Video content has been thriving for the past few years. If you are reading this, you probably want to join the community of creators and looking for a decent piece of video editing software.
The good news is, there are so many tools today, you might spend days just installing and testing them. But here is better news: we’ve cherry-picked 9 video editors that are absolutely free. Regardless of what OS you’re using, you’ll be able to find the right solution in this article.
1. VSDC Free Video Editor (Windows)
VSDC is an all-in-one tool for those looking for a powerful, almost professional-level video editor but can’t afford to pay for one.
It easily opens videos of all formats and boasts quite an impressive feature-set. VSDC will fit the beginners willing to just cut and merge few fragments, rotate a video, or add some background music – as well as tech-savvy users interested in advanced tools for color correction, Chroma Keying, and blending multiple videos into one composition. There are dozens of color filters, video effects, and transitions available. You can also add subtitles, use animation, perform split screen and picture-in-picture effects.
Besides editing footage, VSDC allows you to record screen, capture webcam video, create slideshows, and record voice comments using a microphone.
VSDC runs on Windows OS only, and one of its advantages – it is so lightweight, you can easily utilize it even on a low-end PC. It is also a stable choice for those on Windows 7, be it a 32-bit or a 64-bit system.
If you use Windows 10, check these 7 pieces of free video editing software running well on this OS.
2. OpenShot (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Openshot is an opensource video editing software. Created as a tool for Linux back in 2008, it has evolved into a cross-platform solution, so now Windows and Mac computer owners can use it as well.
OpenShot has a minimalistic drag-n-drop interface and a decent number of hotkey combinations for just about any operation. There are three main tabs – Project files, Transitions, and Effects – a razor tool for splicing the footage, and a library of title templates available in the upper menu.
With the effects available in Openshot, you can apply basic color and contrast correction, blur a video, and remove green background. As an open-source product, OpenShot is pretty good at recognizing various formats and doesn’t limit your export options.
3. Videopad (Windows, Mac OS X, Android, Kindle)
Videopad is another noteworthy example of a video editing software available at zero cost for non-commercial use. It also employs the drag-n-drop motion feature, which makes it easy for an amateur cinematographer to get a grasp on the program.
Like VSDC, Videopad provides an array of complementing tools for screen capturing, video capturing, and audio recording. The splitting tool conveniently opens in a separate pop-up window for more precision. There are over 50 visual effects and a robust tool-set for working with text – including real-time subtitles editing. The key limitation of the free version is a narrow choice of export formats. You can only save videos in WMV or AVI formats.
Videopad is available for Windows, Mac OS X, for Android, and even Kindle.
4. Shotcut (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Shotcut is a second open-source video editor on the list. Just like OpenShot, it is supported by Windows, Mac, and Linux OS.
For such a feature-rich program, Shotcut has a very clear, yet, slightly tricky interface. It allows you to have toolbars as separate windows that can be resized and moved all around the interface. Truth be told, once you get used to it, such an implementation starts looking great, because of a large preview window most video editors lack.
Another feature making Shotcut stand out is real-time editing capability. That means, when you apply a filter or an effect, you can see the results immediately on the right. Moreover, you can “undo” any action applied in the past no matter how many steps ago it was performed, due to the history view feature.
Overall, with Shotcut, you get a robust solution compatible with all the popular video and audio formats and capable of basic footage editing as well as advanced processing.
5. Avidemux (Windows, Linux, Mac)
Avidemux is one of the longest-existing tools for video cutting and encoding. Its feature-set is very limited, but the program does exactly what’s promised. In fact, splicing a video can be done so quickly and easily in Avidemux, the software is well worth downloading if this is a repetitive task for you.
Once you open a new file, you can either set the markers or choose a precise time frame using the right part of the bottom menu, to define the piece of footage you want to work with. After that, you can cut (Ctrl+X), copy (Ctrl +C), or delete the chosen fragment. When you’re done, simply go to the video output menu on the left upper side of the menu and choose a codec you’d like the video to be configured to.
What’s remarkable, Avidemux – just like VSDC – allows for exporting video in H.265/HEVC codec which is considered the best standard for keeping the high quality and the minimum file size. The fact that even the most popular paid video editors don’t provide such an option, adds a lot of value to having Avidemux installed on your computer.
Besides, the software is ultra-lightweight, installs in seconds, and runs on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
6. iMovie (Mac, iPhone, iPad)
Every user of Apple products has heard of iMovie. It’s their default video editing software, and it’s completely free. The best part about iMovie – it works on Mac computers, tablets, and iPhones as well, so you can effortlessly make quick edits on the go. You can literally start a project on your smartphone and continue it on a laptop. Oh, and it also connects to iTunes to make your life easier.
Let’s face it, Apple designs are at most outstanding, and the same can be said about their software interface. It’s very user-friendly, and one will easily figure out how to work in iMovie without even reading the instructions.
Like most video editors on this list, iMovie is a non-linear tool, so you get a timeline for several video and audio tracks you can create compositions of. Feature-wise, there are quite a few templates for video backgrounds and titles, a number of standard filters and effects, and a direct social media export tool.
When used on MacOS (as opposed to iOS), iMovie allows for applying advanced post-production tricks – such as color correction, picture-in-picture effect, and Chroma Key.
Bottom line is, if you’re a Mac user, looking for a better (and a free) alternative to iMovie might be unreasonable. This tool has everything there is to expect from a video editing software and will satisfy even the ambitious creators.
7. Davinci Resolve (Windows, Mac, Linux)
And since we started talking about ambitions, meet Davinci Resolve – perhaps, the most powerful post-production software among all the existing free products. Calling it a video editor would be an understatement because this tool is tailored for high-level color grading and intended to be used by professionals or aspiring movie makers.
Besides color correction, there is a thoroughly impressive set of advanced features – such as multicam editing, vector paint, 3D compositing, Chroma Keying, 2D and 3D titles, motion tracking, and powerful audio editor. Sure, you can trim or rotate a video in Resolve too, but this is not why you might want to have it on your machine.
The current latest version (Davinci Resolve 15) is now in Beta, so perhaps you’re better off installing the stable Davinci Resolve 14. Keep in mind that this software has quite high system requirements, so neither it is a good start for a complete amateur, nor an outdated computer owner.
Davinci Resolve is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux users. To download previous versions, go to Support Center – Davinci Resolve product family – Latest downloads.
8, 9. ClipChamp and Movie Maker Online (browser)
This list wouldn’t be sufficient without online video editing software. The big advantage of online editors – you don’t need to install anything on your computer, and all the processing happens in a browser. Not only does it mean full OS-independence, but also – accessibility from anywhere as long as you have the Internet.
ClipChamp offers free online video editor, converter, compressor, and a webcam recorder. You can sign up instantly using your Facebook or Google account, and once you open the app, everything is quite self-explanatory.
ClipChamp is a linear video editing tool, which means there is only one video track and one audio track so you can place media files in a direct sequence, one after another. It lacks fancy features of most desktop programs and transitions, but it looks almost perfect for someone who literally just needs to quickly cut a video and make few adjustments.
In a nutshell, here is what you can do with ClipChamp: split and merge clips, add music, background, and news-style corner headings. On a video file level, you can flip and rotate the picture, crop to fit the required ratio, change speed, fix temperature and saturation, and apply color filters.
Perhaps, the most significant drawback of the free version is the export quality. “Normal 480p” is the only option for non-paying users. And for some cases – like watching it on a small screen or using the video as a draft/mock-up to showcase your idea before execution – a 480p resolution might work. Should you want to unlock high resolution (720p), the app suggests a $9/mo upgrade.
If export quality is crucial for your project, there is another online video editor you should check out. It’s called Movie Maker Online.
Despite the name, this app has nothing in common with the default editing software by Microsoft. In fact, its interface is so unconventional, it may take you some time to figure out how it works. Yet, the struggle comes with a few advantages. First, Movie Maker Online provides a library of royalty-free images and audio tracks you can use for the project. Second, it allows you to export videos in MP4 format, download them to your computer, upload directly to social media, or even share using a direct link.
One thing you should be aware of – Movie Maker Online monetizes on built-in ads, so be prepared to see banners all over the interface. Yet, it’s a small price to pay for a mighty online video editor anyway.
What’s your favorite free video editing software? Share your thoughts in comments!