The Sad State of Video Editing for Vertical

May 01, 2023

I recently have attempted to make a few Reel type posts on Instagram. These have long been popular on the platform and as someone used to using iMovie I am shocked at how painful the apps are to use for this. Many table stakes features from iMovie like splitting clips, audio, and speeding up scenes are absent from these new tools. Meanwhile your audio library from Apple Music or Spotify cannot be used for background music.

Why It Matters

There are lots of eyeballs on reels and vertical video apps. If you want to share something it feels like “the show”. But from a creator standpoint it is awful to work with.

China Owns This Space

ByteDance released CapCut which seems to be the most popular app. Meanwhile my unsteady hand has greatly benefitted from DJI’s gimbal for my phone. I gave in and picked up the gimbal and can say it’s quite good, though a bummer that a bunch of the functions only work with DJI’s app.

Or Buy Final Cut Pro

At $299 it’s far from an impulse purchase. But Apple’s Final Cut Pro has all the features of iMovie with the ability to do vertical video. Maybe Apple will finally add vertical video to iMovie in an update.


Apple also has a clips app but it too seems to lack the ability to separate audio tracks, break clips apart, and speed them up.

Instagram Continues to Dominate

TikTok may be a cultural force and is up to 150 million active users, but Instagram remains a juggernaut with 2 billion as of 2021. Both figures show this medium is here to stay. I just wish we got the better tools we deserved for it.

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.