Nothing makes an impression like moving images with sound. That's why digital video continues to grow in importance online. Couple that trend with the ever-increasing availability of devices capable of high-resolution video recording—smartphones, GoPros, DSLRs—and the case for ever more powerful video editing software becomes clear. Further, the software must be usable by nonprofessionals, and it has to keep up with new formats such as HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), 360-degree VR video, and 4K and above.
Windows Movie Maker is free video editing software available on virtually every PC. Developed by Microsoft as part of the standard program suite, it was included in Windows XP and, more recently, Windows 7 and Windows 8. Even though it is not supported for Windows 10, you can still download Windows Movie Maker and install it on this newest operating system, as well. But should you really do that? You can try a powerful alternative like Movavi Video Editor Plus that gives you access to a wider range of tools and is also available to Mac users.

The Definition of Free: There's free and then there's freemium. Some software, like iMovie, is genuinely free. But just as some video-editing packages are sold in tiers — with more-expensive versions offering more and expanded features — a freemium video program may just be the lowest level of a paid version. Or it may be a trial version that hobbles the end product in various ways, like putting a huge watermark on your video or limiting output formats.
Whether you're an editing newbie or a pro, automated functions – such as motion tracking and smart toning – will make your life a lot easier. And the same can be said of the video stabilisation option and simplicity of editing. Premiere Elements 2018 comes with all the video effects you’d expect in a consumer video editor: transitions, chroma-keying, opacity and so on. The media library is also intelligently organised, with smart searches making it easy to find finished and draft files.
I won’t hide the fact that I’m a Canon fanboy. Canon just gets a lot of things right. Many of them are, in my books, the most important things, like great color science (images look beautiful and skin tones are rendered organically), the aforementioned stellar auto-focus (after all, what use is an out of focus photo or video?), and long battery life so you can shoot for hours without worry.
Windows' included video editing software is all about simplicity: There's really no simpler way to combine your clips into digital movies with titles, transitions, background music, and effects. In earlier releases, the program was so simple that it wasn't capable of doing things people commonly needed, but little by little, stuff like voiceover recording and even anti-shake have made their way into what is now a very useful free app for digital video editing. Let's be clear, Movie Maker still lacks a lot of effects and tools you get in Apple's entry-level video editor, iMovie, not to mention enthusiast-level products like Adobe Premiere Elements or CyberLink PowerDirector, but for basic needs and ease of use, it hits the mark.
This is an excellent question, and it has a simple and short answer: I make and edit videos with it, so that I can sell them and earn money. My industry is the freelance world for music and video, thus, if there´s software that allows me to make and edit videos quickly, then this software will be one of the main tools for my business, and this is the reason why Movie Maker is a vital piece for my business that allows me to handle most of my video needs.

I like that Windows Movie Maker makes my life easier and helps me earn a few extra dollars. And how? Well, as it´s super easy to use, I only have to drag and drop a video (with no audio) inside the panel of Movie Maker. After this, I just add a few special effects from the upper menu, and finally, I add audio (that contains subliminal affirmations) in an easy way by using again the drag-and-drop function that this software allows. Everything I´ve just said is what I like about Windows Movie Maker.


All the video editing programs we reviewed can help you blend your footage, audio clips and images to create new and unique videos. They also all offer basic nonlinear video editing tools. Timelines, storyboards, transitions, titles and audio editing are all common fare for the products we reviewed. These applications also have video effect libraries. The number of available effects varies from program to program; however, a library with more than 500 effects is usually sufficient for any non-professional project.
Added features such as time remapping for including slow motion, high-speed effects or freeze action are complemented by easily grouping or ungrouping clips on a timeline to edit in bulk or one at a time. With over 1,500 customizable effects, transitions and titles, there’s something for everyone. Even as the video itself is the focus, custom fitting your project with a soundtrack is handled well with custom-fit audio allowing your movies to both look and sound good.

As the name suggests, Magisto.com works magically. Magisto is yet another platform for sharing the life experiences in the form of online videos. It works automatically and turns your raw video material into full-fledged polished and beautiful carved piece. Magisto has inbuilt editing styles that a user can use in deciding the mood, atmosphere and style of the clip. Extremely professional workforce sits on your raw material to nourish and bring out something new. A separate visual and audio analysis is icing on the cake.
It starts with its simplest feature: a storyboard mode that allows you to lay out your narrative on a simpler, at-a-glance screen. That way if you don’t want to drill down to the details, you don’t have to get bogged down with all kinds of extra proprietary controls. But if you do want to drill down to a more detailed approach, you can do so with its Details mode that allows you to mix in 200 multimedia tracks, giving you seemingly endless possibilities for your project.
Another program, VSDC Video Editor Pro, simply has too outdated an interface, making common tasks difficult. Longtime pro video editors will note the absence of Avid Media Composer, which is simply too unwieldy for PCMag's primarily consumer audience. There are a couple of more interesting applications—NCH VideoPad and AVS Video Editor among them—that we simply haven't tested yet.

There are two different licenses you can choose from with Lightworks: "Free" and "Pro." (The latter of which, as you might have guessed, requires that you cough up some cash.) The main difference between the two licenses is that the Pro version offers more features, including stereoscopic output and advanced project sharing. But the free version is still quite powerful, providing 100+ effects and supporting multicam editing.

Other recent features include a basic audio editor, the option to make previews for apps you’ve developed, and the even ability to make your own movie trailers complete with transitions and end credits. It’s not a tour de force in terms of video editing, but it’s perfectly suitable for home videos and minor projects. Consider combining it with free audio recording software!


The free HitFilm Express 9 has a quirky but appealing interface and plenty of powerful features, including a new layout panel and better export tools. An optional Starter Pack ($9.99) adds even more editing options. It's good for prosumers and enthusiasts with cross-platform editing and compositing abilities, tracking options, 2D and 3D effects, speed controls, audio tools and an arsenal of instructional videos.
Particularly intensive is the process of rendering your finished product into a standard video file that will by playable on the target device of choice, be that an HDTV, a laptop, or a smartphone. Most of the software can take advantage of your computer's graphics processor to speed this up. Be sure to check the performance section in each review linked here to see how speedy or slow the application is. In rendering speed testing, CyberLink and Pinnacle have been my perennial champs.
Wondershare Filmora has quickly become one of the best alternatives to Windows Movie Maker for windows 10/8/7, whether you are looking to make a professional video for public consumption, or if you are just messing around with your creativity trying to learn new art form. Filmora's easy-to-use and intuitive interface allows both experienced users and brand-new users to flawlessly create wonderful videos with exceptional effects.
All the video editing programs we reviewed can help you blend your footage, audio clips and images to create new and unique videos. They also all offer basic nonlinear video editing tools. Timelines, storyboards, transitions, titles and audio editing are all common fare for the products we reviewed. These applications also have video effect libraries. The number of available effects varies from program to program; however, a library with more than 500 effects is usually sufficient for any non-professional project.
Tyler explained that the software you buy should complement the hardware you use, as well as the type of project you’re working on. “You want to have software that will work well with your phone, digital camera, action cam or whatever you’re shooting on. If you plan on shooting on a lot of different devices, you want a program that’s compatible with a lot of different formats.”
We installed each video editor on a Windows 10 PC running on an Intel Core i5 processor and an Nvidia dedicated graphics card. We used each suite to edit the same two videos: a 4K NASA video from inside the International Space Station, and a 1080p game capture video from Overwatch. We tested most of the filters and transitions in each suite, and cut the same edited versions of each video in each program. We then exported the videos to various file formats and media, as well as web services, to test output quality and speed. Where software offered a notable special feature not supported in the other products, we tested it when our hardware and software setup allowed it.
Tech support and documentation: One of the big distinctions between paid and free software is the level of documentation and tech support; paid software has more-explicit and -detailed documentation and guides than the free versions. That said, many software packages post instructional videos of the most popular features to YouTube, and more-complex free packages may offer extensive documentation.
If you are new to the video editing world, a free video editing software can be the best choice for you. Although most free video editors are feature limited, they are easy to use and can meet almost all of your basic video demands like cutting, trimming, cropping, or rotating. Our top 12 list focuses on the best free video editing software for Windows we could find, and it will give you a overview of what you can expect from each video editor.
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