The 11 Best Video Recording Apps for iPhone and Android

Two hands hold up a phone recording video

Andrew Chin / Getty Images

The camera on your average smartphone rivals even dedicated digital cameras. And when compared to stand-alone cameras even a couple of years old, the newest iPhone often comes out on top. Harness the power in your pocket by upgrading the bare bones video recording app on your iPhone or Android device.

Filmic Pro

Filmic Pro on iOS

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Filmic Pro is powerful, feature-rich, and ready to line up against any other video application and come out on top. In addition to manual controls for virtually every function, the app brings features from professional video cameras like zebra stripes for exposure warnings, focus peaking, and log gamma curve recording for later color grading. You'll also find more common features like frame rates from 24 to 240 and various file format options. Audio recording is equally professional, with granular controls and capable tools that experienced filmmakers can take full advantage of.  

If you want to be serious about recording video on your iPhone, this is the app you need, full stop. You will, however, pay for it. The app starts at $15 and offers in-app purchases for many of the most professional features. 

What We Like

  • The best interface among available options

  • Full range of professional features

  • Output comparable with professional-grade camcorders

What We Don't Like

  • Novice videographers will be totally overwhelmed

  • Getting good footage requires good skills

MAVIS

MAVIS on iOS

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MAVIS is another dense recording tool packed with professional and broadcast-level features like shutter angle, a real-time color vectorscope and exposure waveform, and custom frame rates between 3fps and 240fps. Audio recording options are impressively broad, including audio monitoring passthrough and support for recording audio through devices connected to the iPhone's Lightning port. Shooting assistant options include zebra bars, false color for exposure and ranges, and focus peaking for precision focusing. Uniquely, selectable bitrates range from 10Mbit/s up to 100Mbit/s, and timecode is embedded in the video file. 

Like Filmic, MAVIS exposes a massive array of professional controls to the end user. The interface is clean and professional, and the toolset is amazingly broad. But to access all these features, you'll spend $18.

What We Like

  • Stocked with dozens of unique professional-level features

  • Broadest audio recording options available on iOS

What We Don't Like

  • One of the most expensive video recording apps

Movie Pro

Movie Pro on iOS

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If you're still serious about filming on your iPhone but you don't want to invest in Filmic Pro, Movie Pro is a good compromise. The app still offers an impressive number of features, including manual controls for nearly every feature of the app and a range of video recording options. Audio recording and monitoring options are just as flexible, with on-screen audio meters and Bluetooth microphone input options. 

For users that like taking videos on their devices but might be overwhelmed by the feature range and complexity of Filmic Pro, Movie Pro is an excellent choice. And it only costs a comparatively small $6.  

What We Like

  • Lower purchase price requires less serious investment

  • Includes the most important features without overwhelming the user with options

What We Don't Like

  • Professional-level shooters might miss some features from Filmic Pro

Cinema FV-5

Cinema FV-5 on Android

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Cinema FV-5 is another app that puts professional recording options into the hands of smartphone users. It occupies the same niche as Movie Pro on the iPhone. It's perfect for the enthusiast looking to up their video recording game without taking a college-level class in recording techniques. 

Its primary interface is its detailed viewfinder. You'll have access to live histograms, audio meters, focus adjustment and zoom from the recording screen. Additional options include multiple audio and video codec and bitrate options and customizable hardware mapping of camera functions. 

What We Like

  • Provides the broadest feature set on Android devices

  • Detailed viewfinder mimics professional video cameras

What We Don't Like

  • Requires skill and understanding of video recording to make the most of its tools

Open Camera

Camera on Android

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Open Camera is primarily built for still images, but it's video recording capabilities are impressive as well. It's completely free, with no in-app purchases. The feature list includes many of the functions that should be included in your built-in camera app, and the application supports the newest Camera2 API. This API allows the app to set manual focus, ISO, exposure, and white balance, as well as exposing burst mode, RAW capture (via DNG), and slow-motion video. 

Open Camera is a capable camera application that can replace your disappointing built-in app at no additional charge. 

What We Like

  • Low cost means its largely accessible

  • Improves built-in Android camera app significantly

What We Don't Like

  • An unattractive interface made from off-the-shelf components

  • Limited to Camera2 API functionality

Camera MX

Camera MX (Android)

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Camera MX is a feature-rich still photo application that can also record some impressive video. While video recording is not its primary purpose, the video recording segment of the app is easy to use and produces quality clips. Camera MX sports a better interface than the similar Open Camera, with less of an "open source" look. You will also find built-in video editing for trimming and sharing your videos.

Camera MX is free to download and includes in-app purchases for accessing premium features like filters and enhanced capture modes. 

What We Like

  • One of the best still camera apps for Android

  • Basic video editing tools included in the free download

What We Don't Like

  • Only basic video editing and recording tools are available

iPhocus

iPhocus video recording app on iOS

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If you're just getting started shooting video, you don't want to start with a complex professional app. You want something that provides additional control and better quality while remaining usable. Phocus does just that, and it's an excellent first step into the world of third-party video recording apps.

Phocus also offers extremely smooth focus adjustment while shooting, allowing for rack focus within a scene. On this list, only Filmic Pro offers similar focusing capabilities. Focus can also be controlled with a secondary device connected over Wi-Fi, so you don't need to touch the recording camera. 

What We Like

  • The app performs its one function exceedingly well

  • Offers focus-tracking options that are far superior to any other available apps

What We Don't Like

  • Omits a whole range of recording tools found in other apps

ProMovie Recorder

Pro Movie video recording app

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ProMovie Recorder approaches MAVIS and Filmic Pro in complexity but lacks the comprehensible interfaces of those apps. It does expose significant power, from manual controls to bitrate adjustment, but it's not nearly as easy to use as the other applications.

Unlike Filmic Pro, ProMovie Recorder is free to download. But don't be fooled. You'll need to make a $3 in-app purchase to remove the watermark from your exported video. You should consider the app's price to be $3. For students or hobbyists looking to explore a high-fidelity video recording app, this is the place to start, risk-free.

What We Like

  • One of the few apps providing such an impressive range of adjustments

  • Free-to-download makes it accessible to everyone

What We Don't Like

  • The interface is not as attractive or well-designed as other apps

Kinomatic

Kinomatic video recording app

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Kinomatic is a video recording app and video editing app rolled into one. It's capable at both, but its real skill is producing reasonably complex videos without the use of a computer, then quickly sharing them online. The video editor can cut clips, add titles, manipulate audio and insert music. The video recorder is less exciting, but it is well laid-out and the interface is highly legible. 

You can get your hands on Kinomatic for $4. Though it is an older application, it will still run well on modern iOS devices. 

What We Like

  • High-quality, one-stop-shop for video production and transmission

  • Make desktop-quality editing accessible everywhere

What We Don't Like

  • Basic video recorder lacking the high-end features of other video recording apps

Videoshop Video Editor

Videoshop Video Editor on iOS

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Videoshop isn't a camera recording app, but it is an essential companion to one. It's a straight-forward and capable application for producing simple edited videos on your iPhone. You can combine multiple clips, add music, insert titles, and apply filters to your sequence, then share it to nearly any social media channel. This all happens within the app, with no need for a computer. 

If you want to share the video you spent all this time and money recording but you don't have the money or expertise for desktop video editing software, Videoshop should be the last stop before sending it out into the world. The app is free, but access the pro-level features requires a $4/month subscription.

What We Like

  • Simplifies the process of sharing edited mobile videos

  • Ideal for creating short videos of events and attractions

What We Don't Like

  • The simplified interface can work against those with more experience and expertise in video editing

LumaFusion

LumaFusion non-linear editor on iOS

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If you want a professional editor to go with your professional iOS video recording app, look at LumaFusion. It's the single most powerful video editing app on the App Store, with professional multi-track editing and many of the tools you'd expect to find in a desktop NLE application. It will run you $20, but professionalism is worth its price.

What We Like

  • Uniquely powerful non-linear editing features

  • An excellent choice for mobile filmmakers, adventurous videographers, and electronic journalists

What We Don't Like

  • Relatively high cost and complexity reduces accessibility to a mass audience