Just like photography and the art of editing photos, which has become accessible to everyone, what used to cost hundreds, or even thousands of dollars through popular applications like Final Cut Pro or Avid, new users can purchase for just a few dollars a month or for no cost at all, and therefore become video editors over night. This gives rookie video editors a chance to learn the basics of video editing without breaking the bank in the process. So take that GoPro out for an adventure and become a hero over night.
Here are 10 recommendations of free video editing software for beginners. Keep in mind that 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.
Kate’s Video Toolkit does provide some basic but useful editing features. So you can trim files or join them, link two videos with a transition, create a sequence of videos with a custom soundtrack, and there’s a simple file format conversion tool as well. However there are plenty of limitations, too such as the fact that you can’t maximize the program window to use your full screen resolution, for instance, but Kate’s Video Toolkit is extremely easy to u§se.
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, and 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.
With a download size of only 327KB, you’d expect MPEG Streamclip to be, well, a little underpowered. And yet, the program opens multiple files, DVDs or URLs of video streams; can trim, cut, copy or paste parts of your footage; and has options to rotate your footage or export the soundtrack, while its Export dialog provides more control over your finished video than some commercial products.
Apple’s iMovie has long been one of the most consumer-orientated video editors out there, just like all the Apple products, as a matter of fact. It’s packaged with iLife, a simple software suite that comes bundled with every Mac, and touts some serious practicability for the everyday user. The latest version of the software allows you to import and edit video clips from a variety of external devices, such as smartphones and professional camcorders, and sports a clean interface that is attractive and easy to navigate.
Windows Movie Maker is another easy-to-use video editor capable of creating fresh videos without all the complicated bells and whistles of more robust programs like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro. The software allows users to combine video, images, and audio using a drag-and-drop method similar to iMovie, and it features all the essential functions we now come to expect from any basic editing software. Adding themes and effects is a breeze, as is trimming video and one-step uploading to various sites like YouTube and Facebook.
Edit Share LLC’s non-linear editing system has been used to help produce everything from Raging Bull and 28 Days Later to Pulp Fiction and Mission Impossible, offering a solid set of both free and premium tools that we simply can’t ignore. Features include professional-level color correction, GPU-accelerated real-time effects, video capture, and nearly an all-encompassing format support, as well as your traditional tools for importing, trimming, and seamlessly weaving audio and video together with a few effortless mouse clicks.
Other great inclusions are the program’s instant auto-save functionality, which works flawlessly in the background, and the ability to select Avid and Final Cut Pro keyboard layouts if you refuse to adopt Lightworks’ default design.
You’ll find a capable editor with plenty of functionality: drawing and selection tools, plenty of colour and lighting corrections, some useful filters, transitions, audio effects and more if you have the patience to go through some useful documentation beforehand. When your project is complete, there are options to save it to file, optimise your movie for various mobile devices, or even burn it to DVD.
It looks a little dated now, and only works fully with AVI files, but if that’s your format of choice then VirtualDub has plenty to offer.
A clean and clear interface helps you navigate through and trim your clips, there are plenty of filters – sharpen, blur, resize, rotate (at any angle, not just 90 degree increments), brightness, colour and contrast tweaks – and optional plugs add even more capabilities.
This is primarily a video conversion tool but it can also double as a simple video editor. Drag and drop your clips onto the program and you can arrange them into order, cut each one to suit your needs, flip or rotate individual clips and convert them to your preferred format (or even upload the finished movie directly to YouTube). And you get all in a polished, professional and very easy-to-use interface.
Wondershare is well-known for its intuitive and easy to touch features, as well as in-depth tools you can also access if necessary, such as picture-in-picture, speed up/slow down, voice change, etc.