On the face of it, getting hold of the best video editing software is no easy task. There are loads of options out there, all boasting brilliant features and innovative add-ons. But the option that will suit a professional video editor won't necessarily be the best for the enthusiastic amateur. And what about free video editing software?
That's where this TechRadar guide to choosing the best video editing software comes in. We've used all the best (and worst) editors around and distilled them down to an easy-to-digest list of our favorites.
Below you'll see lists of both premium and free video editing software. So if you're ready for something advanced, opting for a paid product will get you high-end extras like 360-degree video support, motion tracking and multi-cam editing, but that's just the start.
The most impressive programs make your everyday tasks like cutting, trimming, combining and applying filters to clips as simple as possible - that's true regardless of whether you demand the absolute best video editor out there, or if you were hoping for free video editing software instead. Downloading an inferior option will lead only to frustration and a less polished finished product. The tools we've picked out for you in this guide are the very best in their class.
Keep reading to get the best of both worlds, with Adobe Premiere Pro leading the way as our #1 favourite
- Need the hardware, too? Discover the best laptops for video editing
The overall best video editing software
These premium video editors can't be matched - not even by the very greatest free options. The extra resources available to commercial projects help to refine the entire package, often bringing more accurate and configurable effects, an enhanced interface and a faster rendering engine. If it's the very best video editing software that you're after, then look no further than this quintet:
1. Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Dedicate the time to mastering Premiere Pro and reap the rewards
Platform: Windows/Mac | Free trial: 7 days | Upload straight to YouTube: Yes | 8K support: Yes | 360 support: Yes | Purchase type: Subscription
Premiere Pro CC Single App
Premiere Pro CC All Apps
Supports 360-degree and VR video
Adobe Premiere Pro is an industry-standard video editor and getting the most from it will require an investment of time as well as cash, but if you’re serious about video then it’s well worth the effort.
There's a vast assortment of stackable audio and video filters, support for 360-degree and VR video, native support for a huge number of raw file formats, and the ability to work collaboratively with others. You can even start editing your videos before they've finished importing.
This kind of power doesn't come cheap and the monthly or annual subscription fee adds up, but the lack of a large initial outlay makes Premiere Pro surprisingly accessible. It's worth downloading a trial of the other video editors here before making a decision, but Premiere Pro is extremely versatile and the cloud-based model means you won't have to pay for upgrades as they're released.
Read our full review: Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Adobe Premiere Pro |From $20.99 (£19.97) per month
Like all of Adobe's single app plans, Premier Pro costs around $20/£20 per month when you sign up for a year. That's excellent value for such an impressive piece of software.
Like all of Adobe's single app plans, Premier Pro costs around $20/£20 per month when you sign up for a year. That's excellent value for such an impressive piece of software.
2. Apple Final Cut Pro X
A premium editor for Mac owners, with a unique interface
Platform: Mac | Free trial: 30 days | Upload straight to YouTube: Yes | 8K support: Yes | 360 support: Yes | Purchase type: Retail
Smart 'trackless' timeline
Price includes major updates
This is a video editor aimed squarely at the professional end of the market, but it's not needlessly complicated. Its interface is a little different to most, and is built around a 'trackless' timeline that encourages you to organize elements into specific 'roles', such as voiceover, music and titles.
If you're looking for a video editor to pair with your drone, Final Cut Pro is an excellent choice. It supports raw video from all the major makes and models, and is regularly updated with additional profiles. It also supports 360-degree video editing (fast becoming mandatory for premium video editing software) and HDR, with advanced color grading.
Rather than adopt a subscription model like Adobe, Apple has chosen to make Final Cut Pro available for a one-off flat fee. It's relatively expensive, but includes all major updates and will work out cheaper than Premiere Pro if you keep using it over a couple of years. If you own a Mac and are torn between Apple and Adobe, we recommend taking the free trials of both for a spin before making up your mind.
Read our full review: Apple Final Cut Pro X
3. CyberLink PowerDirector
A video editor that puts premium tools within reach of newcomers
Platform: Windows | Free trial: 30 days | Upload straight to YouTube: Yes | 8K support: Yes | 360 support: Yes | Purchase type: Retail
Wizard optimizes videos in seconds
Fewer fine controls than some
If Adobe Premiere Elements and Apple Final Cut Pro X are overkill for your video editing projects, take a look at CyberLink PowerDirector.
Although PowerDirector is a premium, feature-packed video editor, it's also very forgiving, and offers a gentle introduction to post production that won't faze complete beginners. The Magic Movie Wizard is the ultimate example, paring the task of combining and optimizing videos down to a few clicks. You'll achieve better results by spending a while in the timeline editor, but for anyone who just wants to quickly piece something together to publish on Facebook, it's ideal.
That's not to say that CyberLink PowerDirector is dumbed down, though; far from it. The software also offers a standard post production interface based around control panels and a timeline. It sometimes takes a little while to drill down to the finer controls, but every filter and option is extremely flexible once you start exploring. Perhaps most impressive of all, CyberLink PowerDirector makes video editing fun.
Read our full review: CyberLink PowerDirector
4. HitFilm Pro
If you're interested in special effects, HitFilm is the editor for you
Platform: Windows | Free trial: No time limit, but can’t export | Upload straight to YouTube: Yes | 8K support: Yes | 360 support: Yes | Purchase type: Retail
Superb for special effects
HitFilm Pro is a premium video editor that's a firm favourite with fanfilm makers - and with good reason. It's packed with tools for creating stunning special effects, but is accessible enough for home users.
One of HitFilm Pro's biggest selling points is the ability to tackle pretty much every aspect of video post-production within the editor. Animations, titles, audio editing and color grading are all accessible with a couple of clicks, but the interface is intuitively designed and never feels cluttered.
Unlike the other video editors in this roundup, HitFilm Pro supports importing and animating of custom 3D models, complete with simulated 3D cameras, custom shadows and dynamic lighting. There are also impressive particle effects, and superb chroma-keying to minimize annoying spill.
Read our full review: HitFilm Pro
5. Adobe Premiere Elements
A friendly introduction to video editing for complete beginners
Platform: Windows/Mac | Free trial: 30 days | Upload straight to YouTube: Yes | 8K support: No | 360 support: No | Purchase type: Retail
Excellent tutorials for new users
Simple step-by-step wizards
Of all the premium video editors in this roundup, Adobe Premiere Elements is the most beginner-oriented. It's designed to make video editing as easy as possible, and even its Expert interface is extremely straightforward.
Unlike Adobe's premium software (like Premiere Pro), Premiere Elements is only available as a one-off purchase, so you aren't committed to paying a monthly fee to keep using it. It's also one of the most affordable video editors around, which is impressive for a huge name like Adobe.
Some video editors assume a certain degree of familiarity before you begin, but Premiere Elements is ideal even for total beginners. Its interface features large buttons, clearly labelled. There are also some excellent tutorials included to help bridge the gap between creating a video using wizards and using the more traditional multi-track timeline.
Read our full review: Adobe Premiere Elements
The best free video editing software
If you're a beginner, there are free video editors that will make the whole process as easy as can be and don't cost a penny. These user-friendly editors offer a gentle introduction to editing, so you'll learn the basics and be able to make the step up to a more advanced premium program when you're ready. We've picked our the five best video editing software choices below.
The best free video editing software available, for any level of expertise
Platform: Windows/Mac/Linux | Upload straight to YouTube: Yes | 8K support: No | 360 support: No
Lightworks is an incredible tool that's published free with the noble aim of making professional quality video editing software available to everyone. As you would expect for such a powerful video editor, you won't be able to master it overnight, but that's certainly not something you could hold against it and hasn't stopped us naming it as our number one best video editing software on the web.
If you've tried other free editors you'll probably find that the interface is a little different to anything you're used to, but you can arrange the various controls and windows to create something that suits your way of working.
There's a paid version, Lightworks Pro, which adds the ability to export in formats other than MPEG, publish 4K video directly to YouTube, and export 3D videos, but the free video editing software includes everything else you need to make impressive videos.
Read our full review: Lightworks
2. Hitfilm Express
A powerful free video editor that's expandable if you outgrow it
Platform: Windows/Mac | Upload straight to YouTube: Yes | 8K support: No | 360 support: Requires add-on
Expandable via add-ons
Hitfilm Express is another video editor that promises pro-level features for free – and it delivers. The basic editor is very impressive, with advanced cutting tools, a great set of audio and video filters, layers and masking, compositing options, and chroma keying for creating green screen effects.
Additional tools are available for a fee, starting at £8.85 (about US$10, AU$15) for a pack featuring color-correction, exposure adjustment, split screen masking, and various creative filters. But the free video editor is well worth a look, too.
The downside of all this power is that Hitfilm Express is much more demanding than either Lightworks or Shotcut, which is the main reason it's dropped to third place. Make sure you check the technical requirements before downloading it to avoid disappointment.
Read our full review: Hitfilm Express
3. DaVinci Resolve
Premium quality software for advanced video and audio editing
Platform: Windows/Mac/Linux | Upload straight to YouTube: No | 8K support: Yes | 360 support: Requires add-on
Advanced color correction
DaVinci Resolve is a free version of a premium video editing suite, but as with Lightworks, it's so feature-packed you probably won't miss the few tools it lacks.
DaVinci Resolve is a professional-grade free video editing software, with intuitive interfaces for editing, color correction, audio mastering and exporting. Color correction is one of DaVinci Resolve's standout features, whether you want to adjust a whole video or just a selected part. There's HDR support, and you can work on raw files directly from your camera.
A few of the filters are exclusive to the premium DaVinci Resolve Studio, and there's a maximum export resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, but those are the only limitations. It's overkill if you just want to trim a video and upload it to YouTube, but for bigger projects DaVinci Resolve is hard to beat.
Full review coming soon
It might look unusual, but master it and you'll reap the benefits
Platform: Windows/Mac/Linux | Upload straight to YouTube: No | 8K support: No | 360 support: No
Shotcut is another professional-feeling free video editor that requires a little patience if you are achieve the results it is so capable of delivering. The slightly unusual interface can be put down to the fact that this started life as a Linux application, and little has changed in its conversion to Windows.
To start with, the interface may seem a little stark. You will need to not only load a video, but also choose which editing mode you would like to work in and which tools you'd like to use.
There's no getting away from the fact that Shotcut has a steep learning curve. It's possible to achieve some impressive results by simply applying one of its many filters to your video, but the real rewards will only be reaped by those willing to invest the time and energy in fully getting to grips with what's on offer.
Read our full review: Shotcut
5. VSDC Free Video Editor
A non-linear editor stacked with tools, with more added all the time
Platform: Windows | Upload straight to YouTube: Yes | 8K support: No | 360 support: Yes
Easy to master
VSDC Free Video Editor is highly capable, and can yield superb results. As a non-linear editor, it works in rather a different way to many other similar tools, letting you position clips and other elements on the timeline wherever you like and edit them there.
With the ability to not only work with multiple scenes and transitions, but also to add sprites and text to videos, you can create a professional-quality movie if you're willing to stick with VSDC's slightly unusual workflow – though its interface has recently had a total overhaul, making it look much more slick and modern. You can now detach the timeline too, which gives you lots of extra flexibility – particularly when working on multiple monitors.
VSDC's free video editing software lets you add extra artistic effects, including smoke. There's also a dedicated Instagram export profile and automatic image stabilization. You also get look-up tables (LUTs) for professional color grading, the ability to export footage at 120fps, and automatic alignment when dragging objects. An excellent choice for creative video projects.
Read our full review:VSDC Free Video Editor
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Which video editing software should I use? And where can I get it for free?
These are two of the most common questions I get asked by people looking to learn video editing, or those looking to do some video editing on a project for the first time.
The answers all depends on what you’re trying to do, right now, and where you’re looking to get to in the future.
Are you trying to get a simple home video of your kids edited together, or looking to add some edited video to a work presentation or simply trying to figure out what you should learn now, if you want to begin a career in film and TV?
I’ll answer all of these questions in this post, and point to some great free and affordable video editing software options, that should work for you, regardless of your hardware capabilities.
When you are just beginning to learn video editing, you obviously need something to edit with. In this 7,000 word opus on building an Alternative Film School for Editors, I’ve included a section on where to source projects to edit, and why getting constructive feedback is so key. This section includes a discount code for Editstock.com, which is probably the best place to look, if you’re starting from scratch.
If you are starting out and looking for other freebies or discount codes, be sure to hit this page dedicated to such things, including free colour grading LUTS, film grain, light leaks, editing books and more!
If you need some cheap or free royalty free production music, check out this post which lists my four favourite sites for high quality music tracks.
As a quick aside this thread on Creative Cow will help you get Apple’s Pro Video Codecs installed on your machine.
Free Video Editing Software for Beginners
When you’re first starting out you probably don’t want to spend a lot of money on video editing software, especially if you’re not going to be using it all that often. Thankfully there are a few different free options available today, which can deliver excellent results.
In this section of the post I’ve rounded up some free video editing applications for Mac, Windows and Linux that will help you get serious creative work done without spending a penny. In the second section I talk about what software you should choose depending on where you want to work.
Some of these programs do offer in-app purchases to extend their capabilities, but most will work right out of the box.
- DaVinci Resolve
- Avid Media Composer | First
- Hit Film Express
- Media 100
Since Blackmagic Design bought DaVinci Resolve a few years ago they have totally transformed the industry leading colour grading software into the best free editing and colour grading application available today.
It’s without a doubt the most feature-rich and ‘professional’ application you can download and deliver from without spending a single cent/penny. You can see just how many features are included in the free version here.
They also recently released two cool new colour grading control surfaces (which you probably will don’t need if you’re a beginner) but that I’ve reviewed in this post.
The only caveat with Resolve is making sure your system will run it smoothly. Be sure to check out the system configuration guide to make sure you’re getting the best performance you can. Also the user manual is the best you’ll ever encounter.
Best for: Junior editors and would be colorists who want professional level tools for free and have the hardware to support them.
Price: Free or $299 for the full Studio Version.
Platforms: Mac, Windows and Linux
Download Link – Download DaVinci Resolve for free here.
I recently put together an entire post dedicated to rounding up free and paid resources for learning to edit in DaVinci Resolve, so that’s the best place to start if you want to give Resolve a whirl yourself.
This post includes a brilliant 10-part video tutorial series that will take you through editing your first project from start to finish.
The best place for a one-stop-shop-free-tutorial destination for Resolve is probably Goat’s Eye View’s excellent bite size series of tutorials. Clocking in at over 120 free short video tutorials, you’ll be able to find an answer to ‘how-do-I?’ questions here.
You should also browse through the 140+ posts on this blog which feature DaVinci Resolve, and within each post you’ll find hundreds of further free tutorials, tools, resources, paid training titles and more.
Avid Media Composer | First
Avid Media Composer has long been the industry standard when it comes to film and TV post-production. It is robust, comes with (optional) dedicated hardware and delivers decades of confidence in its tried and tested workflows between post production teams.
Avid finally offers a free (non-trial) version of the software called Avid Media Composer | First, which is quite limited but still very useful if you want to learn to edit in this ‘legendary’ software.
What do you get for free?
- Support for Mac and Windows
- Limited to 4 video tracks and 8 audio tracks
- Limited to 1080p resolution and Rec. 709 colour space
- Unlimited Projects
- Only 5 Bins per project
- QuickTime export to H.264 and DNxHD only
So what don’t you get for free?
- 24 video tracks and 64 audio tracks in full version
- No support for DNxHR
- Full colour correction, audio editing and effects tools
- Full keyboard shortcut mapping
- Everything else!
If you do want to pursue a career in feature film and broadcast television then you should master Avid Media Composer.
This subsequent post will help you understand what you need to become an Avid Media Composer Assistant Editor (Overnight). It includes professional training courses, free tutorials, recommended books and a whole lot more. It also covers why you should learn Avid Media Composer over other NLEs.
Best for: Film Students and learning assistant editors.
Price: Free or $19.99 a month for Avid Media Composer or $49.99 a month for Avid Media Composer Ultimate
Platforms: Mac or Windows.
Download Link – Download Avid Media Composer | First for free.
Filmora from Wondershare
I’d not heard of Wondershare’s Filmora before their marketing team got in touch to tell me about it, but it does look like a really useful low cost option for parents, hobbyists, online content creators and video bloggers looking to create smart looking videos they can easily share online and via social media.
They’ve just updated the app to version 8.1 which includes access to over 300 new effects including 103 titles, 191 motion elements, 60 overlay effects and 25 free music tracks through a collaboration with ArtList.io, one of my favourite new production music sites.
The Effects Store lets you purchase add on content like transitions, effects, title packs, colour grades and more. This makes adding some extra glitz to your project quite straightforward, as long as you don’t mind paying between $30-50 for a pack of them.
According to the site they already have over 5 million happy users and the real attraction to using Filmora seems to be the very low price ($60 lifetime license) and the drag-and-drop content creation simplicity it delivers.
Best for: Video bloggers, tutorial creators, part-time editors and anyone with a penchant for online video content.
Price: Free trial with watermark or a one-off fee, lifetime license with free upgrades for $59.99.
Platforms: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android.
Free Tutorials: Tons on their YouTube channel (see below)
Download Link – Download a free trial of Filmora here.
The Filmora YouTube channel is packed with free tutorials for getting started with the software, masterclasses on becoming a Vlogger, creating beauty and make up tutorials, growing your YouTube channel or helping you do specific things like create a gif.
In this short promo video you can check out an example of one of the free add-on packs for Filmora.
HitFilm Express is the free version of the popular combined editing and visual effects software package HitFilm Pro. It is fairly limited compared to the Pro version, but the modular pricing system means you only have to pay for the bits you really need.
I’ve previously reviewed HitFilm here, and mentioned it again here when celebrating the release of Star Wars.
If you’re looking for free tutorials there are TONS of them on their very active and entertaining YouTube channel. There are playlists covering a range of topics including beginners tutorials, HitFilm Express specific tutorials, Star Wars effects tutorials, 3D compositing, colour grading and much, much more.
Hit Film is a very capable piece of editing software, that is freely available for Mac and Windows. This is great.
But, as with Media 100, I wouldn’t recommend choosing it for a long-term solution if you’re looking to find a place working in the industry as an editor, because you’ll need to know one of the more ‘mainstream’ apps like Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro.
Best for: Video editing enthusiasts, junior visual effects artists and anyone looking to create fun explosive short films for free. Editors will appreciate being able to bring in all of HitFilm’s high quality effects into their NLE of choice via Ignite Pro.
Platforms: Windows and Mac.
Download Link:Download HitFilm Express for free here.
You can compare the three different versions of HitFilm here.
I’ve been an interested observer of the development of Lightworks, ever since I discovered that it was the editing application of choice for Thelma Schoonmaker (Wolf of Wall Street) and Tariq Anwar (American Beauty).
It used to be a paid for app, then it was going to be an open-source application, but now it’s still under private development but at least with a free version, that’s limited to a 1080p ‘Vimeo’ export.
It goes without saying that it’s clearly a very capable editing package that has some devoted users. You can check out previous posts about Lightworks on this blog here, or watch some of the easy to follow tutorials below and on the official YouTube channel here.
Lightworks version 14 was just released with a brand new video interface which offers a ‘fixed’ (as in static) layout compared to Lightworks historically extremely flexible collection of floating windows. Although you can actually switch between these two layouts in a jiffy.
One of the compelling attributes of Lightworks are it’s trimming tools, as well as multi-editor workflows. Version 14 also brings with it some interesting bundling of services with Audio Network and Pond 5, for in-app access to royalty-free audio and video content.
That integration delivers some really nice real-time previews of your music tracks, over your edited sequence in a single click. This will save a good deal of time downloading previews that just don’t work under the pictures.
The free version of Lightworks is limited to the following features. Compare that to the paid for version here.
- Realtime titling effects
- Realtime effects, including over 100 presets
- Advanced multi-cam editing
- Second monitor output
- All Import Formats
- Lightworks Archives
- Export to Vimeo (H.264 / MPEG-4) 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p and 1080p (HD)
- Export to YouTube (H.264 / MPEG-4) 240p, 360p, 480p and 720p
Best for: Old school Oscar winning editors. Editors who are tired of the ‘usual apps’ and anyone who wants to try out a really interesting toolset (mostly in the paid version)
Price: Free or £99/year £249.99 outright.
Platforms: Mac, Windows and Linux.
Download Link:Download the latest version of Lightworks for free here.
In a pretty recent move Media 100, one of THE original video editing software programs ever created, is now available entirely for free.
I just downloaded it and after a few minutes of wrangling the individual floating windows into one corner of my 4K editing monitor, I took this screenshot and uninstalled the app. That was the extent of our relationship, mostly because the ancient looking UI told me we didn’t have a future together.
But hey, it’s FREE, and you can’t argue with that. You can almost certainly achieve high quality editing with it, if you can figure out the interface.
Here’s what the press release has to say about it.
Featuring an easy-to-use, responsive interface and broad support for 4K, 2K, HD, and SD standards, Media 100 delivers broadcast-quality output for tape and file-based workflows. Editors can edit in Media 100 and export their Media 100 timeline to Adobe After Effects for finishing. In addition, Boris RED is included for integrated transitions and titling on the Media 100 timeline.
Interestingly you can also get 100 free transitions (worth $50) from Eye Scream Factory bundled into the free download of Media100.
Each free Media 100 Suite download includes Eye Scream Factory’s “100 Essential Transitions” package, a $49.95 value. 100 Essential Transitions features a variety of designer transition effects ranging from the familiar to the inspired.
Best for: Editors who want to give a professional grade application a fresh try. I’m not sure how frequently you’ll encounter this application ‘in the industry’ so I wouldn’t recommend it for those looking to start a professional career. Great for anyone on Mac looking for a free video editing application.
Platforms: Mac OS 10.9+
Download Link: Download Media100 for free here.
There is a link to a set of free video tutorials for Media100 on the official site, although these were originally uploaded in 2015. A newer series of text-based tutorials are available too, these seem to be an updated version of the original series.
Which Editing Software Should I Learn First?
In my recent post rounding up tutorials and resources for editors switching between the mainstream video editing applications, I also suggested which software you might want learn and invest in, depending on where you want to get to in the future.
I thought I’d expand on those thoughts here too. Fl studio 11.1 reg key. Hopefully this will help you if you’re looking to build a career in the film industry from scratch.
For over 7000 words on how I would build an Alternative Film School for Film Editing, check out this post which details what I would do and buy if I was trying to set myself up for a freelance career in film editing without going to film school.
- If you want to work in features and broadcast TV – learn Avid Media Composer first, then Adobe Premiere Pro.
- Editing your own videos and price is your main consideration? – Learn DaVinci Resolve, it’s free!
- Don’t want to pay a monthly subscription fee? – Learn FCPX or Resolve.
- Coming from Final Cut Pro 7 (still!) and looking for an easy leap – Learn Adobe Premiere Pro
For each of these high profile editing applications there are free trials available, which are usually fully functional, but time-limited.
When it comes to investing your money in one of these applications FCPX represents the best value (it’s $299 for a lifetime of free updates) whilst Avid Media Composer is probably the most expensive for what you get, at $50/month.
Avid is more ‘expensive’ when compared to paying the same money per month for the full suite of Adobe’s Creative Cloud applications. These include Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and many more!
If your creative pursuits are broader than straight video editing, an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription is great value. Although if you stop paying, you no longer have access to any of your software.
These thoughts may well be contentious, and feel free to hit the comments and share your experience. I’m certain everyone’s will be different!
For further resources for learning to edit, take a rummage in the following categories for every single post on the blog related to these apps:
Avid Media Composer | Adobe Premiere Pro | Final Cut Pro X | DaVinci Resolve
In many ways it doesn’t matter which editing application you learn, how expensive it is, or what it’s feature set.
Learning software is easy, learning how and why to edit is much harder. But it can be done!
You just have to cut and cut a lot.
Clicking on the Download Now (Visit Site) button above will open a connection to a third-party site. Download.com cannot completely ensure the security of the software hosted on third-party sites.
VSDC Free Video Editor looks and feels just like a professional video editor. In fact, if feels almost identical to Final Cut Pro in a lot of ways. If you want to experience that style of in-depth video editing, this program is an epic way to do it for free. Be warned, though, that there's a steep learning curve unless you already have some experience.
This program checks in at about 26MB, which isn't gigantic, but is still relatively large. For that, you'll get a program that is a dead ringer for professional editing programs. It has the same sort of timeline editing style that lets you combine multiple cuts, add transitions, and render them into a complete project. As such, it isn't very easy to use unless you really know what you're doing. Few things are labeled or intuitive, and all of your tools are spread out across multiple menus. If you can find the features, there are plenty of ways to cut, reshape, and modify your video's picture and audio, though. You can even kick the quality up to 30 FPS and 1080p HD. VSDC Free Video Editor supports just about every video format you can think of, so you'll have no problem turning any video into a project.
This video editor gives you tons of control and editing power, but you'll have to know how to use it. The program could use a manual to help novice users comb through all of the features. Without that, VSDC Free Video Editor will take a lot of experimenting or previous editing know-how to figure out. It's worth spending plenty of time with, though.
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What do you need to know about free software?
Video has become a common part of everyday life. People take videos on smartphones, upload them via YouTube, and share them on Facebook.
You’d think, then, that free video editors would be common. Free video editors have become serious rivals to the alternative, paid programs in both capacity and scope of editing. However, the selection remains somewhat limited.
We present the absolute best free video editors available for Windows.
Keep in mind: The following software is only as effective as your know-how, and none of them are instantly intuitive. They do, however, provide as close to paid software functionality as you’ll be able to find online. We’ve also highlighted video quality enhancers7 Video Quality Enhancers to Improve Low Resolution on Your Videos7 Video Quality Enhancers to Improve Low Resolution on Your VideosIf you've ever wondered how to improve video quality, you're in luck. Here are the best video quality enhancers to use.Read More if yours needs a touch-up.
If you’re looking for a more serious editor, give Lightworks a look. This tool has been around since 1989 and has been used to edit many professional movies you’ve probably watched and enjoyed, like Pulp Fiction and Braveheart.
As you might expect, this professional-grade editor comes with a professional-grade learning curve. This is a non-linear editor, which means it is not based on a simple A-to-B video timeline. That makes advanced edits easier, but thoroughly confuses newbies. Add tons of effects and multi-cam editing and you’ve got one heck of a nut to crack. If you manage it, though, you’ll be able to create videos of higher quality than most other free editors.
Now with the release of Lightworks v14.0 we have created the complete video creative package so everyone can make video that stands out from the crowd. Whether you need to make video for social media, YouTube or for a 4K film project, Lightworks makes it all possible! — Lightwork
100 Free Video Editing Software Mac
Along with providing users with all the basics they would desire from video editing software, Lightworks also provides a few extras like basic effects, titles, transitions, and color correction. Whether you’re a bare bones amateur or a bit more experienced, Lightworks will definitely meet your video editing needs.
The free version, unfortunately, comes with a few caveats, the most problematic being a lack of 1080p output. Free users can only output at 720p, which could be a major turn-off. If that doesn’t bother you, though, Lightworks is a solid choice.The free version of Lightworks will allow you access for seven days, at which time you’ll have to register officially through the Lightworks website in order to use. You can do all this early on by registering today.
2. HitFilm Express
HitFilm is a doozy. Touting on its main page that it’s the “most powerful, FREE editing and VFX software to date”, it sure doesn’t disappoint. For one, the software has plenty of beautiful examples for you to choose from directly on their web page.
Aside from providing a fantastic interface for laying out your clips and workflow, it also provides countless free video tutorials and visual effect possibilities by default.
Its UI is also largely reminiscent of more mainstream, paid video editing software, so you aren’t limited in what you can do and create within the window. The same applies feature-wise: color correction, clip cutting, VFX, and mask tracking are all within grasp with HitFilm Express 2017.
It also goes without saying that HitFilm Express is continually updated to provide users with new features and updates.
When you’re ready to make the leap to paid software, HitFilm Pro 2017 is also available for users at a one-time payment, meaning it carries no subscription cost, unlike many other paid video editors. You will have to register and share the software via social media before being able to download, but given how fantastic this software is that’s a small favor to ask!
3. DaVinci Resolve
DaVinci Resolve is as close to a free, professional video editor as possible. Keep in mind, this means it takes about as much practice, time, and dedication to learn as it would any other professional video editor. Once you can find your way around the software, however, you’ll never need another video editor.
There’s hardly a thing DaVinci Resolve isn’t able to do for you. But one thing it does fantastically is color grading. In fact, it’s renounced for being a standalone color correction software along with doing, well, everything else.
Revolutionary new tools for editing, color correction and professional audio post production, all in a single application! — Black Magic Design
It also allows SD, HD, and Ultra HD output, meaning you can start, edit, and create pseudo-studio productions — polished and finalized — all in one software. While the Studio versions will, of course, be designed for actual professional production settings, the alternative lite version will provide more than enough functionality to keep any beginner satisfied.
Similar to HitFilm Express, you’ll have to register with the website in order to download.
Comparatively speaking, Shotcut is designed for the amateur video editor or someone who needs to tie together or edit short clips to create a sensible final product. It’s as easy as dragging and dropping clips and editing them by cutting and adding transitions.
If you don’t require a large, professional grade video editor, but instead want to put together short clips with transitions, this program is exactly for you. Better yet, its slim data size allows users of all PC specs to use the software. You won’t need an ultra souped up PC in order to use Shotcut, and sometimes that can make all the difference.
Plenty of bells and whistles are great, but for specific purposes, they can border on clutter. With Shotcut, everything you’d need is laid out in front of you. If you require a simple video editor for simple purposes, look no further.
Avidemux is a free, open source video editor also available for Linux7 Free Open Source Video Editors for Linux7 Free Open Source Video Editors for LinuxVideo editing on Linux is constantly improving. A good selection of open source video editing software is now available to Linux users, and we've got seven of the best for you to check out.Read More and Mac OS X.
The software was originally released several years ago and has been updated consistently, with the latest coming in the month before this article’s publication.
This program represents a half-step between very serious software, like Lightworks, and a basic video editor like the infamous Windows Movie Maker. It supports nonlinear editing, you can add subtitles, and the software’s file format lets users save all the settings associated with a project, which you can then re-applied to another project. Scripting is available through the GUI or directly through a command line. Virtually all major video and audio formats are supported for input and most are supported for output, though WMV and QuickTime are absent.
You can grab Avidemux from the developer’s website, which includes a link to a wiki and forums that will help you become familiar with the software.
6. VSDC Free Video Editor
This appropriately titled editor is another solid choice for people who want a semi-professional option without having to pay a professional price tag. A nonlinear editor, VSDC allows for advanced editing techniques. The software also supports a very broad range of video and audio effects like color correction, blur reduction, and volume correction.
Though still confusing for the novice, the basic interface of VSDC is a bit easier to grasp than that of Lightworks, thanks to a front-end that mimics the Microsoft ribbon interface and has a more conventional workflow.
One nice extra that may elevate VSDC above the free version of Lightworks is video output support for 1080p at 30 FPS, which is much better than its competitor’s 720p limitation. The installer is also a rather compact 37MB, about half the size of Lightworks.
Blender is, I admit, a different breed of video editor. It’s for 3D, rather than 2D, editing. Despite that being the case, not mentioning Blender would be a serious error because of just how much 3D video editing functionality is packed into this free software. For one, check out what Blender has to offer.
It’s a complete education in a single program. From the first time you enter Blender, you’ll be given a somewhat complex UI. Blender isn’t your typical video editing software: aside from the possibility of creating a mixed reality short film like the one above, you can create, edit, animate, and light 3D animations.
Learning your way through BlenderGetting Started with Blender: 7 Fantastic Tutorials for NewbiesGetting Started with Blender: 7 Fantastic Tutorials for Newbies3D modeling is an excellent way to exercise creativity while keeping in touch with your technical side. Here are some awesome free tutorials.Read More can take a lot of time. After all, you’re not starting with a few clips you can trim and edit. You’re given very little when you first open the program and are expected to learn as you go.
Luckily, you’re not alone with Blender. The Blender community is huge, talented, and more than willing to create hours upon hours of tutorials, entirely in their spare time, in order to teach newcomers how to start the journey to master this fantastic piece of software.
That includes the official Blender Youtube channel, mind you, which not only provides tutorials for users but hours upon hours of talks and presentations as well. That’s on top of their official animations, which definitely give you something to strive for if 3D animation is your forthcoming forte.
I know, I cheated a little adding a 3D animation software to the list. There’s no doubt, however, that Blender ranks head and shoulder above the competition for its 3D video editing capabilities.
Craft Your Masterpiece
Maybe you want to create a short film of jumbled video clips for family members, or you’re an up and coming film student seeking to craft your first magnum opus. Whatever the want, the software presented should more than meet your needs. Best of all, you won’t have to deal with sub-par video editing software.
If you need to upgrade your computer for this, check out the best laptops for video editingThe 4 Best Laptops for Video EditingThe 4 Best Laptops for Video EditingVideo editing can test even the best PCs. However, we have found the best laptops for editing video on the go.Read More. You should make sure you have a good camcorder for hobbyist useThe 7 Best Camcorders for Hobbyist VideographersThe 7 Best Camcorders for Hobbyist VideographersWant to film videos but don't want to rely on your smartphone storage or battery? You need a camcorder!Read More too. And don’t miss out on these free apps to split and merge video filesThe Top 5 Free Apps to Split or Merge Video FilesThe Top 5 Free Apps to Split or Merge Video FilesYou don't need a high-end video editor to split and merge video files. Here are the best apps you can use to do this simple job.Read More in a crunch!
Orignially written by Matt Smith on 28 May 2014.
Explore more about: Blender, Computer Animation, Video Editor.
- thanks for your sharing. i hate the hard steps. so for me, wonderfox hd video converter Factory pro is the best and simplest tool for video editing. and thanks again.
- Great article - Thanks.Am gonna try Shotcut.
- These are not FREE. These are evaluation versions. That means 'not free'.
Don't list them as 'FREE' because they're not FREE. they're CRIPPLED.
- Why have you fired some editors like Resolve and ivsEdits LE?
They are more powerfull and better featured of all the software you have listed here:see there
http://www.blackmagicdesign.com and http://www.ivsEdits.comWhat is the best free video editing software?
- VSDC is not free. I've download this app twice in the past month and each time I try to save my movie, i'm prompted to buy. Can't get any further with my project so have now given up trying.
- if you look carefully, right there it also says continue. it has happened to me as well. it's free and pretty efficient. this list sucks tbh only vsdc is worth your time if you're looking for an efficient video editor.
- This list is also from 2014..
- VSDC Video editor program especially since the fifth version of out of competition
- Since summer update, I'm a fan of VSDC Free Video Editor. I make all my presentations (often requiring trimming, merging, adding charts and videos in MP4, MOV, AVI as well as video effects) in this editor.
BTW the program is honestly free: no hidden adware during installation or paid export.
I recommend their 5-th version, it's a step ahead.
- I disagree. I tried it and cannot actually create a video without upgrading to the version you have to pay for.
- You just click Continue and have you file exported.
- I choose VideoShow ,video editor completely free
- I used Gilisoft Video Editor - Easiest, Powerful, All-in-One Video Editing Software Anyone Can Use!
- WMM is not a good editor.
The youtube editor is the shittiest I know of.Atleast try some editors before actually making a top list.
- Beware. Just tried installing VSDC and it tried to install opencandy spyware.
- VSDC is the best video editor I've ever had. I didn't have the adware problem though.
- No malware, if download the program from official site videosoftdev.com
It at the moment fantastic, free video editor with great functionality.
- Lightworks isn't free
- Lightworks brings so many errors that orevent it to launch. Its a waste of time downloading such a huge file, that will then after fail to install, with numerous stages of errors
- I was thinking of giving one of these a go, either lightworks or blender seems to be the way to go.They just make it sound scary with this steep learning curve business,that's the only thing putting me off.
I purchased corel prox3 a couple of years ago at first it was good then it kept crashing every time I went to render a movie.So then I tried the updated prox7 and the same thing,it started crashing when I would render a movie.It has been so frustrating as I have spent hours editing and making a movie then to have the whole thing not render Arhhhh.....
prox7 has a thing called smart package ,I thought I could just save the movie and render it on another video editing site,but all the overlays and effects won't transfer etc.
Some of these review sites will tell you that corel prox7 is a good programme,but if you look up all the people trying to get help from the programme you'll see the frustration.
happy editing everyone,good luck.
- I've been using VSDC for a few weeks now, and there seems to be a lot of little bugs that get in the way when I'm trying to use it. The most puzzling is that it won't let me create a video with a custom resolution of 1600x900, I can only do 1600x896 or 1600x904.I installed LightWorks today, and it looks like it could be very good. I haven't had time to edit anything properly yet, so I don't know if it has all of the features that VSDC has.
- 896 and 904 are both numbers that are evenly divisible by 8 (the number of bits in a byte). This indicates a possible limitation or requirement of something in the processing technology or the digital data stream, such as a particular video format or codec.
I'm no video expert, but multiples of 8 come up quite frequently in computing.
An example would be a JPEG photo. Some software is capable of performing a 'lossless JPEG rotation', where a JPEG image is rotated and re-saved without losing any image quality. During such a rotation, the image dimensions will be adjusted to even multiples of 8 (if necessary), possibly resulting in a slight cropping of the image (which is usually imperceptible to the eye with modern high-resolution digital camera images). This cropping occurs because the rotation algorithm subdivides the image into 8x8 pixel blocks (Minimum Coded Units), and any extra pixel rows are discarded.
It is highly probable that certain video files are subject to these limitations as well. After all, a video is just a series of still images.
- While that kind of makes sense, it is a restriction that doesn't appear to be in any other video editing programme. I even recall using Windows Movie Maker for adding sound to a track that I'd already edited and rendered and that seemed to handle it just fine.Either way, I had to move away from VSDC eventually. It would constantly crash when the it got to the end of the video, even during rendering. Half of the time it would fully render, then crash before saving to the file. I moved onto the paid Sony Movie Studio and it's allowed me to edit much faster.
- When I was a kid I used to do a lot of stuff in Movie Maker, when Windows XP was around. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.No, but seriously, I have Windows 7 on my laptop, and because I'm studying media and stuff, we have to edit videos too, (we learn final cut at college but im not a mac user at home) so I thought I would use WMM as a quick editing tool. And then I hated it.Where did the timeline went!?? It was so easy to use, that even when I was a child I could learn it! I could cut very precisely, and have a library etc. but with the new look, it just loads very slow, I have to upload ALL my clips on the story board instead of a library to organize in folders and cut them there and then drag them on the proyect. Don't make me even talk about editing the music.
Just editing a very quick 2 minute video can be a pain for me.I then knew about Adobe Premiere but my free trial expired :(
So all my video editing shall be at school.for now
- Thanks for the recommendations! Perfect timing for some upcoming projects.
- For a substantially more trustworthy download site for VSDC Free Video Converter -- and much more software -- than CNET's Download.com (since their acquisition by CBS, Inc.), one might look to Softpedia.com -- http://www.softpedia.com/get/Multimedia/Video/Encoders-Converter-DIVX-Related/VSDC-Free-Video-Converter.shtml .Not only do Softpedia not 'wrap' any software they offer, but when the source providing it does, an explicit advisory is posted in red to warn the user. Also, whenever possible, Softpedia provide a clean (or 'lite') version of the software (such as Piriform's CCleaner, for example).
- Just she'll out a few bucks and buy Adobe Premiere.
- AV S Video Editor is excellent, give it a whirl, its so easy to use and does a great job. Its also free if you don't mind a watermark, and the full version is great value for money.
- What about Videopad Video Editor? It has quite a few plugins, comes with 1080p output and seems pretty easy to use.
- Videopad has a very limited trial, which then forces you to pay/upgrade before you can export videos again. Very nice and easy to use, yes, but for people that cant afford to buy programs they only use every once in a while, pointless.
- Windows Movie Maker works for me. It was easy to use. I am thinking about Adobe premier though which cost but I think that might be an option.
- Thanks Matt and Nash, I will try at first the free tools from this page, then in case I will look to some paid tools!See you soon,
- Another excellent and inexpensive editor is Adobe Premiere Elements, which you should be cable to purchase for less than$100. It's also a good starting point if you want to upgrade to the full version. A lot of Mac editors are starting to use Premiere following the demise of Final Cut 7!
- I may upgrade to that if I ever get more serious about putting up YouTube videos..
- So far as quality is concerned I think Avidemux is the best of the lot. Only problem with it is that it is slow, hasn't been updated in quite a while and uses mencoder rather than ffmpeg. I use ffmpeg based encoders like Handbrake or Video2Video for reducing the bit rate of very large files. These however are not very good for changing image size in which case I use Avidemux. Where I live electric power supply is not very stable and quite often I have had to restart the process from scratch. In this case I came up with my own solution. First I would take the original video file and rip it with mkvmergegui breaking it down into several parts., i.e a 6 gb file into 6 parts. Then convert each part with avidemux at the same settings. Once this is done I would then combine the 6 converted files with mkvmergegui to get a single file. Even if I have power loss during the process I would have to restart only a single 1 GB segment and not the whole 6 GB process. This has worked for me every time.
- Greetings. According to the Softpedia site, Avidemux had a major update on 13 March 2014 (and a bug fix on the 24th) -- http://www.softpedia.com/get/Multimedia/Video/Video-Editors/AviDemux-test.shtml (changelog link also provided).
- @AJNorthThank you for the update. I will most certainly try it out. Actually I don't do any editing in real sense. I just reduce the file size to manageable level for viewing on my tablet when I am making 6 hour one way train journeys twice a month. What I really liked about Avidemux is auto trimming and sharpen filters.
- @ Sharon VA very simple way is to use MkvToolNix. All you do is open your file in MkvMergeGui and rip it to an mkv file if not alraedy in mkv container. Then open this mkv file in MrvExtract Gui and check mark the component/s that you want extracted and you are done. Once in a while you may come across a stubborn one that won't extract properly. You could then try your luck with MP4Box of tXmuxer.
- OpenShot is a great editor, simple and fairly powerful, and it's being actively developed. KDenLive is competent. PiTiVi I've used in the past.. it's OK. AviDemux has a learning curve and the options for formats are confusing, but I've used it to transcode European home movies. Cinelerra I haven't tried. All are open source, no-adware. I run them mostly on my 4 year old Ubuntu E-Machines system with 2 GB ram.
- Thankyou for this post. I've been using windows movie maker for years and am ready for something a bit more grown up. Lightworks is something I've seen before so I think I'll take the plunge!
- Can any of these reverse a clip and change the speed
- Yeah, I use lightworks for all my (semi-professional) video editing and it has all those features. It's a little bit of a learning curve though - took me bout a month to realise it's full potential. Also, I would recommend audacity for sound editing - it's free.
- And what about Blender 3D? it's Open Source and it has a video compositor built in.
- I would like a simple video editor that permits me to put a soundtrack on a video, in a loop. Which one is the best? Thanks so much and see you soon!
- I think any of these would work..though I'm not aware of a specific loop feature, you can always just add the track to the video multiple times for the same effect.
- iMovie is not a blessing if you don't use 'Apple approved' file formats. Same applies to Final Cut Pro.All the above are OK for one (1) family holiday video and one (1) Christmas video. That is two (2) videos a year max. Beyond that they will drive you nuts in one way or another.If you intend to do video even only once a month I urge you to buy something. Sony Vegas is frequently on Amazon and ebay for less that 20 UK pounds. It might save your life.Finally, if you're going to do a lot of video on a PC and need to keep your sanity for other purposes you must take the time to learn how to use the software. We are all professional video viewers from the age of 3. If your video is even the slightest bit not as good as broadcast TV your children will instantly be able to tell you it is crap.Oh - and get a very big hard drive and lot's and lot's of RAM on a 64bit system.
- Excellent, easy in use prog which enables to perform professional video editing for free. Both professional video editor and amateur can use it because the prog has a wizard assistant. A 100 % advantage is that you can work with transparent videos. Previously I used After Effects option when I worked with videos from envato website, but now I can do it with a help of VSDC - excellent news!!!
- I have been using WMM since its first iteration. Certainly, it has many flaws, crashes often - causing you to lose any unsaved changes - and is slow as hell, but it works well enough.I would say the only major thing missing from WMM is the ability to zoom and crop. Overlaying text is limited to title cards, subtitles, or scrolling credits. However, there some legacy 'effects' which are completely useless (like the Hue Cycle effect, which cycles through the rainbow of hues once and stops).For slideshows of photos, it is great. For editing anything longer than 5 minutes of footage at a time, it loads each clip very slowly (sometimes even slower than real-time -- being a 15 minute clip that takes 20 minutes to load into the program).I would suggest that you SAVE after every change you make to the project, or you will lose your changes when it crashes. And it will crash. Multiple times. And then it will refuse to load the project until you have rebooted your PC.However, i still use WMM. It is effective and - having tried using the other Editors listed in this article, WMM is the most intuitive and easiest to use. Most of the others have no tutorials or explanations, and knowing where or how to start is a problem if you have no pointers.
- I've run into the slow loading issue too. It seems to be related to format. When I use .mp4s then always take forever to load in, but .avi loads almost instantly.
- I agree with these comments. WMM is a good editor to learn the basics. Ifyou, after a dozen short movies, want a better one, invest in one of the more advanced, semi- professional packages like Cyberlink's PowerDirector, Pinnacle Studio, magic or Vegas. Just make sure to have a comprehensive format converter handy.
- I am looking for a video editor that will allow me to separate audio and video files will any of these do that
- You can use Audacity to get the audio from the video.
- Sharon V
If all you are looking for is a tool that will extract audio from video files, then you might look into AoA Audio Extractor from AoAMedia. They have a free tool that will extract audio from just about any video file. I use it a lot especially to extract audio from YouTube videos that really have no video, just audio. It's free but they also offer a paid more advanced version. Hope that helps.
- ivsEdits LE can do it. it is free and you can download it here:
- Windows Movie Maker is pretty good.
However - IT IS VERY UNSTABLE. It constantly crashes (I tried on different systems) which makes it a serious pain to use. What a shame..
- I kind of agree on this. It hasn't crashed on me,, but there's always some niggling little bug. Like, on my PC, I always have to save a project, then re-open it, then export it to the final format. If I don't, it errors out saying that a file in the project is open elsewhere. And is always does that at the VERY END of the export process, which can take an hour for a large video.
- Thank u so much for this post :D
- Heres another https://www.videolan.org/vlmc/
- I was just recently thinking about looking for free video editors. I think that VSDC and Lightworks looks good, but I think I'll try VSDC first, simply for the higher output resolution.
- please try ivsEdits LE, it is the best featured free NLE available .