YouTube is all the rage nowadays. Online video is all the rage.
Videos are a type of content that is just so easy to consume using any kind of device, from almost anywhere in the world.
There’s so much awesome content out there that you will be hooked. So I think Michael hit the nail right on the head with his line from The Office.
But if you landed on this page, you probably decided that you want to be the person who makes a living on YouTube or at least use it in a more lucrative way. Not the guy that did not work for 5 days.
A common question that I get asked a lot, besides “What is the best video editing software for YouTube?” which we’re addressing now, is this:
Is it too late to get started on YouTube?
Hell no! Sure the sooner you get started the better, but you can still grow relatively fast on YouTube if you are willing to put in the work.
Heck, Peter McKinnon got to 1.8 million subscribers in 12 months after he started doing YouTube.
Sure, he’s great and his filmmaking & video editing skills are crazy so that played a major role in his rapid success.
But that proves that it can be done if you are really passionate about it and if you put in the work.
And yes, YouTube takes a whole lot of work.
A big chunk of that work is represented by the video editing process. This leads us back to the topic of today’s post.
What is the best video editing software for YouTube?
That’s a fairly complex question to answer and it will depend on many factors.
It will depend on what kind of videos you are doing. On how thorough you want to be with your edits.
Do you want to just trim the video and cut out the bad scenes? Or do you want to get into more advanced stuff such as adding effects, chroma key, and cool transitions?
Are you looking for free editing software or you don’t mind paying for it?
So those are all questions that you need to answer for yourself before you pick the right video editing program.
My point – there’s no specific software or answer that will fit everybody. Some will be better off by editing with Premiere Pro while others can do their edits on a dead-simple app on their iPhone.
OK, now that we got that out of the way, let’s look at a few options and I’ll let you decide which one is the best for you.
Here it goes.
If you are just getting started with YouTube and all you want to do is some minor, really basic editing your best pick would be to use a free application.
Windows Movie Maker (Free)
This is one that is free for all Windows users, and that’s pretty much the only advantage it has.
You will be able to create some titles and some transitions with it – which will look pretty basic. You can also add music and sound effects… and that’s pretty much it.
So there aren’t really that many features and options, but it will get your first video edited, for free.
Note: Windows Movie Maker has been discontinued!
If you are a Mac user, iMovie is the free video editing application that Apple offers and it is pretty similar to Windows Movie Maker.
You can trim your videos, cut and stitch them, add titles and transitions, music, and sound effects.
Apple even offers a small library of royalty-free music you can use.
Once you are done editing, iMovie will let you upload your video to YouTube directly from the application itself.
Screenflow is one step up from the likes of Windows Movie Maker and iMovie.
It is a paid application that works with both Microsoft and Apple systems.
At the moment I’m writing this it sells for $139, but you can check the updated price over here.
Besides being a great screen recording video software, Screenflow has plenty of editing capabilities as well.
You can make text and pictures move around, you can have scrolling text, add callouts, and so on.
So, it’s one or two steps ahead of the free, above-mentioned applications and it works great especially when you’re creating tutorial kinds of videos, where you’re recording your screen.
Adobe Premiere Pro
Regardless if we’re talking about Premiere Pro CC or CS 6, the Premiere is hands down the most popular video editing software.
It offers a ton of useful features, options, effects and it’s relatively easy to use.
On top of that, because there are so many people using it you can have a large community of power users that are willing to help you out.
There’s a tutorial for anything you can possibly do in Premiere Pro. So learning how to use it and how to make your videos look cool will not be an issue. YouTube is packed with tutorials.
Another really, really cool thing about Premiere Pro is that it can be used in combination with After Effects really, really easy.
You can basically take any clip from your Premiere Pro project file and open it in an After Effects composition with just a single click. Then, your whole After Effects composition for that clip will be in your Premiere Pro timeline.
So having these two powerful editing software sitting under the Adobe umbrella does help a lot.
The list of features this editing software has to offer is so long that there’s no point in outlining it here. I can only tell you that your only limit will be your creativity.
So you can pretty much do whatever you want with the footage.
Premiere Pro costs around $240 right now.
Vegas Pro is one of my favorite video editing software for the simple fact that it is the first I ever used.
It is the program that I used to learn how to edit videos. I think it’s easier to work your way around it than Premiere Pro. So from this point of view, it works great if you are just starting out.
You can do some amazing-looking edits with it, but it is not as packed with features, options, and 3rd party plugins as Premiere Pro.
Nevertheless, it will keep you busy for a long time and you won’t want to switch to another software unless you’re really hardcore into editing.
I still do most of my edits and I actually use Premiere Pro when I need to edit a green screen video or insert After Effects compositions in there.
Vegas Pro can edit green-screen shots too, but it doesn’t do such a good job at it. You really need to tweak the hell out of it in order to get decent-looking masking.
This piece of software costs around $280 as I’m writing this, so it’s not that cheap.
Adobe After Effects
Going back to the Adobe suite, After Effects is not, in essence, something you want to use for video editing “per se”, but more like an extension of Premiere Pro.
Just as the name suggests After Effects works great for adding effects to your footage and for creating animations.
YouTubers use it mostly to create introductions, logo reveals, and adding animated lower thirds and titles.
So if you want to make your videos look more professional, After Effects is the tool you will need.
Sure, it can handle much more complex tasks such as removing backgrounds or objects, 3D animations, advanced visual effects, but I guess that’s beyond the scope of the everyday YouTube video.
There are tons of templates you can buy and then customize to your own liking. You can also find many, many tutorials on pretty much anything, so that’s another thumbs up.
It is priced at roughly $240 as I’m writing this, but you can check the updated pricing over here.
Final Cut Pro
Last but not least, solely for the Apple/MacOS users, there’s Final Cut Pro.
I’m a PC user so I didn’t really use Final Cut Pro, so I don’t have hands-on experience with it.
From what I hear though, it is just as good as Premiere Pro if not better.
I mean, I have friends that have switched from PC to a MacBook just to use Final Cut Pro.
Apparently, Final Cut Pro is optimized to run so much better on macOS and MacBooks, that Adobe is for PCs and Windows.
In terms of features and options, there’s no point to even go into that. You will find absolutely all you will ever need in there.
Both Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro are basically the very last step you can take in terms of video editing applications and more than enough for creating YouTube videos.
Heck, entire scenes of big-budget Hollywood productions are edited using Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro. So I guess that says it all.
If you’re looking for an “in-browser” video editing solution, there are a bunch of different options to choose from.
A really cool and super easy-to-use one, that I came across recently is Clipchamp Create.
Even though Clipchamp is more widely known for its webcam recording feature and video conversion tool, it does have editing capabilities as well.
The thing I like the most about it is that it is super clean and simple. It does not have many features and options, but it surely does have the ones a new YouTuber needs.
You can trim, combine, rotate, add music and text to your videos online, in a matter of minutes.
You also get cool-looking titles and lower thirds, access to a nice library of stock footage and background music, but also to a bunch of different sound effects.
Clipchamp is a freemium type of service which means you can use it for free if you want, but you will have to pay to unlock all the capabilities of the platform.
If you’ve been following the blog you probably noticed we recommend Movavi before.
It’s in the list we used for the best GoPro video editing software.
And we also have done a review of Movavi which you can check out if you are interested in the details of what this piece of video editing software can do.
It’s free to download, so why not give it a shot?
Bottom line… it’s your own and personal decision. The best video editing software for YouTube is the one that you personally like best and the one that fits your needs.
As much as I hate making recommendations, if I were to select my top video editing application I would have to go with… Premiere Pro.
You can basically do anything with this amazing piece of software.
And there’s such a big community built around it that is willing to help you out.
So that’s that.
Are you a YouTuber? Share your channel URL below. What video editing software are you using?
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.