Best Free Video Editing Program

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Introduction

Hello and welcome to the Best Free Video Editing Program review page! Whether you're a professional looking to save money, a student looking for a program to help with a school project or just a person who likes making videos and needs an editor, this page is for you.

I will also be here to answer as many of your questions as I can 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: Companies like NCH and others who distribute partially restricted free versions of their primary-for-profit product or other freeware will often attempt to add other programs during install of the software you actually want. Be careful to only approve the installation of the programs you want and recognize. If you are given the choice of standard or custom installation choosing custom 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. I do my best to make sure nothing recommended on this page in the main section or the comments will afflict your computer with viruses or useless programs. Downloading free software on the internet can be risky though so ALWAYS pay attention to exactly what you are downloading and where you are downloading it from: it's for your own health!

 

Discussion

For Windows

VirtualDub is an impressive open source package that is regularly updated by its author. Note that it mainly supports AVI files and can read (not write) MPEG-1 and BMP images but doesn't handle some video formats like DVD or MP4. And like all video software, it needs a pretty fast PC. In the world of video editing VirtualDub has always been there. It's a very reliable program that with the right amount of knowledge can accomplish just about any task. VirtualDub is licensed under the GNU General Public License , meaning you can use it for free. No risk involved, and the whole source code is available if you want it.

The package is however not complete without the additional filters. A comprehensive collection of third party filters is available from here.

 

For Multi Platforms

Avidemux is a free, open source, video editor written in C++ by Mean, Gruntster and Fahr. It runs in Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and PC-BSD, using minimal resources. Note that it mainly supports AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of codecs.

It has a large selection of filters and advanced users can customize the program. Newer distributions have a command line interface too.

However, it can be too complicated for beginners or even intermediate users who often have problems syncing sound and video in their projects as well as adding filters and adjusting the beginning and end of clips.

Kdenlive is a free and open-source video editor for Linux, FreeBSD and Mac OS X. The program supports DV, AVCHD and HDV editing. The best pro is to support multitrack and unlimited media files in timeline. Like FCP, it organizes videos and audio with layers and there are multiple addon sources to enrich video results by adding scripts, background textures, keyboard stickers and music.

 

For Linux

OpenShot is a free, open-source video editor for Linux licensed under the GPL version 3.0. It mainly supports many video, audio, and image formats based on FFmpeg. There are several features differentiating it from others.

  • Unlimited tracks / layers, which expands the capability of editors' imagination
  • 3D Animated Titles, after using the open-source package of Blender
  • Key Frame animation,
  • Over 20 other video effects

There are 2 addons for downloading, AV Linux Live DVD and PPA. The former one is free custom shop modded and rodded 32bit PAE computer Operating System designed to turn a regular old (or fairly new) PC or Intel Mac into an Audio/Graphics/Video workstation appliance and the later one will only be used when users' OS is Ubuntu 9.10 and above. Like Avidemux, it's not a easy editing tool for those who are not familiar with encoding, FFmpeg stuff.

 

Other Selections

This section will hold other alternative products reviewed that did not end up on the main list. This is because of my own experiences running the programs on my computer for my projects and the evaluation I made of its efficacy as well as how easily others were able to complete projects in a satisfactory and timely manner. This may not apply to how the program will run on your system for your projects so please, do not become upset if you see a program you like below. If one of these is your favorite for your projects I am happy for you and would honestly like to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • LiVES
  • Cinelerra
  • Kino
  • Windows Movie Maker
  • Wax
  • FFMpeg
  • Blender
  • ZS4 Video Editor
  • Lightworks
  • Cinefx Jahshaka
  • Movica
 

Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 

Quick Selection Guide

Avidemux

4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Powerful, easy to use and well documented tutorials.
As with any other video editing program, it can be confusing.
2.6.8
17.6 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, PC-BSD

VirtualDub

4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Great piece of software for the power user who is really familiar with video editing.
Can be quite confusing for the average user.
1.10.4
1.9 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 98/ME/NT4/2000/XP/Vista/7, licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL)

OpenShot

3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
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
1.1.3
12.3MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.

Kdenlive

3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
High compatibility of input and output media formats Support multitrack and unlimited media files in timeline Multiple free open-source addons Have creative video effects like Cartoon,Charcoal and Flippo
Not suitable for greenhands Update slow No powerful video effects like PIP, faceoff
0.9.8
3.2M
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
 
 

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Comments

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.

I downloaded Videopad and tried installing it. The install stopped running when I selected the "Finish" button. I did not select any of the optional programs. It basically locked up. I could not stop the install and had to do a hard reboot (not an easy thing to do with a laptop). I will be contacting NCH about this issue and until then I will not be installing this program.

Which of these can do simple cut and trim, and save without re-encoding?

I just tried Avidemux and it appears to save trimmed videos without re-encoding. It is available as a portable version at http://portableapps.com/node/19409. It worked fine with an AVI but crashed with a MOV. Freemake Video Converter couldn't handle a MOV either.
For quick cuts or trims I use the free Freemake Video Converter at http://www.freemake.com/. After you trim you can save it as almost any video format.

Note: in the newest version of Freemake, 4.0.4 onwards, it ads a Freemake logo to the end of any video over 5 minutes long. Other than that, good stuff but watch for 3 toolbar options when installing. Use 'custom install' to uncheck them.

Just took a quick look at it. Original file is AVI. When I do a trim and then save as an AVI, one of the options is one-pass or two-pass encoding. Doesn't that mean it is re-encoding to save the edited clip?

Yes, it is re-encoding but it is really quick and easier to use then most other programs. The free VideoPad appears to re-encode also. Virtualdub is limited in file type compatibility.

I'm a beginner. I just want to remove part of the commercial in the video recorded from over the air tv broadcast. And maybe remove a little bit of starting/ending section. That's all I need for now. Please any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

Your best bet is to download the free VideoPad Editor. It allows you to cut out unwanted parts of your videos.

Thanks for info. Is remaining parts still one video? Or several shorter ones?

After you cut out the unwanted part, what remains is just one video.

Get a professional video editor for FREE!
Sounds too good to be true?
Well it is true…

Explore Lightworks for yourself.

Here’s a review and import guide:
http://video.atheart.dk/review-lightworks-video-editor-part-1.html

Here you can download the program:
http://www.lwks.com/index.php?option=com_docman&gid=8&task=cat_view&Item...

And here you can see some of the movie productions edited on Lightworks:
http://www.lwks.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=15&Item...

Thanks for the tip. I plan to test Lightworks in the upcoming future and will post my findings.