Many people may use free video editing software to edit a video more or less in daily life or on the work. The needs vary a lot from different tasks. For example, if you want to do editing stuff like picture-in-picture, adding complicated after effects, then Premiere Adobe CC is the tool for the job.
But if you just need to trim videos, add minimal filters, you may not need anything heavy like Premiere Adobe CC anymore. You may prefer a lightweight video editor that works fast and won't bring any pressure to your computer.
However, when you start with asking for help from some so-called "lightweight" video editors in the market, so many problems crop up:
- Although being small in size, still computer resource hogs.
- Confuse the beginners with complicated default settings.
- Failed to recognize your files with limited supported formats.
- Failed to meet the basic editing needs with limited functions.
Above are some problems I met when I was a green hand with zero editing experience. And luckily, I've found 3 powerful lightweight video editing software, which solve all problems at once. They are Shotcut, VideoProc Vlogger, and OpenShot.
VideoProc Vlogger - The Best Lightweight Video Editing Software
First of all, VideoProc Vlogger is beginner friendly. This 100% free and lightweight video editor has a straightforward interface that enables you to find the needed tools at first glance. It offers hundreds of filters, 3D LUTs, transition, time remapping, and motion effects along with fine-tuned controls to alter the intensity, start time, and more. With it, you can fast create your visual masterpieces within a few simple clicks.
To speak of cut, trim, merge, rotate, picture-in-picture overlay, keyframe, chroma key, and many basic or advanced things alike, VideoProc Vlogger supports the frame-by-frame edits. This ensures you can apply edits exactly where you want without hassles. Last but not least, it supports multifarious formats, including 4K, 8K, HEVC, HDR, 10bit color, and log.
The Supported OS
- Windows: Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 10, Windows 11 or later (64-bit versions supported).
- Mac: Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, macOS Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina (10.15), Big Sur(11), Monterey (12).
The Killer Features
- Fast cut, rotate, merge, split, crop videos as well as apply transitions, add video overlay, and edit sound.
- Easy zoom in your timeline to show all frames, so you can edit video frame by frame.
- One-click to change video speed dynamically, add ken burns effect, removing a green screen.
- Boast tons of 3D LUTs presets. Allow to customize HSL, Saturation, color temperature, and more.
- Give fast and stable performance, powered by the support of GPU acceleration tech.
Performance Test: Why Is VideoProc Vlogger the Best Lightweight Video Editor
Unlike the ordinary video editors max up the CPU usage rate on PC, VideoProc Vlogger barely relies on computer resources thanks to the application of GPU acceleration technology.
GPU acceleration, known as hardware acceleration, takes advantage of the dedicated graphics processing capabilities of a graphics card to process video editing tasks. Briefly speaking, you are allowed to edit an hour-long video in minutes with GPU acceleration.
There I'm going to have a test to show you the CPU usage it takes for handling a routine video editing task and the time it needs to export the outcome. Before the work, what is worth reminding is that my computer is poorly built:
I import three pieces of 4K video clips, one JPG picture, and an MP3 music clip to the program, and then adjust the video playback speed, remove some unnecessary frames, add color correction filters, and adjust the music length. The picture below is the CPU usage information and time when I opened VideoProc Vlogger.
The below picture shows up the CPU usage when I applied the edits.
The below picture shows up the CPU usage when I exported the result video.
It is shown that the CPU usage rate was only around 10% and it took less than 3 minutes for VideoProc Vlogger to get the job done. It is absolutely a lightweight and fast video processing application.
Shotcut - A Cross-Platform Lightweight Video Editor
Shotcut is a free lightweight video editor available on cross-platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux and FreeBSD. It boasts a good quality in designing and runs well on any low or medium spec computers. It supports a wide variety of video formats and offers a great number of video editing features. 4K video editing is the most striking feature of Shotcut, which means that you can create, play, cut, scrub, mute, filter video programs shot in 4K resolution.
After you import the video, it will be played on the preview window. Shotcut supports the timeline editing, so you can drag and drop video clips onto the timeline where you can create multiple video and audio tracks and make changes as you wish.
There are a great many video editing functions provided by Shotcut. Splitting in Shotcut is easy, you simply locate the playhead then right click on the mouse to choose Split at Playhead (Or, you can position the playhead and tap on the S key to split). The Scrub while dragging tool is to control whether the audio plays and it works for two tracks. When the tool is on and you drag the second track to the position of the first track, you may notice that the playhead seeks to the left position of the clip while you are dragging.
Although good, what couldn't be ignored is the steep learning curve of Shotcut. Even so, you can learn from a collection of video tutorials when first use it.
- As a free video editing program, it is packed with rich features.
- It supports a wide variety of input and output formats.
- It is not intuitive to use compared with for-pay programs.
- You are not allowed to drag clips between tracks.
- It lacks keyframe support on video effects.
OpenShot Video Editor - A Powerful Lightweight Video Editor
OpenShot is also a cross-platform lightweight video editor available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Apart from different OS support is available, project files are, as well, compatible with dissimilar platforms inside OpenShot: for instance, you can save a project file in a Windows computer, and open it up with an Mac. There are a list of video, audio, and image formats that are supported in OpenShot.
You can drag and drop a file on the timeline to start building up a wonderful video project. To position the footage to edit, you can fine-tune the video clip frame by fame by using arrows keys on the keyboard. OpenShot offers you a wide array of video editing features, and is built in with many functional audio editing features, like extracting the audio track from the video clip, rendering waveforms on the timeline, etc.
In terms of video editing, you are allowed to add unlimited video, audio and image tracks, plus create various watermark layers and edit them on the timeline. There are more than 400 video transitions offered in OpenShot, which are free to be applied to fade from one clip to another. And you can create a transition by overlapping two clips. There’s a title editor built in OpenShot where over 40 title templates you can access to, which can be used to add titles to your video and adjust the font, text, and color of titles.
It is highlighted that 3D animations are available on OpenShot. With stunning animations authorized by Blender, you can render more than 20 types of animated effects on titles, texts, to name a few, to vivify your video project. All effects added can be previewed.
To speack of audio editing, OpenShot is built with tons of handy audio editing features as well. You can add the audio file on the timeline, then adjust its length by cutting the waveform, and render the audio clip maybe as the background music of your video. If you want to use the audio used in another video, you can excerpt the audio out of the video in OpenShot, and apply the audio clip to be part of your video project.
- OpenShot is free to get and can run on cross-platforms operating systems.
- It is professional to edit videos and offers a wide variety of transitions to be applied to your video project.
- Like Shotcut does, OpenShot is not intuitive to use at first sight thus needs steep learning curve.
- Due to the fact that OpenShot is an open-source video editor, it lacks developing and its effects library has not been updated for a long time.
- The program is laggy when used to edit some high-res videos and is reported to be buggy.