One of the capabilities that has been making its way into consumer-level video editing software is more-detailed color grading. Color wheels, curves, and histograms give editors control over the intensity of every shade. Related to this is support for LUTs (lookup tables), also known as CLUTs (color lookup tables). This staple of pro-level software lets you quickly change the look of a video to give it a specific mood. For example, think of the dark blue look of thriller movies like The Revenant. You can download LUTs for free from several sites or use those included with video software to give your video a specific look. One well-known LUT type is the kind that can make a daytime scene look like it was shot at night.


Free video editing software often comes with legal and technical limitations, however. Some widely used codecs require licensing fees on the part of the software maker, meaning they can't offer free software that can handle these standard file formats. That said, the impressive open-source Shotcut does a lot of the same things that the paid applications in this roundup do, including things like chroma-keying and picture-in-picture. Shotcut is completely open-source and free, while another free option, Lightworks has paid options that remove a 720p output resolution limit. Note also that both Shotcut and Lightworks run on Linux as well as Windows and Mac.

Camtasia Studio comes with a collection of brand new video assets, including customizable intros, outros, and lower thirds. Or get full access to over 500,000 royalty-free stock assets with a TechSmith Assets subscription. Create multiple themes to keep your various company or personal styles organized and ready to use. Easily create, save, and apply themes with custom color and font preferences. The editor has been refined to provide a smoother experience all around. Improved preview playback now gives you more stability with greater responsiveness during editing.

Another impressive effect that has made its way into consumer-level video editing software is motion tracking, which lets you attach an object or effect to something moving in your video. You might use it to place a blur over the face of someone you don't want revealed in your video, or to display a text box next to a moving object. You mark the object you want to track, specify the effect or text, and the app takes care of the rest, following the marked object. This used to be the sole province of special-effects software such as Adobe After Effects. Corel VideoStudio was the first of the consumer products to include motion tracking, and it still leads the pack in the depth and usability of its motion-tracking tool, though several others now include the capability.

HitFilm Express is one of the more professional video editors to make the list. It contains all the features you would expect from a basic editor (splicing, trimming, and audio editing) plus much more. While some users may find HitFilm a little advanced, it’s certainly one of the best all round free video editors out there. The free package includes over 180 special effects.
Other measures of performance include startup time and simple stability. Again, video editing is a taxing activity for any computer, involving many components. In the past, video editing programs took longer than most other apps to start up, and unexpected shutdowns were unfortunately common, even in top apps from top developers such as Adobe and Apple. The stability situation has greatly improved, but the complexity of the process, which increases as more powerful effects are added, means crashes will likely never be fully eliminated, and they often raise their ugly heads after a feature update.
Openshot is entirely open source, which makes it one of the best video editing software that is accessible. It may remind some Mac users a little of iMovie with its easy to use drag and drop interface. However, Openshot packs more features than iMovie, including unlimited layers and audio mixing. This free editor strikes a nice balance between advanced features and a simple interface. It also allows real-time previews when you create transitions between clips.
Increasingly, new capabilities trickle down from professional-level software to the consumer category. That includes things like multitrack editing, motion tracking, and advanced color grading. This trend is a boon to nonprofessional movie editors, since the more consumer-oriented software tends to simplify procedures that can be complex in the pro-level software. It also means you'll have more familiarity, should you move up to a professional application.
One of the capabilities that has been making its way into consumer-level video editing software is more-detailed color grading. Color wheels, curves, and histograms give editors control over the intensity of every shade. Related to this is support for LUTs (lookup tables), also known as CLUTs (color lookup tables). This staple of pro-level software lets you quickly change the look of a video to give it a specific mood. For example, think of the dark blue look of thriller movies like The Revenant. You can download LUTs for free from several sites or use those included with video software to give your video a specific look. One well-known LUT type is the kind that can make a daytime scene look like it was shot at night.

HitFilm Express is one of the more professional video editors to make the list. It contains all the features you would expect from a basic editor (splicing, trimming, and audio editing) plus much more. While some users may find HitFilm a little advanced, it’s certainly one of the best all round free video editors out there. The free package includes over 180 special effects.

One of the capabilities that has been making its way into consumer-level video editing software is more-detailed color grading. Color wheels, curves, and histograms give editors control over the intensity of every shade. Related to this is support for LUTs (lookup tables), also known as CLUTs (color lookup tables). This staple of pro-level software lets you quickly change the look of a video to give it a specific mood. For example, think of the dark blue look of thriller movies like The Revenant. You can download LUTs for free from several sites or use those included with video software to give your video a specific look. One well-known LUT type is the kind that can make a daytime scene look like it was shot at night.


Many video editing apps now include tools that cater to users of action cameras such as the GoPro Hero7 Black. For example, several offer automated freeze-frame along with speedup, slowdown, and reverse time effects. CyberLink PowerDirector's Action Camera Center pulls together freeze frame with stabilization, slo-mo, and fish-eye correction, and color correction for underwater footage. Magix Movie Edit Pro Premium includes the third-party NewBlue ActionCam Package of effects. And Wondershare Filmora lets you subscribe to new effect packs on an ongoing basis.
Our last proposition for you is HyperEngine-AV, another free video editing software for Mac. You can capture, edit, and export audio and video files, and even to create quality DVDs with your movies. It offers you twelve studio quality effects, and you can also add info and credits, titles, or karaoke lyrics. We like it a lot because it comes with editable fonts, colors, styles, and many more.
Support for 4K video source content has become pretty standard in video editing software, and pro software already supports up to 8K, which isn't useful unless you have a full-size movie theater. The support for 4K formats varies among the consumer products. For example, some but not all of the applications can import Sony XAVC and XAVC-S formats, which are used by Sony's popular DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, camcorders, and professional video cameras. The same holds true for the H.265 High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard. Most of the applications here now can import and export HEVC, though there are still a few holdouts.
Horizon is a simple app that enables users to capture videos horizontally no matter the position of their phone. When we rush to capture a moment we may forget to tilt the phone and capture the action horizontally. This app can help you solve that problem: all footage shot in the app is captured horizontally no matter how you tilt your phone. Check out this demo to see how it works. Avoid vertically captured videos and shoot quick videos in the Horizon app.
Another program, VSDC Video Editor Pro, had a terribly outdated interface when we tested it, but its developer has recently done a major update, so look for an updated review soon. Longtime pro video editors will note the absence of Avid Media Composer, which is simply too unwieldy for PCMag's primarily consumer audience. There are a couple of more interesting applications—NCH VideoPad and AVS Video Editor among them—that we simply haven't tested yet.
Adobe Spark Video is designed to make mastering the art of video production a breeze. All you need is a computer, a mouse and a reliable internet connection. Using a simple drag-and-drop system, you can upload videos, add music and insert captions wherever you like. There are various tutorials to help you on your way, but most people can master the basics of video production within an hour.
A recent tool for some of the video editing applications is support for seamless transitions. Picture a scene showing people at a beach, and suddenly the sky zooms in and your in Rome or Paris, but it looks like you're in the same place because the transition glued the two scenes together using the sky. There are plenty of other examples of seamless transition; this magnificent video shows a good selection of them, and is partly responsible for starting the trend.
Free video editing software often comes with legal and technical limitations, however. Some widely used codecs require licensing fees on the part of the software maker, meaning they can't offer free software that can handle these standard file formats. That said, the impressive open-source Shotcut does a lot of the same things that the paid applications in this roundup do, including things like chroma-keying and picture-in-picture. Shotcut is completely open-source and free, while another free option, Lightworks has paid options that remove a 720p output resolution limit. Note also that both Shotcut and Lightworks run on Linux as well as Windows and Mac.
Smooth functioning: Camtasia provides a lot of nice features in a fluid interface that makes creating screen capture videos and processing them a breeze. You can set the program to record either the screen or a PowerPoint presentation. You can also choose to record your entire screen or only a portion of it that you preset before recording begins. The recordings, themselves, are clear and crisp, providing you with an excellent framework on which to put all the finishing touches and effects you want.
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