5 Best Free Video Editing Software of 2018

Free Video Editing SoftwareWhether you’re producing a YouTube video or delving into the world of movies, you will need a robust video editing software to complete your work. No quality video survives without a slick editing process, so finding the right program for the job is essential. While editing itself is time-consuming, a good suite of tools can make the process easy and fun.
There is a misconception that editing a video requires spending huge amounts of money on an expensive video editing suite. However, that’s not the case; some of the most famed Hollywood movies have been edited on free software. Simply put, video editing does not have to be expensive with the best free video editing software of 2018.
Whether you just want to merge an audio track with a video or edit a multi-scene, multi-camera production, our choices for the video editing programs will get the job done. We have sorted through the competition to find the top five video editors that truly stand out because of their powerful features and availability.

1. Lightworks

Lightworks video editorNot only is Lightworks the most robust free video editing software, but it also deserves praise for aiming to bring a professional-grade editing suite to everyone. Make no mistake, this is a true high-end tool that just happens to be free. Indeed, Lightworks is so powerful it has been used to edit bona fide Hollywood movies, such as the Oscar winning film The King’s Speech. This incredible software is loaded with features, such as sequencing, filters, video effects, and more. There is a paid pro version of Lightworks that adds robust sharing tools and added features. However, almost any editor will get all they need from the free version, including over 100 effects, real-time effects, and multi-camera editing.
We love Lightworks because it is also a light load editor that will run on most software and on aging hardware. The customization is also a positive, allowing users to move windows around and work how they prefer. Of course, nothing is perfect: Lightworks certainly won’t appeal to beginners as there is a learning curve to mastering the software.

OS: Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10, Mac OS X 10.9 – 10.12
Licensing: Freemium, PRO version – $24.95 per month
File Size: 79 MB
Our Rating: 10 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Professional-grade video editor
  • Huge list of free features
  • Real-time effects
  • Steep learning curve

2. Shotcut

Shotcut open source video editorShotcut is one of the oldest editing suites that has been with us for over a decade. The open source program has been developed consistently since launch and continues to evolve as one of the best video editors. Thanks to an array of features that are prosumer level, Shotcut is a fantastic alternative to a paid video editing software.
During testing, we enjoyed how Shotcut’s strong set of filters allowed us to make some quick edits on the fly. Editors wanting a more manual experience are also catered for thanks to powerful features and highly customizable interface. Time-mapping, audio mixing, and real-time previews are just some of the noteworthy tools included in Shotcut. That said, the interface can be a challenge at first, but users who invest time in delving into Shotcut’s various tools are rewarded with a rich video editing experience.

OS: Windows 7, 8, 10, Mac OS X 10.8 – 10.12
Licensing: Open-source
File Size: 184 MB
Our Rating: 9/ 10

Pros Cons
  • Advanced and helpful filters
  • No features behind paywall
  • Good for beginners and experts
  • Empty interface when first starting

3. OpenShot

OpenShot video editorOpenShot is well known as one of the most robust free video editing software, thanks mostly to its myriad of features that are all free. It is also a versatile program, available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
It’s hard not to get excited about some of the features on OpenShot because they are so intuitive that editors will love them. Key Frame animations, a massive number of layers, drag-and-drop image and audio, 3D tiles, and loads of effects are all available. It’s a feature set that won us over, and the program also does the simple things well. For example, clipping, scaling, rotating, and scrolling are all easily accessible for beginners and prosumers alike. There are some limitations, such as a reduced timeline zoom (8 seconds), while truly professional editing tools are not the forte of this app.

OS: Windows 7, 8, 10, Mac OS X 10.9 – 10.12
Licensing: Open-source
File Size: 128 MB
Our Rating: 9/ 10

Pros Cons
  • Easy interface
  • Intuitive features
  • Massive catalog of tools
  • Lacking some pro editing tools
  • Reduced timeline zoom

4. HitFilm Express

HitFilm ExpressHitFilm Express is similar to Lightworks in that it hides some premium features behind a pro version, but it still delivers pro-level tools through its freeware program. In fact, the suite feels almost modular in how users can pick and choose their level.
Certainly, just using the free version will be enough to suit most video editors. That’s because HitFilm Express delivers excellent pro features in its basic editors. We used intricate cutting tools, filters, audio controls, layers, chroma keying for green screen VFX, and more. Users can choose even more tools by upgrading through several tiers that add more functionality.
For the most part, even demanding video editors will find the free version good enough. However, the significant downside of HitFilm Express is it takes a heavy toll on PC processing. We advise editors to check the system requirements before downloading.

OS: Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10, Mac OS X 10.10 – 10.12
Licensing: Freemium, PRO version – $299 per year
File Size: 275 MB
Our Rating: 8 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Excellent choice of free tools
  • Expandable through add-ons
  • Classy modern interface
  • Heavy file
  • High system requirements

5. VSDC Free Video Editor

VSDC Free Video EditorAs the name points out, VSDC is a free video editor that delivers a dizzying array of effects and filters. So much so, many of the pre-installed tools can deliver quick instant edits for users, providing a great base for beginners. That said, VSDC is also a rich manual video editing suite. Clipping together footage and positing clips is a joy thanks to the non-linear editing capabilities on which VSDC is built. Dropping and removing elements from the timeline is easy and intuitive, providing the ability to work with multiple clips and piece together scenes.
It’s certainly an odd interface, but VSDC can be plenty of fun and a nice change from traditional editing suites. It also has some unique features, like picture-in-picture and video stabilization. Sadly, VSDC Free Video Editor is rather slow and throttles the processing speed on videos that are being edited.

OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10
Licensing: Freemium, PRO version – $19
File Size: 42 MB
Our Rating: 8 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Unique features
  • Non-linear editing
  • Easy to use
  • Limits processing speed

The best five free video editors of 2018 all have something in common: each program delivers a rich suite of tools that allow users to create professional-quality videos. Yes, some have pro versions that have even more features, but every video editing software in our list is a prosumer’s dream, even with their free versions. With these programs, professional editors are able to take their creations to the next level, while beginners will be able to learn how to craft a video through the editing process. Check out our guide on how to convert videos with Google Drive for those cases when you need to convert the videos prior to editing them.

3 thoughts on “5 Best Free Video Editing Software of 2018

  1. Does anyone use WonderFox HD Video Converter Factory? I love its video editing features. And it also supports HD video conversion and online video downloading.

  2. Nice post format mate. When I look at these free video editing software at your PROS. You forgot some important factors. For example:
    – Lightwork is not hard to use. However, it only let you export video up to 720p.
    – Hitfilm is lightweight and not exactly what you said “heavy file”.
    Anyway, it’s always nice to get a free tool.
    Thanks for your suggestions.

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