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How to edit vertical video on iOS

After a recent ski trip I was given a set of video clips of my skiing which I wanted to edit into a short film of the day. The clips were all in vertical orientation, or technically 9:16 ratio, which makes sense for capturing downhill skiing, and with so much media consumed on mobile these days, it is arguably a more common consumption ratio than the 16:9 ratio of a modern television or monitor.

Having set myself a goal to edit and publish these in 9:16, I remembered that the last time I used Apple’s iMovie it had forced conversion to 16:9 which did not then display properly on a phone. Some research quickly showed that iMove for MacOS can now produce vertical videos if using a project type called App Preview, but this is not available in the iOS version.

Unmentioned in any of the articles I read, but after I had produced my video I remembered that Apple has another free video editing app available on iOS called Clips which does support vertical video. This is probably the fastest way to do a simple edit on an iPhone, but it is inexplicably missing the ability to add transitions between segments so you may find yourself looking for an alternative for more sophisticated work.

CapCut from ByteDance, the company that runs the video-only TikTok social media service, was touted in several articles for being one of the reasons TikTokers are able to produce such slick and professional looking content on the go. I was impressed with the user interface, and the core features are free to use, albeit often with only limited choices when adding things like text and transitions. There are also some very nice advanced features such as removing a voice from the soundtrack that are only available in the paid-for version. My only frustration with it came when using a feature that was available but only with limited options (for example, transitions) there was no way to show only the freely available ones and hunting through all the options labelled “pro” to find the ones without the label became quite tedious—in a few cases I think I picked the first free option I came across so I could get back to editing before I lost my flow.

The final video can be seen below. Ironically YouTube also does not support vertical video unless you upload it as a #short which has a maximum length of 60 seconds, and this is 91. 🤦‍♂️