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.
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.
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.
I've been seeing a lot of attention paid to creating title effects in the applications over the past year. Apple Final Cut Pro X has added 3D title creation, which is pretty spiffy, letting you extrude 2D titles and rotate them on three axes. Corel VideoStudio in its latest version also adds 3D Titling, though not as powerful as Apple's. PowerDirector's Title Designer offers transparency, gradient color, border, blur level, and reflection in titles; Magix has impressive title templates, complete with animations. Premiere Elements offers a nifty title effect in which your video fills the text characters, and Corel followed suit with a similar tool in VideoStudio. Look for an application that lets you edit titles in WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) mode, so that you can type, format, and time it right over the video preview.
Camtasia Studio by TechSmith is a video and screen recorder for Windows that captures your screen or webcam. Use this app to record activities on your screen for demonstration or promotional purposes. You can also enhance your videos with special effects or annotations with the easy to use tools. There’s a voice-over function that lets you narrate your process.
Of course, none of the extras matter if an app can't do the most basic editing tasks. At this point, however, all of the products included here do a good job of letting you join, trim, and split video clips. They also let you make use of special effects such as animated transitions, picture-in-picture (PiP), chroma-key (the technique that lets you place a subject against any background, often known as green screening), and filters that enhance colors or apply creative effects and distortions. With most of them you can add a multitude of timeline tracks that can accommodate video clips, effects, audio, and text overlays.

Recording your screen is the main purpose of CS, so it’s super easy to do. This is useful for business and personal projects. You can capture your whole screen or just a part of it. One of the most useful features Camtasia has is the mini toolbar that pops out in record mode. It helps you set up your screen before starting. Make necessary preparations like ratio adjustments or screen lock before you record.


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.
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.
For whatever reason you wish to produce a video for, Camtasia Studio makes it easy to impress your audience. It's a powerful and intuitive editing suite that's subscription free. With impressive little add-ons such as a green screen to throw yourself into the action on screen, it's a very useful tool, packed with great features, for amateurs and advanced users alike.
DaVinci Resolve is arguably the most advanced video editor on the list. While it has many professional video features, its interfaces remain intuitive. Alongside video slicing and trimming you can master audio and correct color. You can also use it to add 2D and 3D titles to your video. If you just want to trim and upload your videos, the rich feature set of DaVinci Resolve may be too extensive. However, if your video project is a little more advanced, the free version of this software is hard to beat.

Advanced abilities continue to make their way into accessible, affordable, and consumer-friendly video editing software as each new generation of software is released. For example, multicam editing, which lets you switch among camera angles of the same scene shot with multiple video cameras, used to be a feature relegated to pro-level software. Now this and many other advanced effects are available in programs designed for use by nonprofessional enthusiasts.
The good thing about Camtasia is that the free version contains every function of the original one. So, you can try all the game-changing features such as the overlapping media. It’s an inherent mechanic that lets you combine multiple clips into one video. Other programs, such as OBS Studio or Filmora Video Editor, can do the same thing, but not as easily as CS.
×