Futures Lab Video #34: Automated Video Editing and Mobile App Tools

    by Reuben Stern
    November 6, 2013
    Paula Batson of Magisto.

    Reporting by Laura Davison, Reuben Stern and Olga Kyle.

    This week, the RJI Futures Lab shows you tools that enable just about anyone to edit video and create mobile apps — with little or no technical skills required.

    "Clould-based platforms for developing mobile apps have made it possible for people with no prior programming experience to build apps for iPhones and Android devices."


    PART 1: Automated video editing

    Several companies offer software that can automatically edit clips and photos together into finished video stories. In other words: No video editing skills required to get edited video segments onto a website. Paula Batson of Magisto explains the possibilities for situations like breaking news.

    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

    More about the tools:


    The automated video editing platforms offer varying levels of control over the order and timing of clips, but they all produce publishable videos in just a few minutes after uploading the original clips.

    • Clinch allows users to upload their own photos and videos and also can pull in photos and videos from others’ Twitter and Instagram feeds, as well as Google images from nearby based on the phone’s location. Available for both iOS and Android devices.
    • Magisto has an algorithm that analyzes the content of uploaded clips and seeks to capture an emotional mood in the finished video. The final edit is influenced by the user’s choice of background music and preset story theme, and by the clips themselves. Free for limited use; a paid premium account enables more uploads and longer movies. Works on desktop computers as well as iOS and Android devices.
    • Videolicious is an iPhone/iPad app that allows some control over the order and timing of clips. Limited access for personal use is free; basic business accounts carry a monthly fee. A more expensive enterprise account also enables lower-third text and graphics, advanced audio mixing, and an online dashboard to manage video files from multiple contributors.
    • Vidify is an iPhone/iPad app that allows users to pull in clips from the camera roll and combine with music from the app’s library or from the user’s own music collection.
    • V.I.K.T.O.R (Drop’n’Roll) is an iPhone/iPad app that includes options for automatic, semi-automatic or controlled video editing options. It also works with pre-set themes, each of which can be used to create a 20-second, 1-minute or 2-minute video. The 20-second videos are free, but longer movies involve a fee for using certain themes.

    PART 2: Mobile app builders

    Cloud-based platforms for developing mobile apps have made it possible for people with no prior programming experience to build apps for iPhones and Android devices. We hear from two companies, AppMachine and RareWire, about how their systems work.

    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

    A few other app-creation tools that require little or no coding:

    PART 3: Easy Web Content

    Easy Web Content’s presenter tool gives users the ability to create HTML5 infographics, slideshows and banner ads all in one place. Founder Payman Taei walks us through how the tool works.

    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

    Other free online infographics tools

    Check out our overview of four free web-based graphics tools for creating charts and other types of data visualizations for online stories.

    Reuben Stern is the deputy director of the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and host and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.


    The Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the iPad app to watch the show wherever you go. You can also sign up to receive email notification of each new episode.

    Tagged: appmachine clinch magisto mobile apps rarewire rji futures lab video editing videolicious vidify viktor

    One response to “Futures Lab Video #34: Automated Video Editing and Mobile App Tools”

    1. Barry says:

      For those people who want a bit more control while creating a video, check out ‘trakAx MovieExpress’ for Android. trakAx MovieExpress is a multimedia editor and allows users to create their video live. This is a radical approach to video editing and gives back full control to the user – http://trakaxmovieexpress.com/

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