Many people nowadays have aspirations of one day making a proper YouTube or Vimeo channel, but not everyone has the money to shell out possibly thousands of dollars in the equipment and software necessary to make a professional video. Perhaps you have the equipment already, but you’re not willing to spend another few months saving up for the software and want to hop right into the process. In this case, the most obvious choice is to go with the most powerful free editor you can find. Let’s see a few that come close to what the big commercial ones offer!
Do you know: you can use VLC as a video editor too?
1. DaVinci Resolve
DaVinci Resolve is a professional editor’s surgery kit. Known and beloved by many successful content creators and film studios, its feature set is one of the widest that you could get out of the free version of any utility out there.
Although intimidating for newcomers, once you learn how to use Resolve, it proves to be incredibly versatile, with a set of features that are the golden standard in the content production industry. If you plan to make highly professional YouTube videos or even independent films, this is absolutely the tool you should get accustomed to using.
- 4K editing at 60 FPS,
- Advanced color grading and correction
- Fast and easy timeline navigation
- Automatic synchronization of audio and video
- Advanced editing tools including stabilization and picture-in-picture effects
HitFilm may be a bit complicated at first, especially if you’re new to professional post-production editing, but it works amazingly once you get the hang of building scenes on it. Although it’s primarily geared toward professional filmmakers, it has tools that content creators and influencers alike can appreciate.
While the toolset may be a bit broad for people working on YouTube, FXhome’s HitFilm really shines with its specialty in film composition, with advanced features for movement tracking, footage distortion, drop-in 3D effects, muzzle flashes, and an intricate layering system that makes Hollywood-level production look like a walk in the park.
- 4k editing at 60 fps
- Composite shot tools
- Granular audio mixing utilities
- 360-degree editing of scenes
- A very large special effects library with 3D rendering
Tip: for macOS users, you can check out the best free video editors for Mac too.
If all you want to do is pop in a camcorder and process a video feed with a few effects (like making a vacation montage), VideoPad may be all you need. It sports an interface that’s a little old-school but has a standard set of features that would leave amateur video enthusiasts very satisfied.
NCH Software’s application is meant to extend versatility to the absolute beginner, with support for various video formats, including the more antiquated ones for camcorders. VideoPad shines the most when you just want to have an in-and-out experience without a lot of fuss.
- Extremely easy-to-use point-and-click interface
- Double-screen for simpler editing
- Directly export to social media and video sites
- Video stabilization
OpenShot is one of those editors that needs a little love to get working but has an impressive amount of features that rival those of commercial video software. It may give you a few bumps and bruises along the way, but if you really value open-source projects, this one is worth supporting!
For a FOSS tool, it isn’t half bad, though you may find some bugs once in a while. The release of 3.0 and subsequent 3.1.1 patches made it far more stable and more attractive for professional video creators.
OpenShot shines the most when you’re attempting to create animation-heavy videos with effects that pair well with your transitions. Its ability to work in every popular desktop platform also gives it massive points for portability in working environments that require multiple operating systems. It even ranks as one of the best video editors for Linux.
- Fully free and open-source software
- Simple video effects
- Key-frame animation toolset
- Add video, audio, and image files easily to the timeline
FYI: make use of these photo editors that use AI to enhance your images.
5. Microsoft Clipchamp
Microsoft Clipchamp is a plug-and-play type of video editor that makes life as simple as possible for someone who doesn’t want to go through the immense learning curve of using more professional tools. That doesn’t by any means make it a lackluster tool. It’s designed to make the user experience as pleasant as possible while including a large range of features.
Whether you’re trying to put together a family video or making YouTube content, Clipchamp should at the very least be one of the tools in your arsenal. Your toolset will include most of what you’ll find in fancier video software, but it will be more condensed, with pre-packaged templates to make your life easier.
- Auto-captioning of videos
- Several “click and go” templates for transitions for several use cases, such as travel vlogs, gaming, fitness, etc.
- Access to several free audio clips and special effects
- Video annotations, objects, shapes, and text overlays
- A simple timeline that takes very little time to learn to use
Shotcut is another open-source video editor that provides several important features for people who want to do post-production professional audio editing. Though still primarily a video production tool, it has rich tools and features that would make an audiophile’s day!
Shotcut comes with features like spot removal, vertigo effects, several color and channel touchup tools, and a vast array of compositing styles for key scenes in your videos.
The true selling point of Shotcut lies in its unrivaled audio toolset that wipes the floor with everything else, with features like automatic normalization, automatic fade, and various equalizer options.
- Compatibility with an impressive variety of audio formats
- Powered by ffmpeg, an incredibly versatile audio and video tool
- A huge array of audio filters like compressor, equalizer, high pass, limiter, noise gate, and normalization.
- Works on other desktop platforms like Linux and Mac.
- Overlap shots on timeline to create audio transitions and fades
- Capability to edit in stereo, mono, and 5.1 surround
- For an audio-intensive application, a broad video editing toolkit that includes composting, blending, deinterlacing, and several transitions
- Video stabilization
- 360-degree video editing
If you’re attempting to grow an audience on any video platform, it’s not far-fetched to presume that a lot of your content will also include some still images. Once you’ve settled on one or more video editing tools here, check out some of our recommendations for photo editing apps that can help you bring out the best in every frame!
Image credit: Computer monitor screengrab via pxfuel
Subscribe to our newsletter!
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox