Editing is an indispensable task in video production. All footage, despite how good it is, needs to be edited to get to the final cut, that perfectly assembled reel of scenes that catches and holds the viewer's attention to deliver a message to them. And you certainly can achieve this using free video editors!
Sure most professional editing software is licensed (paid), but there are also various freeware options to edit your footage without spending money, and still getting a great, professional-looking final cut. This can be especially useful when working with stock videos and additional video resources, all of which you will find in any of the Best Stock Footage Sites we listed for you.
And here you will learn which are the best free video editors in the market.
Why is Editing so Important
No matter how beautifully and professionally shot a piece of footage is, it will always need editing to look perfect and ready for viewing. Even if there's not a lot of correction needed, all your different shots still need to be assembled together in a sleek, smooth manner, with clear focus and story-telling coherence.
Particularly when you're using stock footage (and if you're not using it, you're missing out in great ways to boost up your production), even if you get a clip that matches your own footage in every technical and visual aspect, you'll still have to make tweaks and adjustments to fully integrate it to your production.
Why is Freeware Useful
Now, if you're a full-time videographer, filmmaker, or video editor, working exclusively (or close to) in video production – and particularly if you get good incomes – it makes sense to invest in a paid, professional video editing software.
Be it a full license for an installable application, like Adobe Premiere or similar, or with cloud options that let you access different software tools for a membership fee, like Adobe Creative Cloud – which includes access to Adobe Stock, a stock footage service available within your editor's interface, as well as to Premiere Pro, After Effects and other editing apps -, you have lots of good options in video editors. All you have to do is decide which one works best and will give you the best value for your money.
But if you're just getting started in video production, if it's not your main activity, if your returns are not yet enough to afford or to justify spending in editing software, freeware is the solution to your problems.
Software that is free to use is always a good way to do what you need to do with it, without spending. However not all freeware available is the same.
Lots of people wrongly think that all free software tools are limited in their functionality and that you can only get equally basic, amateurish results using them. But that is not universally true. Yes of course there are tools that are basic and deliver only okay results. But there are also lots of freeware options that are very complete, advanced, and let you achieve great and very professional final products – especially if you have good editing skills yourself. If you don't, learn them here.
Plus, you also have great options to find Free Stock Footage, as well as top agencies to buy it cheaply. This means it's possible to find stock footage for your production and to edit it, at little or no cost!
Top 5 Free Video Editors
Without further delay, here are the best 5 free video editors:
BONUS: iStock Video Editor – User-Friendly & Web-Based
The iStock Video Editor is the perfect solution for non-video-savvy creatives, and for everyone looking to create short, simple, yet professionally-looking videos using iStock content.
This recently launched tool is web-based –it's right on the iStock's website– so you don't need to install anything. It's also free to use, you only pay for the stock videos from iStock library that you incorporate. And the best of all, it's super simple to use.
You don't need pro editing skills to use iStock Video Editor, as its simplified layout and straightforward features let you make basic edits, like clipping, adding transitions or overlays, integrate audio, etc., to put together videos up to 5 minutes long in just a few clicks. You may also upload custom elements such as images, videos or music. A resource of great value are the video templates available with this tool, that let you create compelling clips with just a few personal touches.
If you are a fan of iStock stock footage, you're going to love the iStock Video Editor!
Blender – The Most Powerful Functions
Blender is better known as a 3D modeling tool and that's its core functionality, but Blender has a very powerful video editor functionality.
One thing to know before trying it is that it's a professional-like software, and it's not so user-friendly for beginners or users whom are not very savvy in terms of video edition. Even if you are comfortable working with pro video editing software, it might take a little while to get your way around the different functions. So if you're looking for an easy to use, click-here-and-there application, that can get editing done in minutes, this is not the option for you.
But if you have the time to learn how to use it, Blender is very useful. It has great filters and transition features, and a very professional masking tool. Plus it adds advanced functionality with colour balance and white balance adjustments, gamma and hue tweaks, curve correction, and more. Using the composition options you can go into deep editing, and you can add very cool effects.
Blender is open source and 100% free, there is no paid upgrade version. The skills you'll learn using it can also pay off in how you handle and create your future productions too. And a bonus: it's available for both Windows and Mac OS.Download Blender
Da Vinci Resolve – The Best Color Editing
The main feature in Da Vinci Resolve its it's color correction, particularly color grading, capabilities, which can be easily paired with the top and most professional tools. But in its latest version it has became a full non-linear video editor with great functionality for professional finishing and speed results.
If you're looking for something that allows you to speed up your editing process and simplify your workflow, then this is it. Resolve is very user-friendly, particularly for those of you who are already familiar to editing software. You don't need to learn anything new to use it. The whole design of the software lets you not only edit like a pro, but also do it in less time, and in a much easier manner. And it's particularly useful when you work with lots of clips simultaneously.
It's core is still the color editing power. Beyond the already advanced functions of color grading, and adjustments for RGB and gamma or curve correction, it can also automatically adjust different shots to deliver a unified balance.
But it also has very useful editing tools to add, cut, extend, remove and do more with your content with super simple steps, and it has a great image stabilizer among other advanced features.
While there is a paid version available for license, Da Vinci Resolve's free version does all the above detailed, and it's completely free.Download Da Vinci Resolve
Lightworks – The Most Complete Feature Set
Lightworks is available for Mac and Windows, this open-source software is great for advanced editing. It has one of the most complete features sets, covering all editing and post-production needs. For the same reason, it's a tool orientated to more tech-savvy users. If you're not one of them, you can still use the software and will certainly pay off in the end, but you'll have to spend a considerable amount of time learning how to use it.
The system has a very modern and user-friendly interface, and easy to use functionality to do powerful editing. You can add, trim, and merge clips seamlessy, adding transitions and other basics in just a few simple steps. It also comes with a professional-level color correction feature, and it's capable of capturing video and add real-time effects. The bonus is its auto-save function, that prevents you from losing progress in your task.
There's a paid version that adds features and removes some minor limitations, but this freeware editor does everything it has to do to assure professional results.Download Lightworks
WeVideo – The Cloud-Based Editor
While the other options are desktop applications, WeVideo is a cloud-based editor. You don't need to install anything on your computer to work with it, you only need an Internet connection (and a good one at that, otherwise uploading of files can slow you down).
One of the best features of WeVideo, that gives meaning to their name, is that it's collaborative: other users can access the same account and do edits to the same content, allowing you to edit in groups.
Another great function is that it supports uploading from YouTube, Facebook and several other online platforms, letting you source content easier. And it lets you publish the final video directly to those platforms too.
The editor comes with very good functions, from adding, cutting and sequencing clips, to graphic addings, color adjustments, effects and filters.
The free version of WeVideo is limited, though. It gives you 5 GB of cloud storage, and lets you export only 5 minutes of video per month. This makes it a suitable tool for beginners or creators who only do little video every month.
However, they have paid plans that give you much wider storage space and video export times.Use WeVideo online
Avidemux – The Small but Functional Option
Avidemux is an open-source, non-linear video editor, that comes with a very useful, well-documented wiki. While modest, its features cover most of the editing's musts. It's also available for both Windows and Mac OS, and one good thing about it is it doesn't take up much space in your computer.
The software is designed for simple video editing, but it's not so easy to use. It can be difficult for a beginner, and even for an experienced editor, to know how to work with it at first. If you are willing to invest the time it'll take you to learn how to use it, it can be a very useful tool.
With Avidemux you can add, cut, and merge clips, and you have a series of basic functions like cropping, resizing and flipping, and more advanced ones like brightness and contrast adjustment, sharpen and noise reduction, among others. Plus, you can automate tasks using job queues and custom scripting.
This is not the most advanced option out there, but it gets the job done. And it's completely free.Download Avidemux
Excel in your Video Production Without Spending Extra
The above are only 5 of many options for free video editing applications. There's a plethora of tools to edit video, and the main paid products often include a free trial of their services for new users.
Therefore, there's no excuses for not producing amazing and professional videos, regardless of your budget's constraints.
Combining a video editor that suits your needs and your budget, with top-notch editing skills, and great and low-cost stock footage, you can totally match the best blockbusters films and successful videos – in fact, many mainstream Hollywood films and prime-time TV productions use some of the above listed tools, like Blender and Lightworks, in their edition process.
So don't hesitate try out these free online video editors to create amazing videos that take your career and your business to the next level!