'What is the Clips app on an iPhone?': How to use your iPhone's free video-editing app, and make custom videos for social media

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  • The Clips app on your iPhone is a powerful video-editing app that you can use to easily combine videos, photos, titles, and music into videos to share on social media. 
  • You can take photos and record videos in Clips, with special editing modes and tools available. 
  • You can also add Live Titles, in which the app inserts your narration in the video as on-screen text, alongside other add-ons like emoji, stickers, and music. 
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Clips is a deceptively rich and complex video-editing app for iOS. 

Clips lets you combine video clips and still images along with filters, title cards, graphics, and audio. While it’s designed to let you quickly assemble videos for social media, the app lets you make surprisingly complex video productions. 

Here’s how to use it. 

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iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

How to use the Clips app on your iPhone

To use Clips, you combine videos, photos, titles, and other elements into “projects.” To see and edit your existing projects, tap the folder at the top left of the screen. Here you can create a new project or select an existing one for editing. 

clips 1

When you start a new project, you can create video from scratch or import a clip from your phone’s library. Here are your main options:

  • Scenes is a selfie mode in which you’re recorded on a sort of green screen, where you can choose from a variety of dynamic backgrounds.
  • Camera lets you record new video or take photos.
  • Library lets you insert clips from your phone’s photo library.
  • Posters are editable title cards. Choose a style, and you can tap the card to change the text. 

clips 2

How to record photos and videos in Clips 

The biggest learning curve in Clips is learning how to add photos and videos to your project, because it works differently than most other video apps. 

To record, you can’t simply tap the record button — you need to tap and hold it. You’ll record video as long as you hold the button. To lock the recording on so you can take your finger away, swipe the record button upwards once recording has begun.

clips 3

You can use your fingers to zoom and pan around the scene as you’re recording, adding a “Ken Burns Effect” to your video in real time as you record. 

To add a photo to your project, you need to “record” it. This seems counter-intuitive, but is easy to learn:

1. Tap the shutter release button (located directly above the record button) to take a photo, or add one from your library. You’ll see the photo on the screen, but it won’t be added to the project timeline yet.

2. Tap and hold the video record button to “record” the photo. You can pan and zoom at the same time, to highlight specific parts of the photo. 

3. When you’re done, release the record button, and the clip of the photo will be added to the project. 

How to use advanced features in Clips

There are many other features in Clips. Live titles, for example, turn narration you can dictate (while recording a video or photo) into text that appears on the screen.

clips 4

You can also apply video styles to your clips, and add text labels, stickers, and emoji as well. And you can tap the music icon in the top-right of the screen to add a soundtrack to your creation.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

  • How to crop a video on your iPhone using a free third-party app

  • How to easily combine videos on your iPhone using the iMovie app

  • How to add music to a video on your iPhone using the iMovie app, and choose from stock music or your own library

  • How to import videos from your iPhone onto a Mac wirelessly, in 2 different ways

SEE ALSO: The best iPhone for every type of person and budget

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