In this article and the video review above, we are going to once again take a look at the best free video editing software, mainly for Windows and Mac, but there are also a few which work on Linux as well.
Basically what I’ve been looking for is a number of free non-linear video editors. Non-linear editor (NLE) means that the editor has a timeline with multiple tracks for stacking and combining audio and video clips, still images and other items. This is currently the most desired type of video editing software because it is very versatile and produces the best results.
|1||Hitfilm 4 Express||NLE||Great||Great||Poor||Efficient||9/10|
|2||DaVinci Resolve 12.5||NLE||Great||Good||Poor||Efficient||8.5/10|
|3||VSDC Free Video Editor||NLE||Average||Average||Good||Average||7/10|
|5||Windows Movie Maker||Linear||Average||Average||Excellent||Average||6.5/10|
#1 Hitfilm 4 Express
Hitfilm 4 Express is a free non-linear video editor developed by FXHome, it has support for both Windows and Mac operating systems. The interface is reminiscent of commercial video editing software and it enables an efficient workflow. The thing that sets Hitfilm 4 Express apart from its competitors is its fairly extensive special effects (SFX) support. Some effects are free, especially during promotional periods, but you can also buy special effects packs through the software, similar to in-app purchaes on mobile applications. Overall, Hitfilm 4 Express is probably the best free video editing software available as of 2017.
The only practical downside with Hitfilm is that it has a somewhat poor support for different audio and video formats and codecs, forcing the user to constantly covert incompatible video and audio files.
#2 DaVinci Resolve 12.5
DaVinci Resolve 12.5 is a free non-linear editor much like Hitfilm, which was originally developed as a color grading system back in the early 2000s. It was created by DaVinci Systems but is now being managed by Blackmagic Design. Resolve is available for Windows and Mac computers, and the interface is perhaps a bit better and smoother than Hitfilm, but for standard video editing they stand neck to neck. However DaVinci Resolve has superior color grading features as a result of its original purpose.
But, much like Hitfilm, DaVinci Resolve 12.5’s main limiting feature is its poor support for different audio and video codecs and formats. Although now it does support MP3 audio files, which it did not when I first began using it.
#3 VSDC Free Video Editor
VSDC Free Video Editor is a non-linear editor created by Flash-Integro LLC for Windows only. I feel I have to mention that they did have adware in their installer at one point, but to their credit they did remove it and informed me about it. VSDC has improved since I last tested it, but it still falls behind DaVinci and Hitfilm. However it does come with webcam and screen recording features, making it more of a video editing suite than a simple video editor. It also supports 2k and 4k ultra HD video editing and exporting. VSDC may also be a bit easier on your hardware if you are using an older computer, but there are still practical limits to that.
VSDC has two downsides, although its interface has improved, it still remains a bit confusing, and when I was exporting some test videos, it did crash a few times.
Blender is a free and open source 3d modeling and animation program that also supports non-linear video editing, and it is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Blender has potential as a non-linear editor, but it does not come setup as one out of the box. You have to do a significant amount of adjusting settings and windows, and reconfigure a bunch of things. The Blender interface by default is also not very user-friendly.
However, even if you decide to choose another program, Blender can still be useful because you can download premade templates for various graphics and animations, such as YouTube intros.
#5 Windows Movie Maker
Windows Movie Maker is still a good choice for the casual user. Even though its features are limited, it is still easy to use and has most of the features that you would need if you’re just making the occasional video for friends and family. I still use Windows Movie Maker from time to time to convert videos from odd formats to high-definition MP4 files, because it has a very wide support for different types of video formats and codecs.
The Mac counterpart for Windows Movie Maker would be iMovie. I don’t have a Mac computer, so I have not tested iMovie, but from what I have heard, it is quite good.
Linux Video Editing Software