In the digital age, video content reigns supreme. Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re a marketing professional looking to enhance your company’s online presence, good video editing software is a must-have. But with such a high volume of video content, these software tools have become extremely pricy, often requiring large monthly subscriptions to even get your foot in the door.
Thankfully, we’re here to tell you that quality video editing doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best free video editors available today, ranging from beginner to professional that will help you edit videos like a pro.
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How to Choose a Video Editing Software
Before you learn about the best software, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. Choosing the best video editing software primarily depends on your specific needs (not necessarily your skill level). If you’re only planning to make basic video edits, you’ll want a platform that’s easy to use and understand, with simple controls. For more advanced users, you’ll want access to features like special effects, color grading, and advanced audio editing.
If you’re a beginner you might be tempted to download a basic video editing program, but before you do, consider this: what matters most is what type of videos you plan to edit, not so much skill level. It’s easy to think that beginners should use the easiest program possible. That might be okay for some people, but you want to be careful not to trap yourself. It’s often worth it to spend an extra couple hours a day learning how to use a software like DaVinci Resolve than learning a new software when you outgrow the old one.
Free Video Editing Programs
Now that you know how to choose the right software, let’s go through our top five picks for the best free video editing software. All of these are meant to be used on a desktop computer, if you’re looking for a mobile video editing app, check out our article on the top free video editing apps.
DaVinci Resolve Video Editor
Without a doubt, DaVinci Resolve is the best free video editing software you can get. DaVinci Resolve is the market leader in color grading software, even beating out Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro. DaVinci Resolve has been used on many Hollywood productions (primarily for color grading) including Top Gun: Maverick, Nope, La La Land, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
DaVinci Resolve is completely free… so what’s the catch? Nothing, seriously, there’s no catch. They do offer a paid version called “DaVinci Resolve Studio” for a one-time fee of $295. But unless you’re getting into super technical video shoots, you likely won’t need any of the upgraded features.
Pros & Cons
HitFilm Free Version
HitFilm is the next best free video editing software on our list. This one is special because it’s not only a video editing software, but it also supports some advanced 2D and 3D visual effects features.
HitFilm is owned by Artlist (a stock media site) and as a result has a huge library of built-in music, sound effects, and templates. Each category has a section for free and paid assets. HitFilm offers a free version of their software as well as two paid versions that have additional effects and can export higher-quality video clips.
Pros & Cons
Even if you’ve never edited a video before, chances are you recognize the name iMovie. Made by Apple, iMovie is one of the best free video editing software on the market. The catch… it’s only available on Apple devices.
One great thing about the program is that in case you outgrow iMovie, Apple also has a $299.99 professional video editing software called Final Cut Pro that has a very similar interface. This would ease the transition into a more professional software if the time came to switch.
iMovie isn’t as advanced as DaVinci Resolve or HitFilm, but maybe that isn’t what you need. If you’re looking to make simple video edits and own an Apple device, this is the best mid-level video editor you can get.
Pros & Cons
CapCut Desktop Video Editor
Owned by the TikTok parent company, ByteDance, CapCut is the new video editor on the block. Originally made for mobile devices, CapCut now has a video editing software for desktop computers that works surprisingly well. One of the best things about CapCut for desktop is that it has a free online video editor (pictured below). No downloads required! It also has an even more advanced downloadable version as well.
CapCut isn’t necessarily the best free video editor for long, feature-length, cinematic films, but if you’re looking for something that can churn out a polished video, this editing software is for you. Although CapCut is best for simple content, it has some impressive keyframing and masking tools that can help you dip your toes into the waters of special effects.
Pros & Cons
Canva Video Editor
First and foremost, Canva is not a video editing software, it’s a design tool, which is why we included it on this list. Because Canva isn’t meant to be a top competitor to other video editing software, it offers very different features and perks compared to all the rest.
Canva’s video editor is viewed as a supporting function because it doesn’t have many of the standard features included in other professional video editing applications. While simple, this means that there’s an extremely small learning curve when editing videos. In fact, if you’ve ever used Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides, you’re most of the way there!
Pros & Cons
Which Free Video Editing Software is Right for You?
Video editing features are hard to sort through when trying to decide what’s right for you. To summarize, here’s what you can remember about each one of these tools: DaVinci Resolve is by far the best software you can get for free. It’s a professional-grade software that has been used on many Hollywood movies and is perfect for the aspiring filmmaker or video editor.
HitFilm is the next most professional software. With a huge amount of tools, but a smaller learning curve than DaVinci Resolve, this is great for people looking to edit YouTube videos and other social media videos without spending hours learning a complex software.
Finally, there’s Canva. This is the most basic of all the video editors. It requires no download and is great for people looking to edit simple videos. Canva’s video editor is best for the average person who is planning to create simple content using their phone.
At first glance, video editing seems costly and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Today, there are plenty of free tools available that can help anyone, from beginners to pros, create great videos without having to spend any money at all. Once you become a pro with these free software, you may want to speed things up by implementing AI tools into your editing workflow. Check out our article on the Best AI Video Generators to learn more about how you can leverage AI technology in your video edits.