The Best Free Video Editors You’ll Ever Need

Are you tired of spending money on expensive video editing software that consistently exceeds your expectations? Look no further because we’ve found the best free video editor you’ll ever need. 

Comparing Free Video Editors to Commercial Counterparts

Video editing has become essential for content creators, marketers, and anyone looking to share polished videos online. However, high-quality video editing software can be expensive. Fortunately, there are numerous free video editors available that offer robust features comparable to their paid counterparts. Here’s why you should consider using a free video editor and comparing some of the best options available.

Cost-Effective

The most obvious reason to use a free video editor is the cost. Professional video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, or Avid Media Composer can cost hundreds of dollars annually. For those just starting or working with a tight budget, free video editors provide an excellent alternative without the financial burden.

Feature-Rich

Many free video editors have features catering to beginners and advanced users. For example, DaVinci Resolve offers professional-grade colour correction, visual effects, and audio post-production tools. Its free version is used by professionals worldwide and includes most of the features found in the paid version. Similarly, HitFilm Express combines video editing with VFX tools, making it ideal for creating Hollywood-style visual effects on a budget.

Creating social media content with free video editors is a great place to start.
Creating social media content with free video editors is a great place to start.

Ease of Use

Free video editors often focus on being user-friendly, making them accessible for beginners. OpenShot, for instance, has a simple, intuitive interface that allows users to learn the basics of video editing quickly. It includes drag-and-drop functionality, keyframe animation, and support for various video formats. Shotcut is another free editor that balances ease of use with powerful features, such as 4K resolution support and a wide range of video and audio filters.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

Many free video editors are available across multiple platforms, ensuring users can edit videos on their preferred operating systems. For example, Lightworks and DaVinci Resolve are available on Windows, macOS, and Linux, providing flexibility for users who work across different devices or in collaborative environments.

Community Support

Free video editors often have strong communities and extensive online resources. Blender, primarily known as a 3D modelling software, includes a powerful video sequence editor. It is backed by a vast community of users who contribute tutorials, plugins, and troubleshooting advice, making learning and troubleshooting the software easier.

Regular Updates

Some free video editors are open-source, meaning a community of developers regularly updates them. Kdenlive, an open-source video editor for Linux, receives frequent updates that improve stability, introduce new features, and fix bugs. This continuous development ensures users can access the latest tools and enhancements without additional costs.

Comparisons

When comparing free video editors to their paid counterparts, it’s clear that while paid software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro might offer more advanced features and a higher level of customer support, free options like DaVinci Resolve, HitFilm Express, and Lightworks provide a competitive range of tools suitable for most editing tasks. DaVinci Resolve, for instance, rivals paid software in colour grading capabilities, and Lightworks has been used in professional film editing for decades.

Here’s a table comparing different video editing packages, including both free and paid options, focusing on their key features:

FeatureDaVinci Resolve (Free)HitFilm Express (Free)Lightworks (Free)OpenShot (Free)Shotcut (Free)Adobe Premiere Pro (Paid)Final Cut Pro (Paid)
PlatformWin/Mac/LinuxWin/MacWin/Mac/LinuxWin/Mac/LinuxWin/Mac/LinuxWin/MacMac
PriceFreeFreeFreeFreeFree$20.99/month$299 one-time
User InterfaceProfessionalBeginner to IntermediateIntermediate to ProBeginnerBeginner to IntermediateProfessionalProfessional
Video TracksUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Audio EditingAdvancedAdvancedAdvancedBasicIntermediateAdvancedAdvanced
Effects & TransitionsAdvancedAdvancedIntermediateBasicIntermediateAdvancedAdvanced
Shortcut (Free)ProfessionalIntermediateIntermediateBasicIntermediateProfessionalProfessional
Export FormatsWide RangeWide RangeWide RangeWide RangeWide RangeWide RangeWide Range
4K SupportYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Learning CurveSteepModerateSteepGentleModerateSteepModerate
Community SupportStrongStrongModerateModerateStrongStrongStrong
UpdatesRegularRegularRegularRegularRegularRegularRegular
A comparison of free video editor software to commercial packages
With the features in free video editors, you can create authentic content for your audience that's as gorgeous as studio work.
With the features in free video editors, you can create authentic content for your audience that’s as gorgeous as studio work.

Notes:

  1. DaVinci Resolve: Known for its professional-grade colour correction and post-production tools, it is suitable for professional video editors.
  2. HitFilm Express: Combines video editing with VFX tools, which is ideal for creating visual effects.
  3. Lightworks: Lightworks, used in professional film editing, offers solid features.
  4. OpenShot: User-friendly interface, great for beginners.
  5. Shotcut: Open-source editor with a balanced feature set for beginners and intermediate users.
  6. Adobe Premiere Pro: Industry-standard software with extensive features, widely used by professionals.
  7. Final Cut Pro: Popular among Mac users for its professional capabilities and seamless integration with other Apple products.

Using a free video editor is an excellent choice for anyone looking to produce high-quality videos without the expense of professional software. These free tools offer a range of features, ease of use, and community support, making them viable alternatives to their paid counterparts. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned editor, there is a free video editor that can meet your needs and help you create stunning videos.

What Features do you need in a Free Video Editor for Various Platforms?

Creating content for social media platforms requires a video editor that can handle various specific needs. Each platform has unique requirements regarding video dimensions, length, and style. Therefore, selecting the right free video editor involves understanding the key features needed to create high-quality content tailored for each platform.

Key Features Needed in a Free Video Editor for Social Media

Aspect Ratio Flexibility

Different social media platforms require different aspect ratios. For instance, Instagram Stories and TikTok favour vertical videos (9:16). Meanwhile, Maximize Your YouTube Channel's Potential with These Excellent Tips prefers widescreen formats (16:9). A good video editor should allow you to easily switch between these aspect ratios without compromising video quality.

Export Options

Exporting in various formats and resolutions is crucial. Platforms like YouTube and Facebook support high-definition uploads, whereas others like Instagram and Twitter may require smaller file sizes for quicker loading times. Look for editors that provide a range of export settings, including different resolutions and file formats.

Be sure your free video editor supports your file formats and camera.
Be sure your free video editor supports your file formats and camera.

Built-in Templates

Templates can speed up editing, especially when creating content for platforms with stringent design expectations, such as Instagram Reels or Facebook Stories. Editors with pre-made templates for intros, transitions, and text overlays are highly beneficial.

Text and Graphics Tools

Text and graphics are often necessary to engage viewers on social media. Features like animated text, lower thirds, and the ability to import custom graphics can significantly enhance the professionalism of your videos.

Audio Editing

Good audio quality is essential. Look for editors that provide audio editing tools such as background noise removal, volume adjustment, and the ability to add music tracks. Some editors also offer sound effects libraries, which can be a nice addition.

Effects and Transitions

Engaging content often includes creative effects and smooth transitions. A video editor should offer a variety of transitions, filters, and effects that can be easily applied to make videos more appealing.

Speed Control

Controlling the speed of your footage is helpful in creating slow-motion or time-lapse effects, which are popular on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Ensure your chosen editor supports precise speed adjustments.

Ease of Use

A user-friendly interface is essential, especially for beginners. The editor should have intuitive navigation, clear tool icons, and helpful tutorials or guides.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

Being able to work on different devices is crucial. Look for editors available on multiple operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux) and, if possible, mobile versions for on-the-go editing.

Comparison Table of Free Video Editors

FeatureDaVinci ResolveHitFilm ExpressLightworksOpenShotShotcut
PlatformWin/Mac/LinuxWin/MacWin/Mac/LinuxWin/Mac/LinuxWin/Mac/Linux
Aspect Ratio FlexibilityYesYesYesYesYes
Export OptionsExtensiveExtensiveExtensiveExtensiveExtensive
Built-in TemplatesLimitedExtensiveLimitedLimitedLimited
Text and Graphics ToolsAdvancedAdvancedBasicBasicIntermediate
Audio EditingAdvancedAdvancedAdvancedBasicIntermediate
Effects and TransitionsAdvancedAdvancedIntermediateBasicIntermediate
Speed ControlYesYesYesYesYes
Ease of UseModerateModerateModerateEasyModerate
Cross-Platform CompatibilityYesYesYesYesYes
A comparison of features in free video editors.

In-Depth Look at Free Video Editors

DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve is renowned for its professional-grade colour correction and advanced audio editing capabilities. It’s perfect for users needing detailed control over their videos. However, it has a steep learning curve.

How are companies creating amazing free video editors these days? One look at the optional control deck's pricetag will explain it :)
How are companies creating excellent free video editors these days? One look at the optional upgrades, like a control deck price tag will explain it 🙂

HitFilm Express

HitFilm Express is ideal for those who want to combine video editing with visual effects. It includes numerous built-in templates and effects, making it great for creating eye-catching social media content.

Lightworks

Lightworks is a powerful editor used in professional film editing. It offers extensive export options and good audio editing tools but lacks the range of templates found in HitFilm Express.

OpenShot

OpenShot is user-friendly and perfect for beginners. It provides all the essential tools needed for social media video creation but may lack the advanced features of more professional editors.

Shotcut

Shotcut offers a balance between ease of use and feature richness. It supports advanced audio editing and a wide range of export options, making it versatile for various social media platforms.

Selecting the right free video editor depends on your specific needs and the platforms you are targeting. DaVinci Resolve and HitFilm Express are great for those requiring advanced features, while OpenShot and Shotcut provide user-friendly interfaces for beginners. Lightworks stands out for its professional capabilities, making it a strong contender for serious content creators. You can choose the editor that best fits your workflow and creative vision by understanding the critical features needed for social media video creation.

What do you need in a Free Video Editor for Various Platforms?

Understanding the pixel sizes for different social media platforms is crucial for ensuring your videos display correctly and maintain high quality. Here’s a breakdown of the common aspect ratios and corresponding pixel sizes for popular social media platforms:

YouTube

  • Standard Videos (16:9): 1920×1080 (Full HD), 1280×720 (HD)
  • Vertical Videos (9:16): 1080×1920
  • Square Videos (1:1): 1080×1080

Instagram

  • Feed Posts (1:1, 4:5, 16:9):
  • 1:1 (Square): 1080×1080
  • 4:5 (Portrait): 1080×1350
  • 16:9 (Landscape): 1920×1080
  • Stories/Reels (9:16): 1080×1920
  • IGTV (9:16, 16:9):
  • 9:16 (Vertical): 1080×1920
  • 16:9 (Horizontal): 1920×1080

Facebook

  • Feed Posts (1:1, 4:5, 16:9):
  • 1:1 (Square): 1080×1080
  • 4:5 (Portrait): 1080×1350
  • 16:9 (Landscape): 1920×1080
  • Stories (9:16): 1080×1920
  • In-stream Videos (16:9): 1920×1080

TikTok

  • Videos (9:16): 1080×1920

Twitter

  • Feed Videos (16:9, 1:1):
  • 16:9 (Landscape): 1280×720
  • 1:1 (Square): 1080×1080
  • Fleets (9:16): 1080×1920

LinkedIn

  • Feed Videos (16:9, 1:1, 9:16):
  • 16:9 (Landscape): 1920×1080
  • 1:1 (Square): 1080×1080
  • 9:16 (Vertical): 1080×1920

Comparison Chart of Free Video Editors for Social Media Platform Support

Here’s a comparison of free video editors, showing which platforms and aspect ratios they support and their suitability for each platform.

Feature/PlatformDaVinci ResolveHitFilm ExpressLightworksOpenShotShotcut
Aspect Ratio Support
– 16:9 (1920×1080, 1280×720)YesYesYesYesYes
– 9:16 (1080×1920)YesYesYesYesYes
– 1:1 (1080×1080)YesYesYesYesYes
– 4:5 (1080×1350)YesYesYesYesYes
YouTubeYesYesYesYesYes
InstagramYesYesYesYesYes
FacebookYesYesYesYesYes
TikTokYesYesYesYesYes
TwitterYesYesYesYesYes
LinkedInYesYesYesYesYes
Built-in TemplatesLimitedExtensiveLimitedLimitedLimited
Ease of UseModerateModerateModerateEasyModerate
Best ForAll-around, esp. for advanced editingAll-around, esp. for visual effectsProfessional editingBeginners and quick editsIntermediate users
Comparison of free video editors for use on various social media platforms

In-Depth Look at Free Video Editors for Various Social Platforms

DaVinci Resolve as a Free Video Editor

DaVinci Resolve is a professional-grade video editing software that offers an extensive range of features even in its free version. It is widely used in the film and television industry and excels in colour correction, visual effects, and audio post-production. The software supports all popular aspect ratios and pixel sizes, making it suitable for creating content for platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Unlocking the Incredible Power of Twitter: How to Boost Your Online Presence and Engagement, and LinkedIn.

DaVinci Resolve’s interface is designed for professionals, and it has a comprehensive set of tools to handle complex editing tasks. However, its steep learning curve may be challenging for beginners. Despite this, it remains an excellent choice for users looking for advanced features without the cost of a premium product. The free version includes most features available in the paid version, making it a powerful tool for serious content creators.

  • Best For: All-around use, particularly strong in colour correction and professional-grade editing.
  • Strengths: Supports all aspect ratios and pixel sizes, advanced colour grading, extensive export options.
  • Weaknesses: Steep learning curve, fewer built-in templates.

HitFilm Express as a Free Video Editor

HitFilm Express combines video editing with visual effects, making it ideal for users who want to create cinematic content without spending money on expensive software. The free version includes many features, including keying for green screen effects, compositing tools, and a vast library of built-in effects and templates. It supports various aspect ratios and pixel sizes, making it suitable for all major social media platforms.

HitFilm Express offers a user-friendly interface, but its advanced features can also cater to more experienced editors. The software mainly benefits YouTubers and filmmakers who want to add professional-quality effects to their videos. While it can be resource-intensive and has a moderate learning curve, its powerful capabilities and extensive free features make HitFilm Express a top choice for aspiring filmmakers and content creators.

  • Best For: All-around use, especially for videos requiring visual effects.
  • Strengths: Wide aspect ratio, pixel size support, and extensive templates and effects.
  • Weaknesses: Moderate learning curve, resource-intensive.

Lightworks as a Free Video Editor

Lightworks is a professional video editing software known for its use in major film productions. The free version of Lightworks offers robust editing tools, including timeline editing, advanced trimming, and a range of export options. It supports all common aspect ratios and pixel sizes, ensuring compatibility with YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Lightworks is designed with a professional workflow, making it suitable for experienced editors. The software includes a wide range of video and audio effects, but it lacks the extensive built-in templates in some other free editors. Its interface is powerful but may be overwhelming for beginners. Despite this, Lightworks provides a comprehensive editing experience without the cost, making it an excellent choice for users seeking professional-grade capabilities in a free package.

  • Best For: Professional video editing.
  • Strengths: Strong aspect ratio and pixel size support, as well as professional tools.
  • Weaknesses: Limited templates, moderate ease of use.

OpenShot as a Free Video Editor

OpenShot is an open-source video editor that prioritizes ease of use and accessibility. It offers a straightforward interface, making it an excellent choice for beginners and users who need to make quick edits. OpenShot supports various aspect ratios and pixel sizes, allowing users to create content for all major social media platforms, including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The software includes basic editing tools, such as trimming, cutting, and adding transitions and effects. While it may not offer the advanced features in more professional editors, OpenShot provides all the essential tools for creating high-quality videos. Its drag-and-drop functionality and simple navigation make it easy to learn, making it a great starting point for new video editors.

  • Best For: Beginners and quick, simple edits.
  • Strengths: User-friendly interface, full aspect ratio and pixel size support.
  • Weaknesses: Basic feature set, fewer advanced options.

Shotcut as a Free Video Editor

Shotcut is a free, open-source video editor offering a balanced set of features suitable for beginners and intermediate users. It supports various aspect ratios and pixel sizes, making it compatible with YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Shotcut includes a comprehensive set of editing tools, such as trimming, cutting, and adding transitions and filters.

The user-friendly interface offers advanced features like multi-track timeline editing, 4K resolution support, and various video and audio effects. Shotcut’s flexibility and ease of use make it an excellent choice for users who want more than basic editing capabilities without the complexity of professional software. Its open-source nature ensures regular updates and a supportive community, making it a reliable option for content creators.

  • Best For: Intermediate users.
  • Strengths: Good balance of ease of use and advanced features, full aspect ratio and pixel size support.
  • Weaknesses: The interface can be less intuitive, fewer templates.

When choosing a free video editor for creating social media content, it’s essential to consider each platform’s specific aspect ratio and pixel size requirements and the level of editing complexity you need. DaVinci Resolve and HitFilm Express offer comprehensive features suitable for advanced editing and visual effects, making them ideal for serious content creators. Lightworks provides professional tools suitable for in-depth editing. OpenShot offers a straightforward and user-friendly option for beginners or those needing quick edits. Shotcut balances ease of use and advanced features, making it a versatile choice for various social media platforms.

Which is my Favourite as a Free Video Editor for Creating Social Media Content?

Choosing a favourite free video editor for creating social media content is challenging because each option offers unique strengths. OpenShot’s user-friendly interface makes it perfect for beginners, while Shotcut provides a balanced feature set suitable for intermediate users. Lightworks and HitFilm Express stand out with professional-grade tools and extensive visual effects capabilities, making them excellent choices for serious content creators.

However, my favourite is DaVinci Resolve. As someone with experience in professional film editing, I find its comprehensive toolset and advanced features unmatched in the free software market. DaVinci Resolve excels in colour correction, visual effects, and audio post-production, providing precision and control essential for high-quality video content. Its support for various aspect ratios and pixel sizes ensures I can create content tailored to any social media platform, from YouTube to TikTok. While its steep learning curve might be daunting for beginners, the depth of its capabilities makes it worth the investment of time and effort. For me, DaVinci Resolve’s professional-grade tools and versatility make it the best choice for creating polished, high-quality social media content.

Choosing the right free video editor for social media content depends on your needs and experience. OpenShot and Shotcut offer accessible, user-friendly options for beginners, while Lightworks and HitFilm Express provide professional-grade features for more advanced users. Ultimately, DaVinci Resolve stands out for its comprehensive toolset and professional capabilities, making it the ideal choice for those with experience in film editing. Regardless of which editor you choose, each option brings valuable features, ensuring you can create high-quality, engaging content tailored to any social media platform. Explore these powerful free video editors today, and elevate your social media presence with stunning, professional-grade videos!

About the Author

Speaks about Technology and Improving Efficiency in the Work Place

Christopher Ross is a passionate geek with diverse skills and interests, making him a dynamic and resourceful professional. With a deep-rooted enthusiasm for technology, Christopher has built a career exploring innovative solutions and advancing his knowledge in the tech field, including his love of WordPress. His journey is marked by a relentless curiosity and a commitment to continuous learning, which he applies to his professional endeavours and projects. A passable woodworker and recovering photographer, Christopher’s creative pursuits showcase his ability to balance precision and artistry. As a father and mentor, he takes pride in guiding others, fostering a spirit of curiosity and growth in those around him.

Education: Currently working on my Master of Arts in Learning and Technology, Royal Roads University
Experience: Training Specialist, Sherwin-Williams Company

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