Review of the VN Video Editor App for Smartphone Filmmakers
Thoughts, tutorials, tips, and tricks on using the new VN Video Editor (VlogNow) app for your smartphone filmmaking needs.
Years ago, after working for several years as a run-and-gun documentary journalist for a local alternative magazine, I was asked to speak to a class of up-and-coming journalism students who were interested in learning how to better shoot and edit video content. This was during the height of a Facebook video craze, which would eventually move over towards YouTube and other new platforms like TikTok and the like.
And, while it was fun to connect with a younger generation and share a bit about DSLR videography and editing on softwares like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut, I was actually quite amazed (at the time) to learn that many of the students were handling all their shooting, editing, and uploading directly from their smartphones and the various apps available at that time. (I later wrote about this in an article on how these real-time editing apps are changing video journalism.)
Since then, I’ve always been fascinated by how much these new softwares can instantly revolutionize video content—both from a shooting and editing perspective. While apps like Videolicous (which was the popular option a few years ago) are still around, new apps are quickly rising in popularity.
Let’s take a look at one in particular—VN Video Editor (Vlog Now)—which has had over 400K downloads and might just be the best new thing for smartphone video journalists and filmmakers alike.
What Is VN Video Editor (VlogNow)?
VN Video Editor, sometimes styled “VN Video Editor Maker VlogNow,” is a multimedia application designed for editing video content on your IOS or Android smartphone, tablet, or laptop/desktop devices. The software is free to use without watermarks or other catches, and is, by all accounts, quite useful in all manner of editing for many of today’s video content needs.
We’ll check out some reviews and tutorials in a minute, but here are some of the basic specs as to what VN Video Editor features.
- Supports multiple videos and images
- Automatic draft save
- Humanized voice recording interaction
- Full screen preview mode
- Import your own media
- Curve shifting
- Over fifty movie-sensitive filters
- Filter adjustment
- Nine built-in transition modes
- Reverse & zoom functions
- Key frame animation
- Nineteen different animation presets
- Picture-in-picture mode
VN Story Mode:
- Text effects
- Subtitle effects
- Multiple font styles
- Adjustable material duration
- Custom export settings
- Supports 4K and 60fps
- Save and export locally
Basic Editing Guide and Review
As you can see in the video breakdown above from YouTuber Collin Michael, while you can technically access the VN Video Editor app on any IOS or Android device, including your laptops and PCs, it’s really best for smartphone use. That’s where the majority of its targeted content creators will most likely find it. And, as we’ll get to in our recommendations, if you’re wanting to perform any higher function edits on a laptop or PC, you might as well use higher functioning programs like Premiere Pro, Final Cut, or DaVinci Resolve.
From the tutorial above and from spending some time with VN Video Editor on my iPhone, I can say that the platform is indeed extremely easy to get started with and use. The basic commands are all clear and strong, and the design overall makes intuitive use of the smartphone’s touchscreen for swiping, pinching, and pulling.
As Collin points out, I like how the back button is easily accessible and not hidden as a shortcut, as there are plenty of miss-clicks from here and there. The actual editing functions are simple enough, but nothing robust. The transitions are also better than what you’ll find on many free apps, but a step below bigger NLE platforms, obviously.
Still, for basic editing uses, it’s definitely good enough to get the job done. VN Video Editor works best for editing footage that you shoot directly from your phone (but not in-app). The text and subtitle controls are perfect for making content specifically for TikTok or YouTube. My biggest basic qualm is the “Apply to All Transitions” option, which I HIGHLY recommend you don’t use unless you want your videos to look insanely repetitive—also, those stickers are indeed weird.
Advanced Editing Tips and Tricks
Moving on, I was glad to see another video diving deeper into the advanced editing tips and techniques for working with VN Editor Now, as it was slightly confusing trying to figure out all these things on my own. Again, for a free-to-use smartphone video editing app, any inclusion of things like key frames and graphic elements is a welcome surprise.
In fact, overall, using these elements wasn’t hard once you get the hang of how the functions work. I was impressed with how intuitive aspects like working with green screen footage and chroma keying was for someone picking up the app for the first time. If you’re a YouTuber looking to shoot a lot of video content fast, you can actually do it with this app.
My biggest advanced frustrations are actually kind of minor. VN Video Editor doesn’t include standard images and graphics for things like social icons (as Collin shows you how, you’ll have to download vector files on your own, then edit them in—which, again, isn’t hard). Also, the keyframing is helpful, but not as smooth as adding them in Premiere or After Effects.
Recommendation for Filmmakers
Overall, taking all the aspects into consideration—competition, price, and ease of use—I have to say that I absolutely recommend VN Video Editor for video creators who create content on and for smartphone platforms. In fact, it’s probably the best free app out there and not too far off of paid ones like Adobe Premiere Rush.
That being said, I also still recommend that you partner VN Video Editor with another app to assist in your smartphone video recording, as VN seems to work best simply as an editor where you bring in footage—something like FiLMiC Pro.
In general, though, I must re-insist that VN Video Editor will never be as good as anything you could edit on a laptop or PC. Legacy platforms like Premiere Pro, Final Cut, or any of the other paid desktop NLEs will always be more streamlined, powerful, and have tons of more resources at your disposal.
Where to Download VN Video Editor (VlogNow)
As previously mentioned, VN Video Editor is free to download and use. Simply check it out if you’re interested at all. It’s fun to mess around with and—for those not yet accustomed to smartphone video editing—it might spark an interest in experimenting with creating content on-the-fly. You can download VN Video Editor by following the links below.
For more smartphone videography tips, tricks, and other video editing resources, check out these articles below.
- Video Editing 101: How to Edit a Video from Start to Finish
- Documentary Trends: Using Aerial B-Roll to Help Tell Your Story
- Video Editing: Prepping for a Quick (and Successful) Edit
- 4 After Effects Creators You Should be Following on YouTube
- The Complete Video Editor’s Guide to Working with Music
Top image via VlogNow.