Best Free Video Editing Software

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Today we discuss about best free video editing software

The very best free video editing software for everyone with the right free video editing software, you can create picture-perfect clips that are ready to share to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or anywhere else, with no unsightly watermarks or frustrating time limits.

There are free video editors out there that not only come with the most basic yet necessary tools, but also boast powerful features and even a few bells and whistles.

Today’s top 3 best video editors

These first three options aren’t free, but they are the best video editing services you can get. Most people tend to go for Adobe Premiere Pro as it’s the best overall video editor and is available for a modest subscription.

1. Adobe Premiere Pro is the very best video editor in 2021

Premiere Pro offers outstanding value for money. It’s the industry-standard video editing program for pros, but really easy to use and get the hang of. So if you’re serious about your videos, you should seriously consider going for Premiere Pro.

2. CyberLink PowerDirector – a great value, powerful editor

CyberLink is a terrific choice if you like the idea of premium video editors, but still want to keep costs low – less than $4/£5 a month! For that, you still get a feature-packed tool that caters to beginners, intermediates and pros alike. We particularly like its clever Magic Movie Wizard mode.

3. Apple Final Cut Pro X – top honors for Mac users

It may be aimed squarely at the professional end of the market, but Apple Final Cut Pro X is not needlessly complicated and its ‘trackless’ timeline is super intuitive. You pay for it upfront rather than monthly, so it’s likely to work out very affordable in the long run if you’re in video editing for keeps.


The best free video editing software 2021

 

1. Lightworks

2. Hitfilm Express

3. Shotcut

4. Movie Maker Online

5. VSDC Video Editor

6. Hitfilm Express

Video editors FAQ

Should I pay for a premium video editor?

To state the blindingly obvious, premium video editors tend to have advantages that free ones don’t. Those advantages tend to come in the form of resources: resources to develop apps that squeeze the most performance out of high-end hardware, resources to develop better effects, resources to fix show-stopping bugs, resources to make sure the app works on the latest hardware, resources to polish the interface and create help files and how-tos and all the other things you’d expect from professional software. But of course, that comes at a price – $300ish for Final Cut Pro X, for example.

If you’re a pro, time is money so you spend money to save time, whether that’s the time it takes to render your footage or the time you can’t afford to spend shouting “WHY GOD, WHY?” when the app doesn’t do exactly what you want or crashes mid-edit.

Free apps are aimed at a more forgiving and less demanding kind of user. That’s not to say they can’t do great things. They can. But they often take a hand-holding approach that focuses on the basics and doesn’t give you access to the fine detail. They might take a good-enough approach to performance rather than a “Steven Spielberg needs this NOW!” no-compromise approach, and their effects may be simpler than the pro ones.

Is free video editing software good enough?

It can be. Movies made in Apple’s iMovie have wowed crowds at film festivals over the years, and some people have made perfectly good movies using just it and an iPhone.

There are many decent free video apps out there, but there are a few things to consider. Performance, especially encoding and exporting, isn’t always up there with the big hitters, and you’ll often find that features are only available if you buy in-app purchases or just aren’t there at all. Some stick an enormous watermark over everything you output; few offer any kind of technical support. Pro-level features are rarely offered because these apps aren’t designed for video pros.

It’s worth being a bit pedantic here and differentiating between free commercial software and free open source software. The former is often a cut-down version of a full product offered for free in the hope you’ll buy its big brother. The latter is usually a full product made available by individuals or teams of volunteers with no expectation of any financial reward. While open source acts can sometimes lack the polish and/or user-friendliness of commercial software they may well deliver all the features you need without requiring you to spend any money.

Why should I care about free software?

Video is the new rock’n’roll: where children used to dream of being rock stars, now they dream of being YouTube vloggers. Meanwhile video has become the lingua franca of the internet, from viral clips and video responses to indie films and glossy corporate presentations.

The one thing they almost all have in common is editing. That could be simple trimming to cut a clip at the appropriate place, or it could involve mixing multiple clips together, changing the soundtrack and adding a whole bunch of special effects. To do these things you’ll need a video editing app.

How do I choose video editing software?

There are several key factors, and price isn’t necessarily the most important: if it were, every Hollywood movie would be made in Apple’s free iMovie!

Let’s start at the end. What kind of video do you intend to make, and where is it for? There’s a world of difference between quick editing of home videos you’ll watch on TV and editing something for Netflix or cinema distribution.

You’ll need to consider what formats the software needs to export in, what level of quality it needs to output (HD? 4K? 8K?) and whether it can deliver the kind of visual effects you want to use. If you’ll be collaborating, your app will need to be compatible with the other people’s apps too.

There’s also you to consider. Are you experienced, or would a simpler app that takes you step by step through the whole process be more helpful? Do you want to have complete control over every pixel, or would you rather let the computer do most of the work? How future-proof do you need your app to be?

And then there’s price. Most but not all cheap or free apps are very limited; most but not all high-end editors are frighteningly expensive. It’s possible to pay too much and end up with an app that’s overkill, or to pay too little and end up inventing new and colourful swears when the app refuses to do what you need it to do.

Remember too that the more you can do, the more you’ll want it to do. Can your chosen app grow with your imagination?

What video editing software features should I look out for?

That depends on the kind of editing you’d like to do. For example, you might not need much in the way of visual effects if you’re just splicing together clips from Uncle George’s 90th birthday party. But there are some key things to consider.

First up, what formats and resolutions does the app support? Can it use the footage from your camera without converting? Can it export to the places you want to share your finished footage?

Do you need features such as green screen or picture in picture (if you’re a YouTuber, the answers to those to are probably yes)? Can you share directly with social media, if that’s your thing?

How many tracks can you use? Can you pull in footage and audio from multiple files, swapping between them as needed, or will you need to do some pre-production first because the app can only handle a couple of tracks at once?

Does the app have any smart features to make everyday editing easier, such as smart trimming of clips or simple editing modes? Is it easy to add titles, transitions between scenes or to adjust the colours?

If it’s a mobile app, can you transfer your project to continue editing in a desktop equivalent of the app?

Which programs do professionals use?

That depends on your definition of ‘professionals’ and the industry or sector you’re thinking of. Go to Hollywood or a major TV studio and the editing’s almost certainly being done in Avid Media Composer Ultimate.

In ad agencies, indie film studios and businesses making YouTube films you’re more likely to see Adobe Premiere Pro CC or Apple Final Cut Pro X and associated apps such as Adobe’s After Effects, a motion graphics and visual effects app – see above for how well we rate those. These are very, very good tools designed to run on very, very good computers.

Which programs do most YouTubers use?

Generally speaking YouTubers tend to go for simple, effective and affordable apps. One of the best free apps is Lightworks, which you can get for Windows, Mac and Linux devices. It has integrated YouTube exporting and a bunch of really impressive real-time effects. It looks absolutely terrifying compared to something like Microsoft Photos but it doesn’t take long to learn and it’s a really good editing app.

There are lots of other good options too. HitFilm Pro has a free version but also offers a powerful professional version. The free app DaVinci Resolve is very good, especially on colour correction, and while the VSDC Free Video Editor lacks the hardware acceleration of paid-for editing apps that’s not really an issue if you’re not in a busy working environment.

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