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Filmora review, Exploring Filmora's Editing Magic"

First of all, you don’t need to pay anything to download Filmora to your phone or tablet. You’re even allowed to use many of the features, and edit projects without giving Wondershare a cent. There are, however, some limitations. For instance, there will be a ‘Wondershare Filmora’ logo applied to the lower right of all your projects. That in itself is hardly surprising, nor is the fact that some tools will be out of your reach, like use of the app’s AI capabilities.

The free version does offer you 100 credits to play with, but they will get exhausted pretty fast if you like playing with those features. Perhaps the worst downside is the throttled resolution: although Filmora will work with clips of any resolution (we tried it with videos up to 4K with no issues), the output is limited to 720p. That’s quite a let down. Mobile editors we’ve explored in the past all allow 1080p exports. Some even let you choose higher resolutions, although most charge for that. Limiting the resolution to that extent is not a good point.

Of course, all of this goes away when you subscribe. For a monthly or annual subscription, you get unlimited AI credits, more stickers, tools, available songs, and 1GB of online storage. A perpetual license is also available, so the software is yours for a one-off fee. However, you’ll be locked to the current version, whereas the perk of subscribing is to always get the latest and greatest version.

We especially like the cross-platform license. This gives you access to Filmora across iOS, Android, PC and Mac, for a quarterly or annual fee. Useful, we feel, if you're running any of the best video editing laptops or the best video editing PCs alongside your phone.

If you’re not a fan of subscribing but like Filmora’s AI tools, you can purchase between 1000 and 10,000. The same applies for extra cloud storage storage, up to 100GB.

Filmora wants to track you when you’re not using the app - why is that a thing? And why do the developers insist on you sharing your entire Photos Library with them, rather than giving you the option of selecting just the clips you want?

As you launch Filmora, you’ll be asked if you’d like it to track your activity across other apps and websites. We’ve encountered this before with InShot - an otherwise excellent video editing app marred by privacy concerns - and here we are again with a video editor wanting to know what else you’re doing on your phone or tablet. Yes, it’s easy to ‘Ask App Not to Track’, but why does this app need to ask that at all (we know, we know: it’s because of advertising, but that’s hardly a good enough excuse if you ask us). Frankly, it’s a trend we do not like.

Next, Filmora tries to entice you to purchase a subscription, or do a free 3-day trial. Just tap the button that looks like a line, top left, to get out of that request if you just want to get to the free stuff.

Again, just like we saw in our InShot review, you’re highly encouraged to allow the app full access to your entire Photo Library. You can ‘manage’ which clips to give it access to, but frustratingly, you can only do so once. There is no way to add to that selection afterwards, like so many other apps allow you to. We question this artificial restriction and wonder what Wondershare does with its access to all your personal media.

Of course, if you don’t have an issue with privacy, this will be of no concern to you, and you will enjoy what Filmora has to offer. If you like to control what an app can and cannot do, you may well hesitate at this point. It is possible to circumvent this by solely using stock footage that you can access from the app’s media section, or by syncing up to your WonderShare Cloud account - although that does need payment, while at the same time making the process more cumbersome.

Excellent tools, easy to use, with simple features and extensive options for all skill-levels

Filmora works great whether you’re using a phone or tablet. However, phones only work in portrait, but tablets can be used in any orientation. All the tools you need can be found at the bottom of the screen. If you don’t see what you’re after, scroll left or right to reveal more options. A large preview of your project can be seen at the top, with the timeline in the middle. Having tried out the best video editing software, we can tell you this is a pretty standard and familiar interface, which makes it a lot easier to get started whatever your experience.

As you’d expect, everything is controlled via touch. Want to trim a clip? Tap on it in the timeline, then tap and drag its end point inwards. Want to add a transition? Tap the slanted icon in between two clips in the timeline, for the bottom row of tools to turn into a choice of transitions. Tap on the one you like, tap on the ‘tick’ button and you’re done. It’s that easy.

You can technically only work with one layer of video, although this can be circumvented somewhat with the picture-in-picture effect, which you can also use to key out a background. Filmora offers you various options to do this. The most effective is ‘Chroma Key’, which only offers two sliders for you to work with, yet it’s incredibly effective.

Not everyone has access to green screen equipment, so you can instead use ‘Remove Background’. However, as you probably expect, the results will greatly depend on how cluttered your background is - and how sharp the edges of your subject are. There’s also a ‘Replace Sky’ option, which does exactly what it says on the tin, and we found it surprisingly accurate.

In fact, all the tools we tried worked great, and the app is well-designed for touch controls, helping you create your project with ease. You’re able to change your project’s format (from widescreen, to square, to tall, and more), add animated stickers, insert titles and customize them to your heart’s content, apply masks, and so on. It’s a very complete set of tools.

Most of Filmora is however not designed with the advanced user in mind - the inability to properly work with multiple layers makes that obvious. Also, many tools don’t offer you any options. Take ‘Noise Reduce’ for instance: you can switch it on or off, and it does a pretty good job, but there are no parameters for you to tweak. It’s an all or nothing kind of deal. On the other hand, you have extensive control over color grading. You win some, you lose some.

All in all, Filmora for mobile devices is a very good, simple app that's well designed and will help you create projects with ease. Just a shame about the potential privacy intrusion.

What's New in Wondershare Filmora 13?

Wondershare has been busy adding features to its flagship video editing app over the past year. As with most creative software of late, generative AI features have arrived in Filmora. Here are some highlights among the new additions:

AI Copilot editing—a chatbot that suggests edits and does them through natural-language commands (unrelated to Microsoft Copilot).

AI Text-based editing—edit video based on auto-generated text captions.

AI Auto Masking—a tool that recognizes people and objects so you can change or blur the background (not to be confused with Smart Masking, which includes motion-tracking).

AI Music Generator—choose a mood and duration to get background music.

AI Image Creator—use your words to describe the scene you want produced by AI.

Avatar Presentations—create cartoonlike characters that talk and move based on your movements.

Compound Clips—join multiple clips and work with them as a unit.

AI Vocal Remover—remove vocals from songs for a karaoke video.

AI Translation—generate voiceovers and subtitles in 23 languages.

The previous version brought a slicker interface with new layout options, as well as new AI-powered tools like Smart Cutout tool, audio stretch, audio denoise, adjustment layers, more powerful keyframing, mask drawing, and loads more stock content.

How Much Does Filmora Cost?

Filmora sells as a subscription for macOS or Windows ($49.99 per year) or as a permanent license ($79.99). For $59.99 per year, you can get a cross-platform option that includes macOS use and mobile apps. New effect collections are added every month for subscribers. Licensing the software requires creating an online account, and you activate and deactivate computers through your web Account Center.The price is less than you pay for market-leading Adobe Premiere Elements ($99.99) or CyberLink PowerDirector Ultimate ($139.99; or $69.99 per year). If Filmora meets your needs, the price is attractive.You can get a free trial download of Filmora, which lets you export footage only 10 times and puts a Filmora logo on your exported projects. The trial has other limitations. For example, you need a paid license to get a bunch of effects for your video projects and 24/7 technical support.

Can My PC Run Filmora?

The software, which is strong on support for older operating systems, can run on Windows 7 through 11 (but I don't recommend running outdated, unsupported versions older than Windows 10) or macOS 10.15 to 14. You need at least a 2GHz Intel i3 CPU, 8GB RAM, and at minimum an Intel HD Graphics 5000 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 700. Support for Apple Silicon processors is now native. Filmora takes up 1GB on my test PC, which is in the middle range for this type of software. Adobe Premiere Pro takes up 3.3GB, while Movavi Video Editor Plus needs only 285MB. Note, however, that Filmora downloads some content and features on-demand as you use them.The Full Editor view resembles that of most video editing applications, with a three-panel layout for source content, video preview, and timeline across the bottom. You can now switch the layout using a button in the top-right control group, with choices for Default, Organize, Timeline, Short Video, and Classic. No matter which layout you choose, the program has a clean, simple, and dark interface, with intuitive icons. You can switch between black and light gray window borders, and the program respects your system's dark or light mode setting. You can put the video preview into full-screen mode and adjust the relative sizes of the panels.

Filmora Sharing and Output

Filmora has most of the output options you could want, including AVI, FLV, HEVC, MKV, MOV, MP4, and WMV. There's even an animated GIF choice. When outputting to one of the many supported file formats, you can choose quality settings of Best, Better, and Good. There are also buttons for creating and uploading Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo movies, as well as DVD burning. You don't, however, get DVD menu screens and chapters as you do with some other video editors. Output options include 4K and the efficient H.265 codec.

Filmora Performance

Filmora generally feels snappy to start up, load projects, and perform edits. It no longer stops responding on export as it had done in previous testing.

But the software really shines in render speed. For render speed testing, I have each program join seven clips of various resolutions ranging from 720p all the way up to 8K. I then apply cross-dissolve transitions between them. I note the time it takes to render the project to 1080p30 with H.264 and 192Kbps audio at a bitrate of 16Mbps. The output movie is just over five minutes in length. I run this test on a Windows 11 PC sporting a 3.60GHz Intel Core i7-12700K, 16GB RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, and a 512GB Samsung PM9A1 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD.

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