Sometimes you watch a video and just think – ‘wow’. We’re truly spoilt these days when it comes to the production of crisp, clear and powerful footage.
But what if we told you that you could achieve the same results with free video editing software? It may sound too good to be true, but Hollywood strength moving-image can be created this way.
To prove this, we’ve put together a list of five of our favourite free video editing solutions. You will have no doubt heard of some, others may just prove to be unearthed gems.
All five stood out to us for both their power and usability, not forgetting their cost-saving brilliance. Some of them have even been used in the production of major blockbusters. With the free versions you can still have access to many of their top features.
However, we can’t pretend that free video editing software will bring the same rewards as most paid solutions. They can go a long way towards doing so, depending on your needs, but as with anything in life – you get what you pay for.
How to choose the best free video editing software
It’s easy to get lost or confused amongst all the bold claims being made by software creators, especially as there are so many options. Most of the standout features will rarely be used by the average downloader too.
So, as with any software, we recommend that you set your criteria by considering what you are actually looking for. Think about the routine tasks you plan to do, and then search for a software that delivers. If there are any extra goodies that’s a bonus, but not compulsory.
In this case you don’t need to worry about value for money. Nevertheless, as we said earlier, there will be restrictions with free software so just keep an eye on how restricting these are.
With all of the software that we have chosen to compare, usability and enjoyability levels are high. It’s important that you can use it without too much hassle. As with every software there can be a learning curve at first, but before too long you should be up to speed.
We always think that the best package to go for is the one that’s easiest for you to get to grips with and that is compatible with the way you work. It’s got to support the types of video file formats and video input devices that you typically use too.
With these free options there is no reason why you can’t take an application for a test run or brush up on them with online reviews. We’ve got lots of reviews and comparison articles (Like this one!) as well as program description pages to guide you.
So, without further ado, let’s take a proper look at these five great pieces of free video editing software.
DaVinci Resolve 16
First on our list is DaVinci Resolve 16, by BlackMagic Design. The creators are rightly proud of this free product and its host of new features.
They claim it’s the world’s only solution that combines professional 8K editing, visual effects, colour correction and audio postproduction all in one software tool.
So, you can move between editing, effects, colour and audio pretty much with a single click. It’s also reported to be the only solution designed for multiple user collaboration.
This means that editors, colourists, assistants, sound designers and VFX artists can all simultaneously work on the same project in real-time.
Key features include:
- Video transitions and effects.
- Pure digital audio tools.
- Complete video optimisation.
- Colour optimisation.
- Share with family and friends.
- New and improved ResolveFX and collaboration features.
As Blackmagic Design say, DaVinci Resolve 16 is “a massive release” with hundreds of features directly sought after by customers. It’s difficult to think of a major feature that DaVinci Resolve 16 doesn’t have in its armoury.
You can enjoy amazing video transitions and effects which can be customised later. Pure digital audio tools are also readily available, whether you’re after music or you would like to record your own narration.
If you’re after complete video optimisation – you’ve come to the right place! Video stabilisation will make sure any camera shakiness is reduced. You can also speed up, slow down or reverse any video clips during playback. Other visual effects can also be fine-tuned, while plugin support is available to add thousands of tools and effects.
The list really does go on! The BlackMagic Design website is packed with explanations of all DaVinci Resolve 16’s top features. Once you have your video content sorted you can then share with family and friends in just a few clicks, whether it’s on social media, mobile or burning onto DVD.
Overall, whether you’re an individual artist or part of a collaborative team, DaVinci Resolve 16 can be a game changer. It has been used in the high-end postproduction and finishing of more television shows, films and commercials than any other software for a reason!
VSDC Free Video Editor
VSDC Free Video Editor is a video editing application that offers more than just a standard set of tools. You can carefully edit video files using numerous visual and audio tools. Like DaVinci Resolve 16, it offers rich functionality wrapped around a simple and intuitive interface.
VSDC Free Video Editor supports virtually all popular codecs and video formats, such as AVI, MP4, MKV, MPG, WMV, 3GP, FLV and others.
Supported audio files include MP3, WAV, WMA, FLAC, PCM, OGG, AAC, M4A, AMR and others. It also supports the following image files: BMP, JPG, PNG, PSD, ICO, TIFF, etc.
Key features include:
- Visual and audio editing tools.
- Simple and intuitive interface.
- Supports a wide range of file types.
- Effects and filters included.
- Wizards to guide video creation.
This product has support for a large number of video effects, such as colour correction, and object transformation. It even lets you create your own effects by combining available effects and filters.
With the amount of video effects at your fingertips in this application you would be forgiven for thinking that the audio effects may be neglected. You would be wrong, VSDC Free Video Editor covers audio effects quite well.
Users can apply audio effects and filters to audio tracks in video and audio files. You can use such tools as sound normalization, volume correction, echo, reverberation, equalizer and others more in-depth tools.
Overall, VSDC Free Video Editor has a modern looking interface, that is very intuitive. There are lots of different wizards to make video creation and editing an easy task.
Although the interface has a simplistic feel to it, the application offers a plethora of features, which allow users to create well-presented videos.
Here we have something for the beginners… HitFilm Express sets out to provide video editors with all the power they need to ‘make something cool’. This starter video editing software will allow anyone to take their first steps towards pro-filmmaking thanks to VFX wizardry.
It is being described as perfect for students, YouTubers and beginner filmmakers. So, if you’re looking to level up your skills this software’s masterclass tutorials will suit everyone.
Key features include:
- Full 2D and 3D compositing.
- 410+ effects and presets.
- Free video tutorials and projects.
- Professional video editor.
- Unlimited tracks and transitions.
- Great usability.
This download is ‘fully loaded and forever free’. HitFilm believe that users shouldn’t have to pay to play. They also say that they delight in being a part of their user’s origin story.
With its warm, friendly and incredibly helpful interface this program will guide complete beginners through the art of professional filmmaking. They can learn how to get the most out of more than 410 effects and presets, all thanks to free tutorials.
Overall, HitFilm Express gives you access to the most powerful free video-editor and VFX software. With its unlimited tracks and transitions, full 2D and 3D compositing and a whole host of impressive features it is easy to see why this program continues to be downloaded in high numbers each day.
Lightworks strives to offer the ‘complete video creation package’. That’s why for the last 25 years this brand has been at the forefront of film editing. In fact, it has been used to help edit some major blockbusters including; Pulp Fiction, The Wolf of Wall Street, The King’s Speech and many more.
Now Lightworks has designed a product for everyone, so that any video can stand out from the crowd. So, if you need to create a video for social media, a 4K film project or YouTube – Lightworks ‘can make it possible’.
Lightworks Free provides you with all the features of the paid version, with the only restriction being output formats For those stepping into video making this is a great option as it comes with many precious tools.
Key features include:
- Simple and intuitive user interface.
- Video editing for everyone.
- Amazing effects and royalty-free media.
- Export formats – YouTube (720p) and Vimeo (720p).
- Hollywood strength editing.
- Hardware I/O support.
You can easily and quickly get up to speed with creating quality content with this product. With all the tools you need easily accessible directly from the timeline, it couldn’t be easier! There’s also a huge set of tutorial videos and a community of users on hand to help with every query.
With Lightworks you can edit like a pro and unleash your creative potential for all to see. In fact, you can have the power of an Academy and Emmy award-winning video editing software in a simple package. So, you can go and create your own masterpieces!
So, overall this product can help you edit videos like a professional filmmaker. Don’t worry if you’re a novice, the user interface has been designed with close attention to making sure this is a product for one and all.
OpenShot Video Editor.
Our final suggestion is a video editor designed to be easy to use, quick to learn, and surprisingly powerful. OpenShot Video Editor is open-source and completely free, no strings attached.
It comes with a great range of features; you can add animations, video effects, adjust or slow timings and more. Create professional level productions with this simple to learn software.
Key features include:
- Trim & Slice
- Animation & Keyframes
- Unlimited Tracks
- Video Effects
- Audio Waveforms
Slow motion and time effects also look pretty impressive. While you can also use audio manipulation and visual waveforms to adjust sounds or add a backing track to your movie. That’s before we even touch on the 3D animation features!
Creators say that while they designed the product they made big efforts to create the ‘friendliest video software ever’. It is also available in more than 70 different languages and advice is available for those who have extra queries.
What’s more? The latest version has just been released and it is being described as ‘the absolute best yet’, with huge performance and stability improvements. They have also brought in major bug fixes, lots of polish and an array of new features.
Overall, OpenShot Video Editor is a great simple editor perfect for people with limited experience. It’s so popular that they’re even selling t-shirts with the OpenShot logo on them!
So, there we have it, five brilliant free video editing software options to try today. It’s difficult to pick a favourite isn’t it?
As we said earlier, it can be very difficult to choose the best video editing software for you. Fortunately, we’ve put together an in-depth explainer to guide you through this dilemma. Check it out here.
Once you know what you’re looking for you should be well away! Maybe one of the above programs fits the bill perfectly? We will totally understand if not though, we know that everyone’s tastes are different.
Looking for another option? If you’re not too worried about finding a free video editing solution, we have more lists for you to consider. Take a look at our Best Video Editing Software for Windows and Best Video Editing Software for Mac articles.
Any solutions that we’ve missed? Be sure to let us know!