Best Free Video Editing Program

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Introduction

Whether you're a professional looking to save money, a student looking for a program to help with a school project, need software to organise and edit videos for your Youtube channels? or just a person who likes making videos and needs an editor, then this page is for you. Note that other non-windows product like QuickTime works in a complicated manner in Windows OS, due to this Apple has discontinued production of QuckTime windows version as of January 2016.

I will also be here to address any issues you might have, in the comments section and on our forum. So please, if you need some help picking the right program or if you are an experienced video editor and feel that a specific free editor should be reviewed, because it has worked so well for you, let me know and hopefully, together, we can help everyone find the Best Free Video Editing Program for them!

Disclaimer: Be careful when approving the software(s) to install. Choosing custom installation will often give you the opportunity to see exactly what components the software is installing and choose which parts you do or do not want. Downloading free software on the internet is(ussually) risky, so ALWAYS pay attention to exactly what you are downloading and where you are downloading it from; it's for your own machine's health!

Note: This category is regularly updated including the viewers inputs, so if you got good news share with us in the comments section so we can bring this to serve its utmost purpose.

 

Rated Products

DaVinci Resolve  

The best free video editor you can come across and even rivals some of the best paid software


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free (Open source)
Professional non-linear video editing combined with advanced color corrector. Scalable and resolution independent, suitable for personal, studio or large Hollywood usage.
Contains complex interface that might be difficult for average users.
Read full review...

VideoPad Video Editor  

Basic video editor for personal use


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free (Limited features)
Intuitive interface, easy to switch from Movie Maker. Installations available for Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android and even Kindle.
The difference between free and paid version is unclear. The program might be unstable, according to user comments.
Read full review...

HitFilm 4 Express  

Free video editor focused on special effects and animation


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free (Limited features)
lightweight, minimum system requirements, numerous creative special effects, powerful 2D and 3D composition tools.
limited export options, some essential features - such as premium format export support - need to be paid for
Read full review...

Lightworks  

Cross-platform NLE Video Editing System with a free version


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free (Limited features)
Impressive fast and easy trimming feature, second monitor output and multi-cam editing available. Minimalistic interface, Hollywood usage.
Free version allows you to export videos online only (YouTube or Vimeo).
Read full review...

VDSC Free Video Editor  

Professional video editor, alternative to most paid solutions


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free
Rich tool-set suitable for professional video editing, opens any video and audio format, no conversion needed. Multiple output options, including HEVC/H265 codec for highest quality.
Getting familiar with all the features might take some time if you are a newbie, as technical documentation is not very detailed.
Read full review...

Avidemux  

An open source video editor with a large selection of filters


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Powerful, easy to use and well documented tutorials.
As with any other video editing program, it can be confusing.
Read full review...

OpenShot  

A cross-platform video editor supports many video, audio and image formats based on FFmpeg


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free (Open source)
Powerful with many other add-ons like 3D animated titles
Should download some other add-ons like PPA if users' OS above Ubuntu 9.10
Read full review...

Other Selections

This section will hold other alternative products reviewed that did not end up on the main list. This is because  i am still running some reviews on them to see if they can be better than the ones on the main list. Hopefully they might end up on the main list if my final reviews have found them to be better than the ones from the list. So if you see your favourite on this list or one which is better than the top ones don't be upset, it is just under review. If one of these works best for your projects I am happy for you and would honestly like to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Cyberlink PowerDirector
  • Cinelerra
  • Youtube Movie Maker
  • VideoPad Masters Edition
  • Shotcut
  • FFMpeg
  • Blender
  • ZS4 Video Editor
  • Cinefx Jahshaka
  • Movica

 

Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 

Editor

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor Mesh. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.

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Average: 3.9 (283 votes)

Comments

Having a problem with DaVinci Resolve. The readme file says that Desktop Video is required. Downloaded Desktop Video. Installation license says it is "Subject to payment of applicable license fees". Installation then fails.
Tried to start Resolve anyhow. Window pops up saying it needs a license dongle, or you can download free from their site. Well, this is the free version from their site. Resolve then fails to start.
So far this isn't turning out to be very useful.

That's probably a technical problem within the website links on their servers, since it had you stuck in circles you would want to contact Davinci resolve support so that they can help you with this problem. sorry for any inconveniences.

The free version of DaVinci doesn't run on Linux.

I usually run my tests using windows, and about Linux it probably might be application errors. I don't know that much about Linux products but it will be helpful to seek help from Linux web forums

As always I greatly appreciate the information from Gizmo.
Judging also from several other comments, I think it would be very helpful if each time you added information about the need and the efficieny of re-coding after the editing process. I have stopped using some great editors, because they have not kept up with the developments of hardware acceleration (e.g. CUDA.and now NVEC) and new efficient codecs, H.264 and now H.265 etc. It is quite frustrating, if this re-coding process takes hours, even one has just simply trimmed a video recording. .

Yup such stuff we usually put them in the app's full review and under pros and cons. They can be quite troublesome when it takes you hours to re-code a few minutes trim

VERY long installation if you have to allow postgres to install. VERY LONG on an i7 with SSD!

Most freewares comes with such third parties or sometimes plug ins. Which is why you should be careful when running setup to choose custom installation and only install the products you require. It saves time and space.

"DaVinci Resolve requires 64bit Windows to install. Installation will not continue".

Oh you've got a 64 bit setup. Download the setup in this link: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/sa/products/davinciresolve and make sure to choose 32 bit when installing. Feel free to contact me again should you encounter any problems.

Windows Movie Maker is good enough if you just need to add or remove frames, add titles, transitions, and background music. I do most of my editing using WMM. For slightly more complex stuff I use LightWorks. Not as easy to use, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty good. Love using it to do video overlaying/PIP.

As for the list, DaVinci Resolve is more of a post production type of editor. Has the most powerful color editor among free editors. Even beats Adobe Premiere, which is a paid product. But I don't use it often and uninstalled it.

Openshots just hates my Win10 laptop. It crashes too often. I was able to edit and export just one video successfully. Such a shame. I use it in Linux Mint and it was more stable there.

I was going to try Hitfilm 4 Express but its installer was way too big (430 MB download). With a small SSD, I can't afford to install too many big programs. LightWorks' installer is only 70MB, while fully installed it's about 250 MB.

Regarding the Windows Movie Maker program that is part of Windows Essentials 2012, Microsoft says, "Windows Essentials 2012 suite will reach end of support on January 10, 2017" and that it "will be available for download until it reaches its end of support date." (Source: "Windows Essentials 2012 Release Notes") That same page also says, "Movie Maker will soon be available from Windows Store for Windows 10 users"; however it doesn't say if that new version will be free or even if it will continue to be a standard desktop program. So, I'm now looking to replace Movie Maker.

Mesh, for your next reviews, I'd very much like to see your opinions of VSDC Free Video Editor, and Shotcut.

From a couple of other people's comments here, I think it would be helpful for a review to mention when QuickTime is used by a Windows program, and for the Introduction section to explain the significance of that issue.

Thank you, i will put it into consideration. Hopefully i wiil be done with new updates soon.

It is sad that MS isn't doing anything with WMM and will probably abandon it on January 2017. Very easy to use when you just need to edit out scenes and add titles and music.

I've tried Shotcut. The installer is like 191MB but like H4E, it expanded to about 1GB upon installation! I would say that is it is somewhat easy to use once you've used another NLE. I am thankful for learning to use NLE with the hardest program in that category, LightWorks. Compared to LW, everything else is easy! Unlike Openshot, Shotcut is more stable in my Windows 10 machine. Encoding 1080p is slow, much slower than LW. I think it's worth more of a look but I had to uninstall it. I don't keep any programs that are more than 500MB.

Well it is ussually like this for most programs. The more you use it increases in its overall space, especially if you use it with third parties and plug ins in some cases.

I've installed Hitfilm 4 Express on my sister's desktop. While the installer is about 430MB, it expanded and used almost 1GB of HDD space! And it still asked me to install Quicktime to be able to edit .MOV files. Lightworks can also use Quicktime but it can edit .MOV files without it. Plus, did I say it only needed 250MB? It is also faster to launch.

But H4E is a bit easier to use than LW. They are both non-linear editors (NLE) and you can reuse many of the same editing skills on either program. LW is harder to use since the UI is pretty bare-bones, and assumes that you know your way around its non-intuitive menu. It also has an ever-present shark tooltip assistant. He is almost as annoying as the MS Paperclip, but a lot easier on the eyes.

H4E has a more updated UI, very visual, which makes it easier to learn. I also think that since I've already mastered the harder LW program, converting to H4E is a cinch. New users of NLE might have a higher learning curve. I would recommend H4E over LW to those who don't use small SSDs and aren't constrained by drive space; and to those who want learn to use it fast and start editing immediately.

But for myself, I'll have to make do with LW since I can't afford to give 1GB to a video editing app. I barely have 10GB left in my 128GB SSD.

Thanks for the input, it is very resourceful

I use Avidemux.

My problem is finding a way to mark several areas of the video that interest me all at once.
It seems to only allow you to extract/save 1 at a time

Its a good one, but it probably needs an update that account for this

This article is out of date.
Virtualdub is a relic that knows only .avi formats - it was good 10 years ago

The best free and powerful editor out there is Davinci Resolve 12.5 which is free in standard edition (not Studio) and has truly professional capabilities (I don't know how such a good software can be free). The single disadvantage: it needs QuickTime (there is not a video professional editor that works without QT unfortunately because they need ProRes); but, on installation QT is installed automatically (last version for Win) and then you can rename the player executable (e.g. add the .bak extension to the .exe) in Program Files, which is a security risk in Windows OS, and verify your browser plugins - QT must be disabled; this doesn't affect Resolve editor because it needs only the codecs from QT, not the video player.

Other good/fair alternatives for Windows are:
- VSDC Free Video Editor
- DVD Video Soft Free Video Editor (bee aware: contains unwanted software at installation)

PS: i couldn't post links but you can find the software above easily with google

DaVinci Resolve looks great. Thanks for bringing this into attention. 

Thanks, soon we will  be updating this category, as you noticed some of the softwares are no longer as popular as new softwares have taken over. I am currently compiling a new list and will post it as soon as i am done with my research

Hitfilm 4 is free and has great capabilities. It also can edit mp4 video.

You're clearly a smarter dog than me. I didn't get to square one with Freemake - it has zero help/documentation. Oh there's one video, but it's just a 2 minute ad [music only].

PS: Lightworks installing is erratic. I never did manage to install it. LW is helpful, but they just shrugged [evidentally it's not uncommon]

A new open source video editor. Vidiot: http://sourceforge.net/projects/vidiot/

this is a mess. The usual minimal documentation. Wouldn't import any of my videos [in any format], so it didn't last long on my hard drive.

Virtual Dub doesn't work with MP4 files? Tried opening some but no luck.

Avidemux: Awesome program for a beginner. I'm experienced in computers, but just starting with video editing and right out of the box, I was able to cut out portions and get rid of black frames on my home movies.
One of the best wiki's I've seen.
http://tinyurl.com/n4dsv2j
Also a very good forum: http://tinyurl.com/l5ul2kl

Perhaps it will be a bit more challenging as I get into more intricate editing, but just to get my home movies broken down into smaller chunks, it's been a breeze.

While I appreciate the generic caution re: the practices of software companies like NCH, I think you failed to fully warn readers of the risks of NCH software specifically. You also failed to consider these practices in your evaluation.

If you ignore the spammy, malware-like bundling and the under-the-table installations of NCH software, your evaluation might be spot-on. But, I don't think you can or should ignore the fact that NCH Software (and others like them) engage in deceptive practices like:

* installing code on systems without proper disclosure or permission
* redirect browsers without notification
* use misleading techniques to trick users into installing additional software
* leaving code on systems after uninstall

Gizmo's really should NOT ignore these malicious practices in their reviews. Taken into consideration, ALL NCH software ratings should be reduced by a measure of at least -25% and should include both strong warnings in the actual NCH app review and a in the Con's section to fully warn readers.

I also dislike NCH practices and might replace there software with another program in the near future.

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