Best Free Video Editing Software For YouTube Videos

In Editing by CarlLeave a Comment

Stunning YouTube videos don’t have to be expensive. More often than not, you don’t intend to spend your money on a professional video editor if you don’t fall in the class of people who don’t use their video editing software often. For some, a free video- editor does just as well.  That’s why we saw it fit to give you an equally stunning list of the Best Free Video Editors for great, cheaply produced Youtube videos.

What are the best free video editing software for YouTube videos?  When talking about free-video editors that are good enough to curate a stunning YouTube video, you easily will be spoilt for choice. Worry not, however, we have your back on this. For a beginning YouTuber, the following free editing software should be at the top of your brains;

  1. Shotcut
  2. Blender
  3. Lightworks
  4. iMovie
  5. Fimora Wondershare
  6. HitFilm Express
  7. Movie-Maker Online
  8. Openshot
  9. Kdenlive
  10. ClipChamp

While choosing what free video editor to download for your Youtube videos, you should think about the following things

  1. Compatibility to your editing computer–  Not all free editing software will be compatible with your computer. Some, like iMovie, can only work with Macs. Inversely, some will only work on the Windows platform.
  2. Desktop or phone? -Yes, you can also use your phone to edit your YouTube videos. That’s the reason why we have this post on the best Android video editing software for you. Desktop-based video editors are more powerful than Phone-based. Should you be looking for a relatively more powerful editor, going for the Desktop-based software is an absolute no-brainer.
  3. Completely free, or just a free version with upgrade options? While most of the software we intend to review in this article are completely free, some of them are not free per se. However, both options work well enough.

Here Are Your Top Ten Free Video Editing Software For YouTube Videos

Shotcut

For a seemingly underwhelming open-source software, Shotcut performs way better than anyone expected it to. It perhaps is the most professional of the non-professional video editing software.

Shotcut has been around for slightly more than a decade. Before everyone chose to go professional, even before the idea of cloud-hosted video editing was born, it was the go-to video editor for most of us. I think I pretty much horned most of my video-editing skills on Shotcut while I was still in college( Yes, I’m that old.) Given its age, you should be right to assume that it has the looks of an old-school software. It feels like a Tupac Classic in the software sense.

Not Pretty, But Works

To start, Shotcut doesn’t look pretty. It’s a jumbled up, uncreatively arranged mixture of icons that wouldn’t hold highly on a  model’s plate. Here’s a slight speculation of my own; the main reason why it doesn’t look good is that it’s one of the few open-source free-to-use video editing software available. Almost every self-deserving photography coder cum UX designer has mudded their hands on. It’s become one of those Nebraska farmhouses with tens of extensions and recent additions. So confused is the UX that you won’t know where exactly it started. However, if you’re more about functionality than standing out and being pretty, it will work just right for you.

Besides the ‘not beautiful undoing’, there’s nothing wrong with using shotcut. The editing tools, despite being hidden away at the top of the screen behind another not-so ingratiating veneer of buttons work well enough. Moreover, everything appears quite easy once you learn your way around the software.

With ShotCut, you can primarily trim and export your videos. I won’t go into the transitions and video effects because it has so few of them, that it’s disappointing for someone who needs to “pimp my ride” their videos.

Despite the few flaws here and there, Shotcut does it for most video editors. While it certainly doesn’t have too much to offer, it has just enough to ensure that your YouTube videos don’t appear raw.

Blender

I came to know of Blender from a friend who’s into creating 3D effects and animation. Let’s be honest here, I’m no Disney Protege, but I love trying my hands in some of the new skills, like 3D  graphics for instance. As per his own words, Blender is a minefield of learning curves for the 3D beginner, and a great place to trick out your videos once every while.

Blender is a linear-module editor which allows you to include 3D effects in your video. While talking of 3D graphics makes it sound cool and highly effective, I’m sorry to say it only has the basic tools for 3D animation. Principally, you can fade out, fade it, transition or blackout your fade using blender. Yes, there’s all you can do with this tool.

While most video producers would probably know zilch about creating animation and 3D effects, Blender should help you navigate around tricky sections in your video production. Often, I find myself logging into the software when I just want to get a different perspective of my videos or to see how the shot would look like from the other side. This means that while I’m not editing, I’m trying to find out the perfect way to edit.

Let’s talk interface and usability

The original Blender interface was built in 1995. Yes, you heard that right. However, it was upgraded in 2002 after a heavily touted crowdfunded campaign which ensured that the software was bought from its previous developers by the public. Essentially, the public-funded buyout made it an open-source software, free for everyone to try out.

One major undoing of open-source software is the user interface. Just like with ShotCut, Blender can also get a little confusing if you’re just starting. However, it gets rather benign and normal once you get used to the generally all black and white interface, with more than fifty buttons on the hone-interface alone, and more behind them.

Blender comes with two primary editing modes; You can choose to go with either the Objective mode, which allows you to turn around and manipulate the on-screen object as a single piece or the Edit mode, which allows you to change the actual data of the object, rather than the object itself. To switch between these two modes, you must use the Tab Key. Between the two primary modes, there are more semi-modes like sculpting, vertex painting, and weight paint.

For free open-source  3D software, using Blender to edit your videos in the 3D sense should be a subtle plus to your YouTube videos. After all, you can always switch up to something more powerful in case you feel that Blender is underwhelming( which it sometimes is.)

Lightworks

Have you ever Watched Pulp Fiction?  Sorry, let me rephrase that; Were you around when Pulp Fiction was hitting the screens? I also wasn’t. I think I was four years, not old enough to watch action films. However, I watched the film later, in the early 2000s, and I enjoyed every minute of Samuel L Jackson’s acerbic wit and the great video effects. It’s probably one of the best Quentin Tarantino movies ever produced. That aside, you won’t believe it when I say that the primary movie-editing for this great flick was done using Lightworks, would you? Well, you should, because that is nothing but the truth, as surprising as it may be.

Let’s not go too deep into movies, shall we?

All about Lightworks

Lightworks started as a high-end professional-grade video editing tool that was the primary love of movie studios. However, time has brought it down the rungs a little bit. It’s almost becoming the Kodak if video editing tools. However, unlike Kodaks, which went out of fashion immediately digital DSLR cameras made an entry, Lightworks has managed to hand around. Moreover, it has also attracted quite a few fans over the two decades plus that it’s been around.

It’s a powerful tool, that comes in either of two options; the free or the more powerful paid option. Our focus will be on the free option because this post wants nothing to do with you paying anything for a video editing tool.

Filmmaking tool

Given its history as a proper filmmaking tool, it’s no surprise that Lightworks runs on a tape-based model, which might be a little troublesome for those of us who grew up in the age of digital videography. Tape-based filmmaking implies the following:

  • That you have to set the prospective frame rate for your video before you start editing. This implies proper pre-visualization of the intended end-product. If you love to try and error effects until you find one which clicks with your video, Lightworks won’t work too well for you.
  • You can import the videos, audio, and all other needed resources straight from your camera. This happens in film quite frequently.

Aside from all these filmmaking tricks, the software interface looks quite complicated once you are starting. However, it gets increasingly easier to use as you go along. It would be prude to pass without mentioning the fact that your first video editing trial on Lightworks will work as a tutorial of sorts. The software will show you where to go and where to touch. Additionally, it will also hint out which effect to use until you have the gist of things.

While it’s perhaps the most powerful free video editing tool on this list, one thing which spoils the party for Lightworks is the minimal exporting option on the free option. We completely understand the need to have a powerful editing tool. However, getting a great, well-edited and crisp video doesn’t make any sense if I can’t export it.

iMovie

 

To be honest, I wasn’t going to include iMovie on this list because it only works with Macs and iPhones, unlike the other editing tools. After all, any software can’t really be free if we can’t use it across all available platforms.

While working on the research bit, I tried comparing Apple’s baby with other free video editing tools available. At the end of it, I couldn’t find an excuse not to include it in this list. That’s how we got here, reviewing a tool which we probably shouldn’t be reviewing under any normal circumstances.

Apple and Elegant Software

In case you have used Final Cut Pro, or any other apple-based editing tool you might find iMovie easy to use. However, it’s not as powerful as the paid options. Perhaps, this is just the right time to tell you to lower your heightened expectations of the tool. After all, you don’t expect too much from a free video editing software, do you?

Rant aside, Apple’s Imovie is an elegant, easy to use, beautifully crafted free-to-use video making tool that is stunning as much as it is powerful. It is the Jeniffer Lopez of free video editing software. Though it’s been around for a long while, it doesn’t seem to age one bit. Even in the face of newer competition, it has somehow managed to maintain its allure, and attract more users. Talk of timeless, if you may, because timeless is the only word I would use to describe iMovie.

I love Macs. That’s probably the reason why I have more experience using iMovie than I have with all other tools combined. For anything, I think the clutter-free interface should be the start of the iMovie conversation. Unlike the past three open-source software which, unsurprisingly had cluttered edges, and too many buttons, iMovie delivers the same amount of power on a relatively easier, and eye-friendlier interface.

No Tutorials

While it doesn’t come with any how-to-use tutorials on editing( you can mine those from YouTube) it provides enough guidance. On your introduction day, the iMovie platform will show you all its tooltips. That doesn’t imply more newbie friendliness. You might scratch your head for a period before getting the hang of it.

There are two editing options while using iMovie: You can choose the trailer option, or the movie one. The previous one is more famous than the latter. This is because creating short-introductory flicks for YouTube doesn’t require a lot of editing know-how. Besides, editing your videos using the trailer options allows you the use of a pre-designed boilerplate, which comes with ready effects and transitions to boot. Pretty friendly for a starter, right? On the other hand, the movie option gives you complete control of the editing. Going “Movie on iMovie” simply means you’re a pro at the job.

Elegance and lack of tutorial aside, the editing and exporting options on iMovie are minimal and rudimentary at the list. Zero multi-cam editing, zilch on 360-degree editing, null on export options.  However, the presence of a variety of editing plates, story modes and easy to use work-flow modules makes this software great for creating elegant YouTube videos.

Filmora Wondershare

One phrase which gets frequently thrown around when Fimora Wondershare gets discussed is ” easy to use for everyone.” While the subjective application of the same is highly debatable, I don’t have the aptitude, nor the guts to argue about that. Rather, I agree. Yes, it is relatively easy to use and user friendly for everyone, from beginners to diehard professionals.

Should you have used any video editing tool, you will feel at home with Filmora. To some extent, the software interface looks, and feels like a mish and mash of every other video-editing interface in the market, with a few tweaks here and there. Primarily, Filmora attempts to blend ultimate simplicity with edginess. This, perhaps, is why you have everything you need from the tool accessibly from the home screen, and a project-based editing model that might compete with professional-grade editors for a moment.

While Fimora Wondershare is created specifically for the casual content creator, it does well enough to attract even the professional ones. This revolves around the numerous features it comes with. For instance, it has great exporting options, timeline-based editing which gives you complete control over editing, a treasure trove of correction tools, and more importantly, a chroma-keying feature that works surprisingly well for a free video editor.

Despite the highly touted features listed, the free version comes with quite a few lows

  • Unlike with the previous Fimora versions, the current version doesn’t have a storyboarding feature.
  • No action-cam module too
  • Zero 360 degrees editing capability

While we might go on and on about the undoings, it’s still worthy to note that the numerous editing features and the tones of effects which you can import from other sites should help you make a great Youtube video using Filmora.

HitFilm Express

How about acquiring professional-grade editing power for absolutely nothing? If not nothing, Hitfilm Express costs right next to nothing. We’ll come around to the price you have to pay a bit later.

When I heard about HitFilm, I thought it was another online scam. After all, scams that sell you heaven, then go on to infect your PC Mac with destructive malware are nothing new on the internet. As suspicious as I was, I went digging. I wanted to have a road- test of the tool too.

Oops, I wasn’t even available. I know my way around google enough. I knew that I was groping in the dark after two whole days of random searching. Turns out I was doing the wrong thing all the while. Apparently, you won’t find HitFilm on a download snippet somewhere on google. Nope. Instead, you have to participate in the promotion of the Software. As an alternative to forking off some cash, you have to share the tool to your social media networks. Besides that, you also must communicate with the developers the fact that you are willing to participate in this promotion.

Professional-grade features

I know, the download process is a roundabout. It’s just as complicated as the Canals in Venice. However, it’s a worthy price to pay for the following:

  • Fullscale 3D and 2D editing and composition tools
  • 30+ animated features to go along with your video
  • Advanced cutting, transition and fading tools
  • Professional grade chroma-keying
  • Multiple audio and video filters

While the process of getting the software was exhausting, I found out just why all of my indie-creators love HitFilm. Apart from the fact that it packs almost all professional-grade tools, if not all of them, it also comes with numerous export templates that allow for relatively easy sharing. Besides this, it also comes with great video tutorials to help you through the steep learning curve.

Power and quality aside, I wouldn’t advise you to jump into the HitFilm Express pool if you don’t know what you’re doing. The process of acquiring the software feels like an Ivy League admission process. Moreover, the interface is not too newbie-friendly. All that said, using this software, once you get the hang of things should help you create niche videos and short movies for your YouTube channel.

 Movie-Maker Online

A few of us love online-based video editing. We probably prefer uploading our videos into a website, then editing it exclusively online. Those few of us are the niche market for Movie-Maker online.

Unlike other video editing tools which need to be downloaded, Movie Maker is a simple online website with all the editing tools required to produce a short video. To be honest, such websites are hard to come by. The few available offer nothing more than the application of filters. However, Movie-Maker Online does a little more than simply adding filters to your videos.

Should you need quick, on the go trimming for your YouTube videos, using this online tool will help. However, there should be a caveat somewhere in that statement. In fact, there should be two.

  • This online tool makes money exclusively from adds. This means that you might get angry with all those little AdSense videos and adds on your interface.
  • Unlike other editing tools that use a linear module, Movie-Maker employs a vertical model. It’s one thing to use learn how to use a linear-based video editing tool. It’s a whole other thing to use a vertical one. Despite this obvious difference, the website works quite well.

Uploading your video to a site for editing implies that you have a good internet connection. Besides uploading, the editing will also require heavy bandwidth usage. Due to this, I won’t recommend using this tool for long videos. It would be cumbersome, and somewhat ludicrous to be honest.

Openshot

As an afterthought, I think that Openshot should be somewhere nearer to the top of this list. However, since the list doesn’t rank the tools in any way, I will leave it here. After all, if you got to this point, I figure you have no intention of using the other ones.

Just another doppelganger, but not in everything!

Openshot doesn’t have any differences with the other editing software. To be blunt, its as bland as they come. Just like with ShotCut, Blender, and Filmmora, Openshot is a free, desktop-based editing tool that is compatible with all either Mac, Windows or Linux. Similar to the rest, it also works on a linear-based editing model. It also has a relatively easy to use interface. Moreover, it has a few animation effects and a keyframe that allows manipulation and complete control of the editing process.

However, you shouldn’t wish this editing tool away. At least not just yet. Unlike the rest, it has amazing interoperability. It can also be as versatile as they come. While you can’t introduce stills with the other editing tools, you can do it on Openshot. You can also place an audio file into the mix of things while using Openshot.

While the minor differences might give you more creative options, Openshot also comes with a major editing difference. The use of floating windows, rather than on the screen editing makes all the difference between it and other editing tools. Simply put, everything on Openshot is based on a segregation model that runs on Floating windows. You need a new floating window to include anything new; from a still shot, animation tiles, or a 3D model.

 

Kdenlive

Once again, we are into non-linear editing tools. For someone who’s accustomed to linear editing tools, this one too presents a steep learning curve.

Kdenlive is hugely popular among video editors. This is mostly because it probably is the only multi-track editing tool that comes for nothing at all. Because all of us love freebies, it has tens of millions of users, most of them beginners and almost five versions online as of today.

One thing that sets Kdenlive apart from the rest of the video editing tools is the fact that it has dedicated audio editing tools. With most, if not all of the other editing tools on this article, you probably would carry along the audio as it is when raw. However, Kdenlive will help you splice the audio into mono-streams should you need to edit it. You can also shift your pitch, volume, reduce audio distortion and overlaps and equalize on the same platform. Moreover, it also allows you an opportunity to include soundtracks from a large databank that’s almost inexhaustible.

In terms of creative options, Kdenlive is like a breath of fresh air in a stuffy room. The easy to use UX allows you to do as much as you want, from simplistic inclusion of video transitions and effects to the more detailed editing processes like rotation of clips, playback, bluescreen and masking of unwanted zones.

Among your opensource options, Kdenlive might be king. Unlike the others, it also doesn’t feel lethargic, or old-fashioned. Come to think of it, it’s a rather recent addition to the whole opensource video editing conversation. However, it has struck the right notes among beginning video producers.’

ClipChamp

Before someone (read Carl, the editor) alerted me on ClipChamp, I didn’t know anything about this amazing video processing tool. After a few weeks of testing it out, I’m happy to see that the hundreds of positive reviews I saw earlier on were not marketing drivels I had gone through while reviewing a handful of horrible free video editors with superlative reviews.

ClipChamp allows you to edit, convert and process in one go.  It comes with 3D editing, speed adjustment for the slow mo or fast paced videos, digital video stabilization, split merge capabilities, the usual array of video effects a line of audio tools to help your audio side too and an online media library. Given the number of possible tools and the fact that ClipChamp comes for free, you would be mistaken to presume, as I was earlier on, that it is a clunky, denigrating and aggravatingly slow.  It’s none of the negative adjectives I just used. More or less, it runs smoothly, has average to great end products and works magic on your videos. It also gives you a clear-cut way to run through simple video editing without too much fussing.

I was particularly impressed on how quick the ClipChamp service desk is. On the first few efforts, I made a mess of my work. I couldn’t get anything right at first.  This is based on the fact that their Linux platform appears quite different at first glance. However, they were patient with me all along. Besides the efficient client service, I think the free stock portfolio provided along with the tool is something to die-for.

For beginners, you might have more than that simple “trying out something new” incentive if you are thinking about downloading ClipChamp. First, the handy guides will probably teach everything there is to be taught on video editing using the tool.

Winding Thoughts

It’s been a long read, hasn’t it? You bet it’s time to wrap it up.

Free editing tools are great. They offer you a chance to produce your Youtube videos at no cost, or relatively lower costs.

However, there’s a catch somewhere with all these freebies. While shopping around for free video editing software for your YouTube videos, ensure that you download from credible sites.  It needs no saying that some malicious internet sites have cloned the same editing tools, and included viruses and phishing codes to steal your personal data. In case of doubt, keep away from the tool.

About the Author

Carl

Admin of the site.

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