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Best Free Video Editing Software for PC & Mac

I am excited about writing this. After having experimented with dozens of free video editing software for PC & Mac, only to try and find the one that suits my basic skills and my requirements, I know just how difficult it can become for someone to find one that is simple yet effective.

Let me clarify something right at the beginning. If you are looking for a piece of software that will help you to draw and animate characters, this is not the tutorial you should be looking at. You should be looking for animation software.

What I am going to tell you here is about a set of free video editing software that will allow you to work with images, videos, sound clips, texts, stickers, etc. to create a movie that you can upload on your YouTube channel or use as a promo video or as a simple tutorial. Albeit, you can throw in some animation here and there, add some pre-made transition effects, and export the video in a variety of formats, etc.

This simply means that I am not going to tell you about anything from Adobe’s arsenal or ask you to work with stuff like Da Vinci Resolve’s premium version designed for professionals. This list of best free video editing software for PC & Mac will contain information on software that any novice user can pick up and start creating video content.

Ready? Let’s begin.

1. Openshot Video Editor

openshot video editor
Openshot Interface with Transition Effects

My video editing venture started with this one! That’s the reason why Openshot is close to my heart. What impressed me was the absolute ease of Openshot. It is not meant for professional-grade video editing. On the contrary, it is perfect for those who are just starting with video editing.

Minimum System Requirements

  • Operating System – Windows 7/8/8.1/10 (64-bit) | macOS 10.9 and higher (64-bit) | Linux (64-bit) with glibc 2.3.
  • CPU – x86-64 Intel processor or AMD processor with at least 1 core clocked at 2 GHz if you want to work with SD video. For HD videos, you will need at least 2 cores and for 4K videos, you will need 4 cores.
  • RAM – 4GB for SD videos, 8GB for HD videos, and 16GB for 4K videos.
  • GPU – Support for OpenGL 2.0 and DirectX 9 or 11.

Features of Openshot

I will never say that Openshot is surprisingly powerful. However, it is quite feature-rich. This video editing software touches over the basic areas of video editing, helping you to get accustomed to the whole art of video editing. I consider Openshot as the first stepping stone. Here are the features of Openshot:

  • It features curve-based keyframe animations.
  • It has a multi-track and multi-layer feature.
  • It allows trimming, scaling, resizing, cutting, and rotation.
  • A bunch of transitions is also available with Openshot
  • There are title templates and you can even create your titles. Not just that! Openshot allows creating animated 3D titles.
  • It allows panning, zooming, scrolling, and has a drag and drop feature.
  • It has the features of chroma key and other video effects like grayscale, hue, gamma, brightness, etc.
  • It even allows mixing and editing audio!

Pros of Openshot

  • Openshot is extremely simple and easy to use.
  • The user interface very intuitive, especially for newbies.
  • It allows switching between simple and advanced views (depending on your needs).
  • It has a host of keyboard shortcuts that can be customized.
  • It is opensource and completely free.
  • It allows color correction, which is a pleasant surprise.
  • It is available in multiple languages (70 to be precise).
  • It supports 4K videos.

Cons of Openshot

  • It is not suitable for working with very big and heavy files as it can freeze or crash.
  • It is meant for basic video editing.
Video Editor NameOpenshot
PriceFree
PlatformsWindows, macOS, and Linux

2. Shotcut Video Editor

shotcut video editor for windows pc & mac
Shotcut Interface Showing History Panel on Right

Shotcut is a free video editor that is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux users. Simple, powerful, and effective, Shotcut was originally designed for Linux. Windows and Mac version came later. It is an opensource initiative and yet, it gets surprisingly regular updates. For a free video editor, Shotcut packs in a lot of features including 4K video editing ability that you usually don’t find in free software.

Minimum System Requirements

  • Operating System – Windows 7 or higher | macOS 10.8 or higher.
  • CPU – 2GHz with 4 cores if you want to work with 4K videos.
  • RAM – For SD videos: 4GB. For HD videos: 8GB. For 4K videos: 16GB.
  • GPU – Support for DirectX 9 or 11, or support for OpenGL 2.0

Features of Shotcut

I must say that for a free video editor, Shotcut is surprisingly powerful. Here are some features that I found particularly helpful:

  • It allows choosing the interface color theme. There are three options – dark, light, and system color. I loved the dark one in particular.
  • It allows expanding or shrinking the timeline simply by spinning the wheel of the mouse.
  • It comes with a separate history panel that displays all the actions I took previously while editing the video.
  • Adding a clip to the timeline also showed the waveform.
  • It allows adding transitions but that is not as straightforward as I expected.
  • It comes with several built-in transitions but also allows downloading transitions.
  • There are a lot of effects as well but again, adding them is a tad difficult.
  • It comes with a chroma key tool (both simple and advanced) that helps to work with a green screen.
  • It allows titles and texts and even 3D texts.

Pros of Shotcut

  • Shotcut is feature-rich. Finding so many features in a free video editor is difficult.
  • It supports 4K video editing that you cannot find in free video editors.
  • It offers a lot of output formats.
  • It comes with lots of filter effects and chroma keying.
  • It is capable of creating animated GIFs as well.

Cons of Shotcut

  • The user interface is less intuitive than I would love to see.
  • Transitions are very limited.
  • It lacks the option of sharing to various platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, etc. directly from inside the software interface.
  • Text options are fairly good but lack a lot when compared to any premium video editing software.
  • Rendering is a tad slow compared to various premium options but that isn’t a big deal.
Video Editor NameShotcut
PriceFree
PlatformsWindows, macOS, and Linux

3. Kdenlive Video Editor

Kdenlive Video Editor for Windows PC and Mac
Kdenlive Interface with Breeze Dark Theme

Honestly, Kdenlive is one of my favorite video editors of all time. Initially designed for Linux, Kdenlive is now available for both Mac and Windows users. I will be honest with you. Kdenlive is not something you should pick up when you are just starting with video editing.

It is slightly difficult to get hold of and there is a learning curve. But as you keep spending time with various video editors like Shotcut or Openshot, you can get a hang of it. Switch to Kdenlive only when you have mastered the basic skills.

Minimum System Requirements

Things here get a bit dicey. The developers did not give any clear specification. It worked on one of my Windows PC using Core i5 processor clocked at 3 GHz. Based on some research from various forums, this is what I think you should have:

  • Operating System – Windows 7/8/8.1/10 | macOS 10.13 | Linux – any latest release.
  • CPU – Minimum Pentium Dual Core or equivalent.
  • RAM – Minimum 1 GB.
  • GPU – Intel HD4000 graphics (minimum).

Features of Kdenlive

  • Mix audio, video, and images with ease.
  • Multi-track video editing.
  • It comes with an audiometer, histogram, vectorscope, waveform, RGB parade, etc.
  • It comes with dozens of effects and transitions.
  • Allows custom arrangement of the interface.
  • It is capable of working with any video and audio format.
  • It allows downloading add-ons directly from within the editor interface.
  • It can add keyframes to effects.
  • It even allows timeline preview when real-time playback is not a possibility because of complex effects and high-resolution footages.
  • It has proxy editing which creates low-resolution clips from original high-resolution clips, putting less pressure on the system.
  • Takes automatic backup every few minutes and even keeps the older versions.
  • It can create near professional-grade videos.
  • It allows creating custom layouts for the interface and there are multiple theme options to select from. I love the Breeze Dark theme.
  • It is opensource and completely free.

Pros of Kdenlive

  • Pretty powerful for free software.
  • Many integrated features that are often absent in free video editing software.
  • The customizable interface allows users to reduce the overall clutter and get a cleaner interface.

Cons of Kdenlive

  • It is not really for rookies. You need to have some experience with basic video editors before you can move on to Kdenlive.
  • It has a moderate learning curve but there are various online tutorials.
  • The interface is quite cluttered and busy but that is because the editor has way too many integrated components.
Video Editor NameKdenlive
PriceFree
PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux

4. Avidemux Video Editor

avidemux video editor
Avidemux Video Editor Interface

If you are looking for something super simple – simpler than Openshot that can handle only basics and nothing extra, Avidemux video editor. I gave it a try out of curiosity. I was impressed by its simplicity but not functionality. However, depending on your needs, it may be a perfect fit. So, make sure that you give it a try!

Minimum System Requirements

Avidemux is a very simple video editor and can run on just about any computer. Here is a quick list of system requirements:

  • Operating System – Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10 | macOS | Linux
  • CPU – Intel Pentium 4 or later.
  • RAM – 512 MB.
  • GPU – No specifications provided.

Features of Avidemux

  • It allows extracting audio from video files.
  • It allows filtering, cutting, and encoding.
  • It allows adding audio streams.
  • It can add effects and filters.
  • It can process subtitles.

Pros of Avidemux

  • It is very simple and lightweight.
  • The user interface is very intuitive and easy to use.
  • It has support for a wide range of video files.

Cons of Avidemux

  • It is good only for basic editing.
  • It does not allow functions like chroma key, keyframe animation, etc.
Video Editor NameAvidemux
PriceFree
PlatformsWindows, macOS, and Linux

5. Lightworks Video Editor

lightworks video editor
Lightworks Interface with a Video Clip

This thing helped in the production of The Wolf of Wall Street, Hugo, Pulp Fiction, LA Confidential, and more. Do they ring some bells? Yes, you guessed it right! These are Hollywood flicks that used Lightworks for video editing. Very few video editors can boast of such credentials.

Having said that, I did try out Lightworks and my first impression was – ‘Wow!’ This video editing software comes with a plethora of features even in its free version. Of course, the paid one can unlock far more features that, I feel, are not needed unless you are working on some professional-grade video.

Minimum System Requirements

  • Operating System – Windows 7/8/8.1/10 | macOS 10.9 or higher | Linux
  • CPU – Intel i7 (recommended) but I tested it with i5 processor at 3 GHz and it works fine. AMD also works great provided it is fast enough.
  • RAM – 3GB minimum.
  • GPU – AMD or NVIDIA PCI Express Graphics Card with 1GB minimum. Support for DirectX 9.

Features of Lightworks

  • It allows easy importing in many formats.
  • Easy trimming and seamless weaving of both audio and video.
  • Allows video capturing.
  • It has GPU-accelerated real-time effects
  • It gives color correction feature.
  • It has a background autosave functionality.

Pros of Lightworks

  • Supports keyboard layout for Final Cut Pro and Avid.
  • Allows multi-track editing.
  • Powerful features like drag and drop interface, color correction, blend modes, chromakey application, etc.
  • It has keyframe support.
  • Direct export to YouTube.

Cons of Lightworks

  • The interface is complex.
  • There is a steep learning curve.
  • The export option is very crippled in the free version. The free version supports only MPEG-4 files and that too in 720p max. If you want full HD support and other formats, you need the pro version.
Video Editor NameLightworks
PriceFree | Premium version available with more features
PlatformsWindows, macOS, and Linux

6. HitFilm Express Video Editor

hitfilm express video editor for pc & mac
HitFilm Express Interface

I just wanted to try my hands on a professional-grade video editing tool without paying a dime to start with. I did like Lightworks but I wanted something with more features. I landed on the HitFilm Express website and took it for a spin. I was in for a pleasant surprise! What did I find? Keep reading!

Minimum System Requirements

  • Operating System: Window 8/10 (only 64-bit) | macOS 10.15/10.14/10.13.
  • CPU – 4th Gen Intel Core processor or you can settle with AMD equivalent.
  • RAM – 4GB minimum. It is better if you have 8 GB.
  • GPU – NVIDIA GeForce 600 series or AMD Radeon R5 240 or Intel HD Graphics 5000 (GT3) with minimum 1GB memory or 2GB if you want to work with 4K videos.

Features of HitFilm

  • It can lock individual tracks and layers.
  • It can trim clips, adjust color balance, create custom video masks, set green screen chromakeys.
  • It has a picture in picture feature, a lot of animation tools, and even imports multiple streams of audio. It even comes with a built-in audio mixer.
  • There are a lot of transitions to select from and it allows adding stylized color effects.
  • It even has 3D composition tools that require an add-on.

Pros of HitFilm

  • Simple and intuitive interface that can be customized. I loved it.
  • The tools provided even in the free version are highly professional.
  • Getting started with HitFilm did appear to be a bit confusing but yes, the tons of online tutorials just made my life easy.
  • It comes with support for a lot for formats for videos, audio, files, and even images.

Cons of HitFilm

  • System requirements are pretty high. I have a few powerful PCs and a moderately powerful laptop. So, I didn’t face any problem. For those with lower than the minimum required system specs, HitFilm might not be a good option.
  • I feel that texting and tilting options should have been an integral part of the core software instead of an add-on feature.
  • Slightly confusing for those new to video editing.
Video Editor NameHitFilm Express
PriceFree | Premium version available with more features
PlatformsWindows and macOS

7. Da Vinci Resolve Video Editor

da vinci resolve video editing software
Da Vinci Resolve User Interface

Honestly, I stumbled upon it by chance and realized that it is designed for professional users. Of course, there is a free version with some limitations, however, the free version is extremely powerful. I will not suggest you go with this editor unless you know quite a lot about editing.

But again, this is also true that despite all the advanced features, you can always use it for basic video editing. Unfortunately, if you accidentally venture into the advanced features, things can escalate too quickly and become too intimidating unless you are familiar with such features.

Minimum System Requirements

Da Vinci Resolve has a very high minimum system requirement. So, if you have any old computer, Resolve will refuse to work properly and frequent crashes will occur.

  • Operating System – Windows 10 | macOS 10.13 or higher | Linux latest with all dependencies configured and installed.
  • CPU – Minimum 4 cores (AMD or Intel).
  • RAM – Minimum 16GB for HD videos and 32GB for 4K videos.
  • GPU – 4GB VRAM for 1080p videos and 8GB VRAM for 4K videos.

Features of Da Vinci Resolve

  • It comes with a dedicated trim interface.
  • It has some incredible tools like the picture in picture effects, dynamic zoom, stabilization, retiming, etc.
  • This software features a dual timeline for quick navigation.
  • It allows working with 6K or 8K or higher resolution videos (4K is usually the highest offered even in many premium video editing software).
  • It offers a keyframe curve editor.
  • It has faster and smoother encoding abilities.
  • Talk of all those features like transitions, effects, chroma-key, masking, keyframe animation, 3D support, color correction – Da Vinci Resolve has everything.
  • Da Vinci Resolve even comes with integrated audio editing abilities that are comparable to standalone and powerful audio editing software.

Pros of Da Vinci Resolve

  • The free version of Da Vinci Resolve is extremely powerful.
  • The free version puts no limit on the length of the video output and doesn’t give any watermark.
  • The free version has support for 4K videos, which is a rarity.
  • It is completely compatible with Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, Premiere Pro, After Effects, etc.

Cons of Da Vinci Resolve

  • It is not designed for basic usage. Even the free version requires a lot of learning.
  • It has very high system requirements.
  • Several 3D features are available only in the Premium version (which is quite normal).
Video Editor NameDa Vinci Resolve
PriceFree | Premium version available with more features
PlatformsWindows, macOS, and Linux

8. VideoPad Video Editor

videopad video editor software for pc & mac
VideoPad Interface Showing Video and Audio Clips in Timeline

I will suggest using VideoPad video editor only if you are looking for creating simple video content for YouTube or your website. In case you are looking for something professional, VideoPad is not the right option. You should instead go for options like Lightworks, Kdenlive, HitFilm, Da Vinci Resolve, etc. However, if you are new to video editing, VideoPad is a great option, to begin with.

Minimum System Requirements

  • Operating System – Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (64-bit only) | macOS 10.5 or above.
  • CPU – Intel Pentium 4 (clocked at 2 GHz) or above will work (AMD equivalent will also work).
  • RAM – 4GB is required.
  • GPU – NVIDIA GeForce 510 is sufficient.

Features of VideoPad

  • It comes with a range of built-in transitions.
  • It allows adding texts, overlays, and effects.
  • It supports 3D video editing and it will even allow stereoscopic conversion from 2D to 3D.
  • You can work with chroma keys, add animated title texts, record your narrations, use sound effects from the integrated library, etc.
  • It comes with a lot of audio effects and allows mixing audio tracks.
  • It allows fine-tuning colors.
  • It has a video stabilization feature to reduce camera shake.
  • It has support for various audio, video, and image formats for both input and output.
  • You can even create animated GIFs using VideoPad.

Pros of VideoPad

  • VideoPad is very easy to use and is perfect for those who are just starting with video editing.
  • It offers a lot of features that can be used in the free version.
  • It even runs on the iPad and iPhone!
  • It allows to share videos online or upload directly to YouTube and VR headsets from inside the editor interface!

Cons for VideoPad

  • The user interface looks a bit busy and can be slightly intimidating for those who are new to video editing.
  • The free version will allow only home-usage. You cannot use the videos created using the free version for any commercial purpose.
  • Very light learning curve.
Video Editor NameVideoPad
PriceFree | Premium version available with more features
PlatformsWindows, macOS, iPad, iPhone

9. VSDC Video Editor

vsdc video editor software
VSDC Timeline with Blur Effect

I bet you will be pleasantly surprised by this particular video editor. It is simple and yet has an assorted collection of features that can help you to create some stunning video content with relative ease. Albeit, there are some restrictions with the free version that you can quickly overcome by purchasing the pro version of the VSDC video editor.

Minimum System Requirements

  • Operating System – Windows XP (SP3), Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10.
  • CPU – It works with both AMD and Intel processors with a frequency of 1.5 GHz minimum.
  • RAM – You need a minimum of 512MB. Anything greater than that is great!
  • GPU – You need to have Microsoft DirectX 9 or higher installed.

Features of VSDC Video Editor

  • This video editor offers a wide array of audio and video effects. You get things like transition effects, special fx, object filters, object transformation, color correction, etc.
  • There are built-in Instagram-like filters. All you need is a single click to apply them.
  • It comes with color blending feature with adjustable parameters to make professional-style videos.
  • This video editor offers masking capabilities that can help to blur, hide, or highlight certain areas of the videos.
  • VSDC video editor has the ability of motion tracking.
  • It comes with subpixel accuracy for smoother animation, transformation, and rotation.
  • It allows for creating different diagrams (including 3D diagrams).
  • VSDC even has a video stabilization tool.
  • It can capture videos from IP cams, video tuners, webcams, desktop video capture, etc.
  • It allows converting video files from one format to another.

Pros of VSDC Video Editor

  • It is extremely easy to use with a very refined and intuitive interface.
  • It has very low system requirements, making it a perfect choice for newbies.
  • It allows burning the video content on a DVD using an integrated DVD burning tool.
  • It allows uploading videos directly to YouTube from the software interface.
  • It supports a wide range of video, audio, and image formats.
  • It allows exporting in 4K resolution.

Cons of VSDC Video Editor

  • Most of the amazing features of this video editor are available only in the Pro version.
  • Free support is free only for those who purchase the pro version. If you have the free version and you need support, you need to pay for the support.
Video Editor NameVSDC Video Editor
PriceFree | Premium version available with more features
PlatformsWindows only

10. Animotica Video Editor

animotica video editing software for PC
Animotica User Interface

I didn’t even know about Animotica until one day I decided to explore what is available on Microsoft Store. That is when I came across Animotica which touted itself as the best alternative to Windows Movie Maker. I decided to take it for a ride and of course, I wasn’t expecting big things out of it. All I wanted to see was whether it was capable of making quick videos using short clips for my YouTube channel.

And… I was pleasantly surprised! Simplest of interfaces I have seen to this day, Animotica is perfect if you want to play with basic video editing features without investing a lot of time into learning. So, what did I find? Let’s find out!

Minimum System Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • CPU – Anything that runs Windows 10.
  • RAM – 2GB minimum (8GB recommended)
  • GPU – DirectX 9 at least (recommended DirectX 12 with video memory of 2GB)

Features of Animotica

  • It allows making movies and slideshows.
  • It allows us to join, split, trim, and combine photos and videos.
  • You can add music or voiceover.
  • You can adjust colors, apply chroma key effect and scale, reverse, or rotate videos.
  • Apply blur backgrounds, add animated custom logos, add animated titles, stickers, etc.
  • You can slow down or speed up a video.
  • You can make videos for Instagram or Instagram stories.

Pros of Animotica

  • It is super easy to use and it has one of the cleanest and most intuitive interfaces I have seen.
  • It is perfect for YouTube content creators and Instagram vloggers.
  • It is designed with beginners in mind.

Cons of Animotica

  • The free version will add a watermark.
  • Some features are available only in the Pro version which is extremely cheap.
  • The free version will allow exporting videos in 720p resolution with a max frame rate of 30.
Video Editor NameAnimotica
PriceFree | Premium version available with more features
PlatformsWindows only

11. iMovie Video Editor

imovie video editor for mac
iMovie Interface

iMovie was Apple’s answer to Windows Movie Maker from Windows. Guess what, it is just as simple as you can wish it to be. It is meant only for beginners and if you are thinking of doing great professional-grade video editing with iMovie, you will be disappointed.

Also, iMovie is available only and only for Mac users or iOS users. So, if you are a Windows user, don’t try to find iMovie for Windows platform. You won’t get one! Several online resources claim to give iMovie for Windows but they are all click baits and you should trust me on this. They will simply make you download some other video editor software and ask you to pay. Most of them link to the Movavi video editor suite.

Minimum System Requirements

You don’t have to bother about this. iMovie comes bundled with your Mac machine. Apple already takes care of all system requirements. All you have to do is simply go ahead and use it on your Mac. You don’t have to worry about incompatibility.

Features of iMovie

  • It adds a broadcast feel with the picture in picture effect.
  • It offers a split-screen effect as well.
  • It comes bundled with 80 soundtracks that magically adjust to the length of the video.
  • It comes with 10 amazing filters.
  • It allows for adding animated titles and credits.
  • It allows for adding green screen effects with fine-tuning abilities.
  • It allows selecting from Hollywood-style movie trailers using predefined templates.
  • It also allows 4K video output with 60 FPS.

Pros of iMovie

  • It is very simple and it is designed for rookies.
  • Clean and intuitive interface.
  • Available on iOS devices as well (iPhone and iPad).

Cons of iMovie

  • iMovie is always a full-version, however, it has very limited functionalities. Filters and effects are very limited.
  • Sometimes, rendering is quite sluggish.
Video Editor NameiMovie
PriceComes bundled with Mac
PlatformsmacOS | iOS

12. Clipchamp Video Editor

clipchamp online video editor
Clipchamp Interface

Honestly, I am not a big fan of online video editing tools. They have very limited functionalities and they are unnecessarily pricey (if you compare your lifetime usage). Clipchamp is one such online video editor.

You may ask that when I don’t like online video editors, why am I adding one on this list? That’s because some people just prefer it that way! Some may just opt for browser-based video editors because their computers may not be powerful enough to run video editors that offer all the features that they need. So, services like Clipchamp make sense!

Minimum System Requirements

You just need to have a compatible browser that can run Clipchamp. Any modern browser will work. I will, however, suggest that you use the latest version of Firefox or Google Chrome to avoid any kind of lag or freezes.

Features of Clipchamp

  • It allows you to resize videos.
  • It allows for green screen effects.
  • It has a picture in picture feature available.
  • It allows adding music, audio recordings, video clips, and images.
  • It allows adding motion tiles and a variety of filters, animations, and transition effects.

Pros of Clipchamp

  • It is very simple and straightforward with a clean interface.
  • It is great from making YouTube videos, Facebook video ads, Instagram promos, etc.

Cons of Clipchamp

  • Though Clipchamp is browser-based, it still uses resources of the computer in what they call, localized tech. This will be a bit problematic for those with weak system specs.
  • The free version is extremely limited and premium versions are subscription-based that can quickly add up to the cost if you want to add stock videos, custom branding, stock audio, etc.
Video Editor NameClipchamp
PriceFree and Premium (monthly subscription)
PlatformsWorks online (browser-based) and hence, platform-independent

Conclusion

There are several free video editing software for PC & Mac. However, adding all of them to this list doesn’t make any sense. Some of them are just too outdated or just don’t feel right. You may see many people adding Blender on the list but hey, did you know that Blender is essentially a 3D modeling program?

It does have some video editing capabilities but Blender is awfully difficult to understand and work with. Unless you are an inventor-level pro in this business, don’t even think of using Blender. It is more like a competitor to Maya and 3ds Max that are professional-grade 3D animation software.

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