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Free video editing software: 5 best free video editing tools for Windows PC and Mac

If you’re diving into the world of video editing, finding the right software can be a daunting task. Depending on your needs, you might need to invest in a premium video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Corel VideoStudio. This type of software is ideal if you’re making professional videos either for personal or client work.

Also read: Best laptops under Rs 30,000 with SSD in India

For the more casual user who wants to dabble in video editing, free software makes more sense. If you’re planning on editing videos for social media, as a hobby, or even create content for a personal YouTube channel, you might not want to invest in expensive software. There’s a common misconception that free video editing software isn’t feature packed. In fact, they’re good enough to suffice even for small business needs. Plus, there are plenty of options to choose from depending on the kind of videos you want to edit.

In this article, we’ve compiled our recommendations of the top five free video editing software tools. We’ll tell you the key features of each tool, as well as its pros and cons so you can make an informed choice before hitting that download button.

What to look for before downloading free video editing software

If you’re a complete newbie in the video editing department, a quick search on your browser would reveal hundreds of free video editing software tools. Considering that there’s such a large number of them, you would need to pick software that can serve your specific needs. You could be creating a product video for yourself or for somebody else. You could also be tinkering with the software for personal interest. Regardless of your reasons, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when downloading free video editing software.

Reason for usage

This is one of the principal factors that you have to bear in mind. There is different software available all over the internet, each with its own nuanced features. The perfect video editing software for someone else may not be the best one for your particular needs. Take Adobe Premiere Pro, for instance. It is one of the most popular video editing software available. However, apart from being quite heavy on your wallet, it is packed with a lot of features. Most of these features may not be that important for your work. If this is the case, choose a lighter video editing software that works best for you and your requirements.

User Interface

A lot of consumers may end up downloading video editing software that is packed with features. Even if the capabilities of a software surpass those of others, it is the ease of use that matters the most. If the software itself has a user interface that is difficult to understand, then the utility of the software decreases. For most entry-level video editors, the best way to understand the basics of the video editing software is to download free video editing software that is easy to use

Video Input Formats

Not all video editing software is capable of working on multiple raw video files. A few basic formats could be supported by the video editing software. However, if you are working with raw video files that are in an 8K format, chances are that many software tools may not support it. The better, more expensive video editing software can utilise 8K video file formats, and even convert them to other formats. Most video editing software can only handle up to 4K resolution raw video inputs. You have to find software that supports your video file input.

System Requirements

Just like video games, video editing software also has system requirements that you have to check before downloading. Mid-range computers from the year 2017 and later can run most of the basic video editing software without much hassle. If you are going for the higher-end video editing software, you need to have more advanced computer specifications to run them. Always check the system requirements of a video editing software before proceeding with the download and installation process.

Best free video editing software for Windows and macOS PC

Since there are a large number of video editing software tools to choose from, we have shortlisted five of the best free tools for you. All the software listed below work on either Windows, macOS, or both. These are:

  1. Lightworks
  2. Openshot
  3. Shotcut
  4. Blender
  5. VideoPad

Lightworks: best in class video editing software

Lightworks is the de-facto choice for free video editing software

Lightworks is a powerful video editing software with a multitude of features. It is also highly accessible to beginners due to the range of tutorials available in the software itself. In fact, it is more than likely that the power-packed features of Lightworks in the free version will be enough for most video editors. There are stock videos and music clips provided with Lightworks that are licensed by the company. This helps entry-level video editors use a whole host of clips without the fear of copyright claims.

Lightworks: best features

  • Optimization- you can import content while editing your video simultaneously
  • Real-time sharing – if it is a team project, you can choose which editor gets full access to the edits
  • Supports a lot of different file formats
  • Can sync video clips from different cameras

Lightworks: missing features

  • User Interface is clunky and can be difficult to navigate for beginners
  • No video stabilization
  • No 3D editing features

Lightworks: availability, download links

Availability: Windows, macOS, Linux

Download link: https://www.lwks.com/

Openshot: the open-source video editing software

Openshot is ideal for intermediate video editors and small businesses

Openshot is inspired by the beauty and simplicity of iMovie. So, Mac users may have an easier time adjusting to the user interface. It allows the user to drag and drop the required files and clips from one window to another. It has a minimalist design that works well for intermediate-level video editors. Small businesses that require video editing will find that OpenShot provides quite a few advanced features that may not be found in other free video editing software. This makes Openshot an efficient option for them.

Openshot: best features

  • Unlimited layers – you can add as many audio tracks, watermarks, and background clips as you like
  • Excellent for creating animation videos
  • Provides digital video effects such as hue, brightness, gamma, and greyscale for editing green-screen effects

Openshot: missing features

  • Lack of background animation presets
  • Has been known to crash frequently
  • Video rendering isn’t as fast as other video editing software
  • Interface is archaic and can be obsolete for advanced video editors

Openshot: availability, download links

Availability: Windows, macOS, Linux

Download link: https://www.openshot.org/download/

Shotcut: an audiophile’s dream

If audio is important in your video, Shotcut is the software for you

Similar to Openshot, Shotcut is also open source. However, it was initially designed for Linux. Due to this, some video editors may not find the user interface too intuitive. It does have cross-platform features, which allow you to transfer edited files to different operating systems without any issues. More importantly, Shotcut has extensive options for adjusting audio on the clips. Audiophiles will be able to adjust the nuances of the audio they use, with options for bass, treble, bandpass filters, and more.

Shotcut: best features

  • Continuous support for the newest audio and video formats
  • Advanced audio filters for great control over audio clips
  • Allows the editor to import files from different sources, other than just the media library
  • Can mix and match resolutions, as well as frames in a particular project

Shotcut: missing features

  • Lack of stock music, and an option to upload music from external sources
  • No keyframe support and thus difficult to use for 3D animation
  • User Interface is difficult to navigate for new users
  • Video rendering is slow, thereby making it difficult to add transition effects

Shotcut: availability, download links

Availability: Windows, macOS, Linux

Download link: https://shotcut.org/download/

Blender: for professional editors and 3D animators

Blender is your go-to software for 3D animation

Blender is one of the few free video editing software tools that provides a 3D animation creation suite. It also has a large community of developers who have collaborated in its design, and continue to add new features. Although it was initially designed to render 3D animation, the video editing software provided onboard is enough for most beginner and intermediate video editors. It’s near-perfect for projects that require 3D animation.

Blender: best features

  • Path tracer utility for the very realistic object rendering
  • Game Logic can be imported for video game projects
  • Character animation features allow for more realism in terms of kinematics

Blender: missing features

  • Tutorials in the editor focus mainly on 3D animation, instead of other video editing niches
  • Too many features for an entry-level video editor. Can be difficult to master
  • Fewer resources to help understand the user interface and features

Blender: availability, download links

Availability: Windows, macOS, Linux

Download link: https://www.blender.org/download/

VideoPad: best video editing software for beginners

VideoPad is ideal for beginners

If you are a complete beginner in the world of video editing, there is arguably none better than VideoPad. It is very easy to use and has simple features that can be implemented into the video with one click. It also comes with a library of sound effects and 3D animations to add extra effects to your video. Exporting the final video into different social media platforms and cloud storage such as Google Drive is also relatively easier with VideoPad. For a free video editing software, it is packed with features.

VideoPad: best features

  • Pre-made transitions that can also be customised for a professional video
  • Social media integration to share videos at an instant
  • Video optimization tools to help the editing process
  • Allows the user to export presets that can be used for specific media such as Instagram or YouTube

VideoPad: missing features

  • The free version does not allow video output in mp4 format
  • Monitoring of audio mix cannot be done while editing of the audio is in process
  • UHD files are difficult to process through VideoPad, especially in the 32-bit version

VideoPad: availability, download links

Availability: Windows

Download links: https://www.nchsoftware.com/videopad/index.html

Best free video editing software: summary

Video editing softwareKey featureAvailability
LightworksLicensed stock video and audio filesWindows, macOS, Linux

 

Openshot

 

Several features for advanced usersWindows, macOS, Linux

 

Shotcut

 

Extensive options for audio adjustmentWindows, macOS, Linux

 

Blender

 

Ideal for 3D animationWindows, macOS, Linux

 

VideoPad

 

Easy exporting to social mediaWindows
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Anirban Dutta Choudhury

Anirban Dutta Choudhury is a PhD scholar, researcher, and freelance writer. He loves keeping his tabs updated on technology, gaming, pop culture, literature, and philosophy. Oh, and he hopes to take his love for gaming narratives into the academic mainstream.Anirban has five years of experience in writing, whether it's for SEO-based content, blogs, or research papers. He whiles away his free time through reading fiction and philosophy, as an escape from the daily drudgery of reality.