Clear interface. Includes background music that automatically fits your movies. Good collection of filter effects. Output can be sent to Premiere Pro. Online video sharing.
Lacks storyboard templates. Cannot rotate video. Automatic mode cuts too aggressively. No choice of transitions.
- Bottom Line
Premiere Clip is Adobe's mobile app companion to Premiere Pro, and it offers useful lighting adjustment features and clip joining, trimming, and splitting tools. Still, it lacks templates, a choice of transitions, and video rotation.
If you have an iPhone 6s or later Apple smartphone, you should take advantage of its glorious 4K video capture capability. And you definitely want to show people well-presented digital movies rather than random, untrimmed video clips. That's where Adobe Premier Clip comes in, letting you cut and combine footage shot on your iPhone into pleasing presentations. Even though editing video on such a small screen isn't ideal, the app makes spiffing up video clips shot on the phone simple. And it lets you continue editing on the desktop in Premiere Pro, thanks to Creative Cloud. Clip is an easy-to-use, effective app, but Apple's iMovie tops it in a few significant ways.
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Clip is a free app, but you do have to sign into an Adobe account—which includes a free option—to use it. It doesn't require Premiere Pro on the desktop. At 91MB, Premiere Clip is a much smaller download than iMovie's more than 600MB. It runs on iOS 8.1 or later, so your device can be pretty out of date and still run the app. I tested the app on my iPhone 6s with 64GB of memory.
Using Premiere Clip
The app offers two editing modes: Automatic and Freeform. The former adds a music track timed to your movie and cuts clips down to what the app considers the interesting bits. Freeform is just as it sounds; it gives you complete control over your project. Adobe has removed the Guide mode since the last time I reviewed the app a few years ago. This offered storyboards for common projects, such as interviews, news reports, and fight scenes. The professional Premiere Pro users won't miss this feature, but it makes the app less appealing for consumer users. The Apple iMovie app still offers this kind of guidance, with its Trailers and Themes features.
I first added several clips I shot at a community college basketball tournament and chose Automatic. The default music wasn't appropriately energetic, but selecting a more driving soundtrack from the list of canned music was easy. You can also use music from tracks on your iPhone. More disconcerting was how unsparingly the app cut my clips. When I created an automatic movie with iMovie using the same material, the result was more pleasing, with elegant dissolve transitions added. Clip does offer a Pace option, which lengthens clips. And photos get the Ken Burns zoom-and-pan treatment to keep up the viewer's interest. In Automatic mode, you can reorder clips, but you can't trim them to taste.
If you choose Freeform, you obviously get a lot more control, and you can in fact convert Automatic projects to Freeform. In Freeform, not only can you trim each clip's in and out points, but the app lets you adjust exposure, highlights, and shadows. I do prefer iMovie's trimming interface, though, in which you move the clip preview, rather than the trim endpoint.
Settings in Freeform mode let you apply fade-in and fade-out to black, as well as crossfades between clips. They also let you apply Looks to your entire movie, including film, retro, and B&W looks. Several of these are really appealing, and most are subtler than Instagram filters. You can also split a clip at the play head, but iMovie makes that even easier. Finally, you can slow down clips, though forget about speeding them up or applying freeze-frame, both of which are options in iMovie.
Other important things missing in Clip are the ability to rotate video and a choice of transitions, both of which are offered by—you guessed it—iMovie. Rotation is particularly important for iPhone videos, as it's easy in the heat of the moment to shoot in portrait rather than landscape orientation.
And now something for the pro video editor: Storycard. This feature lets movie makers add notes, sketches, location shots, or cue cards. A Storycard is an image in the midst of your video to which you can add a text title or something shot from your iPhone camera. There's not much there to guide you in how to use it, however.
Sharing and Output
Clip, like so many media-editing apps, includes its very own sharing community. Along with saving your creation to your phone, you can share directly to Dropbox, YouTube, and Twitter (Facebook, Instagram,, and Snapchat are oddly absent here). And back in the Adobe fold you save it to Creative Cloud (which is basically Adobe's version of iCloud Drive or Dropbox), send it to Premiere Pro CC (but not Premiere Elements), or choose Publish and Share.
This last option sends the video to Adobe hosting, from which you can share to Facebook, send in email, or copy a link. If you choose Public (the default), other Clip users can find and play your video from within the app. Free accounts get 2GB of online storage, and Creative Cloud subscribers get 20GB. This is actually more helpful than Apple's iMovie Theater sharing option, which only allows playing on Apple devices you yourself are signed into. Of course, you can still post to your social networks from iMovie or save your creation to your phone's storage.
Best for Premiere Aficionados
The best reason to use the Adobe Premiere Clip app is if you're a Premiere Pro user and occasionally want to save a video idea when you're out and about. It does offer some quick-and-dirty editing tools like trimming and lighting fixes, along with an appealing selection of effect filters. But the average iPhone user is better served by Apple's more capable and more usable iMovie app.
Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine’s lead analyst for software and Web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine’s coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of Web Services (pretty much the progenitor of Web 2.0) for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine’s Solutions section, which in those days covered programming techniques as well as tips on using popular office software. Most recently he covered Web… More »
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