Three editing apps to quickly turn travel videos into shareable show reels – we put them to the test

Forget time-consuming software, this new generation of creation apps uses artificial intelligence and editing short cuts to produce polished compilations in seconds

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 April, 2018, 6:03am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 April, 2018, 2:03pm

Are you now taking as many videos as photos on your travels? Are you also struggling to find time to do anything with the footage stored on your phone? If this sounds like you, don’t worry. You can now quickly produce professional-looking, shareable compilations without the stress.

Until recently, the most basic option was to upload your raw footage to Instagram, where it would be cropped into a square and published on your account. At the other end of the scale, you could also use software like Adobe Premiere Elements 11, Windows Movie Maker or iMovie, but they can be time-consuming, often desktop-based, and require editing knowledge.

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Cue a new generation of video-editing apps that use AI to produce a polished compilation in seconds that is perfect for uploading to Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, WeChat and Weibo. We put three apps – each available on iOS and Android – to the test during a recent trip to Iceland, and here are our findings.

1. GoPro Quik

Quik is designed to take the pain out of editing hours of GoPro footage but it also works with video shot on a smartphone. You just select the videos and photos on your phone, and the app splices them together into a short video, using AI to extract only the interesting sections.

For the most part, it works really well, though sometimes it misses the best moments, so you do have to manually edit it. Still, with automatic titling based on the GPS location of where you shot the footage, the polished transitions and evena musical background, Quik is a significant time saver. It also makes it really easy to add text, and upload to all the major social media platforms right from within the app. You can also download it as a square-cropped MOV file.

2. Magisto

While it’s essentially the same as GoPro Quik, the Magisto automated editor has an online user interface, so you can work on your travel showreel at your desktop or on your phone. Since the app makes you sign-up for a seven-day trial and pay a hefty HK$288 (US$36) thereafter, it may be worth just relying on the free desktop version; however, you will be limited to living with the final version Magisto produces, with no manual editing made possible. The results, though – delivered as a widescreen MP4 video – have a much more cinematic feel than Quik’s product.

Videos made with an unpaid account can be posted to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, or sent as a link via email. Only with a paid account can you make extensive edits and download the results. But there is a secret way to get around this; any web browser will let you download the video manually from your timeline using the “Save As” option.

3. Adobe Premiere Clip

Here is a great app for those that want to control every aspect of the edit. While there are still some automatic editing features – such as setting transitions to coincide with beats in the music you choose as the soundtrack – Premiere Clip otherwise leaves you alone to edit the videos yourself.

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All the app does is upload the clips and photos to a timeline – the rest is on you. This means you get to trim the clips, and control the fade-ins and transitions – from cross-fades to gentle zooms on photos. You can also apply an Instagram-style filter to the whole project, and even add a watermark.

The chance to tweak exposure, highlights, and shadow details as well as tinker with audio levels, will be welcome to some, but Premiere Clip does lack a quick auto-compile option.

If you already use other Adobe photo-editing software – such as Lightroom or Photoshop – whatever you create on Premiere Clip is backed up on your Adobe cloud profile.