Top 14 Best Free Video Editing Software [In-depth Reviews]

By Cecilia Hwung | Last Update:

Some people believe when it comes to video editing, there is no such a thing as having GOOD and FREE at the same time, but that's not the case. We got 14 good candidates for you here and put together a 15-minute or so review of best free video editing software for anybody in need. Whether you'd like a quick editing or set your hands on professional film making, you'll find the answer.

This list is in no particular order of importance. We tried and tested each one from various aspects, and grouped them for different editing scenarios based on their highlighted features.

Our Picks for Top Free Video Editing Software Are:

Why should you trust us? Jump to the bottom to see how we picked the best free video editing software.

Free Video Editors

#1. Windows 10 Photos App

Best for: novices seeking a quick editing tool for occasional usage.

Supported OS: Windows 10

Windows Photos app has a hidden video editing feature, and can be utilized to quickly trim videos, change speed, or draw freely directly over the footage. Depending on your Windows 10 version, you might have additional options to add music to a video in windows 10 or create 3D effects.. These additional features allow you to do a project-based editing, with storyboards, filters, animated text, camera motion effects and 3D effects such as rain, fire, and thunders, ready to lay over your footage.

Photos app is a good pal when all you need is quick and basic edits. Since all functions are self explanatory, you need zero editing experiences to get going. It works nicely if you want to quickly churn out a 5 minute video of traveling shots and recordings. Plus, you can take advantage of the apps integration with mobile media importing. This app allows you to directly import photos and videos from iPhone, iPad and other USB-enabled camera devices. If you are familiar with those auto-created memories videos on iPhone, you would love the automatic video with music option.

Storyborad Mode in Windows Photos App
Storyboard Mode in Windows Photos App

Chances of improvement:

  • The lack of true NLE features makes it less productive for a beginner who wants to dive deeper.
  • Users on Windows 10 N versions will find most video editing features missing.
  • Limited options to save video as a desired format.
  • Less filters and effects to choose from.

So, have you ever used the Photos app to cut a video?

You can use photos app as the media library to host and display your videos and photos, and the hidden editing feature might surprise you if you simply want to trim off unwanted parts, add music and text to the footage. Those with a Microsoft Surface can also utilize the touch screen and the pen.

Read our full review of Windows Photos app >>

#2. Windows Movie Maker

Best for: plenty of templates, easy-to-navigate interface for quick editing.

Supported OS: Windows

Windows Movie Maker was the pre-build program of Windows. Though it has been phased out for years and was officially discontinued in 2017, it is still the set on for many who want to create simple videos with background music and subtitles. No learning curve or tutorials to watch, it offers beginners with the most straightforward timeline and menu to do all necessary edits like cutting, rotating, subtitling, stabilizing, speeding up, subtitling, filtering videos.

As is often the case when you do home video or slideshows editing, you want to correct the picture color, add transitions, create subtitles or captions, and then put background music. Windows Movie Maker makes the acquiring of all those features a snap, with 77 different transitions, 26 effects, 6 movie themes, stock audios, and rich caption templates come in handy.

Windows Movie Maker Transitions
Windows Movie Maker Transitions

Chances of improvement:

  • Lack of a few basic and frequently use edit features like watermark, subtitle files, and crop.
  • Output video has to be MP4 or WMV video, and the ratio rate has to be with 16:9 or 4:3.
  • Transitions, effect, and templates are ready-make which leave little room for creative users making intriguing content.
  • As a discontinued app, it has lots of bugs, crashes and compatibility issue on Windows 8/10, and all known cons would never get improved

Believe it or not, Movie Maker uses hardware acceleration, however

The loading of high-resolution video can take minutes. It still responses extremely slow when editing 4K or any types of high-resolution videos. Windows Movie Maker benefits little from the GPU acceleration. Anyway, that's not a surprise for an app abandoned by its developers. Besides, the resolution of the generated video can't go beyond 1920 x 1080pixels.

Read our full review of Windows Movie Maker >>

#3. iMovie

Best for: quick editing with plenty of theme templates and transitions.

Supported OS: macOS, iOS

Mac user? It might be a bit bold but I'll say: No one can come up with an easier alternative to iMovie for Mac. It is accessible on any iOS devices so that you can do part of the editing on the iPhone, finish movie creating on Mac, and then share on social media instantly.

It covers basic (4K) video editing features, for instance, cut, crop, rotate, stabilize, overlay, subtitle, chroma key, speed controls, transition, etc. Thanks to the intuitive and clean interface, iMovie is the epitome of simple. You just plug in the footage and it can do the rest. In addition, there are dozens of themes, animated titles, and credits, creative filters in various genres that you can access to spice up your videos without needing to set a plethora of parameters.

Funny Trailer Made with iMovie

Chances of improvement:

  • iMovie does not support plug-in effects. The majority of the handful of built-in effects are over bright.
  • The support of GIF file is absent. iMovie displays the animated picture as a still image.
  • It doesn't allow you to tweak the intensity of color correction.
  • The timeline of iMovie is inflexible and inconvenient for movie creating as you can only add 2 video layers.
  • It only permits video outputting in H.264 and ProRes. Most drone clips and H.265 videos won't be read correctly.
  • Not support GPU acceleration. This brings up slow and error-ridden playback, effect rendering, and exporting. On my Macbook, the CPU utilization gets pegged to nearly 100% when exporting video.

Ready to dive deep?

iMovie is very limited. It enables the editing and export of 4K 60FPS videos if only the initial clip we put to timeline is 4K 60FPS clip. You are not allowed to create any videos with 1:1 aspect ratio. Sadly, Facebook, Instagram, and many social media still love square videos.

Read our full review of iMovie >>

#4. Shotcut

Best for: high compatibility and easy stabilization for sports videos.

Supported OS: Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD

Shotcut is cross-platform open-source free video editing software developed by Dan Dennedy based on the MLT multimedia framework. It provides both 32-bit and 64-bit version for Window 7 to 10. macOS needs to be 10.10 or above. Shotcut is popular for numerous input/export options, low hardware requirements, good developer support, vibrant forum community, and surely multiple video editing features for quick editing. As a rule of thumb, it takes a total noob ten tries to get the hang of it.

As to sports video editing, video files recorded by drone/GoPro in 4K HDR and high frame rate like 120fps are well accepted. Necessary filters like lens correction and video stabilization are available. And thanks to FFmpeg, you are allowed to have a good control over the export settings. Based on our testing, Shotcut seems to be comparatively more stable than other free video editing tools. It does crash occasionally, but at the very least, the failure recovery sounds fantastic.

Shotcut User Interface
Shotcut User Interface

Chances of improvement:

  • The interface is unusual and a bit confusing to the beginners.
  • Proxy is said to be removed from the plan for the next version.
  • Keyframe based animations and transitions are not available.
  • Lack of support for RAW camera video formats.
  • No stock media and templates.
  • The speed function needs much improvement.

Shotcut users are the most loyal ones. Why?

Still remember the developer's name? Dan Dennedy, he is one of the two reasons why a lot of users choose to stay with Shotcut, despite various free options out there, while another is the existence of a school-like forum community. But is Shotcut really qualified for creating amazing outputs besides sports video?

Read our full review of Shotcut >>

#5. VSDC Free Video Editor

Best for: editing ultra-high resolution videos and applying fish-eye correction for sports videos.

Supported OS: Windows

VSDC Free Video Editor is the free version of VSDC Video Editor. Though being a cut down version, it is still a well thought out app developed by Flash-Integro LLC, and allows you to do most of everything its big brother can with a buffet of awesome features. Adjustable filters, chroma keys, masks, picture-in-picture, animated text, and many advanced tools can get accessed by clicking the well-designed visual icons. Therefore, even a beginner can take advantage of VSDC Free Video Editor to create stunning videos while keeping things incredibly simple.

Thanks to its capability to edit and export 4K UHD videos in high-compressed H.265/HEVC codec, adrenaline junkies can use VSDC Free Video Editor to process 4K UHD recordings from DJI Drone, DSLR, and action camera without comprising much to the picture quality. Besides, it lets you to amp up the excitement with countless effects, for instance, crop, split, rotate, speed, play backward, lens distortion, etc.

VSDC Free Video Editor User Interface
VSDC Free Video Editor User Interface

Chances of improvement:

  • Mac and Linux cannot take advantage of this Windows-only program.
  • Slow rendering and stutter preview of 4K high-resolution video due to the lack of hardware acceleration.
  • Frequently pop-up ads that remind you to upgrade to the pro version is annoying.
  • The transition options are very limited and difficult to properly apply to your recordings.

Any features missing compared to its brethren?

Hardware acceleration, video stabilization, motion tracking are 3 most often used toolkits for the post-production of large sport videos. Sadly, they are available on the paid VSDC Video Editor only. The masking tool and chrome key of VSDC Free Video Editor are less flexible than the pro version neither.

Read our full review of VSDC Free Video Editor >>

#6. CyberLink PowerDirector

Best for: quickly producing sports video with eye-catching effects

Supported OS: Windows, Mac, Linux

PowerDirector is the flagship product presented by Cyberlinks. This intuitive and elegant piece of software offers you a streamlined experience, no matter you are in storyboard mode, time-line based free editing, slideshow or auto mode. If you priority is to quickly cut and edit videos to share with friends and families, while investing less effort in learning how to use an NLE, then PowerDirector perfectly fits the bill. Technical newbie or moderately experienced hands, you can quickly pick up PowerDirector to trim videos, add effects, and apply transitions and music.

PowerDirector can spice up your sports videos and showcase those exciting moment. On the plus side, motion tracker in Cyberlinks helps you to track designated objects, so that you can add text, graphic and other elements along with that object in motion. It is nice because the tracking is done automatically, instead of created manually frame-by-frame. You can also make use of time shift to create slow motion out of a section of your footage, thus allowing viewers to savor that highlighted moment during a slowed-down flow of time.

Flexible
Use Automatic Motion Tracking in PowerDirector to Add Accompanying Elements

Chances of improvement:

  • Won't support exporting H.265/HEVC in free version.
  • Lack of advanced tools making it not suitable for commercial environment.
  • Speed control is limited to constant speed change, with simple option to ease in and ease out; You cannot make speed ramping effects using curves to smooth out harsh cuts.

Want to see time flows back? Use Video in Reverse in PowerDirector

Besides Speed Multiplier that allows you to speed up or slow down a part of the video, PowerDirector also helps you to reverse speed, creating a rewind effects that everything moves backwards in terms of time flow. Instead of showcasing the cliff diving moment, you can reverse the footage into the diver rising back onto the cliff from the sea. Ready to explore more ?

Read full review of PowerDirector >>

#7. HitFilm Express 14

Best for: visual effects dabblers and YouTubers; create VFX-intensive videos for fun.

Supported OS: Windows 10/8, macOS (High Sierra and later)

Presented by FXhome, HitFilm Express is a decent desktop editor with powerful VFX tools to produce films, gaming videos and other great content for free. It combines editing, VFX and 3D tools in one place, so that you won't need to hoop from one app for editing, to another app for compositing. It has all the basic editing functions you would expect from mainstream NLEs, and relatively large amount of effects and features that you wouldn't expect in other free editors.

HitFilm Express is mostly noted for its VFX capacity that helps to turn your footage into impressive filmic productions. Gunfire and Star War lightsaber effects, bold and flashy animation titles are all at your disposal to spice up the video. HitFilm even helps you to create animate 3D particles based on audio waveforms! Nicely enough, this app adopts a dual-timeline approach, with all the basic editing done in the editing timeline, and VFX done in the composite shot timeline. In this way, it keeps the main editing timeline from getting cluttered up, so that you can easily assemble the clips order. While in the composite shot timeline, you can let your creative juice flow and play around with graphics, effects and visual elements.

Lightning Eyes Effects Edited with HitFilm Express

Chances of improvement:

  • Won't support HEVC/H.265, which might be a hassle if you shoot regularly on iPhone in high efficiency format.
  • No XML/AAF/EDL support, meaning you won't be able to share the project to other software to continue editing.
  • No multicam editing, and audio editing toolkit is limited, there is no EQ adjustment.
  • Exporting errors occur if you choose to render in-and-out instead of content, as the tool mistakenly choose a non-existence point as out point.

Are you a big fan of editing mini-epic with dope VFX?

Thinking about a horror movie? How about the scene of ghost cropping out of your mobile phone? With HitFilm Express, you can utilize the tracking feature. While the character is walking with a mobile phone at his hand, you can use the tracking tool to follow the same trajectory. Then you shall be able to replace the mobile screen, with a clip of ghost popping out. There is more for HitFilm to re-create what's in your mind...

Read our full review of HitFilm Express >>

#8. Lightworks

Best for: movie industry experts and content marketers.

Supported OS: Windows, Mac, Linux.

Lightworks as a professional video editing software has been around for more than 25 years, as long as Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere start their business in the industry. It offers a free version for serious enthusiasts to try out most of the commonly used features. If you are looking for a free editing program with ready-to-use templates for titles, animation graphics and stickers, Lightworks is definitely not the best choice. This tool is designed with professional editors, with requirements and workflow logic that are feature-film-specific, and may be difficult for people without a movie editing background.

For that reason, a certain feature may be highly praised by professional editors, while at the same time complained by beginners or people accustomed to other paradigms of more popular NLEs. For instance, the unique Flexible layout allows experts to experiment with ideas and compare various edits easily, while beginners would be confused. No razor tool in Lightworks is another head scratcher for people coming from other programs, while the supplementing mark-and-park method is loved by loyal users.

Flexible
Flexible Layout in Lightworks Enables Power Users to Compare Edits

Chances of improvement:

  • Lack of guided wizards makes it difficult for beginners to get the work done.
  • Different editing paradigms entail a transitional pain for seasoned editors accustomed to other popular NLEs.
  • No 1080p or 4K support, limited export settings: the free version maxes out at 720p, H.264/MPEG4.
  • Free users are required to reactivate the license from time to time, and failure of activation might be a problem if you have unfinished projects.

Biased reviews occur when people fail to make the best of Lightworks

Beginners and seasoned editors may fail to access the full power of Lightworks, due to lack of decent tutorials and "muscle memory" from other NLEs. For instance, when you get accustomed to mark-and-park and pressing x at the cursor point, instead of thinking in terms of razor cut, you would find Lightworks efficient. Want more tricks?

Read full review of Lightworks >>

#9. DaVinci Resolve 16

Best for: breathtaking color correction in HD/UHD landscape video editing.

Supported OS: Windows, macOS, Linux

DaVinci Resolve is a non-linear video editing system developed by Blackmagic Design, making a name for itself as a top-notch color corrector originally, and having been awarded for Engineering Excellence by the Hollywood Professional Association. The learning curve would be steep to be familiar closely with such a professional free video editing tool. But to get started quickly, crash courses are everywhere.

Color correction is key to creating awe-inspiring landscape videos and cinematic looks, which happens to be what makes DaVinci Resolve critically acclaimed. In DaVinci Resolve 16, you can have a full control of image in precision with node-based color grading tools. And both the editing and rendering of landscape video in RAW formats like CinemaDNG and ARRIRAW can be fast, even on an old computer, for its proxy mode and optimized media support. Two bonus features for advanced users - Fairlight for audio adjusting and Fusion for VFX. Remember there is only 64-bit version for Windows 10, and Mac should be 10.10 or later.

DaVinci Resolve Color Grading Courses

Chances of improvement:

  • Fusion and Fairlight are too complicated to learn, with few tutorials available.
  • Audio and video out of sync issue happens a lot, most importantly, with no effective solutions.
  • RED and BMPCC 4K footages have rendering errors frequently.
  • Occasional 4K video stuttering, slow rendering, or media import problems.
  • DaVinci Resolve is still light on third-party plug-ins, not enough for using.
  • Once you load your videos/audios, the project frame rate value can't be changed anymore.

Ready for some filmic look with enchanting color?

For your information, DaVinci Resolve was used for the color grading in famous movies and TV shows like Avatar, Deadpool 2, La La Land, The Walking Dead and Westworld, to name a few. You won't want to miss the chance to embrace such a great tool for free. To check how mighty the color grading could be:

Read our full review of DaVinci Resolve 16 >>

#10. Kdenlive

Best for: tutorial videos with 2D titles, screen/sound capture.

Supported OS: Windows, Mac, FreeBSD, Linux, Ubuntu

Kdenlive is one of the most involved and complex open-source video editors. It offers all you need to create simple videos. It's wide range of advanced functionalities like multiple tracks, transitions, keyframe, rotoscoping, video/audio scope, and chroma key, just to name a few, even rival some commercial video editing software. However, those nifty features come with the sacrifice of a nitty interface. The major update it received recently, somehow, further separates it away from beginners.

One essential feature for making easy-approached tutorials is the screen capture tool. Kdenlive is well designed on this facility. It can record your computer screen or webcam with sound coming from the microphone. The latest version allows you to add audio track on the timeline. This is a useful capability for instruction video creators as it lets them record sound while previewing the video simultaneously. Subtitle is another terrific feature of Kdenlive, with which you are on your own to create plain or animated text and decide when and where the subtitles showed up, for how long, and in what kind of format.

Edit with Kdenlive

Chances of improvement:

  • It can't create video in some of the most prevalent formats like MKV and AVI, and offers no ready-made output format.
  • Some effect options seem to be absent from the drop-down menu, as like, you can only found the curves effect by entering its name on the effect search bar.
  • Buggy & Laggy. It is buggy as hell on Windows, and voracious with its CPU and RAM requirements. Sometimes it even becomes laggy when you just try to preview the file without any editing.
  • Unstable. For example, it worked fine yesterday on my Windows 10 64 bit i5-3470 with SSD and 8GB RAM but keeps crashing this time, with nothing different from the previous process.
  • GPU acceleration is absent. This is not likely to change for the foreseeable future as it's a sad flaw of the underlying MLT framework.

Worth updating to 19.x version?

Kdenlive now combines audio and video in one track, and you aren't enabled to opt "auto separate audio and video" anymore. This controversial update is in fact another sacrifices made by Kdenlive to gain a buggy free performance.

Under the render tab, there are only WebM, Mpeg-2 and few other codecs. Beginners have to learn FFmpeg command to understand those video jargons.

Read our full review of Kdenlive >>

#11. OpenShot

Best for: quick editing for small business video.

Supported OS: Windows, macOS, Linux

OpenShot is another open-source free video editing software, started by Jonathan Thomas for Linux originally, compatible with various pla1tforms now including Windows, macOS and FreeBSD. Different from Shotcut based on MLT framework, OpenShot uses C++ libopenshot project library. Note that OpenShot is only available in 64-bit for Linux, Windows 7 to 10, and OS X 10.9 or later.

Due to the ease of use and unique 3D animation features "borrowed" from Blender, OpenShot is pretty good for novices to make decent small business videos. All OpenShot updates try to keep up with the latest Blender for new 3D features, so that stunning 3D animation titles can be used to attract your customers in the presentation. Various presets in transitions, filters, curve-based time-mapping and hardware acceleration in the latest 2.5.0 could be pluses.

Add 3D Animated Titles in OpenShot

Cons:

  • Severe slow and crashing problems, maybe out of the operating system, the hardware, or the software algorithm.
  • Presets only in time-mapping and speed changes. There is no curve to adjust manually.
  • Limited editing functions, good for quick editing but not enough for advanced refining.
  • Hardware acceleration is still in experimental period.
  • Random final file broken error without any sign during the editing.

Does OpenShot support GPU acceleration now?

Download OpenShot 2.5.0 or later and you should see hardware encoder options like NVENC and VA-API in the Export panel. But since it is still experimental, errors happen a lot. Most Windows 10 users find it can't detect GPU correctly, leading to "No acceleration" problems. To check detailed information:

Read our full review of Shotcut >>

#12. GoPro Studio

Best for: personalizing videos of outdoor activities.

Supported OS: Windows, macOS

GoPro Studio was the standalone official video editing software of GoPro for both PC and Mac, which however was wrapped up into the Quik Desktop suite and then removed forever. An educated guess is that GoPro thinks people prefer auto edits for instant sharing than sitting down for mind-numbing post production.

The best part of GoPro Studio for outdoor activity video editing should go to its Edit Templates with background music and slow-motion effect. Creating an awesome GoPro-style video could be as easy as this: import media, mark in and out the highlights, convert to CineForam for smoother editing, choose a template, drag your highlights onto one separate clip, export your video until all cuts have been replaced by your own footages. You still have necessary functions for sports video editing like fisheye lens correction and color adjusting.

Use Templates in GoPro Studio
Use Templates in GoPro Studio

Chances of improvement:

  • Limited output file format - MP4 (H.264) and AVI/MOV (CineForm).
  • It is only possible to rotate a video 180 degrees. 90 degrees option is not accessible in GoPro Studio.
  • No support of GPU acceleration and HEVC codec, which makes it not the ideal one for 4K H.265 video editing.
  • A total 10-second GoPro branding will always be there in the start and end of your video, which can't be deleted.
  • Anyway, Studio was discontinued years ago. There seems to be no chance of any improvement.

Where to download GoPro Studio now?

Although it is discontinued, you still have ways to free download GoPro Studio 2.5.9. 2658. But if you have installed Quik already, GoPro Studio won't be installed or installed correctly, unless you uninstall Quik. Even if you have both installed on your computer, choose Open In Studio will only lead GoPro Studio to shut down.

Read our GoPro Studio download tutorial >>

#13. GoPro Quik

Best for: fast creating mini clips full of outdoor activity highlights.

Supported OS: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android

Quik is a free video editing app developed by GoPro running on both desktop computer and mobile phone. Well, according to our test, Quik for mobile is much more brilliant than Quik for desktop, while the iOS version has more features than Android. Before you download it, check its system requirements: Windows 10 (64-bit only), Mac OS X 10.10 or above, iOS 10 and up, Android 5.0 and up.

Quik seems like a hint of Quick. Together with its support of stock music, various templates in different themes, smart Auto modes, instant uploading options, and the unique built-in Wi-Fi connection between editing system and camera, Quik is quite handy for personalizing videos of vacations, trips, family gatherings, etc in a very short time for sharing on the go. Basic editing features like cutting, rotating, and text adding surely are accessible as well.

GoPro Quik Editing on iPhone

Chances of improvement:

  • Quik for desktop imports GoPro camera media only. Files from any other cameras won't be detected.
  • Only 10 music tracks can be used for free, and there is no way to load local audios.
  • Annoying crash problems after 2020 update of Quik for mobile phone.
  • Efficient but not profound. There is color correction and clip rearranging options, but not as flexible as you imagine.
  • 1080p and 60 seconds are your highest option for resolution and video length when exporting.
  • No need to wait for video transcoding before editing, at the cost of losing accurate frame control and slow raw GoPro file editing.

GoPro Quik vs. GoPro Studio, which is better?

You probably know that GoPro Studio has been replaced by Quik for a long time. But why are there so many people still struggling to find a safe GoPro Studio download file? Which one of them is more full-featured and better for video editing? To get a detailed analysis:

Read our full comparison of GoPro Studio and Quik >>

#14. Blender

Best for: 3D modeling and animation

Supported OS: Windows, Mac, Linux

Born in 1988 as NeoGeo's in-house 3D toolset in Netherlands, what was known as Blender today undergone re-writing in 1995 and went open-source in 2002. It is the Swiss army knife of 3D modeling and sculpting, animation, video editing and VFX. With the incorporation of video sequencer, Blender grows into a powerful all-in-one tool, especially after the release of 2.80. Small studios and freelancers use it extensively and bigger studios resort to it in a few work stages, for instance, object modeling and texturing. The game industry also witnesses its popularity in recent years.

Whatever other high-end 3D modeling and animation programs can achieve, Blender helps you do almost the same without spending a dime, provided that you have the technical know-how and a skilled hand. You can utilize the powerful tools to focus on some aspects in 3D pipeline: be it modeling, animation, rigging, compositing, simulation or editing. In terms of video editing, Blenders offers you a complete editing system sequencer and compositer. Therefore, if you are daunted by 3D features, you can still learn this tool simply for editing clips (termed as strips in Blender), after all, it is free.

Next Gen Trailer made by Blender for Netflix

Chances of improvement:

  • User interface seems archaic and could be frustrating some times.
  • Require users to be familiar with tons of keyboard shortcuts to get the hang of this tool, thus making it daunting for less experienced users who might be accustomed to think "cut" in terms of a razor or a scissors icon.
  • Lack of official explanation on certain features to help users know the difference: for instance, to make proxies in VSE, there are one option to choose proxy render size directly and another option to make selections in sequencer's properties before choosing render size. Users would be confused as to which is the right way to make proxies.
  • Error crops up every now and then if you let Blender to set the frame rate or using a custom frame rate, and this may be due to the difficulty of dealing with floats, 29.92 fps for instance.

Is Blender Good for Video Editing?

Blender helps you do basic video editing in a timeline-based manner, just as many other NLEs. You have the tracks to cut footage, add layovers, transitions, as well as audios and texts, though you have to acquaint yourself with numerous keyboard shortcuts to give it a spin. As you become more skilled, you will appreciate the range of 3D graphics tools and options in Blender. Aspiring to read more on 3D modeling and animation in plain language?

Read more in our Blender review for beginners >>

Best Free Video Editing Software FAQs

One person's meat is another's poison. There is no absolute one best video editor that caters for all, given your budget, hardware, operating system, and the comfort level. Casual hobbyists may be adequately served by no-brainer tools, while professionals and serious learners go for highly customizable NLEs.

1. What is the best video editing software for beginners?
If you have zero experience in video editing, and are merely seeking tools for quick trimming, add text and background music, use Windows Photos app or iMovie on Mac.

If you are a serious beginner, and are willing to invest in time and effort to become a master, use popular editors. You can quickly hone your skills with YouTube tutorials, and seek help in active forums. In this regard, Shotcut, Kdenlive and DaVinci Resolve may fit the bill.

2. What is the best professional video editing software?
Hollywood mainly uses Avid Media Composer, and those outside Hollywood use Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Edius etc. These NLEs only offer trial versions, and are thus out of the scope of this article.

3. What is the best photo slide show editor?
Go to Windows Photos app to create automatic slideshow videos with background music, and the Mac counterpart is iMovie, with more options and templates.

4. Which software is best for slow motion video?
Shotcut and Kdenlive allow you to cut up a section and slow it down, say 1/4 speed of the real time. If you prefer speed ramping to harsh cuts, you can use HitFilm or DaVinci Resolve for gradual speed control, and there is a learning curve.

5. What is the best video editing software for low spec computers?
Timeline-based video editing is a computing intensive process that occupies enormous resources on your machine. Want to edit high res files, hard-to-decode format, or add lots of visual effects and animations? It's more about upgrading hardware than picking an editor, though you do have the choice to optimize video clips for smooth editing, in iMovie, Shotcut, and DaVinci Resolve.

How We Picked Best Free Video Editors

It took us half a month to round up 14 best free video editors out of numerous programms on the market.The result is where all the following efforts come together:

  1. A list of more than a hundred of video editing tools was compiled based on market presence.
  2. Powerful programs that only have a paid version or limited free trials were removed from the list ( and that's why big names such as Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro is missing from the final list).
  3. That left us with twenty-some truly free programs. We tested each one on Windows and Mac computers, and picked out 14 applications based on following factors.

Factors Considered During the Test

  • Compatibility - which platforms can run the free editor software.
  • Capability - how well it nails the task for a specific editing scenario.
  • Stability and smoothness - especially when you scrub, playback, render and export the video.
  • Ease of use - how natural it is to finish a certain editing task and make use of a utility.
  • Quality of support - can you get timely response from forums, official tech support, or find resourceful tutorials.

Test Environment

  • Operating System: Windows 10 64-bit
  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-8300H CPU @2.30GHz
  • GPU 1: Intel(R) UHD Graphics 630 | GPU 2: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti
  • RAM: 8GB | VRAM: 4GB | SSD: 500GB
  • Operating System: macOS 10.10.5
  • CPU: Intel® Core i5 @2.7GHz
  • GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6770M
  • RAM: 8GB | VRAM: 512MB | SATA Disk: 1TB

General System Requirements for Video Editing

  • More than half of the free video editors we tested (on this list or not) provide 64-bit version only.
  • Most can run on Windows 7 and later. But when it comes to Mac, every application seems to have its own standard.
  • Minimum requirement of RAM varies, but normally 4GB is needed, while 16GB/32GB for 4K and VFX. Theoretically, the larger, the better.
  • Only part of the free video editing tools we used gives a clear indication of what kind of GPU or how much VRAM is required. Generally, 2GB would be OK.

noticeAdvance Notice

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About The Author

Cecilia Hwung is the marketing manager of Digiarty Software and the editor-in-chief of VideoProc team. She pursues common progress with her team and expects to share more creative content and useful information to readers. She has strong interest in copywriting and rich experience in video editing tips.

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