20 Free Video Editing Apps for Beginners

free video editing apps

Strong video content can help a small business demonstrate products, provide value to customers, and even produce extra revenue streams. And you don’t need an expensive video editor like Adobe Final Cut Pro X or Premiere Pro to reap these benefits. There are plenty of free video editing software programs available. And many offer features and abilities that can help you create professional looking videos.

What is video editing software?

Video editing software describes any tool that can be used to digitally modify video content. A video editor may allow you to clip certain sections, add or enhance audio, alter the visuals, and compile multiple clips together. These features are used after video content is collected to turn raw footage into a finished video that can be enjoyed by the masses. And with the right solution and enough practice, you can also start considering video editing business ideas.

What Features to Look for in Video Editing Programs

Video editors often include a variety of features. The exact ones you prioritize will likely depend on the specific needs of your video content team. But here are some of the most popular things to consider when searching for paid or free video editing software:

  • Ease of use: Video editing experts may be able to use editing tools that specialize in only advanced features. however, beginners need options that are easy to understand and don’t require a huge learning curve. The ability to easily upload content, control audio and video features, and then upload your content to the platform of your choice can make a huge difference.
  • Multicam editing: Small businesses often need to meld audio and video content from multiple sources together in one finished product. Multicam editing allows you to import files from multiple sources, including those from your own camera or even content submitted by customers.
  • Visual video effects: Quality visuals are key to any video project. You might look for things like filters, motion tracking, and image controls to enhance these visuals.
  • Audio editing: Advanced features like the ability to add your own audio files, add multi track editing, and insert sound effects can dramatically improve the audio tracks of your videos.
  • Drag and drop editing: Many video editors need to rearrange how clips appear in their videos. Drag and drop editing allows you to easily move clips around without complicated processes.
  • Playback speed controls: Sometimes you need to slow things down to find the perfect spot to clip a video or insert a sound effect. The ability to manipulate speeds can help with things like motion tracking. And it can even serve as a special effect.
  • Cross platform uploads: Where do you want your videos to post once you’re done editing? You may want them saved to your computer or uploaded to sites like YouTube and Facebook. Cross platform uploading can allow you to post them to multiple platforms right from your video editing program.

Free Video Editing Software Programs on Desktop

If you work primarily on a desktop or laptop, here are 15 free video editing software programs to consider. Read more to determine which one is right for you.

1. WeVideo

WeVideo is a cloud based video editing software that is known for its flexible, easy to use features. These include green screen functionality, unlimited storage, and the ability to upload content in multiple formats. There’s even a built-in library of stock images, video clips, and audio content to easily add professional looking content to your videos.

It’s available on Chromebook, Windows, Mac, and even in iOS and Android versions for mobile. The free version includes five minutes of publish time each month. So it could work for those who do a short monthly video. It also includes up to 1GB of cloud storage and the ability to upload multiple formats. There are also paid versions starting at $4.99 per month for companies that want to add multiple users or enjoy more advanced features.

2. Lightworks

Lightworks is a non-linear video editing software. This means that images, video, and audio content can be edited offline. And it allows the original footage to remain intact. This video editor has been used by popular Hollywood films. So it includes plenty of advanced capabilities where needed. However, there’s also a free license version that includes many of the same tools. The only restrictions are on output formats; 4k and advanced project sharing are only available in paid versions.

This video editing tool includes easy timeline trimming, real time audio and video effects, royalty free content, and multiple export options for popular video platforms. There’s also a simple user interface and online tutorials available for beginners who need a bit of help understanding the process.

3. DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve is a video editing app that specializes in color correction and other visual components of video editing. You can manipulate color to create an artistic look or even make your shots look more natural if they were shot in unusual settings. You can also add visual effects, motion graphics, and post production features all within a modern interface. There are even collaboration features for teams that want to work on video projects together.

The video editor is available for MacOS, Windows, and Linux. The free version is available with a wide array of features. And the paid version, DaVinci Resolve Studio, includes additional options like 3D tools, dozens of extra filters, and audio plugins.

4. iMovie

iMovie is probably one of the most popular free video editing software options available because it comes standard on most iOS and MacOS devices. You start by uploading video clips, photos, and audio files to your device. There are also select stock options available. Then you can quickly add titles, music, and effects. You can even drag and drop clips to arrange them in a specific order. iMovie even supports 4K video to provide quality uploads for all your platforms.

The editing software is already installed on most Mac computers and laptops. And you can download a mobile version free in the app store for iPhone and iPad devices. There’s even an iMovie version for PC. So you can run the software on Windows and other operating systems if you’re already used to the interface or just want the features.

5. Hitfilm Express

Hitfilm Express is a free video editor that is known for its visual effects features. You can use it to create films or gaming videos. The interface includes multiple tabs. So you can easily switch back and forth between tabs like editing and compositing. But the advanced visual effects options are what really make this one of the best video editing software programs available in this space. Features include the ability to import 3D models, a particle simulator, and distortion effects.

Hitfilm Express is available on both Windows and Mac devices. The video editing tool is free in its base version. But there is an add-on store for extra features like neon lights, 3D effects, and a 360 degree toolkit.

6. Shotcut

Shotcut is an open source, cross platform video editing software. The tool supports a wide range of video formats. So it’s perfect for those who need to create content for multiple platforms. The video editor offers native timeline editing. So you don’t need to import specialized content to use it. You can also easily capture content from cameras, webcams, online, or audio files.

Shotcut is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. Since it’s an open source tool, there are no fees. And it’s possible to create customized solutions. But there may be a bit of a learning curve for those who want to use the tool for specific purposes. There are plenty of tutorials available on the website to help you learn the features and abilities.

7. OpenShot

OpenShot is an open source video editor that’s 100 percent free. You simply download the video editing software to your computer. Then you can quickly upload content and edit it in a variety of ways. Features include trimming, background editing, titles, unlimited tracks and layers, slow motion, and animation options. It’s also known for its easy to use features and intuitive interface, making it an ideal video editing software for beginners.

OpenShot is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. It is distributed under a GNU General Public License. So you can modify and distribute it as well.

8. MovieMaker

MovieMaker is the standard video editor for Windows. You can compile photos, video clips, and music using features like joining and clipping. The free video editing software also includes basic features like text captions, filters, and transition effects. The interface is known for being easy to use and perfect for beginners. But it doesn’t offer many of the professional editing tools that some other options provide.

MovieMaker is the free version of Windows’ video editing software. You can download it free online. But it no longer comes standard on new Windows devices, as many of the features are now integrated into the Microsoft Photos App. There’s also a paid version of MovieMaker Pro available with advanced features like slow motion, photo overlays, and full HD output.

9. VideoPad

VideoPad is a free video editing app that’s known for its customizable experience. There are a variety of plugins you can use to get the features you need along with this free software. It also integrates easily with WavePad, MixPad, and PhotoPads, additional apps that can be used for sound editing, mixing and photo editing. Other features include transition effects, drag and drop editing, speed adjustments, and various visual effects. The app is also known for being one of the fastest tools available on the market.

The free version is available for non-commercial use. But there are paid options available as well, starting at $49.99. It is available for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and Kindle devices.

10. Blender

Blender is a free and open source 3D creation suite. There are many features available under this umbrella. The features that are specific to video editing include live preview, audio mixing, speed control, and masking effects. Since Blender offers such a wide range of features, it’s also possible to create your own images, sounds, and 3D effects and integrate them into your video content.

As an open source tool, Blender is completely free. You can even change and share the tool. And you are also free to sell any work you create using it.

11. Magisto

Magisto is a free video editing software from Vimeo that is known for being fast and easy to use. As a smart video editor, you can start with a template, stock photos and videos from iStock, or upload your own content such as Instagram pics and photos. Then you can easily rearrange content and add effects to make your video content stand out. In addition to the actual video editing features, Magisto also offers engagement analytics so you can see how your videos are performing across channels.

Magisto’s paid plans start at $4.99 per month. And there are free trials available for professional and business solutions. So you can easily get to know the features without paying for a premium solution.

12. Avidemux

Avidemux is a free editor designed with simplicity in mind. You can use it to cut, filter, and encode video content. It supports several video file types, including AVI, MP4, ASF, and DVD compatible MPEG files. So you can use the free video editing software to create content for a variety of platforms and uses. However, one of the things that makes Avidemux stand out from other video editors is the ability to customize and automate certain functions and capabilities. For example, you can use projects, job queue, and powerful scripting capabilities to automate editing tasks without having to handle each one manually.

Avidemux is available for Linux, BSD, Mac, and Windows. It is available under a GNU GPL license. So it’s completely free to use. And it’s even redistributable as long as you don’t bundle it with other software programs.

13. InVideo

InVideo is an online video editor with a number of interesting features. There are more than 3,500 templates available to help you get started quickly. It also integrates with stock photo, video, and audio libraries so you can add professional looking content. Then you can easily upload videos to various platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. One of the features that really makes InVideo stand out is its text-to-video tool. It automatically converts blog posts or written content into videos. So you can take advantage of this format without shooting and editing complicated videos.

There’s a free version available that offers thousands of templates, a media library, and the text-to-speech feature. Your videos are just limited to a 15 minute duration. There are also paid plans available for $10 and $30 per month. These come with extra stock content, video exports, and special features like background manipulation.

14. VSDC Free Video Editor

VSDC offers free audio and video editing tools that are intended to help users convert video files from one format to another. It supports nearly all popular video formats for both reading and saving. And it’s known for dramatically simplifying the conversion process. In fact, you can convert files for playback on a huge array of multimedia devices, including iPhone, Android, Archos, and Microsoft devices. The modern interface also provides a variety of video processing functions like zoom, color correction, and the ability to remove green backgrounds. Since this free video tool doesn’t include a ton of actual editing features, you may use it in conjunction with other free video editors. Simply create the content you want to produce; then use VSDC to convert it to the exact file format you need.

VSDC video software is available for download on PCs and laptops running Windows operating systems. It is completely free and can also integrate with other free tools like a screen recorder and video capture tool. There’s also a paid version available for $19.99. It includes advanced features like video stabilization, hardware acceleration, and audio waveform.

15. Machete Video Editor Light

Machete Video Editor Lite is the free version of the popular video editor, Machete. Both of these options are known for quick and simple “slicing.” This means you can easily delete unnecessary fragments from your video content to use only the clips that will actually make an impact in your videos. Then you can take those slices and copy, drag, and save the edited pieces. You can use this same functionality to cut and edit audio files, though this feature requires a paid subscription. The software also has a simple and intuitive interface that allows you to edit files within a few minutes.

The Lite edition of Machete is completely free. It only supports a limited number of formats, including AVI and WMV files. Certain advanced features like audio editing are also only available in the paid version. But most other functions are available for free. The paid version of Machete Video Editor is available for $19.95.

Free Video Editing Software on Mobile

If you need to edit videos while on the go, consider this list of free video editing software for mobile instead.

16. Adobe Premiere Rush

Adobe Premiere Rush is a video editing app that is available on both desktop and mobile devices. The app gives users the ability to shoot, edit, and even share videos within the same interface. Basically, Adobe aims to create an experience that’s as fast and seamless as using social media. Features include audio editing, transition graphics, and even animated titles. You can even pan, zoom, and reframe to make video content appear more professional, whether you’re using a desktop or mobile device.

The Adobe Premiere Rush app is available as a free download on macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. You can then purchase a paid Adobe subscription to enjoy full functionality. This option for Adobe Premiere Rush starts at $9.99 per month.

17. GoPro

GoPro’s free video editing software and app is the digital tool made to accompany GoPro’s line of mobile cameras. The app is made to be an all-in-one solution. So you can transfer content wirelessly to your phone, frame shots, record content, and adjust settings. There are even themes, music, and effects that you can use to quickly and easily transform your content into professional looking videos.

The GoPro video editing app is free to download. But the company’s line of cameras cost extra. And you can also pay for a GoPro subscription for $49.99 per year. This includes unlimited cloud storage, camera replacement, and discounts on GoPro equipment.

18. Quik

Quik is a free video editor that is available on both iOS and Android devices. The app comes from GoPro. And it is known for providing a fast and seamless experience, even allowing you to complete videos with just a few taps. Start by choosing your favorite photos and video clips. Then the app can find moments, transitions, and effects to automatically create a finished looking video. It can even sync everything to the beat of the music. You can also customize videos using text and music. Then easily share videos on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Or just get a link to send your videos privately to friends or even yourself so you can edit or share further on another device.

Quik is only available on iOS and Android mobile devices. And it is completely free to use. As stated above, GoPro does have some paid products and offerings. But none are required to download and use this app.

19. Horizon

Horizon is a free video editing software for mobile devices that specializes in capturing and editing horizontal videos. The default for many smartphone users is to hold their phones upright. But many common video platforms like YouTube generally focus on horizontal formats. So the idea is to help users create videos that can be enjoyed on computers and in other settings using just a mobile device. Whether you hold the phone vertically or horizontally, the app adjusts to make sure you’re shooting level, horizontal content. The apps include easy zoom functionality and allow you to save videos in a variety of resolutions. There are also filters, a media library, and slow motion editing features.

Horizon is available for free on both Android and iOS devices. However, there are in-app purchases available like specialized filter packs. And there’s also a premium version available for $1.99.

20. Promo.com

Promo.com offers a free video editing software that specializes in marketing videos. Everything from the templates to the stock photo and video options are designed to create content that converts. There are options for creating product explainer videos, social media content, and even online ads. There are even templates and stock options tailored to specific industries. So if you know you want to create a video for a real estate business but don’t know where to start, this is the perfect option to guide you.

The Promo.com free video editing apps are available for both Android and iOS at no cost to download. There are in-app purchases available. And the video editing software itself comes in paid plans starting at $49 per month. Those with annual plans get the first two months free.

What is the easiest video editing software to use?

The easiest video editing software programs to use are generally those that come with basic features. Windows MovieMaker and Apple iMovie are both fairly intuitive programs aimed at beginner video editors. On mobile devices, Quik is known for being easy to use, since it automates many parts of the video editing process.

What is the best video editing software for YouTubers?

The best free video editing software for YouTube depends on the type of video content you plan to produce. For those who mainly shoot and collect content on mobile devices, Horizon is a popular and versatile option. For free video editing software you can use on a desktop, WeVideo offers a customizable experience to create videos in a variety of formats. However, other apps may be preferable depending on the type of content you want to create. For example, Promo.com is popular for video ads. And InVideo is helpful for text-based YouTube videos.

What are the best video editing apps for Instagram?

There are several free video editing software options that offer formats compatible with Instagram. Some even allow you to upload your content directly to the app. For example, mobile apps like Quik, Adobe Premiere Rush, and Horizon let you send videos to Instagram. On desktop, Magisto, iMovie, and WeVideo all allow you to easily upload your content to social media.

Image: Depositphotos

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.