There are tons of photo and video editing apps tailored for social sharing. They’re extremely popular among bloggers, companies, teenagers, and other active social media users who target audiences on platforms like Instagram. In this article, we’ll focus on video recording and editing apps. Today, these apps are sprinkled with filters, stop motion, and time-lapse capabilities.
The most notable video recording and editing apps have advanced features. For example, FilmoraGo enables users to chop and move scenes with the help of a timeline. Apple Clips allows users to make animated captions for videos using Siri’s voice recognition technology. Hyperlapse impresses with constantly improving time-lapse capabilities.
In this article, we’ll talk about the top performing products on the video editing landscape and the capabilities of native platforms for developing these kinds of products. We’ll also tell you how exactly you can stand out in the highly competitive environment with your own video recording and editing app.
What are the different types of video recording and editing apps?
We can divide these apps into five general categories:
- Video recording apps
- Video editing apps
- Apps with a combination of video recording and editing functionality
- Screen recording apps
- Apps with a combination of screen recording and editing functionality
What features might video recording apps offer?
Frame rates from 24 to 240 fps
Support for recording in various file formats, including MP4 and 3GP
Manual controls for literally all functionality
Audio recording with on-screen audio meters, Bluetooth microphone input, etc.
In short, video recording apps are only limited by the technical capabilities of a phone’s camera. The latest iPhone XS Max and Samsung Galaxy S9 provide 4K (3840×2160) video recording at 60 fps.
What features do video editing apps offer?
Trimming and cutting video for uploading to Instagram, Facebook, and other services through social media integrations
Special video effects (filters, fast and slow motion, transitions, overlays, playing in reverse, etc.)
Audio effects (adding music, applying voice filters, etc.)
Ability to auto-generate videos based on available images and video
Unlike video recording apps, video editing apps work on previously recorded videos. Editing apps let users apply a variety of tools to make video footage look almost like a movie. Although these apps can’t compete with video editors for computers (smartphones still don’t have the power to replicate the video editing experience a desktop computer can offer), mobile video editing has advanced considerably over the last three to four years.
What features do screen recording apps offer?
1080p HD screen recording at up to 60 fps
Front-facing camera overlay
Mirroring a smartphone device to a computer screen
Just a few years ago, screen recording was possible only from computers, but today there are lots of top-notch screen recorders for Android and iOS.
iOS platform capabilities for building video apps
The native AVFoundation framework for iOS provides essential services for working with audiovisual media. You can implement almost all features a good video editing app needs using this framework.
iMovie, one of Apple’s flagship products, was built with the help of native AVFoundation tools. Some of the app’s best features include video filters, the possibility to add an animated title or soundtrack to a clip, and even 14 trailer templates designed by some of the world’s top film producers. In the latest version of iMovie, users can slow down or speed up clips, stabilize shaky videos, and even change color settings.
[the iMovie video editing app]
What’s really great about iMovie is that users can store video clips made with the iMovie app in their photo library or transfer them between different Apple devices via AirDrop or iCloud Drive. After uploading to the cloud, users can finish editing videos using iMovie on their iMac or MacBook. There’s also the ability to use AirPlay to wirelessly stream video to a TV with Apple TV. All these benefits make iMovie an obvious choice for an iPhone user.
Moreover, beginning with iPhone 6, all iPhones have the iMovie app pre-installed. In April 2018, iMovie gained support for the iPhone X. Now iPhone X owners can take advantage of the phone’s large screen to execute multitouch gestures, use filters, trim videos, and do what they want to create superb 4K videos. The success of iMovie has made the iOS platform a competitive place when it comes to launching another video editing app.
But despite the competition, there are apps that manage to stand out on the market. For example, Splice is another powerful yet minimal video editor for iOS devices.
Splice is considered a powerful video editor because of its simplicity combined with sophisticated functionality. A user just imports the videos they want to edit and marks the parts of the videos they want to use. Then the app automatically compiles a video according to the selections the user has made.
[the Splice video editor]
Because Splice isn’t overloaded with video editing functionality, it’s great for quick and easy creating home movies, documenting work projects, and creating presentations.
Just like iMovie, Splice provides a number of filters (including filters that imitate different lenses) and sound effects. Both iMovie and Splice are free, which makes them even more attractive to users.
Android platform capabilities for building video apps
There are lots of video editing apps for iOS and Android to choose from nowadays. However, Android still doesn’t provide any native solutions for video editing. It’s possible to go for third-party alternatives, but the end result won’t be very smooth since mobile video solutions for Android are inevitably slower and less elegant than those for iOS because of hardware and software limitations.
In the past, Google tried fixing the “Android video problem” by providing its own Android video editor. It was launched in 2011 for Android 3.0 Honeycomb, but it didn’t succeed. It was abandoned in 2013.
The absence of native libraries and frameworks supported by Google makes it challenging to create video editing functionality for Android. But there are apps like KineMaster and VivaVideo that edit videos on Android well enough.
KineMaster calls itself a pro video editor, but it’s easy enough for anyone to use. It allows a user to download media, effects, overlays, and doodles. KineMaster is a subscription service. The $39.99 annual fee is relatively high, but its functionality makes up for the cost. Alternatively, you can choose one month of subscription for $4.99 to get rid of watermarks and be able to export video files.
VivaVideo is an attractive video editing app available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices. It provides over 200 filters, stickers, themes, text arrangements, and transitions for post-processing.
What’s even more impressive about VivaVideo is that it lets you film content from within the application while applying special effects in real time. The VivaVideo app is free to download. Users can get unlimited video length and remove watermarks by downloading VivaVideo Pro for $2.99.
Developing an app like KineMaster or VivaVideo will require working with cross-platform software such as the FFmpeg multimedia framework, which is written in C and Assembly.
[the VivaVideo app]
We’ve already written three articles describing video processing with the FFmpeg tool for Ruby on Rails. The first article is dedicated to the niceties of using FFmpeg for video processing, the second is on features you should add to a video processing app, and the third provides examples of FFmpeg filters and Frei0r plugin effects. Check them out for more detailed information on this multimedia framework.
Now that we’ve looked at the basics of video app development for the Android and iOS platforms, let’s switch to hardware limitations you should take into account when creating a video app.
Hardware characteristics and breakthroughs to consider when building video apps
Apple’s iPhones have always been famous for recording fabulous slow-motion videos. Nevertheless, slow-motion videos on Android have had a breakout, with phones like the Samsung Galaxy S9 supporting up to 960 fps slow-motion recording in 1080p resolution. Sony Xperia devices have the same video recording capabilities as the Galaxy S9.
At the same time, the iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR, despite the A12 Bionic Chip, are only capable of recording slow-motion videos at 240 fps in 1080p resolution.
Xiaomi is also determined to keep up with their Android peers. They first provided slow-motion mode in the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, then announced that the Xiaomi Mi 8, Mi Mix 2S, and Mi Max 3 would be enhanced with 960 fps recording in the near future.
At Yalantis, we’ve recently finished developing the video editing app Jump In for making videos from images. We created this app for both iOS and Android. For the Android version, we used the Android API for enсoding/decoding by means of MediaCodec and MediaMuxer. For video processing, we used the Android NDK API for working with the OpenCV library.
[the Jump In app]
If you want to make a video editing app for Android, you’ll have to deal with the still limited functionality of the majority of Android devices. But as the number of devices running Android grows, hardware capabilities are slowly improving.
Video recording and editing functionality that runs on the backend
As we’ve suggested, platform and hardware capabilities play a big role in defining what video recording and editing apps can do. But since we’re also talking about product development, we must mention the users.
People who want to experiment as directors of their own movies but aren’t looking for extensive functionality – and don’t mind delegating most of the work to the app itself – may like video editing apps that run on backend implementations. Magisto is a great example of an app for those who don’t have the time to edit their own videos.
[the Magisto video app]
Magisto is available for both iOS and Android devices. The app’s video editing logic is implemented on the backend, so there’s no trimming or editing in Magisto. Users simply choose from a set of themes and soundtracks that are associated with those themes, and Magisto does all the work and returns a finished video.
Similar to Magisto, GoPro Quik is an app focused on creating videos automatically. There are some differences between Magisto and GoPro Quik’s business models: GoPro Quik is made for heavy Instagram users, so it offers filters among its in-app purchases, whereas Magisto works on a subscription model with subscribers unlocking cloud storage for videos and the ability to process longer videos.
Users appreciate special effects for video and audio – it’s all about entertainment and popularity. People want to capture a funny or touching moment and immediately share it with their friends and gain more followers or subscribers.
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