Apple Clips review: Apple Clips is a great free video app, once you learn its tricks

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The Good Deep editing controls and effects. Impressive voice-transcribing autocaptioning works really well. Uploads to apps like Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. Included soundtracks are fun. It's free.

The Bad Only makes square videos. Menu layouts can be a little confusing to learn at first. Audio editing is limited. Captions and audio can only be recorded when clip is added.

The Bottom Line Apple Clips is a promising movie editor for fast Facebook and Instagram-ready videos, and its captioning tools are fantastic.


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Apple has made an iMovie for phone videos, and a way to edit your Instagram posts. Call it whatever you want, but Clips -- a surprising new app from Apple for iPads, iPhones and the iPod Touch -- is pretty great, especially considering that it's completely free. Just don't call it a social media app -- it works with video sites like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Vimeo, but it absolutely is not designed to replace them.

Clips will be hitting the iOS App Store later today. I was able to use it for the past few days, fiddling around with making my own videos and trying its features. It's deeper than I expected, and versatile. And, really, it's an offline video-editing tool that can post your creations afterward. It's easier to use than iMovie, too.

What's really great about it is a) it's free and b) it brings several things to the table that weren't easy to do before. It's a quick little kit for making Facebook or social-friendly videos with surprisingly effective captions, and that alone could earn it a spot in my most-used tools when I'm heading to events.

This is a far more capable tool than whatever's built into most social apps. But it has its quirks and definitely has limitations, too. Working with audio tracks and effects may frustrate those who want even more control, but it enables a lot of fun, fast ideas that can be used to turn your random video clips and still photos into an entertaining little video.

I've learned a few key tricks so far -- Clips takes a little getting used to. Finding where all the extras are buried also takes time. For instance, you'll need to tap up and down on navigational arrows to flip between the videos you've already made and the one you're currently editing. The same goes when accessing tools like filters, live title captions, extra effects and cards (or, soundtracks).

Here's what you need to know to get started with Clips.

It's square videos only, so prepare accordingly

Like Instagram, Clips only does square videos. It formats your existing photos and videos and crops them (or, you can zoom and crop yourself, by pinching and dragging). The videos look good on a phone or tablet -- regardless of viewing in portrait or landscape orientation -- but on a TV they look weird. And there's no way to pick another aspect ratio.

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