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Best Free Video Editing Program

In a Hurry?
  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide
 
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: All free video editing software recommended here are for Windows. 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

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.

Avidemux is a free, open source, video editor written in C++ by Mean, Gruntster and Fahr.  Note that it mainly supports AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of codecs. It will run on almost any operating system like Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, Mandriva, Windows, Mac OS, PC DSB, using minimal resources. Advanced users can customize the program. Newer distributions have a command line interface. Large selection of filters. 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.

The official site doesn't support download exe. file directly and users can mainly download from Berlios.de,SourceForge.

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.

Kdenlive is a free and open-source video editor for GNU/Linux and FreeBSD, which 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 audios with layers and there are multiple addon sources to enrich video results by adding scripts, background textures, keyboard stickers and music.

Other Selections
This section will hold all products reviewed that did not end up on the main list, which will be listed one by one in the following days. 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 my email or the comments section below.

To be reviewed:

LiVES

Cinelerra

Kino

Windows Movie Maker

Wax

FFMpeg

Blender

ZS4 Video Editor

Cinefx Jahshaka

Lightworks

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.
http://fixounet.free.fr/avidemux/
2.6.8
12.07MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
This product is portable.
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.
http://www.virtualdub.org/
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
http://openshot.org/
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.
Fedora 11+, Ubuntu 8.04+
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
http://www.kdenlive.org
0.9.8
3.2M
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
GNU/Linux distributions;FreeBSD;Mac OS X;NetBSD

 
Editor

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor Liza Brown, who is the SEO & Website Editor of Wondershare. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.

 
Tags

edit video, free video editor, free video editing software, free, freeware

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Comments

by MidnightCowboy on 29. September 2012 - 9:01  (99948)

The link to the free version is clearly visible on their homepage.

by Bernd Wechner (not verified) on 29. September 2012 - 11:05  (99951)

Forgive my blindness, but this is so freaky I'm frankly confused.

If I go this page:

http://www.nchsoftware.com/videopad/index.html

There is no, I repeat NO sign of a free version.

If however I click the download link above (here on Gizmos), even though the URL is identical, and it opens a page with the identical URL in the address bar, and if I copy the link the URL is identical, the identical page loads! But with an extra paragraph reading:

Get it Free. A free video editor version is available for non-commercial use only. If you will be using it at home you can download the free version here.

It can only, surely be dynamically rendering this based on the referrerURL.

Examining the source of that page reveals indeed that this block is only displayed if there is a referrer not withing the nch domain. Aargh, what gives with these people? They only want the free version to be visible to people referred there form another site? How then did our editor here ever work this out? In cahoots with them?

All I can say is this is the freakiest thing I've come across in a little while.

Thanks for the tip though, as my first effort was to go to their website via your website link not the download link, and if you go their download page fomr their own home page the free version is not available!

What gives here? And why do I find that spooky somehow?

by edwardns on 17. October 2012 - 16:28  (100923)

If you go to Google and search for "VideoPad Free", without the quotes of course, you will see the link for the free download.

by MidnightCowboy on 29. September 2012 - 12:15  (99953)

Vendors often make their freeware versions hard to find because obviously they want to sell you something. :) This applies to some other products we have on the site. To suggest though that our editor is "in cahoots" with this vendor is quite frankly insulting to all of the volunteers who give their time freely to produce the content you can now benefit from.

by Bernd Wechner (not verified) on 30. September 2012 - 7:37  (99985)

Apologies if "cahoots" means something different to you than it did to me. All I meant was to suggest "working together" which you have pretty much identified as the motive yourself, albeit implicitly working together not explicitly.

If this referrer specific content is common after more than 20 years of diverse freeware use on my part I have surprisingly, never encountered this strategy and it does strike me as borderline ethically speaking. Let's just say I've been producing and selling software for as long as that too and I work with people who would shout me down if I proposed such marketing methods. Myself, I find it all right, but on the edge as well.

Essentially what's happening is NCH wish to make money selling the software, want to make a free version available to review sites (referrers, as their javascript is not referrer specific, any referrer URL will will display teh Get Free paragraph) so as to get some exposure, some marketing and hook some people into using it who may become buyers.

All that is fine, and I do the same to a point as do many software producers, but to this day I have always encountered it done informatively, ethically and clearly, often with a matrix conveying what features are available in the free version and what in the "pro" version, and/or clear "terms of use" for a free version etc. NCH settle for one sly and discrete paragraph leaving me suspicious by nature about whether they've packaged trojanware (all too common alas) or are offering an annoying hamstrung nag screen driven version etc. All of which could be stated clearly but isn't.

For my money (all $0 of it) I'll advocate Avidemux which poses none of these weird issues (and even if you think it common, to me it is still a first and weird, sorry).

And none of this disparages Gizmo's editors. They are unequivocally awesome, one and all for the time and effort they put into comparative testing and sharing their learning! Kudos to them all! And deepest apologies if my surprise and distaste for NCH's marketing paradigm came across as offensive to any of them.

by AZGary (not verified) on 27. September 2012 - 4:58  (99826)

I've never done any sort of video editing and have no idea what would be a choice for me. Let me describe what I'm looking for and maybe you could make a recommendation. I recently got a new phone and started taking pictures of a relatives wedding. Later I found that somehow I had switched it from still pictures to video. What I need is something I can use to save a single frame from these videos so I'll have the still shot I thought I was taking. Most of the videos have the shot I wanted in the first few frames and the rest is footage of the floor, my feet or any number of other things that I'd be embarrassed to have people see my apparent total incompetence! I don't need all kinds of bells and whistles or fancy features, just the ability to extract a single frame of my choice.

by edwardns on 17. October 2012 - 16:54  (100924)

The free VLC editor can do this. You can get the portable version at http://portableapps.com/apps/music_video/vlc_portable or the full version at http://www.videolan.org/index.html.

There are instructions at http://wic.library.upenn.edu/multimedia/tutorials/capture_still_frame.pdf. With the latest portable version I could only save snapshots in the PNG format but these are easily converted to JPEGs. An easy way to do this is to use the online image converter at http://www.zamzar.com/convert/png-to-jpg/.

by Amber Thompson (not verified) on 24. September 2012 - 17:06  (99697)

"VirtualDub"

This program does indeed, have a portable version.

http://portableapps.com/apps/music_video/virtualdub_portable

by MidnightCowboy on 24. September 2012 - 17:51  (99698)

Thank you Amber.:) The review content is now updated.

by Amber Thompson (not verified) on 24. September 2012 - 21:06  (99701)

You're welcome.

by Vitaly (not verified) on 10. September 2012 - 16:35  (99063)

Let me Suggest Serif MoviePlus Starter Edition. I've tested it along with VideoPad, and I must say it has some adbvntages over VideoPad - VST support and built-in audio effects. Video editing features are also great.

by t00nz843z (not verified) on 9. September 2012 - 2:17  (98977)

As someone else mentioned, I also was once a fan of VirtualDub. But also as the other person mentioned, it's very limited in files that it can work with due to codec issues.

Look up FileLab, VSDC, Freemake. There has been a bunch of recent releases that are better, easier to use, and in some cases much more feature rich.

by Bigfishstalker (not verified) on 4. September 2012 - 9:15  (98734)

I've been using Videopad for quite a while, usually without any problems. Just recently though I've tried to use the Page Curl transition between slides and clips. They work correctly in the Videopad preview, but when the sequence is rendered and burnt to disc, the Page Curls do not happen. Other transitions work fine. I've been in touch with Videopad support who suggested I compile a short sequence and put it on Dropbox for them to download and try out. (It was too big for email). However, they so far have only replied that they cannot download the file from Dropbox whichever link I send them! Others I've sent the link to can get it though.
Anyone else come across this particular transition problem?? It takes quite a long time to produce the video file from a sequence as well.

by TrollerUMB19 (not verified) on 1. September 2012 - 4:49  (98607)

OMFG THIS IS AMAZING!!!! I can now edit videos like never before!!! I used the free version of A4G and it said I had to buy the full version for like $200!!!
HELL NOO!!! I saw this and was a bit skeptical at first, but it really works!!!

Thanks VideoPad!!!

by Juxxize on 1. September 2012 - 10:56  (98612)

I use videopad too, it's great isn't it ( and if I can use it with no problems anyone can )

by Scott Miller (not verified) on 20. August 2012 - 18:47  (98030)

Two comments - I attempted to use Videopad's free version but in reading through the instructions of use, it said it saves a list of file links only, not a rendered version separate from the images and video you import. It specifically said not to delete originals since the project file it creates contains links to those files.

Video Dub - tried it, used to like it, but I seem to be running into it not working with all avi files. Specifically, it balks on files that have codecs that are used by Windows Media Player? If there is a work around for this, it would become my favorite avi editor/renderer again.

by DingBat on 13. August 2012 - 13:27  (97650)

[url]http://www.lwks.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=45&Itemid=184[/url]

[url]http://www.lwks.com/[/url]

!

Nuf said.

by sneakyrabbit9 (not verified) on 10. August 2012 - 14:39  (97509)

A couple comments/questions:

--VideoPad: I don't see a free version listed of this software on their site. The only versions listed are a "Home" and "Master" version, both of which cost money. It does allow you to download a file that is almost 4 MBs, but the lack of a stated "Free" version gives me the impression that the available download is some sort of trial version that will expire after a short period of time or whatever. Am I missing something?

--Pinnacle Videospin: Pinnacle now seems to be owned by Avid, and Videospin no longer seems to exist. The first link you have now leads to "Avid Studio Free Trial", and the second leads to a product registration page for the software that doesn't seem to be downloadable. A search on pinnaclesys.com for Videospin brings up nothing.

So, what I'm now wondering: Is there actually a piece of legitimate, free video editing software out there (not a free trial) that is relatively user/friendly and doesn't need a bunch of extra codecs/filters/whatever installed? I'm trying to find something for a friend, and if VirtualDub and Avidemux are anything like learning GIMP, it's going to be a bit out of their league.

Thanks!

by Jojo Yee on 10. August 2012 - 16:16  (97515)

About downloading the free version of VideoPad, please check out the comment here:

http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-video-editor.htm#comment-95881

by sneakyrabbit9 (not verified) on 10. August 2012 - 18:21  (97519)

I appreciate the link.

However, I'm still a bit confused, though, as the link doesn't lead to a direct download, but rather to a webpage/download on the Dev site that anyone can access -- direct link or not. Therefore, the portion about accessing the free version of the program via a "referrer" site either isn't accurate, or what is being downloaded via that page & link isn't actually a free version.

I'd just like to know for sure before I have my friend try it out.

by Jojo Yee on 11. August 2012 - 1:11  (97528)

Feel free to give it a try Sneakyrabbit9. It does what it says on the tin - "Get it Free" is highlighted to you on the download page when you access it from a referrer site.

The info available on a web page can vary depending on the referrer or referring page. More details here.

by sneakyrabbit9 (not verified) on 11. August 2012 - 12:04  (97546)

Mystery solved -- My scriptblocker was blocking the "Get it Free" link.

A fair amount of people here might use those, so it might be something the editor of this category wants to mention :]

by Tek (not verified) on 18. July 2012 - 3:43  (96343)

Hey Us0r,

First off, I love the thread. So much info and answered the majority of my questions.

I do, however, have a question that I've been wondering about (and seeing the 9 pages of responses, I'm sure you've already answered it, but I'm lazy). I've been using VP for a few weeks now and am really enjoying it thus far. Few drawbacks here and there but nothing that I can't live with. I have yet to purchase the full version and have just been using the 14 day trial, twice thus far, and have been wondering if I switch to the free version will I still be able to put my videos onto DVD? Most of what I do with VP is for videos of family and friends so it's imperative that I be able to put what I create onto DVD. If I am not able to do so, what do you suggest as a viable alternative? Not looking to have to pay for anything as its only used for short, usually 20 minutes long, videos. Thanks for any help!

by us0r on 18. July 2012 - 16:57  (96366)

Hello Tek,

Thank you very much! I'm truly glad that it's been helpful for you. ^_^

As to your question: You can most definitely still use VideoPad to create DVDs with the free version. The free version retains almost all of the features of the full version that you should need for home editing so don't worry about the downgrade.
If you're ever interested in trying another editor VirtualDub is also very good with well established support groups and many add-ons.

by Tek (not verified) on 18. July 2012 - 17:21  (96367)

Excellent! Thanks for the info and quick response Us0r! And I'll have to check out VirtualDub, I'd never heard of it before I read this post. Thanks again!

by Joe Abbott (not verified) on 14. July 2012 - 19:58  (96184)

I would really like to try Video Pad to see if it would solve a problem with Power Director. The problem involves audio & video getting out of sync. So I downloaded the free version and attempted to "capture" a 1-hr movie from an HD video camera(Canon Vixia). It identified the camera OK, but when I clicked "capture" it immediately returned the message "failed to capture". Is it possible that "capture" is one of those features not offered in the free version? I'd be delighted to buy the full version if I could verify that it would solve the sync issue, which was the whole point of downloading in the first place.
Mr. Abbott

by us0r on 16. July 2012 - 18:03  (96287)

Hello Mr. Abbott,

I believe you are correct that it is a function that is only available on the paid version as this posting on the NCH website clearly states that capture is possible from any external device on VideoPad.

Before purchasing a full version of VideoPad I would suggest emailing NCH tech support here to be sure that it is a matter of restriction and not another problem with the camera type or a setting within the free version that could be adjusted.

by Joe Abbott (not verified) on 16. July 2012 - 19:05  (96293)

OK, I emailed NCH tech support. Their response indicates that I should buy the product to get a timely response, but apparently they'll answer the question after they run out of "paid support" questions. So we'll wait & see - how fun.

by us0r on 16. July 2012 - 21:23  (96298)

Ugh, how convenient. I'll see if I can find an answer to your question somewhere else and hopefully get it to you a little faster.

by Griven (not verified) on 13. July 2012 - 21:32  (96148)

Hi,
Having used Videopad while searching for a more
heavy duty editor, I was really pleased with the results from an earlier version which I lost in a drive crash this Spring.
The newer version may have some improved features but it no longer allows the selective addition of text
to a video.
When text is added now and positioned, the addition
of further text later in the video changes the already applied text to the new entry. Also, one can no longer seem to confine text to selected areas.
Either I'm doing something wrong or they have dropped a vital feature...