Everyone agrees that it's impossible to shoot video perfectly on the first try. Even birthday videos or amateur productions can use the kind of touch-ups that a video editor has to offer, like titles or transitions. With the number of short films made increases day by day, knowing basic video editing helps the youngsters.
Like every popular proprietary software, there exists an equally good open source free software. But unfortunately, the open-source world lacked a proper non-linear video editor with similar features to the ones found on other proprietary platforms for a long time. But we have searched for the best of the available and selected few of them. Here is a list of free video editors with reliably best features. Here are the best desktop, mobile, and online video editors.
Best Free Video Editing Softwares
Best free editing softwares should at least provide all the basics of non-linear editing alongside at least few advanced features. Ads or no ads, such softwares help novices a lot in learning the nuances of video editing.
Lightworks is an amazing video editing software which allows some of the advanced editing features for free users. There are some of the best real advanced tools in this software package. It is even used for Hollywood movie editing. The Wolf of Wall Street, LA Confidential, Pulp Fiction, Heat, Road to Perdition, Hugo, The King’s Speech, etc. are edited using Lightworks. As the name itself implies, Lightworks is light on the hardware requirement. Whether you need to make a video for social media, YouTube or for a 4K film project, Lightworks makes it all possible!
Lightworks is by far the most customizable of the top pro video editing programs in our recommendations. This is due to how radically different the interface is from other video editors. Lightworks consists of a decentralized canvas of free-floating windows that users can create or dismiss at their convenience. This allows you to create a workflow that is completely customized to your needs.
This is great because each video editing project is different, and every video editor has a unique style. This approach is a nice alternative to the one-size-fits-all approach offered by industry-standard applications. Also, all you need for Lightworks to work properly on your system are a 200MB storage for system installment, 2GB RAM to run the software smoothly, and as little as 3GB of storage. You can run this software on even the light on hardware systems too.
You might think that this light usage of system resources translates to substandard tools. But this is not the case with Lightworks. Almost all the professional editing tools you find in high priced applications are present and just as functional in this pro video editor. There are some notable exceptions to this: You can't create closed captions, and there are other disc-authoring tools that you'll have to rely on a third-party application for.
More advanced features like project sharing, stereoscopic output, and timeline rendering are missing from the free version of Lightworks. You're also limited in your output options to MP4 format directly to YouTube and Vimeo with a maximum resolution of 720p which is not at all a big limitation as most of the videos are rendered in the standard of 854x480. It doesn't have everything that the best pro video editing software offers, but you can get more or less the same results with it. With free of cost.
- Advanced tools
- Real-time effects
- Free for home use
- Interface might be intimidating
Download Lightworks from here.
For those who use Apple devices need no introduction to iMovie. It is an excellent lightweight app both for the desktops and mobile device. Heck! You most probably get it bundled with your iDevices including the Macs. It is not as powerful as Apple's pricey paid software FinalCut Pro. But iMovie does everything you need when it comes to the basics.
iMovie imports video footage to the Mac using either the FireWire interface on most MiniDV format digital video cameras or the computer's USB port. It can also import video and photo files from a hard drive. From there, the user can edit the photos and video clips and add titles, themes, music, and effects, including basic color correction and video enhancement tools and transitions such as fades and slides. All this can be done on your iPhone too. You can even cut off the unnecessary parts of the videos and make it crisp using iMovie. 3D Touch and 4K Video editing also make it breezy.
iMovie can also manipulate and enhance the audio of a project by reducing background noise and boosting audio levels of quiet clips. The latest version of iMovie includes options to modify and enhance video color settings, crop and rotate of a video clip,] stabilizing shaky videos, adding video effects such as fade, and changing the speed (speed up or slow down) of clips. When it comes to simple video manipulating, nothing beats iMovie.
- Offers new links between the Mac and iOS
- Complex tools are hidden beneath a simple interface
- New slow-motion scrubber in the timeline
- Streamlined preferences options
- Streamlined import process
- Background tasks icon keeps you informed of hidden processes without interrupting you
- Support for multi-layer editing
- Export controls dramatically simplified
- iMovie Theater sharing
- Speed scrubber can’t be ducked in and out
- Adjust bar lacks speed control
- Export to Final Cut XML is gone
- No project sharing on the Mac; only on iOS
Learn more about iMovie through the Apple website.
KDE Non-Linear Video Editor or Kdenlive is an open source video editing software. Kdenlive is built on Qt and the KDE Frameworks libraries. Most of the video processing is done by the MLT Framework, which relies on many other open source projects like FFmpeg, frei0r, movit, ladspa, sox, etc. Kdenlive packages are freely available for Linux, FreeBSD, and Microsoft Windows, and the source code is available under the terms of GNU General Public License version 2 or any later version.
Some of the behind the mask features of Kdenlive are:
- Kdenlive has multi-track editing with a timeline and supports an unlimited number of video and audio tracks.
- A built-in title editor and tools to create, move, crop and delete video clips, audio clips, text clips and image clips.
- Configurable keyboard shortcuts and interface layouts.
- A wide range of effects and transitions. Audio effects include normalization, phase and pitch shifting, limiting, volume adjustment, reverb and equalization filters as well as others. Video effects include options for masking, blue-screen, distortions, rotations, colour tools, blurring, obscuring and others.
- Ability to add custom effects and transitions.
- Rendering is done using a separate non-blocking process so it can be stopped, paused and restarted.
- Kdenlive also provides a script called the Kdenlive Builder Wizard (KBW) that compiles the latest developer version of the software and its main dependencies from source, to allow users to try to test new features and report problems on the bug tracker.
- Easy to use
- Multiple formats
- Intuitive interface
- Resource consumption
- Sometimes painfully slow
- Need a powerful system for smooth working.
But overall, Kdenlive is a great free editing software which can help make your videos look professional.
You can get Kdenlive from here.
DaVinci Resolve which started its life as a color correcting tool has now been expanded into a full editing suite by the makers.
Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best (if not the best) color grading software for film and video editing. But over the past few years, the company has put a lot of effort toward developing Resolve into a full suite of editing tools as well. With the latest updates (DaVinci Resolve 14) Blackmagic has now added Fairlight audio editing tools to complement the software's color and nonlinear editing tools. Currently, the video editing software is in its 15th version.
DaVinci Resolve is a free version of a premium video editor for Windows and Mac, but as with Lightworks, it's so feature-packed you probably won't miss the few tools it lacks.
Some of the behind the mask features of DaVinci Resolve include:
- Resolution independent 4K, 2K, HD and SD interactive color grading in real time.
- Non-linear color grading for quick matching and adjustment of similar scenes, regardless of where they occurred in the program.
- PowerMastering: Multiple resolution deliverables from a single master enabled grades in up to 2K resolution using the R-series R-200 to 350 and in 4K on the R-4K and output to 4K, 2K HD, SD 16:9, SD 4:3 and other media formats in real time without the need to pre-render the images.
- Direct connection to SANs and leading storage systems.
- Unlimited windows, layers, and blurs that allowed complex color grading enhancements and fixes in real time.
- Real-time rotation and sizing to preserve the best possible image quality at any resolution.
- Parallel and series node-based grading that provided the maximum flexibility to apply complex grades to a scene.
- Combination of 4K, 2K, HD, SD and DV footage in the same timeline and utilization of the proprietary Transformer technology to resize for a consistent look and output to the desired size and resolution.
- Multi-point object tracking that allowed users to lock color decisions on moving objects within the scene.
- Laying off to tape in C-mode with graded handles and source timecode that enabled effective interface with another finishing suite.
- Color grade of RED Raw files in real time
- Easy match of scene-to-scene shots
- Real-time pan/tilt/zoom and rotate
- Instant access to all shots
- Grading in context in real time
- ColorTrace grading management software to support the enhanced list management features of changing edits.
- Well designed toolkits
- Full audio mastering suite
- Advanced color correction
- The free version lacks a few features
All in all, DaVinci Resolve is a very good free video editing software. You can get DaVinci Resolve from BlackMagic website.
VSDC Free Video Editor
VSDC Free Video Editor is a non-linear editing system (NLE) published by Flash-Integro LLC. The program is tailored for editing digital video and audio files in various formats including high-definition and ultra-high-definition resolutions, offering professional post-production effects, as well as the ability to export in 4k resolution, capture video from screen, record voice, burn discs, save multimedia files to a number of supported formats and publish them on Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
You can export finished projects in a variety of formats, with handy ready-made profiles for popular devices. VSDC Free Video Editor also provides a way to burn your project onto DVD – a feature rarely available in free editing software.
Some of the basic editing features of VSDC Free Video Editor include:
- Cutting, splitting and merging video and audio tracks
- Speed change
- Splitting a video file into audio and video tracks and editing them as separate objects
- Text and subtitles insertion
- Integrated video downloader
- Integrated converter tool supporting more than 20 formats
- Integrated screen recorder
- Slide-show wizard offering 70+ transition effects to make one object smoothly go into one another, dissolve or overlap two video or image files
- Zoom effect - magnify or reduce the view of the image
- Snapshots - capture a particular moment of a video clip
- Non-linear editing
- Excellent selection of effects and transitions
- Easy to master
- Hardware acceleration must be disabled before you can export videos
You can get VSDC Free Video Editor from here.
ShotCut is a free and open-source cross-platform video editing application for FreeBSD, Linux, OS X, and Windows.
Shotcut supports video, audio, and image formats via FFmpeg. It uses a timeline for non-linear video editing of multiple tracks that may be composed of various file formats. Scrubbing and transport control are assisted by OpenGL GPU-based processing and a number of video and audio filters are available.
The advantage with Shotcut video editor is it is open source. And it costs nothing. Shotcut proves that a top-notch video editor that is free to use. It is totally free with no ads, bundled adware, or features hidden behind a paywall. But the interface looks a bit odd as it first started its life in Linux and the interface didn’t change much when it started going for Windows and Mac.
Some of the main features of ShotCut include
- Frame-accurate seeking for most formats
- Multi-format timeline: mix different resolutions and frame rates within a project
- Webcam and Audio capture
- 4K resolutions support
- Network stream playback
- EDL (CMX3600 Edit Decision List) export
- Export single frame as image or video as image sequence
- Audio filters and mixing
- JACK transport sync
- Tone generator
- Stereo, mono, and 5.1 surround
- Video compositing across video tracks
- HTML5 (sans audio and video) as video source and filters
- Color grading
- Tools to fade audio and video from and to black
- Video wipe transitions
- Key-frames for effects
If you’re looking for a free video editor that can replace Windows Movie Maker, Shotcut is a particularly good choice. This open source app contains all the tools you know and love from Microsoft’s classic video editing software, plus a raft of extras that bring it up bang up to date.
- Advanced and customizable filters
- Intuitive interface
- Nothing in the interface changed from the Linux model which makes the interface unusual for many
All in all, ShotCut is a great app for what it offers for free. You can get ShotCut from here.
HitFilm Express is a truly remarkable free video editor that can deliver astonishing results if you know what you are doing. You'll need to invest some time to get the most from it, but it's well worth the effort. Available for both Mac and Windows, HitFilm Express is a professional-level video editing tool without the professional-level price tag.
HitFilm Express is about more – much, much more – than just trimming away unwanted footage, tweaking colour levels, and exporting video to a new format. This is a full edit suite that can be used to work with filters and special effects, as well as a selection of 2D and 3D composition tools.
Downloading HitFilm Express is a bit of pain. You can’t just hit a link and download the software. Instead, you have to take part in an active promotion for the developer by sharing the fact that you're downloading it to social media. That said, the convoluted download process proves to be a small price to pay for what turns out to be a fantastic program. HitFilm Express is packed with professional quality tools, with the major tools including:
- Advanced cutting tools
- Keying for green screen effects
- Audio and video filters
- Compositing tools
- Layers and masking
- 3D video support
The best thing about HitFilm Express is it has many video tutorials which are excellent.
- Truly professional-grade software
- Great selection of online tutorials
- Highly extendable (for a fee)
- Odd download process
- High system requirements
- Steep learning curve
You can get HitFilm Express from here. Be ready to share it!
So, you have come to the end of some of the best and widely suggested video editors for enthusiasts and the professionals who don't want to spend too much of their hard earned cash to get an advanced video editing software.
Adobe Premiere Clip For Mobile Devices
Adobe Premiere Clip enables you to edit any video right from your mobile device quickly. It is fast and fun to use. The best feature about Clip is the automatic video creation capability, i.e., the app can automatically create videos for you with any photos or clips that you choose. Moreover, you can also create your videos with its multiple video editing functions like cutting, trimming, adding transitions, music, filters, effects, etc.
It is free to download on both Android and iOS. The best thing is it does not display any ads. It also has direct video sharing capabilities which makes it a very good video editing app for both Android and iOS. But it is fairly basic in functionality. You can get Adobe Premiere Clip from here.
Video editing on mobile devices is still not as advanced as doing the same on the desktop. Except for iMovie, there are no other native video editing softwares for mobile devices. There are many apps to add a few filters and effects but they are not worth anything other than adding video clips together and add background music. They are not useful other than that even to the novices who are serious about learning editing. Add to that, most of the apps are freemium. You have to bear with their watermarks. So, we omitted such apps.
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