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Review of 10 Free or Low-cost Video Editors

Reviewing 10 x low-cost video editors has turned out to be a bit of a daunting task, so I have broken it down to some simple principles.


The tricky thing to evaluate is the different requirements you will need, based on your editing skills and the time you are prepared to learn the editing process.


With this in mind, I’ve come up with is a list of the features that I consider necessary for the type of videos you will be producing to promote your small business. I’ve added as an extra feature “Ease of Use”


Since the rationale of this web site is to use the things you are ready own or are free to access, I’ve concentrated on the Free Video editors and only added those paid ones that fit into the “low cost” basket.


This means that the professional video editors are not included for several reasons really, they are more expensive and, by default, they need a considerable amount of time to learn those extra facilities.

Added to that, the professional programs need to be used on a regular basis for you to simply remember how to do things - as a casual user - the simpler the better.

I’d like to point out here, that just because a video editor is more feature-rich it doesn’t mean that it will be better for YOU.

You need to concentrate on the features you will need in normal day-to-day use.


Anything extra is just a distraction. No point in wasting time going down rabbit holes, that have no substantial benefits.

If there are obscure things that you need to do infrequently, it may be best to get a professional to do those when you need them.


At the end of this video, I will tell you the winners of the three categories.


These are the 3 category winners;


  • Beginners “Easiest to use”

  • Feature-rich “Allrounder”

  • Best Features ‘Biggest Learning Curve”

This is the list of Video editors.


Free with no watermarks or trial period

  • ShotCut

  • OpenShot

  • HitFilm Express

  • DaVinci Resolve

  • iMovie

Low cost editors - under $100.00

  • WonderShare Filmora

  • VideoPad

  • Movavi Video Editor

  • Filmage Editor


All, bar iMovie and Filmage, are able to run on both Mac and Windows.


Also, from the left field, I’ve added a web-based fast, and easy-to-use solution for short and snappy Videos.


FlexClip

It is important to mention that just because some are free that they are inferior to the paid options.


For sure, all of these editors will put a simple video together with no issues.


It mostly comes down to your personal preferences and I will point out things to look for, as we go through the comparisons.


From a starting point, I’ve taken the following as taken for granted:

All applications will do the basics,

  • import any footage,

  • add to a timeline,

  • cut and shorten the clips in the timeline,

  • add transitions and text. (Some have more choices of transitions and better ways of handling text)


All have some color correction ability and will allow a voice-over to be added to the audio as well as the ability to extract audio from the video track.


All will export at Least HD 1920x1080 and allow access to social media or as a standalone video file.

So what are the other features that you should look for?


These are the items that I have specified as needed for Promotional Videos in each of the individual video editors.


  • Audio Meters - to see the volume output levels.

  • Freely modifiable text

  • Multi tracks Min 3 x Video tracks


  • Then 3 x features that are needed when you are using extra audio recorders and a Green Screen to replace backgrounds.

  • Chroma/Green Screen editing

  • Audio sync

  • Ability to mask part of a video track.


The items in the bottom row are nice to have, but will not affect the outcome of this count down.


Let’s look at the different applications:


OpenShot.


I like the ability to move the panels to different places.


Import is easy from the file menu or drag from your computer to the Project files panel, then dragged to the timeline


Automatic transitions are added when clips are overlapped in the timeline.


Extra tracks can be added by right-clicking in the track area.

It doesn’t have audio meters, MultiCam or ability to sync audio.

Text is modifiable, titles are selected from the Titles menu - adjusted in the title editor which adds them to the “project files” panel so that they can be dragged into the timeline.


Split-screen can be achieved by cropping the tracks above using the Properties panel


The green screen is selected with the Chroma filter, then adjusted in properties.


Select the color to remove and then change the fuzz - start at 180 and adjust


It does have a stabilizer and also allows Keyframes