Any video editing and production software nowadays unless you illegally attain it somehow is going to cost a pretty penny, especially as some major brands start to shift to the subscription-based model to maximize their profits (it will be the new norm sooner than later, unfortunately). Video software in general can be pretty hefty as it is when it comes to price-point, particularly if you go with the industry standards such as Premiere or Final Cut Pro. That’s why today we wanted to give you a decent list of all of the best free video editing software we think are worth the download, both in our experience as well as through extensive research. Thankfully we have flexibility here to where downloading even all 10 of them may be an option for you if you’d like to find the ‘perfect’ program for your needs.
Of course, if you don’t have your video camera yet, using one of these programs first to get a feel for post-production will save you money to invest in other needed gear but also give you some nice experience to get going on your editing adventures. If you do have your camera and other equipment already, perhaps you just need to get a new project done without having to sacrifice any money. We do also recommend reading our best video editing software guide and perhaps trying trial version of those super popular programs, although they do come with limitations and may not be your thing. Those on a smart device may be drawn towards video production apps instead, which aren’t too expensive right now, luckily.
As you sift through our roundups on the best free video software, try to keep in mind what type of project you’re looking to complete. Some of these free video editing software picks come as just providing the essentials, such as cutting, pasting, editing and arranging clips, tweaking volume or adding music, as well as finalizing an entire short or movie into a internet-friendly file type. Others are a bit more advanced and come with specialized FX creation, color enhancement, animation, and more. We’ll leave it up to you to decide which is “best” below.
The best free video software
When I was little, I had this fantastic dream that I was meant to be a writer and director in Hollywood. I would write scripts and have my family members act it out for me, while I sat behind a video camera the entire time. Of course, I was always disappointed in the final result (partially based on my “casting” decisions), because the picture in my head of creating a Hollywood-esque film never came to fruition. That was the case where my inner-director would have loved an editing software such as Lightworks.
This software is designed to be simplistic for beginners but also provide the visual effects required by those who have been editing for a while, considering it includes over a hundred different effects you can choose from, as well as a library of music and video that you are able to use without running into copyright issues. The interface is simple to understand, and if you do run into some trouble the provided tutorial videos will help you find your way. Able to be produced in a variety of formats, the Lightworks program is one of the best free editing video software to try that we’d like to list first due to its overall popularity and use friendly interface.
Animation has always been a type of video that has fascinated me. I’ve been obsessed with all Disney films for as long as I can remember, and love going to the Animation Academy to learn how to draw my favorite characters whenever I am at Disneyland (trust me, it’s worth the trip). While not all share my affinity for children’s films, I think it is safe to say that a majority of people can appreciate the wonder that is animation. That’s why OpenShot software is one of the best editing software you can find for free when it comes to animation in particular. It’s a bit more specific for those who think it’ll suit their needs as opposed to acting as a traditional video editing and production software.
The interface is straightforward and easy to figure out, but also comes with tutorial software to really make you an expert. Adding files, music, effects, and clips is easy as drag-and-drop, and you can even split up your clips to begin and end at the precise moment you need. Of course, the animation (both 2 and 3-D) is what holds my attention, giving you templates to choose from or letting you have a free reign. OpenShot software is creativity at its finest if you’ll be using it for what it can bring to the table.
Avid Media Composer First
So if you’re a little more advanced in the process of editing videos, and actually inspire to be a filmographer as a career, then the Avid Media Composer First is the best free editing video software for you. Used in professional films such as Wonder Woman, Baby Driver, and The Martian, this software is meant to take your production to an entirely new level in both its look and feel. With the ability to work with a variety of devices, you can take a video from your smart phone and turn it into a high quality product.
Useful features such as stabilizing your camera of enhance the exposure to increase the clarity in your video, or go for the big time and work with dual videos simultaneously. Either way, the editing process is painless in adding details such as transitions or special effects. Bonus — you can even create your own playlist to accompany your film, which is one of the best ways I can think of to really finish off your film with your own creative stamp of approval.
One of the best free video editing software designed to easily share your videos with the world, VideoPad allows you to work your video editing magic with basically any format, even the ancient use of a VHS (does anyone still use those?). Either way, once your video has been uploaded to the software, you are opened to a world of a multitude of transitions, effects, and audio. Choose from a variety of templates to create your special effects, and customize your clips to your desired time frame.
Record a narration of your film or create a custom soundtrack to accompany your video. Go a step further by stabilizing your shots, adding in some subtitles, and enhancing your exposure. When your product is finally complete simply burn it to a DVD (people still use these, right?), send it to one of your devices, or upload for the world on social media to let your talent be known.
Does anyone ever have that moment where creativity hits you and, while you would like to have all the time in the world to let it out, you know that you have to at least get it out on to some format before you forget it? Well, as one of the best free video production, VSDC can help you with just that, advertising as giving you high quality videos with “bare minimum efforts”. With a timeline interface that lets you place your clips exactly where you need them, it’s simply to adjust the timing and duration of your footage. Also, the organizer in me appreciates the fact that all of special effects (and there are quite a few of them) have been categorized into five different groups to make it easier to find exactly what you are looking for.
As for color enhancement, you can blend your colors together to add your own creative representation, or go simple by having a filter similar to what you would find on Instagram automatically applied to your film. Add in some stabilization to your video, then upload to practically anywhere to let your film be seen! This is definitely another one of our favorite picks as the best video editing software for free on the internet today.
One of the features that I love about having Apple products is the fact that you can work and transition seamlessly from device-to-device and always pick up where you left off. Apple iMovie is obviously no exception to that, considering that once you download the app you can continue to record and edit on you iPhone, iPad, or one of the many iMac models. The ability to drag and drop your recordings makes it simple to get everything on your timeline perfectly in place. Add in a chosen template for your title, a filter to give you a little more artistic creation, and end it with the various music options and you have yourself a movie.
And if you really want to get creative, play with the green screen effect to take your characters anywhere they want to go. Even with all these simplistic (but necessary) features, it’s important to note that iMovie is more suited for trailers or films of a small duration, but that’s always a great place to start. Finally, make it visible to the world with a little click of whatever social media platform you want to upload to and you will see why Apple iMovie is one of the best free software for video production.
Windows Movie Maker
While Windows Movie Maker is the most restricting of the options on this list (it only works only on PC devices), those who use this software understand the benefit of its many features. Included with a variety of features of transitions, filters, and fonts, Movie Maker helps in enhance your quality and allowing you to put your own creative spin on your work. We’ve been using this for nearly 15 years now, and it’s usually our go to if we need just a simple project done (such as quickly adding some music to a clip). With the ability to make your recordings have that HD quality look, and the option to add music from the included library in the software, everything is customized to your personal preferences.
Editing features include rotating your recording, merging it together with another project, and even trimming down the areas where you don’t need as much information. Use the preview feature to see your video in full before you send it out to the world, and see the product of your completed work.
Able to work over the platform of various devices, the Shotcut software helps to edit both your audio and video with the best effects to fit your mood and style. I rarely find anyone in today’s digital age who doesn’t know the power of cut, copy, and paste, and having that knowledge makes the basics of editing your video simplistic for every user. Once the video is placed in your timeline the way that you need it, go back in with the color wheels to find the perfect balance and effect of imaging that fits to the quality of your video.
Plus, once you decide to include audio, insert the effect that best suits your style. That could include adjusting the volume at certain clips, having your audio fade in and out, or even adjusting the quality of your bass and treble. Whatever you are needing to edit your films Shotcut has it, making it another one of the best video editing software choices available at our fingertips.
When you hear the word ‘DaVinci’ in any context, don’t you just automatically begin to think of the artist who made creations that are still marveled at to this day? Well, I do, which is why it is not surprising that the DaVinci Resolve earns its name by letting its user express their own unique and artistic view through film all as a free video software. Made by Blackmagic Design, a favorite brand of ours when it comes to professional cameras, I will note that when you first look at this software it can be intimidating. Designed mainly for the more skilled in this profession, the Resolve software has everything under the sun that you need to use to edit your film.
On the basic end you have the necessary feature of trimming, but it only ramps up from there, with options like speed editing (choosing how fast you want certain parts in your film to progress), finishing (locking your video in place when finished), and multi-camera editing (you can look at 16 frames at once!). Also, while most programs only have one option for your color effects, this software comes with both a primary and a secondary option for enhancement (probably why it has been used on so many television shows). Mix your audio from a choice of over a thousand song choices, and it is evident why this program is rated highly by many.
Our last option to include on the list of best free software for video editing is the Hitfilm Express, which is known for the effects it can create to enhance your film. At first glance this program looks like only professional users will understand its mechanics; however, with step-by-step tutorials ranging with advice for beginners and those in the advance range, it is easy to understand how to use all of the features (and boy, are there a lot of them). The tutorials include the best way to use video editing with their tools, ranging from coloring, motion tracking, and tilting your frame.
They will also show you how to create films, work with the volume of your audio or dialogue, create your own little pop-up messages, and even how to edit and record screenshots of your video games. Effects are in surplus with this software, and for those seeking to be creative or add in all of their favorite things, Hitfilm Express is one of the best free video production software picks to cap off our list with a cherry on top.