Top 12 Best Free Video Editing Software in 2023

Do you have a grandma’s recipe that you’re eager to share with the world?

Or perhaps you’ve got some entertaining social media videos that you want to make go viral?

Maybe you’re even working on your very first product video, hoping to entice customers to make a purchase.

Regardless of the scenario, there’s a common challenge: you want your videos to look professional without breaking the bank on production costs.

Whether you’re creating videos for personal enjoyment, building your personal brand, or marketing your business, or maybe you’re just not ready to start using a video editing company, the in-app editing features offered by social media platforms just don’t cut it.

But fear not, because we’ve got you covered with our selection of free video editing software.

We’ve put our years of experience into curating this list, carefully evaluating user interfaces, features, ease of use, audio and video effects, and a variety of other functions.

Without further ado, here’s our comprehensive guide to the top 12 best free video editing software available.

Top Free Video Editing Software

Unleash your creative potential with these incredible free video editing software.

1. DaVinci Resolve

Let’s begin with a tool that is utilized by professional editors and holds great value.

Developed by Blackmagic Design, DaVinci Resolve software offers a comprehensive range of features and functions suitable for both amateurs and industry experts.

It is extensively used in the television and film industry for video editing purposes.

DaVinci Resolve boasts an intuitive interface and an array of cutting-edge features, including advanced visual effects, robust editing capabilities, an extensive audio library, and more.

In simple terms, DaVinci Resolve is a free editing software that rivals premium tools, offering advanced industry-standard features. Moreover, it is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac systems.

Here are some notable aspects that we appreciate about DaVinci Resolve software:

  • The standout feature of DaVinci Resolve is its exceptional color grading capabilities. With advanced scopes and a dedicated color grading panel, users can achieve professional-grade color results effortlessly.
  • The editing system is user-friendly and easy to navigate. The software allows for seamless importing, editing, arranging, and merging of video frames, streamlining the editing process.
  • DaVinci Resolve supports a wide range of display resolutions and video formats, providing users with the flexibility to work on projects of any size and complexity.
  • Bring in the raw footage and creativity, DaVinci Resolve, from its side, offers a robust library of visual effects, transitions, and files, enabling you to create mesmerizing videos.
  • For collaborative projects, the software offers special features like shared media files and timelines, facilitating efficient teamwork.
  • DaVinci Resolve allows for seamless syncing and editing of clips from different sources, enabling you to combine footage from various camera angles effortlessly.
  • The software comes equipped with advanced audio mixing features that enhance the sound experience, ensuring excellent audio quality in your videos.

2. HitFilm Express

HitFilm Express, a versatile video editing software is suitable for users of all skill levels.

It has earned the nickname “Swiss army knife” of video editing tools.

It boasts a wide range of features and effects capable of handling projects of any size and complexity.

With HitFilm Express, users can effortlessly edit videos, apply stunning visual effects, create captivating animations, and elevate their projects with audio enhancements and color grading.

The software’s versatility extends even further with its motion tracking and 3D compositing capabilities.

HitFilm Express offers three plans: one free and two premium subscription options.

However, users of the free plan will have to contend with watermarks in certain color grading, animation, transitions, and effects.

Here are some notable aspects that we appreciate about HitFilm Express software:

  • HitFilm Express provides users with an impressive array of editing tools, granting them full control over audio and video tracks. Users can easily cut, trim, and merge clips to create their desired content.
  • The software’s visual effects library is vast, offering a plethora of non-watermarked effects that free plan users can seamlessly incorporate into their projects.
  • HitFilm Express excels in motion tracking capabilities, allowing users to effortlessly track and attach objects or effects to moving elements within their footage.
  • For marketing videos requiring 3D animation, HitFilm Express is an invaluable tool. Users can import 3D objects, animate them, and do more to create captivating visuals.
  • Enhance the visual aesthetics of your clips using HitFilm Express’ color grading functions and presets. Adjust colors, saturation, contrast, white balance, and exposure to achieve the desired look and feel.
  • HitFilm Express offers all the necessary tools to add and improve the sound quality of your video content, ensuring an immersive viewing experience.
  • The software enables users to work with videos of different resolutions and formats. Once the editing is complete and the video is ready, you can easily upload your content to cloud storage services or social media platforms.

3. Shotcut

Shotcut is an exceptional open-source video editor that provides support for a wide range of formats.

It’s user-friendly interface and comprehensive features, such as timeline editing, 4K compatibility, and video effects, make it an ideal choice.

What sets this software apart is its accessibility to beginners.

The intuitive drag-and-drop interface simplifies the video editing process, allowing newcomers to create and modify videos effortlessly.

Shotcut is compatible with Linux, Windows, and Mac, ensuring cross-platform availability.

Moreover, it offers users unrestricted access to all its features, without any watermarks or intrusive advertisements.

Here are some notable aspects that we appreciate about Shotcut software:

  • Shotcut stands out due to its flexibility in supporting a diverse range of audio and video formats. Users can edit videos without the need for tedious format conversions, making the editing process much smoother.
  • Despite being open-source software, Shotcut offers an impressive array of editing tools. Alongside essential editing features, it includes advanced functionalities like color grading, keyframe animation, and audio mixing, enabling users to tackle a variety of projects.
  • The software’s timeline allows for unlimited tracks, fostering creativity by facilitating work on multiple projects simultaneously. This feature also enables the handling of different frame rates and resolutions within a single editing session.
  • With the real-time preview feature, users can assess the effectiveness and efficiency of changes made to their clips. Whether applying filters or video effects, the preview screen instantly reflects these modifications, aiding in fine-tuning the editing process.
  • Shotcut offers a wide range of export options, allowing users to save their projects in various formats and optimize them for different platforms. This flexibility ensures compatibility with diverse devices and distribution channels.
  • Benefit from the vast community of developers who continuously update and introduce exciting new features to Shotcut. This active support system ensures the software remains up-to-date and evolves to meet the users’ needs.
  • In addition to the developer community, Shotcut boasts a large user base that actively contributes through tutorials, guides, forums, and more. This supportive environment nurtures knowledge-sharing and assists users in unlocking the software’s full potential.

4. Lightworks

Lightworks is a veteran in the video editing industry, widely recognized by both novice editors and seasoned professionals.

With a remarkable 30-year lifespan, this software has made its mark in numerous television shows and movies.

Notably, the Academy Award-winning film “The King’s Speech” was edited using Lightworks’ professional version.

One of the standout qualities of Lightworks is its accessibility, as it offers a free version equipped with powerful editing tools.

Despite its simplicity in terms of interface, the software boasts a wide array of features.

It supports high-resolution videos and provides advanced capabilities such as multi-camera editing and real-time effects.

Here are some notable aspects that we appreciate about Lightworks:

  • Precise editing and implementation of complex visual effects are made possible by Lightworks’ extensive range of features, including multi-camera editing, real-time effects, and precision trimming.
  • Lightworks provides advanced, professional-level color grading features, allowing for efficient color grading, look-up table usage, and color corrections to give your videos a professional touch.
  • Lightworks embraces inclusivity by being a powerful video editing tool compatible with various operating systems. Whether you use Linux, Mac, or Windows, Lightworks is at your disposal. Linux users, in particular, consider it one of the finest video editing software available.
  • Staying up-to-date with industry demands, Lightworks empowers users to optimize their visual content for multiple distribution channels. It grants control over codecs, bitrates, aspect ratios, and more, enabling content creators to fine-tune their videos for diverse platforms.
  • Lightworks excels not only in video editing but also in audio editing. It offers full control over the audio track, allowing users to adjust the volume, apply audio effects, and synchronize audio seamlessly.
  • Say goodbye to format conversion headaches. Lightworks supports an extensive range of audio and video formats, including H.264, ProRes, and MPEG.
  • Lastly, Lightworks’ proven track record speaks for itself. Despite its utilization in television and Hollywood productions, even beginners find the software user-friendly and easy to use.

5. OpenShot

OpenShot is a must-have in any list of the best video editing software available.

It boasts a wide range of features and, most importantly, it’s completely free.

Being an open-source platform, it has a dedicated community of developers and users who provide continuous support and resources.

OpenShot is renowned for its minimalist design, coupled with its unlimited capabilities, making it an ideal choice for both students and professionals.

One potential drawback of OpenShot is the occasional slight lag in performance.

However, considering the powerful editing tool it offers for free, these minor glitches are a small price to pay.

Here are some notable aspects that we appreciate about OpenShot:

  • OpenShot eliminates the steep learning curve often associated with other editing software. Even beginners and students venturing into video editing for the first time will find this software clean, intuitive, and easy to navigate and use.
  • OpenShot is compatible with various operating systems, including Linux, Mac, and Windows. It offers cross-platform functionality, ensuring users have access to its features and functions regardless of their preferred system.
  • With OpenShot, users benefit from powerful layers and timeline editing functions. The software supports drag-and-drop functionality, allowing users to create dynamic and professional-looking videos within minutes.
  • The software’s versatility enables users to work with a wide range of audio and video formats. This eliminates the need for format conversions, saving users a significant amount of time and effort.
  • OpenShot provides users with an array of features to enhance sound quality and performance. Users can add multiple tracks, remove background noise, and adjust audio levels according to their requirements.
  • When it comes to transitions and visual effects, OpenShot offers endless creative possibilities. Its library is filled with audio and visual effects, empowering users to explore their creativity without limitations.
  • A top-notch video editing tool is incomplete without a capable title editor. OpenShot includes a built-in editor that allows users to create professional-looking opening credits and titles. Users can also format and animate their titles to add a touch of flair.

6. VSDC Free Video Editor

Video editing tools have become increasingly complex, surpassing the capabilities of old-school computers and laptops.

If you’re in search of free video editing software that runs smoothly, without freezing or crashing on an old computer, then VSDC Free Video Editor should be your top choice.

Before dismissing it as outdated and moving on to the next option, it’s important to note that VSDC incorporates the latest features.

This software offers a wide array of editing functions, special effects, and seamless compatibility with GoPro recordings.

The only drawback is the absence of a Mac version.

Here are some notable aspects that we appreciate about VSDC Free Video Editor:

  • The software stands out for its extensive support of video formats, including AVI, MP4, MKV, MPG, and more. Users won’t encounter compatibility issues or need to convert files.
  • VSDC encompasses all the essential features of modern free video editing software. Users can easily cut, merge, and split videos, as well as adjust audio and video parameters.
  • VSDC goes beyond basic editing capabilities, allowing users to enhance videos with filters, color corrections, transitions, and various visual effects. These features contribute to creating remarkable and professional-looking videos.
  • For those working under time constraints, the software enables the recording of voiceovers directly within the application.
  • Content creators will appreciate the robust audio editing features offered by VSDC. It allows the modification of audio tracks, the addition of background music, and the application of audio effects.
  • The software provides a powerful video stabilizer, particularly useful for GoPro and smartphone-shot videos.
  • Users can export the edited videos in various formats, and the software even includes a DVD burner for added convenience.

7. Kdenlive

Kdenlive ensures a powerful editing experience with its extensive range of features and intuitive interface.

It stands as an exceptional open-source editing software catering to both beginners and experienced professionals.

The collaborative efforts of developers and users have greatly enriched the software.

The supportive Kdenlive community readily offers tutorials, user manuals, and more to guide novice editors.

Initially designed for Linux users, it has since been adapted for Mac and Windows Operating Systems.

Here are some notable aspects that we appreciate about Kdenlive Video Editor:

  • Beginners often seek free video editing software that provides a simple and user-friendly interface. Kdenlive excels in this aspect, offering a layout that is intuitive and easy to navigate, granting users the freedom to effortlessly explore and utilize its features.
  • Despite being open-source software, Kdenlive boasts an impressive array of audio and video editing tools. Alongside the usual editing features, it allows users to employ keyframe animation to enhance characters in animation videos with captivating special effects.
  • Kdenlive enables you to tackle complex editing projects with ease. Incorporating overlays and engaging in multi-camera editing becomes seamless. Furthermore, the software permits the addition of multiple tracks and layers to your projects.
  • Real-time preview functionality within the software eliminates the need for rendering, providing a convenient way to observe your edits as you make them.
  • The software allows users to adjust position, size, and opacity, thereby enabling users to create smooth animations during the editing process. Whether you’re working with live-action footage or animation, Kdenlive equips you to produce professional-looking content efficiently.
  • Kdenlive supports the import and export of files in XML format, facilitating collaboration with editors using different software.
  • You have the flexibility to arrange the layout and customize shortcuts according to your preferences, streamlining your workflow.

8. VideoPad

VideoPad is a beginner-friendly editing software that offers all the essential features for real-time and animation video editing, and the best part is, it’s completely free.

Despite its somewhat outdated official website, the creators have not compromised on the quality of the editing software itself.

To cater to novice editors, the interface has been designed to be simple and user-friendly, making it a breeze to learn and navigate the various features in a matter of minutes.

However, it should be noted that more experienced and professional editors might find the software a bit too basic for their needs.

Here are some notable aspects that we appreciate about VideoPad Video Editor:

  • The software’s biggest advantage lies in its simplicity. Its sleek and intuitive interface, along with its drag-and-drop functionality, ensures that your editing tasks are straightforward and enjoyable.
  • VideoPad covers all the necessary editing functionalities, such as trimming, splitting, and merging. It also supports 3D video editing, audio adjustment, and the inclusion of transitions and visual effects.
  • With VideoPad, you can easily upload your finished video directly to popular social media platforms like Vimeo, YouTube, and Facebook. It also allows for convenient exporting within the software itself.
  • VideoPad is versatile editing software that supports various video formats and resolutions. Additionally, it offers the option to optimize your video files specifically for different social media platforms.
  • The software provides an extensive library of more than 50 transitions, along with ready-made templates that can be used to create title tracks and animations.
  • Apart from the standard audio editing features, VideoPad allows you to create voiceovers directly within the software, enhancing its audio editing capabilities.
  • VideoPad offers several video optimization tools, including video stabilization, to improve the overall quality of your visual content.

9. KineMaster

When it comes to video editing, can we exclude editing software for mobile devices?

KineMaster stands out as an exceptional video editor that is compatible with both PCs and mobile devices.

While social media platforms offer basic editing capabilities, KineMaster surpasses them by providing a lightweight and robust editing app that maintains the authenticity of your videos while adding a professional touch.

It is a cross-platform video editing app that seamlessly operates on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.

Here are some notable aspects that we appreciate about the KineMaster Video Editing app:

  • The app aims to simplify the video editing process. With its drag-and-drop capability, you can edit, apply filters and effects, and optimize audio tracks within minutes.
  • One of its standout features is its user-friendly interface. The timeline-based editing system empowers you to effortlessly trim, split, and rearrange clips, giving you complete control over the editing process.
  • Despite being a lightweight app, KineMaster offers a wide range of audio and video effects to enhance your content. From color tools to stylish transitions, the app provides various features to enhance the visual appeal of your videos.
  • KineMaster allows you to overlay multiple audio and video tracks, enabling you to create intricate and captivating content with text overlays, stickers, and images.
  • If you’re dissatisfied with the video’s background, KineMaster’s Chroma Key feature allows you to replace it in a matter of seconds.
  • KineMaster allows you to export videos in any format and directly upload them to a wide range of social media platforms and cloud storage services.

10. iMovie

MacOS users interested in learning video editing can start with the built-in tool called iMovie.

This pre-installed software offers simplicity and user-friendliness.

Its clean interface provides essential editing functions without overwhelming the user.

For iPhone and iPad users, a free mobile version of iMovie is available for download.

iMovie is exclusive to Apple computers and cannot be installed or used on Windows, Linux, or Android devices.

Furthermore, it has limited track options and lacks advanced features, making it best suited for beginners.

Professionals and experienced editors should explore other tools from our recommended list.

Here are some notable aspects that we appreciate about iMovie Video Editor:

  • iMovie boasts of aesthetic design that is characteristic of Apple products. Its layout and interface are clean and intuitive, enabling users to easily understand its features and navigate through its functions.
  • The feature set of iMovie is not compromised despite its simplicity. It offers the ability to arrange clips, trim footage, and apply transitions and effects.
  • Whether you’re creating a personal video, marketing content, or a movie trailer, iMovie provides a wide range of templates, styles, audio options, and video effects to give your videos a polished and professional look.
  • Need to make last-minute changes but don’t have your laptop with you? No worries! The iOS app version of iMovie offers many of the same features and capabilities as the MacOS version.
  • One of the biggest advantages of using iMovie is its integration with iCloud. This allows you to store all your project files in the cloud and access them from any Apple device, anywhere, and at any time. Additionally, you can seamlessly integrate iMovie with other Apple tools like GarageBand and Photos.
  • With iMovie’s chroma keying feature (green screen), you can easily change the background and incorporate special effects.
  • iMovie provides the option to upload your finished videos to various platforms, including Vimeo and YouTube.

11. Windows Movie Maker

With iMovie making the list, it’s only fitting to mention Windows Movie Maker as well.

This particular tool caters to Windows users and comes preinstalled with the Windows Operating System.

If you’re keen on learning video editing and happen to use a Windows computer, we recommend trying out Movie Maker before exploring other software options.

While it may be more suitable for basic edits, audio adjustments, and simple 3D effects, for more advanced features, it’s advisable to consider alternative software from our list.

Despite being discontinued a few years ago, Windows Movie Maker still maintains its popularity among users of older Windows versions.

Here are some notable aspects that we appreciate about Windows Movie Maker:

  • Windows has long been renowned for its user-friendly interface, and Movie Maker is no exception. Its drag-and-drop functionality allows you to easily load and organize your media files.
  • Movie Maker presents a clean layout without unnecessary clutter. It offers straightforward editing capabilities such as trimming, splitting, and merging.
  • You can enhance your creations by adding transitions, templates, audio and video effects, as well as changing fonts, colors, and captions.
  • Movie Maker supports the storytelling aspect by enabling the addition of titles, credits, text overlays, and more.
  • This editing tool accommodates a variety of file formats, ensuring flexibility in your editing process. It also simplifies the sharing of completed videos on platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, and other media platforms.

12. Avidemux

If you’re new to the video editing industry, Avidemux should be your first companion, guiding you through the learning process.

Whether you’re looking to improve your editing skills, work on personal videos, or create content for social media marketing, Avidemux is a versatile tool.

While it may not be the ideal choice for advanced or professional-level video editing, it has garnered praise for its editing capabilities.

One of the notable advantages of Avidemux is its lightweight nature. It requires less than 100MB of storage and a minimum RAM of 512MB.

Additionally, it is a cross-platform software, compatible with various versions of Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Here are some notable aspects that we appreciate about Avidemux Video Editor:

  • Although it may take some time initially to acquaint yourself with the interface and locate different editing features, Avidemux is one of the most user-friendly video editors once you’re familiar with it.
  • Avidemux offers great flexibility by supporting a variety of video formats. This eliminates the need for time-consuming file format conversions. Furthermore, you can export your finished videos in various file formats, such as MP4, MKV, MPEG, and more.
  • Avidemux provides a range of encoding options, allowing you to optimize your videos for different platforms and devices. It supports popular codecs like H.264 and H.265, ensuring high-quality output while reducing file sizes. However, for unfamiliar or rarely used video formats, you may need to download additional codecs.
  • Avidemux enables you to make setting changes that simplify repetitive tasks. This feature can significantly enhance your video processing speed and efficiency.
  • Avidemux offers features that can captivate advanced video editors as well. As an open-source platform, developers can utilize the command-line interface to customize the software according to their specific requirements.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re an aspiring novice or a seasoned editor, or you’re just not ready to outsource video editing, these free video editing software options will assist you in transforming raw footage into captivating visual masterpieces.

Rest assured, there is something suitable for everyone on this comprehensive list.

Take the time to thoroughly explore the top 12 free video editing software selections.

Experiment with a few of them and select the tool that aligns perfectly with your specific video editing needs.

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Cristian Stanciu is a freelance video editor, owner, and post-production coordinator of Veedyou Media – a company offering video editing services to videographers, marketing agencies, video production studios, or brands all over the globe.

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