WeVideo Review: Video Editing on an Android Phone

by Reads (4,296)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Design
      • 7
      • Ease of Installation/Ease of Use
      • 7
      • Performance
      • 7
      • Cost Benefits
      • 7
      • Total Score:
      • 7.00
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Simple, appealing interface
    • Many options for video styles
  • Cons

    • Only available for Android 4.1 and up
    • Lacks options for transitions and audio

Long available in a web-based format, WeVideo’s “software as a service” video editing is now being offered for Android smartphones. WeVideo describes the app as “similar to Apple’s iMovie” for iOS, but cloud-based and capable of syncing with the fuller-featured web version.. How well does WeVideo’s Android app really perform, though, and should you consider using it? In this review, Brighthand takes a hands-on look at those questions.

Overview

Although you might think of video editing as being pretty complicated (and it certainly can be), the user interface to WeVideo’s Android app is remarkably simple and to the point. This ends up being both the strongest selling point of the app and its biggest weakness.WeVideo 1

Strengths first. The clean and ultra-simple interface makes it a breeze to jump in, no matter what your experience level. I have some experience with video editing, but not a lot, and even what I did have turned out to be mostly irrelevant.

Of course, extreme simplicity isn’t always the best thing. In this case, there’s a lack of some editing options which are not even very advanced.

Performance

Editing is handled in the simplest way possible. You have two slide bars, which let you trim as much or as little off the beginning and the end of the clip as you want. You could shoot 15 minutes of video, and only end up using 60 seconds of it, but that’s almost as easy as using the whole thing. Of course, if you want to go back and use more of that original video later, you can. WeVideo makes it easy to cut back and forth between scenes, edit out goofs, or even use early portions before later ones.

Simplicity as a Strength

You can also choose “themes” for your video, pre-designed styles that alter the look of the whole thing, a whole range of them from wedding video to neo-Noir. Some of the modes are pretty gimmicky, but others are legitimately useful to obtain certain looks, especially if you’re splicing clips that have significant differences in lighting, etc.  The themes help to “tie together” the style of your video.

At any time, you can preview your video as it stands, complete with themes and music. Anything you catch, like a clip running too long, or audio being too loud, is quickly and easily fixed thanks to the storyboard style of the editor, which makes it simple to go clip by clip and tweak things like length and volume.

Once you’re done, you “publish” your finished video to the WeVideo server, either as private content or to be shared on YouTube or Facebook.

Simplicity as a Weakness

On the other hand, you have no options to add transition effects between clips, not even something as siWeVideo 2mple and obvious as fade out or fade in effects, let alone other common ones like dissolves, etc. The audio options are similarly basic. You can add one piece of music or background audio for a clip in the form of a pre-existing MP3 file on your phone.

Unfortunately, you can only add one per entire video (not just one per clip), which will repeat endlessly if your video is longer than the audio. It would be nice if you could “storyboard” audio files the same way that you do the videos and pictures. This would add a huge degree of flexibility to the app, allowing for things like sound effects, appropriate background music for longer videos, and voiceovers.

Likewise, if there were a library available of audio files similar to the one for video effects — say, some public domain music and sound effects to get you started — this would allow users a big degree of leeway in what they want to create.

Granted, WeVideo is intended for short clips, not for shooting an indie film. That’s why it’s so frustrating, though. With just a few added features, it actually could be used for something a lot more. The app teases you because the easy-to-use interface is great. If you’re ambitious, however, you’re automatically hobbled. It would be nice to see some more robust features in the next few versions.

There’s another significant drawback to WeVideo, and that is its minimum requirements. The app is incompatible with devices running anything less than Android 4.1, which is currently only available for about one-quarter of all Android phones. This leaves users of lower-end and older devices out of the loop.

Conclusion

WeVideo is a very nifty app, and I really hope that the company keep developing it. Right now, its biggest weakness — as well as its biggest strength — is that it’s so simple. The app is really only useful for quick five-minute family home videos with a soundtrack and little real content. Yet with the addition of transitions and an audio side to the storyboard design, the sky could be the limit for ambitious users.

Pros:

  • Simple, appealing interface
  • Many options for video styles

Cons:

  • Only available for Android 4.1 and up
  • Lacks options for transitions and audio


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