for advanced editing and InShot is geared towards absolute beginners.
While beginners can’t go wrong with any of these app recommendations, VN Video Editor is our favorite free option at the App Store.
VN offers the perfect combination of features for both novice and advanced editing, so you can keep using it even as you get into more technical stuff.
Steps to Edit on iPhone for Beginners
Since VN Video Editor is completely free to download and it offers beginner to advanced editing features, that’s the one we’ll be referring to throughout this article.
The steps outlined below on iPhone video editing will walk you through how to use the VN Video Editor to its full potential.
But don’t worry, even if you choose to download a different iPhone video editing app, most follow the same steps and offer the same features, so just follow along!
Step 1: Start a New Video Project
Once you’ve successfully downloaded and opened the VN Video Editor, the first thing you’ll need to do is start a new project. To do that, just hit the plus ‘+’ button at the bottom of the screen and then move on to select ‘New Project’.
From there, you’ll choose the primary video you want to edit and click the arrow that will take you to the app’s main editing interface.
Up top you’ll see your video in preview mode to easily play everything back and below you’ll see all the editing features and functions you need to make a top-notch video.
Selecting Your Format
The first thing you’ll need to do is set your video format. There are different ideal video sizes and orientations based on the type of video you’ll be making, like whether it’s for YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok.
The VN editor has a few different format options to choose from. If you’re making a YouTube video, stick with the 16:9 format, which you’ll also see labeled as the ‘Original’ option. Once the formatting is all set, it’s time to start exploring the features.
Zooming In & Out
At the bottom, you can tap or scrub through the video to skim the content and get a better idea of what you’re working with.
This is where you’ll also be able to zoom in to see more frames for precise editing, and you’ll just do that by pinching the screen in. To zoom back out, simply pinch the screen outwards.
Deleting the “Directed By” Clip
If you’re using the VN editing app, you’ll notice that there’s a little black clip at the end of the video. This is where you’ll have the option to list who the video was directed by, but for most of you, you’ll just want to delete it.
To delete, select that frame and press the ‘Delete’ button at the bottom corner.
Step 2: Edit Down the Video
Alright, it’s time to move on to the actual editing!
Nobody’s perfect, so chances are there a few bad or unnecessary takes in the footage you shot. The good news is that iPhone video editor tools let you edit down your videos without having to start all over.
In this next step, we’re focusing on how to edit down the video so that only the content you want to share with the world is what’s left behind. To trim down the content, there are a few different options available to you.
Using the Split Feature
The easiest thing to do is use the ‘Split’ feature, especially if there’s a portion of the video at the very beginning or end that is unusable.
To use this feature, line up the vertical white Playback bar with the exact spot in the video that you want to cut from the rest of the footage, and press the ‘Split’ scissors button.
Once you’ve done that, there will be two different clips remaining. To remove the one that you don’t need, just select it and click ‘Delete’.
Using the Trim Feature
Another option for editing out bad takes is to trim it down. Using the ‘Trim’ feature is a great option if there’s a portion of unusable or unnecessary footage somewhere in the middle of the video that you want to cut out.
Say for example you leaned forward in the middle of the shoot to adjust the teleprompter. It’s possible to use the ‘Split’ feature to split up the usable from unusable footage and delete what you don’t want.
The better option, though, is to give it a good trim.
To do that, first select the clip you want to trim down, then click ‘Trim’. A thick yellow border will appear around the footage with left and right handles on either side.
Adjust those handles by holding and dragging so that the yellow borders are surrounding the footage that you no longer want or need. Once you’ve trimmed, press the checkmark at the bottom to apply it.
It’s completely up to you whether you use the Split or Trim feature; both work great, so just go with the one you’re most comfortable with.
With most iPhone editing apps, it’s possible to pick up and move clips to rearrange the order of the footage.
Say you want a clip that is somewhere in the middle to be the new conclusion; just press and hold the clip you want to move, drop it in the place at the end of the footage, and voila, you have a brand new ending.
Step 3: Add In B-Roll
B-roll, also called overlay footage, is footage that is shown on top of the primary content and it helps your viewers stay engaged and better understand your video.
If you’re looking for quality footage to use, check out our review of the top sites for royalty-free footage. Currently, we’re using Artgrid and Storyblocks!
To add in B-roll footage to your video, start by selecting the ‘+’ button that’s located next to ‘Tap to add sticker / PIP (picture in picture)’.
Then, choose the clip that you want to use as overlay, and that clip will appear on a bar directly above the primary video footage.
On the top screen, you’ll see the B-roll and be able to adjust the size of the clip and move its location to the ideal spot on the screen.
To move the B-roll clip so that it plays at a different timestamp, just press and hold the clip and drag it left or right to the perfect spot before releasing. You can also adjust the start and end time of the clip with the ‘Split’ feature we talked about earlier.
Spend some time adding in all your B-roll clips and adjusting them to fit well within the original content. Even though B-roll isn’t considered primary, it’s still really important, so take your time editing it to fit well within the original footage.
Step 4: Add Transitions
Once B-rolls edits are complete, the next phase is to add in your transitions.
These are effects that go in between two separate video clips, literally acting as a transition between them. Adding these in helps the video to flow better so that there are no hard cuts from one clip to another.
Between two clips, you’ll see a ‘+’ button, so click on that if you think a transition would work well there. You’ll then be given a few different transition options – such as a white flash or a fade to black – so choose the one that works best within your video.
Sometimes transitions look unnatural, especially between 2 almost-identical clips. Instead of using a ‘Hard cut’, we prefer to ‘Zoom In’ on one of the clips to create a subtle difference between the shots.
The subtle change in the shot helps keep the video engaging and also helps mask any minor lighting changes or movements between the shots, making them less jarring and noticeable than simply using a ‘Hard Cut’.
To zoom in, select the clip by lining it up with the playback indicator and select the ‘Crop’ feature. This will let you crop an individual clip and zoom in on it.
Just be sure not to zoom in too much since this can affect the resolution quality and be distracting to viewers. It’s also possible to use the ‘Zoom’ feature for this, which lets you apply slow preset zoom-ins and zoom-outs throughout a specific clip.
Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to use transitions, but at the same time, try to use them sparingly and only where they’re truly necessary.
Step 5: Add Titles & Text
Next up you want to add in any titles or text to your video. First, click on the ‘+’ that’s overlaid on the ‘T’ in the menu, and from there you’ll see some preset text formats to choose from. ‘
After typing in your text, you’ll be able to adjust the size, change the font, change the color, move it around on the screen, play around with the background color, and more.
While it’s not entirely essential to add in text throughout the video, it’s definitely a nice touch and a feature that makes your content look more professional.
If you want to go one step further and make title screens for your videos, check out our step by step training in this tutorial. We use a service called Placeit to make these as they have an awesome range of templates that you can customize up to suit your needs.
And if you want to learn how to make animated video titles, we also have a tutorial on how to do this which you can watch here.
Step 6: Add Music
Adding background music to a video can take it to a whole new level. To add in music, click on the ‘+’ that’s overlaid on the musical note icon.
You’ll then choose the music file from your device that you want to be featured in the video. Just make sure that you’re only using audio clips that you are legally allowed to be using and have the rights to.
Once you’ve picked the track, you’ll then be prompted to set the volume levels (you’ll make more adjustments to this next). From there, you’ll adjust the file to fit within the video exactly where you want it.
In most cases, you’ll want the track to begin as soon as the video starts and play all the way through until your footage ends.
If you do need to edit the audio file, you can do that using the same tools you’ve been using to make cuts, like ‘Split’ or ‘Trim’.
Step 7: Adjust Volume
Focusing on audio is crucial for producing a quality iPhone video, so that’s what we’ll be covering next. You’ve just added in your music files, so now it’s time to adjust the volume.
Adjust Primary Volume First
Before making adjustments to music volume, the first priority is to get the volume of the primary footage where it needs to be. It’s recommended that you grab a pair of headphones for this so that there’s no distracting background noise as you make adjustments.
Start by selecting the first clip in the footage, then click on the ‘Volume’ feature below. Then you’ll see two different categories, one for background audio (BGM) and one for primary audio (Video Volume). Go to BGM and mute it all the way down to zero.
Under the Video Volume tab, start with the volume at 100% and listen carefully – remember, with headphones in! If you’re struggling to hear, turn it up a bit. If it sounds too loud to the point of distortion, turn it down.
Next, Adjust Background Volume
Next up comes adjusting the background music. Make sure the music is not too loud to the point it becomes distracting or overpowers the primary audio.
While background tracks add a nice touch, the primary audio is ALWAYS more important. So while the Video Volume might be set at 100%, the BGM could be kept on a low 18% or 19%.
Step 8: Adjust Color Grade
Editing audio is a big part of the process, and the same goes for editing visuals. The final step before exporting the video is to make some adjustments to the video’s color and make color corrections wherever needed.
At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a ‘Filter’ button. Click it and you’ll have tons of different filters at your fingertips.
You can think of these like Instagram filters, so choose the filter depending on the overall vibe you want your video to give off.
If you just can’t seem to find a filter that perfectly exhibits the look you’re going for, just choose the one that’s closest (or start from the original) and make some adjustments by clicking the ‘Adjust’ button.
You’ll be able to adjust visual aspects like saturation, exposure, contrast, brightness, and more to find the perfect look and feel for each shot. A good starting point is to adjust color temperature, especially if you want to add more warmth to the footage, and go from there.
Feel free to play around with these features and don’t worry about making mistakes; you can always revert back to the original and start from scratch if you need to.
Step 9: Export Video
The final step (and possibly the most exciting!) is to export the video that you just worked so hard on editing to perfection. In the VN Video Editor, you’ll click the ‘Export’ button located at the top right-hand corner.
In this step, you’ll set your desired quality and file settings based on your specific video requirements. For example, if you want the video saved in 1080 pixels at 24 frames per second, this is when you’ll do it.
Pro Tip: Raise the Bit Rate
It’s a good idea to adjust the bit rate to the highest number possible. Even though the default setting is usually good enough, the general rule to follow is that the higher the bit rate, the better the visual quality of the file.
Once you’re done adjusting the settings, click the checkmark at the bottom to apply all the changes.
Your iPhone video editing is complete and your video has officially been saved to your phone ready to be uploaded!
Now You’re Ready to Edit Videos on iPhones Like a Pro!
There you have it – the complete guide on how to edit videos on iPhone!
Remember, always start by downloading the best editing app that works for you. In this case, we used the VN Video Editor, but the steps listed throughout this article apply across the board for most apps.
Whether you’re using VN Video Editor, VLLO, or something else, now you have the knowledge to edit videos that you’ll be proud of and your audience will love. We hope you learned a lot from this complete iPhone video editing tutorial. For more helpful information on iOS editing, use our free guide on The ULTIMATE Video Editing Process where we provide you with tips and tools to cut your video editing time in half.
When available, we use affiliate links and may earn a commission!
Recommended iPhone Editing App:
Other Software We Recommend:
Recommended Music Sites:
Recommended Stock Footage Sites:
Other Recommended Sites:
- How to Make a Video Intro for YouTube (Updated Tutorial!)
- How to Make Animated Titles – Easy Video Effects Tutorial!
- Stock Video – Top Sites for Royalty Free Stock Footage!
- Best Sites for Video Background Music