When it comes to free video editors, filmmakers, industry insiders, and video enthusiasts know of a few must-have applications. Whether you use Windows, Mac or Linux, free software is available for your platform, and you can use it to turn raw video footage into a spectacular finished product that rivals a big-budget Hollywood production.
In fact, one of the top video editors has been used to create Hollywood blockbusters such as Batman and Mission Impossible.
Depending on the level of depth you require in an editor, you should expect to put some effort into learning to use it. The simplest free video editors are relatively easy to learn, while the biggest, most feature-packed applications can take quite a while to learn how to use proficiently. If you use a Mac, you may want to consider installing Linux on a USB drive or a separate partition on your hard drive because some of the best free editors are only available for Windows or Linux.
Lightworks is by far the most comprehensive free video editor and has been used by professionals on many big-budget Hollywood projects. It includes an interface similar to proprietary software from Adobe or Apple but without the hefty price tag. It’s only available for Windows or Linux for now, but the makers of Lightworks have plans to create a version for OS X in the future.
If you want to try it out but you don’t have a PC, you should consider installing Linux on a separate partition on your Mac. One of the top five free editors is only available for Linux, and three of them work more efficiently on Linux than Windows, which can help a lot when doing extensive video processing.
This software is included with all new Macs, and since it’s made by Apple, it’s only available for OS X. It’s part of the iLife software suite and can produce more than adequate results for a wedding videographer or professional video maker. If you have a Mac, you can open iMovie by clicking “Finder” in the Dock, selecting “Applications” and double-clicking “iMovie.”
Kdenlive is another comprehensive video-editing application with features similar to Adobe or Apple software. While this program is only available for Linux, it’s much easier to learn to use than Lightworks and includes more powerful editing features than iMovie. If you need to add titles to certain sections of a video, Kdenlive integrates with another excellent free program called GIMP.
Avidemux has fewer features than the above-mentioned software but is easy to use and works perfectly for simple tasks such as joining clips, converting video formats and extracting still images. If you’re a wedding videographer who uses Linux, Avidemux is an excellent choice for most of you basic video-editing needs.
Windows Movie Maker
For Windows users, the easiest free option is Windows Movie Maker, which can be downloaded from the Microsoft website. This program has a simple interface with drag-and-drop support built into the graphical video timeline. If you just need to join a few clips together, you can use Windows Movie Maker to save your finished product in a number of formats or upload it to YouTube.