Last updated: November 30, 2022

Overview: the best free editing software for youtube

Number 1: iMovie


The default pre-installed video editing software for Apple users and specializes well with iPhone-captured footage. iMovie comes with a basic editing toolset: cutting, trimming, colour correction, background noise removal, and stabilization. It is also integrated with iTunes allowing for easy importing of songs and layering in royalty-free audio. Magic Movie feature allows AI to decide on video editing decisions. As many YouTubers may not have to budget for valuable cameras and video-taking technology, iMovie for the iPhone is an effective way to edit phone-captured footage without needing complicated techniques or pricey equipment, especially for vlogs and family-type videos.

1. Very beginner friendly with a basic toolset and friendly UI1. Limited to Mac users, although windows has its own editor offering similar features
2. Includes storyboard templates to help with storytelling and editing choices
2. iMovie does not work well with certain media types, requiring an extra step of converting media files
3. The same project can be edited across different Apple devices, from MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones
3. Default iMovie files are very large and take up large amounts of space, with even basic projects being around 1 GB

Number 2: Lightworks


A well-known editing software even amongst Hollywood projects, and has been around for over 30 years. Lightworks is a little more complex than basic software and usually requires orientation and tutorial videos. Professionals enjoy the many shortcuts and keyboard controls that are used for large volumes of clips and footage. They offer both freemium and premium models with the only difference being limited export options in the free version, and the premium version allows for higher graphics quality, as well as format presets for Youtube, Vimeo, or MP4. This software has great flexibility for the simplicity between projects, ranging from amatuer productions to large movie-like projects.

1. Efficient and competent with specialised shortcuts and functions for both amateur and professional editors
1. Can be challenging to use for beginners and confusing to navigate
2. Most premium features readily available on the free version2. The free model only allows for 720p exports
3. Available presets for different platforms e.g. Youtube, Vimeo, or MP43. Does not support multi-framerate videos

Number 3: DaVinci Resolve

ProductDaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve is one of the most advanced free video editors, and acts as the free model of the DaVinci Resolve Studio, which offers extra and advanced features like stereoscopic 3D tools, Resolve FX Filters, Farlight FX Audio Plugins etc. The Davinci Resolve on its own already includes highly advanced tools suitable for professional editing but may take beginners some time to learn the editing tools offered in this software. DaVinci has been applauded for two main aspects, one being its UX design, which divides individual editing processes into ‘Pages’ and keeps a neat and clear workflow. Another applauded feature is DaVincis’ cloud-based workflow systems, which are useful for remote collaborations. Due to its vast features and complex software, DaVinci requires high CPU capabilities so some less capable computers may have trouble running the software. This program will be the most effective for content creators that aim for movie-like projects, utilising the special effects and editing capabilities of DaVinci Resolve, and its high-resolution cap.

1. Highly advanced features and tools not commonly found in competitor software for professional editing and collaborative work
1. The steep learning curve, especially for beginners and amateurs
2. Unique and neat UX design for a clear workflow in the editing process
2. High CPU usage and requirements
3. The free version allows up to 4K UHD export resolution
3. No integration with external software

Number 4: Clipchamp


Clipchamp is a web-based video editing recently purchased by Microsoft. This platform is specifically designed for influencers and social media content creators, specialising in their flexible and efficient experience, ready-to-use templates, as well as their vast library of stock footage and audio. Clipchamp can be well utilized for social video ads, slideshows, or video presentations. The platform is very beginner friendly and efficient to make simple videos, perfect for Youtube shorts and other social media posts like TikToks and Story based posts.

1. Beginner-friendly features and functions1. Limited capabilities only suitable for short small projects
2. Customizable templates for social media posts
2. Web-based browser leads to slower rendering and processing
3. Unlimited exports up to 1080p
3. Rigid templates can look generic and over-used

Number 5: Canva Free

ProductCanva Free Video Editor

Canva is well known as a web-based graphic design platform for graphics, posters, and other visual content, but also has its own free web-based online video editor. Canva video editor comes with all the basic tools for editing a video and specialises in projects for social media and youtube use. Much like the graphics designing platform, the video editor is known for its professionally designed preset templates available for beginners and others to browse and customize. Although lengthy or high-resolution projects would be much more suited with other programs, Canva can be the perfect platform for designing a Youtube channel intro, montage-based videos, and Youtube Shorts.

1. Professionally made templates to browse and edit1. Limited video editing tools and features
2. Simple editing tools with beginner-friendly UX2. Many functions and stock library content are behind a paywall
3. Web-based to save on storage and processing power
3. Not suitable for long or professional video editing

Number 6: Blender


Blender is a free video editor that specialises in 3D editing, offering top-quality modelling, rendering, and sculpting tools, allowing creators to make 3D animations from scratch. Blender is recommended to beginners in 3D editing for VFX professionals on a budget, as it also includes simulation features like adding smoke, fire, liquid, and hair physics directly into your projects. Blender is also an open-source software with many add-ons developed, allowing for customisation for each user. However, Blender has many challenging features to master, and is very specialised in its niche, which means you may need another editing software to complete a project to your heart’s desire.

1. Top-level 3D, animation, and simulation tools
1. Steep learning curve
2. User-friendly interface for beginners in 3D editing and VFX
2. Very specialised and not suitable for all editing purposes
3. Open-source code and many add-ons
3. Rendering takes an extremely long time as not use up CPU

Number 7: VideoPad Video Editor


VideoPad is a great video editing program that has an intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface, making it very beginner friendly. It includes all the essential features and tools needed for editing basic projects and a few advanced tools for more special projects like 3D and 360-degree editing. This is suitable for home movies and casual videos, as it lacks more professional and advanced editing tools to achieve professional results. The free program is only available for non-commercial purposes and requires you to purchase a license if used for commercial purposes. VideoPad is also more suitable for PCs, as the Mac version lacks a few features in comparison.

1. Beginner-friendly interface
1. Still lacks professional and advanced editing tools and features
2. Good intermediary program for both simple and more advanced projects
2. Requires a license for commercial use
3. The developer claimed “fastest tool on the market”
3. Fewer features on the Mac version than on the PC version

Number 8: VSDC Free Video Editor

ProductVSDC Free Video Editor

VSDC is a simple free video editor ideal for beginners and casual editors. VSDC stands out as the program works on very light computer resources and is compatible with old outdated systems or CPUs with low processing power. This program can be suitable for content creators travelling or on the go without needing to bring expensive equipment or their main devices to edit and create content, for example, nomadic influencers or travel vlogs. However, the free version of VSDC lacks many valuable features like video stabilization and motion tracking, which would require one to pay for the upgraded version, or look for alternative programs like those on this list.

1. Beginner friendly tools
1. Lacks some advanced and essential features in the free version
2. Compatible with devices with less processing power
2. The interface is relatively outdated
3. Uses hardware acceleration to increase editing speed
3. Many better alternative programs exist for regular users

Number 9: Shotcut


A highly customizable free video editor, Shotcut offers simple and advanced editing options allowing for video editors of every level. Shotcut is open-source, supports most file formats, and has an intuitive interface, meaning that the program is easy to learn and handle, and can be customized to one’s comfort. A speciality that makes Shotcut stand out is its green-screen options not commonly found in other editors, allowing the flexibility of green screen effects with any colour background, and features to clean up edges. One downside is that there is no export presets meaning editors need to know the specs they want their final video to be before exporting, which can be confusing for beginners. Additionally, it has been reported that some features don’t work as well as intended, specifically voice-over tools.

1. User-friendly and customizable
1. Lacks presets for exporting process
2. Supports most common file formats
 2. Some tools reported not working properly
3. Uncommonly seen green screen effects and tools
3. Some features cannot be previewed and take time to reflect changes

Number 10: OpenShot


OpenShot is a free video editor that allows both beginners and professionals to use it. The software interface is very flexible and offers simple or advanced view options, where it can show or hide the wide range of advanced editing tools that can be overwhelming to beginners. OpenShot stands out from many other editing software as it is open-source, meaning anyone can access and edit the source code if desired, meaning users familiar with coding can adjust and edit the software to their liking. However, it has been reported that there can be bugs that cause the program to lag, which can be frustrating during long editing projects, or for those who are working towards a deadline. 

1. Suitable for all skill levels of editing1. Potentially buggy software
2. Wide range of advanced editing tools2. No HD resolution support
3. Open-source and receives regular updates3 No mobile apps or support


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Based on what criteria should you choose an animation program?



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