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How to edit video on the iPhone

Learn how to quickly edit a video clip to send it in an e-mail or MMS, so you can share only your favorite part of a video.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Video editing on the iPhone was first introduced with the iPhone 3GS, yet some iPhone owners still don't realize how easy this feature is to use. It is incredibly simple to quickly edit a video you just shot so that you can send a specific moment to friends and family members. This can also come in handy when a video is a bit to long to send; quickly trim unnecessary portions of the video out, thus reducing the file size and enabling you to send it. Read on to learn how to edit video on your iPhone.

We have already shown you how to use iMovie on the iPhone 4, but for some of you, iMovie may be overkill for a simple edit, especially if title screens and transitions aren't needed. Here is an easier method.

To get started, launch the Photos app on your iPhone and open the video you want to edit.

Click to enlarge Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

While viewing the video (before playing it) you will see a bar that includes frames from the video. On each end of this bar, you will see a spot that allows you to touch-and-drag each end to a new start or stop point for the video.

Click to enlarge Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Once you have moved either of the ends, the bar will turn yellow. The yellow bars indicate you have cut out portions of the video. You will also see a yellow Trim button in the top-right corner. At the bottom of the screen will be a single Play button. You can press that button at any time to see what you have trimmed the clip down to.

Click to enlarge Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

If you are having trouble editing to an exact frame in the video, you can edit frame by frame by pressing and holding a finger on either end of the yellow bar. You will see the video spread out, revealing individual frames. Slide the end of the bar to either include or cut out video frame(s).

Click to enlarge Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Once you are happy with your selection, tap the yellow Trim button. You will then be presented with two options for saving the new clip.

  • Trim Original: Saves the new, shorter clip, over the original clip. The original clip will be lost.
  • Save as New Clip: Saves the new clip as a separate video clip. The original clip will still be available.

Select your preferred save method.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Once the video is saved, you can view it in your camera roll. From here, you can send it on via e-mail, MMS and the like (iMessage will be an option once iOS 5 is available).

Similarly, you can edit photos in iOS 5, which is expected to be available later this fall. For a full run down of how to edit your photos in iOS 5, be sure to check out this guide.