A Look at Free Video Editing Software


What’s out there when it comes to free video editing software? Should you spend upwards of a couple hundred dollars on more powerful software?

Video editing software lets you do a number of things like cutting out footage that you don’t want or need and adding effects, titles, and credits to your work. Good video editing software, properly used, can give your amateur video a professional look and feel. You can even use it to add a soundtrack to your movie. Let’s take a look at what’s out there and free.

Use the Free Video Editing Software Used to Make Batman

Most of the major movie studios use video editing software that costs several thousand dollars. However, not all studios feel the need to spend thousands of dollars on software when the freeware/public domain people have been so busy putting together equally effective packages for free or relatively little. Lightworks is an example of this, a professional piece of software that doesn’t have to cost a penny.

Lightworks is no Windows Movie Maker. You’re not going to use it to just drag and drop clips and create simple effects. The makers of movies like “Batman,” “Mission Impossible,” and “The King’s Speech” used Lightwave to make their movies. To learn even half of what Lightwave can do is a learning curve that looks like K2 or Mt. McKinley. Edit effects in real time. Support for multiple cameras. Smart video trimming tools. Support for a second output monitor.

Lightworks comes in two basic flavors, paid and free. The free version, while super powerful, is still feature-limited. Users of one of the paid versions get quite a bit more functionality. There are two ways to acquire the paid version, buy it outright for a little under $300, or subscribe, either monthly (about $8) or yearly (about $80). Paying gives you more support, upgrades, and support for stereoscopic output, 1080p export options, and more digital formats, among other things.

Windows Movie Maker 2012

Microsoft Movie Maker 2012 (featured picture) is one of those rare programs that comes along that does difficult things, but is easy and intuitive to use. Right out of the box, without much of a learning curve, you’re up and running creating basic movie projects.

In a matter of minutes, you have edited a movie with credits, titles, a soundtrack, and fade-in and fade-out effects. Just a few mouse clicks and you have a movie that has a polished, professional feel. A few more clicks and you can easily share your movie to YouTube or Facebook. It’s going to take more than a few minutes of tweaking and learning the program to put out a video that rivals Dreamworks or Play-Tone, but it’ll still be polished and more dramatic.

Kate’s Video Toolkit is Also Easy to Use

One of the things that most of the free video editing software packages have in common is that most were designed to be quick and easy to go from download and installation of the package to putting together polished projects.

Kate’s Video Toolkit is another example of this. Click, click, click and you’re converting an AVI file to an H.264 or 3GP file for viewing on mobile devices and laptops/desktops. A couple more clicks and you’re stitching multiple clips and still images together seamlessly or with fades. Don’t forget to add the soundtrack and let your viewers know who created this video masterpiece so quickly.

Like professional video editing packages, Kate’s has a built-in video player, so you don’t have to jump out of the program to review any changes you make to your project. You can use it to create video CD (VCD) format and DVD format output, so you can record your memories. There are more than 70 3D transitions and 50-plus effects that you can apply to your video clips to give them a more professional appealing appearance.

Kate’s also has several standalone packages that let you perform individual video editing functions. These include joining, splitting, and converting.

VirtualDub Used to Be My Favorite Free Video Editing Software Package

Until quite recently, I used to use VirtualDub almost exclusively for all my video editing (albeit light and timid) needs. The reason I changed is that the program only works properly with AVI files. It has magnificent tools for working with this file type, but they don’t always function properly with other formats.

Even though it doesn’t work with other formats, I keep VirtualDub because it is so powerful when working with the AVI format, while at the same time being pretty straightforward and easy to use. A few clicks and I can create fades, adjust the color and brightness of the clip, sharpen a little here, blur a little there, add some titling and credits, and then save and export my newly created movie.

What do you use for your video editing tasks? If you’ve never tried any of the packages listed above, let me know what you think if you do try them.