Best free video editing software for beginners

If you managed to make your first VFX-heavy video by following our last guide (if not, go back and grab our October 21 issue), congratulations! Now comes the next big step – editing this video.

Two of the best known programs when it comes to best video editing software are Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro. However, this software is industry standard and has sophisticated features that can be intimidating for beginners. Even Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, our pick for one of the best free video editors, has a steep learning curve.

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Luckily, there are tons of Adobe Premiere Pro alternatives that are streamlined and incredibly easy to use. And while some beginner versions eliminate all unused features, others offer powerful tools that make any production look polished and professional, even if you’ve never edited videos before.


The simplicity of standard video editing programs for Mac users is actually quite nice. Only two video tracks are available and getting started is incredibly simple and intuitive. To quickly give your video a professional look, explore the app’s respectable selection of preset filters, transitions, and title options.

The editing toolkit is simple, but includes all the essential features you might need, including cropping and cutting, color correction, removing background noise, and stabilizing shaky footage. Thanks to the integration with iTunes, you can add sounds from the royalty-free audio and SFX selection or import songs from your music library.

Running out of time to create the perfect video? To let AI make all these choices, use the Magic Movie feature in the newer version.

Light works

Since Lightworks has been around for over 30 years, you can count on their excellent polish. Hollywood’s favorite professional editing program, Lightworks, was used to edit The King’s Speech, in case Colin Firth’s presence swayed your choice.

The learning curve is a bit higher than with iMovie, but if you watch the orientation video, you’ll be up and running in no time. Keyboard controls and trim tools designed to handle huge amounts of footage are loved by professional editors. Even if you are a free user, the built-in color correction options and video effects are very impressive and unlimited.

It is a very efficient tool to finish your video as fast as possible and release it to the world thanks to its robust timeline, instant auto-save and background processing. The only downside to using the free version is that you can only export to formats designed for YouTube, Vimeo, or MP4, and at a maximum resolution of 720p.

DaVinci Resolution

DaVinci Resolve is probably the best free video editing program. DaVinci’s cloud-based workflow systems make it especially useful for remote collaborations.

Fans also praise DaVinci’s user experience (UX) design, which is divided into “pages” so users can approach each step of the editing process in a focused manner. Start your clipping on the ‘Cut’ page, then switch to the ‘Color’ tab to adjust tones and shadows. You can even output directly to Twitter thanks to the variety of supported formats on the “Media & Delivery” page.

Before clicking “download”, make sure your hardware can handle this powerful tool as it requires a powerful computer.


OpenShot works on Mac, Windows or Linux. It offers unlimited tracks, letting you add as many layers as you want, including background videos, plenty of audio, and sick effects.

This program stands out from the rest of the pack with its built-in animation framework, which allows you to animate almost anything in the framework to make your video project stand out.

Passionate multimedia composer

Composer is free, but that doesn’t mean the user experience is compromised. In order to approach editing, coloring, audio, and effects with focus, a contemporary interface design is helpfully segmented into workspaces. You can also rearrange panels and widgets to suit your particular design process.

Avid’s multi-camera editing feature automatically syncs up to 64 different angles so you can start editing and aligning right away. You might be editing an Instagram video rather than an Emmy-nominated sitcom, but why not make the most of the resources at your disposal? If the built-in visual effects and filters don’t add enough flair to your footage, download additional plug-ins and experiment with composite imagery, motion effects, and other features.

No matter which one you choose, the best free video editing programs should be just that: free software that provides a variety of editing tools. With some, you can create goofy and entertaining videos; with others you can create smoother and more professional videos, but you should be able to do so without spending a single taka.

We hope you have fun editing!

About Georgia Duvall

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