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.
Apple’s Final Cut Pro X software falls into what we call the “prosumer” category because it treads the line between a product for consumers who want to up their video-editing game and one for professionals who need powerful editing tools. It lacks a traditional timeline-track interface, which is enough to scare some users off, but the software is intuitive and powerful nonetheless. It has great organizational tools like libraries, ratings, tagging, auto analysis for faces and scenes, and automatic color coding for track-specific clips, useful keyboard short-cuts and drag-and-drop media importing give Adobe’s Premiere Elements a run for its money. Unfortunately, you can't directly open projects from Final Cut Pro 7 or earlier, but there are many third-party plug-ins that will help you out there.
After struggling with GoPro Studio's constant glitches and quirkiness, I finally got fed-up enough to search for an editor that fits my needs. For me that was something simple, reliable and actually usable. I didn't need a lot of features yet, just a means of basic editing without freezing-up. Very reliable! Two things I noticed that were minor issues for me: 1. - audio/video syncing during editing/preview was an issue that was solved by rendering often, 2. - I'd like the fade transition to be more smooth and adjustable but maybe I have to look into this a bit more. Overall a pleasure to use. I actually look forward to using it compared to the dread I felt using GoPro Studio, which isn't even available to download any more. Another appropriate review I read of GoPro Studio was that it was free, powerful and dysfunctional.
Another hidden "cost" is periodic or even constant in-line advertising or reminders that an upgrade is available. Our favorite program, HitFilm, never pushes an upgrade on you, but it makes you go through a social media and authorizing song and dance to download the product or switch computers. VideoPad (on the Mac) makes you verify at every launch that you are using the free version for noncommercial purposes.
One of the program’s benefits is that it’s easy enough for a novice to use but has the features advanced users need. This DVD maker can also act as a very effective training ground before advancing to one of the professional applications widely used in the industry, which have similar tools, workflows and features. Another reason PowerDirector is the best choice for DVD authoring software is it plays nicely with every file format and codec we look for in this type of program. You can capture content from nearly any device and export your final product to a disc or save it as any other file format. Moreover, this application allows up to 100 video- and audio-editing tracks, which is more than you could reasonably use in a consumer-level project. This means you have enough room to work with as many videos, sounds, images, effects and transitions as you want. When you're ready to burn your disc, PowerDirector has plenty of menu templates to choose from. This disc creator also allows you to add extra features and divide your project into chapters. You can burn movies to any type of disc, including single- and dual-layered DVDs and CDs.
After testing six of the most popular free editing suites, our top choice is HitFilm Express 9 for its lavish cinematic capabilities and high-powered interface. For Mac owners, Apple's iMovie is the no-brainer choice, because of its macOS integration, top-notch output, professional themes and trailers, and support for professional shooting and editing techniques. For YouTube and other social media platforms, the free, cross-platform VideoPad is the best option.
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For the most advanced, least fiscally prudent of beginners, there’s Apple Final Cut Pro X. $299.99 might be a little steep for a product you may well have a difficult time understanding; but for those among you who enjoy a challenge, and who aspire to some level of professionalism in video editing, why not go for it? Apple has made the transition from iMovie to Final Cut Pro more painless than ever—so if you’re the kind of guy or gal who enjoys him/herself an Apple product, and has worked with iMovie to the point of mastery, it might be time to splurge on Final Cut Pro. The power is still daunting; the interface, significantly less so.
The granddaddy of video editing, Adobe Premiere Pro is the cross-platform, uber-popular timeline based video editor that’s long set the standard for video editing software. Capable of tackling nearly any type of video format, Adobe’s software is ready to produce video for any type of professional production, including film, television and the Web. Premiere Pro offers enough horsepower to handle 360-degree virtual reality video to 8K footage all in native format. It can even import and export footage from competitive software such as Final Cut Pro.
Slightly different from the league is Dvolver.com which is a set up providing moviemaking services. Dvolver organizes online film festival ‘Dfilm’ that gives opportunity to the users to make their own digital films. Dfilm has cartoon based software as well which is fun to use. It allows friends and family to chat and talk through cell phones via SMS, MMS, instant messaging and others.
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.”
If you want something that is aimed more at the professional from a marketing standpoint, it couldn’t hurt to look into the Vegas Pro line. On its 15th iteration, Vegas has introduced a ton of new features, from hardware acceleration harnessing Intel QSV to a picture-in-picture OFX plug-in, all the way to a super intuitive new instant freeze frame option for referencing shots without stopping workflow. If you opt for the premium, upgraded package (which won’t run cheap), you’ll even get an exhaustive package of NewBlueFX fIlters to color your projects like a true Hollywood flick. What’s interesting about Vegas, and what we think gets overlooked, is they’ve attempted to give you an intuitive set of controls that takes the best of Final Cut, Premiere and others and merges them into one. Sure, it might not have the streamlined, Adobe CS-friendliness of Premiere, nor is it even compatible with Macs, but that’s OK. The workflow in this might just give certain users who can’t quite jive with the other guys a place to truly shine.
That’s assuming you’re just exporting files. You may want to burn a DVD or Blu-ray disc, or upload your videos directly to YouTube or Facebook. Each of these comes with its own set of necessary features that some apps have and others don’t. For disc burning, you need not only support for the right formats, but DVD menu authoring tools so viewers can navigate what you’re presenting. On the social side, it’s much easier if the application syncs up directly with your account online and allows you to enter metadata like a description, tags, and privacy settings.
EDIUS Pro 8 handles more formats and more resolutions in real-time than any other NLE. With EDIUS, you really can Edit Anything, Fast - the perfect tool for any fast turnaround production, including broadcast news and same day event videography. EDIUS also comes with the GV Browser media management application to prepare content for subsequent editing in EDIUS. With EDIUS Pro 8, there are no subscription fees — you buy it, you keep it — with a permanent license with free updates throughout the life of EDIUS Pro 8.x.
We evaluated each program’s interface and workflow to see how intuitive they are. We tracked the number of clicks it takes to access and use common tools. If a tool is difficult to find, awkwardly implemented or counterintuitive, it can slow down your edits. We quickly discovered that the more accessible everything is, the better the editing experience will be. We gave each program an A to F grade based on this evaluation.