If you’re an HDSLR enthusiast, chances are you’ll want to edit your video clips. Here we’ve rounded up some of the best free video editing software for photographers with links to download each program.
It really doesn’t matter how good your camera is, or how good a video maker you are, you will always find that the raw footage will need work. The easiest way to add polish and professionalism to your footage is to use video-editing software.
Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a bomb on pro video editing software, so if you just want to edit your clips, add music or other soundtracks or apply cool special effects like transitions, there are plenty of free tools around. Read on for inspiration…
Best free video editing software: 1. Windows Movie Maker 2012
This is a very easy program to use, and all you need to do is drag and drop your video clips onto the interface.
There is support for most common formats, and the clips are automatically put in the right order. It’s easy to add transitions and special effects, too.
Adding a soundtrack, captions and credits is equally easy and you have the option of saving the finished job as a video file or putting it on Facebook, YouTube or other social media.
More control is available should you need it, for example, it’s easy to trim clips and tweak some other other options.
Windows Movie Maker is very much aimed at beginners, so while more ambitious users might find it restrictive, it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Best free video editing software: 2. Kate’s Video Toolkit
This is another very easy to use package with basic but effective video-editing features. Kate makes it simple to trim and join video files, combine videos with transitions and put together movies with a dedicated soundtrack.
Saving out the finished job to different file formats is a piece of cake too. As with Windows Movie Maker, this is not designed for more ambitious jobs – it’s not possible to expand the program window to take advantage of higher screen resolutions, for instance – but otherwise, it gives you video editing without tears.
Best free video editing software: 3. Avidemux
This open source video editor goes a bit further down the road for more ambitious users. It’s easy enough to join and cut clips without the need to re-encode them, and there is an impressive list of filers – from the basics, like crop and add logo, through to brightness, contrast and colour controls.
There are plenty of opportunities to fine-tune settings and some great online help. While not as immediately obvious to use as the more beginner-orientated programs, Avidemux will deliver great results when you get to grips with it.
Best free video editing software: 4. VSDC Free Video Editor
As a non-linear video-editing program, this takes a while to figure out. The task is made harder by the rather scanty documentation, but stick with this program and you will also get good results.
We particularly liked the drawing and selection tools and the range of colour and lighting tweaks. You can also add some neat filters, transitions and audio effects. VSDC Free Video Editor makes it easy to save your finished masterpiece, or optimise it for mobile devices or DVD burning.
Best free video editing software: 5. MPEG Streamclip 1.2.1b6
This compact program packs a lot of punch considering its modest download size of 327kb, smaller than a decent photo from a smartphone.
Small is beautiful though, as Streamclip enables you to edit, rotate and copy footage and export soundtracks. The Export tools gives you a lot of control over the finished movie too, and Streamclip can also open multiple files.
There were some issues playing back MP4 files, though, and this is very much designed as a program for trimming and file conversion, rather than anything more ambitious.
Best free video editing software: 6. VirtualDub
While this program looks a bit long in the tooth and is only designed to work fully with AVI files, there is a lot to like. The interface is very clear and logical and there is an impressive range of filters available once you have trimmed your footage.
As well as all the filters you would expect, such colour and contrast adjustments, brightness and sharpening, you can rotate the footage at any angle.
You do have to dig through quite a lot of menus to uncover this program’s full potential but if you are after a reasonably powerful AVI processing tool, VirtualDub this certainly does the job.
Best free video editing software: 7. Free Video Dub
Don’t be fooled by the rather generic looks, this program has an ace up its sleeve. No matter how much trimming you do, video quality is never lost, as Free Video Dub doesn’t actually re-encode your footage.
This comes in very handy with a long video clip that needs extensive work doing to it. You also get more conventional video-trimming options as you choose the left and right points through the source movie. Free Video Dub is neat option with more power than you’d expect for a freebie.
Best free video editing software: 8. Lightworks
This is the most powerful of all the free editing tools here, with a highly customisable timeline, powerful support for multi-cams, effects you can apply in real time and industrial-strength trimming tools.
Apparently, the people behind Mission Impossible and Batman used Lightworks, so that is a good endorsement.
As you’d expect, it’s not exactly a tool for beginners, and you will need to put in time wading through the documentation and help files to even get started.
Best free video editing software: 9. Freemake Video Converter
This is pretty self explanatory, and is designed for video conversion, but you can also use it as no-frills video-editing program.
Simply drag and drop video clips onto the interface and it’s easy to put them in order, edit as needed, rotate and flip or convert.
Uploading the finished job to YouTube is very easy, too. The interface is clean and professional-looking, making this is another great free choice.
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