Best Free Video Editing Software

Best Free Video Editing Software Review

Overview

Video editing software allows users to edit and manipulate video footage to create professional-looking videos. While premium video editors like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro offer advanced features, they can be expensive and have a steep learning curve. This is where free video editing software comes in handy. Free video editors provide powerful editing capabilities without the high cost. Beginners can start with a free program to learn the basics of video editing. Even professionals use free software for quick edits and side projects. The best free video editors can handle most common editing tasks. In this comprehensive guide, we review the top free video editing software available today. Key aspects covered in this review:

  • Platform compatibility – Windows, Mac, Linux, Online
  • Primary use cases – Beginners, Intermediates, Advanced
  • Key features – Editing tools, Effects, Transitions, Titles, Audio editing
  • Ease of use – Interface, Learning curve
  • Export options – Format support, Hardware acceleration
  • Pros and cons of each software

We tested and compared the most popular free video editors to provide recommendations based on user experience and capabilities.

Best Free Video Editing Software
Best Free Video Editing Software

Best Free Video Editing Software

Here is a handpicked list of the best free video editing software in 2023 based on editing features, usability, and platform compatibility:

Software Platform Key Features Difficulty
DaVinci Resolve Windows, Mac, Linux Advanced color correction, Multi-track editing, 3D compositing Intermediate
Lightworks Windows, Mac, Linux Used in major films, Multi-cam editing, Wide format support Intermediate
Shotcut Windows, Mac, Linux 4K support, GPU-based effects, Cross-platform Intermediate
OpenShot Windows, Mac, Linux Intuitive interface, Animated titles, Chroma key Beginner
VSDC Video Editor Windows Hardware acceleration, Masking, Chroma key Beginner
HitFilm Express Windows, Mac Compositing, Tracking, 3D effects Intermediate
iMovie Mac Easy to use, Great for beginners, Tight Apple integration Beginner

Below we explore the key features, pros and cons of each software and who they are best suited for.

DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve is arguably the most advanced free video editor available today. It offers professional-grade tools that are on par with premium paid software. Key Highlights:

  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Full-featured professional video editor
  • Excellent color correction tools
  • Multicam editing with up to 16 angles
  • Supports 4K, 8K, HDR, and 360° video
  • Fairlight audio engine for advanced audio
  • Node-based compositing with Blackmagic Fusion
  • Collaborative workflow and AAF/XML support

Pros

  • Extremely powerful and versatile
  • Professional color grading and audio tools
  • Support for latest video formats and codecs
  • Seamless integration with other Blackmagic Design products

Cons

  • Steep learning curve for beginners
  • No screen recording capability

Best For: DaVinci Resolve is best suited for professional video editors and colorists. The free version has all the core editing tools while the paid Studio version adds collaborative workflows and other advanced features.

Lightworks

Lightworks is a professional non-linear editing system that has been used to edit major Hollywood films like Pulp Fiction, LA Confidential, Heat, Road to Perdition, Hugo, The Wolf of Wall Street, and more. Why Choose Lightworks?

  • Used in many professional productions
  • Supports multi-cam editing
  • Wide range of file formats supported
  • Good selection of effects and transitions
  • Fast and responsive playback
  • Active user community for support

Pros

  • Professional grade video editor trusted by experts
  • Actively developed and updated
  • Great stability and performance
  • Feature-rich considering its free price

Cons

  • Steep learning curve for new users
  • Limited export options on the free version

Best For: Lightworks is best suited for professional editors, videographers, and content creators who need advanced multi-track editing capabilities.

Shotcut

Shotcut is an open-source cross-platform video editor available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Key Features:

  • Native support for 4K, 5K, and 8K video
  • GPU-accelerated image processing and rendering
  • Support for webcams, devices, and HDMI capture
  • Multi-format timeline with mixing of resolutions and frame rates
  • Intuitive and fully customizable interface
  • Audio mixing and waveform visualization

Pros

  • Lightweight and resource efficient
  • Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Active development community
  • Advanced audio and video effects

Cons

  • Not the most user-friendly for beginners
  • Limited documentation and support resources

Best For: Shotcut is ideal for intermediate users wanting an open-source free video editor for quick edits and formatting conversions. The learning curve is steeper than beginner tools but it is more advanced than most free options.

OpenShot

OpenShot is an open-source video editing tool with a simple interface and easy learning curve. Why Choose OpenShot?

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop timeline
  • Pre-built transitions, effects, titles
  • Unlimited tracks for overlays
  • Support for image sequences and video compositing
  • Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Active community support and development

Pros

  • Very easy to use for beginners
  • Lightweight and responsive interface
  • Lots of documentation and tutorials
  • Active development and updates

Cons

  • Limited advanced editing capabilities
  • Fewer effects and filters than paid software

Best For: OpenShot is the best free video editing software for beginners thanks to its easy interface. It also works great for simple editing tasks and home videos.

VSDC Video Editor

VSDC Video Editor is a non-linear editing suite for Windows with a straightforward workflow. Key Features:

  • Intuitive object-oriented workflow
  • Multicam editing support
  • Wide range of visual effects and filters
  • Color correction tools
  • Hardware acceleration for HD videos
  • Support for 4K UHD footage
  • Export to social media sites

Pros

  • Easy to get started
  • Lots of built-in effects and templates
  • Good performance when handling HD footage

Cons

  • Windows only
  • Limited support resources

Best For: VSDC Video Editor is suitable for beginners looking for a basic but capable free video editing program for Windows. The easy interface makes it ideal for new users.

HitFilm Express

HitFilm Express is a free version of the HitFilm editing software with advanced capabilities like 3D compositing and visual effects. Key Features:

  • Layer-based compositing and transformations
  • Keyframe animation for effects and transitions
  • Wide range of video and audio effects
  • 3D video editing and compositing
  • Motion tracking for objects
  • Support for 4K, 8K, and 360° video

Pros

  • Advanced visual effects and compositing tools
  • Feature-rich for a free program
  • Support for multiple video and audio tracks

Cons

  • Steep learning curve for beginners
  • Requires powerful computer for best performance

Best For: HitFilm Express is geared towards intermediate and advanced users who want professional-grade compositing and effects capabilities in a free software. The complex interface makes it unsuitable for beginners.

iMovie

iMovie is a free video editing app developed by Apple for Mac and iOS devices. Why Choose iMovie?

  • User-friendly interface
  • Optimized for Mac and iOS ecosystem
  • Easy to use drag-and-drop timeline
  • Handy editing features like split, trim, crop etc.
  • Range of filters, titles, and effects
  • Direct sharing to YouTube, Facebook etc.

Pros

  • Intuitive interface ideal for beginners
  • Seamless integration with Apple devices
  • Good performance even on older Macs

Cons

  • Limited to Mac ecosystem only
  • Lacks advanced editing capabilities

Best For: iMovie is the best free video editing software for Mac users, especially beginners. The easy interface and tight Apple integration make it a handy basic editor for hobbyists.

How to Choose the Right Free Video Editor

Here are some tips to select the best free video editing software for your needs:

  • Platform – Mac, Windows, Linux compatibility
  • Learning curve – Beginner or advanced interface
  • Use case – Types of videos you will edit
  • Effects – Transitions, filters, text, motion graphics
  • Hardware requirements – System resources needed
  • Export options – Format support for output
  • Upgrades – Paid add-ons and premium versions

Try out a few video editors to find one that best fits your editing needs and style. Prioritize an intuitive interface and capabilities that match your experience level.

Conclusion

This guide covered the top free video editing software available in 2023 for various experience levels and platforms. Key options like DaVinci Resolve, OpenShot, Lightworks, and iMovie provide powerful editing without the high cost. Evaluate your use case, experience level, and platform to determine the best free video editor for your needs. Using the right free software, you can edit professional-looking videos without spending a dime. Pair it with a good camera and mic, and you have all the tools to become a great video creator.

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