In a dream world, we’d all be hiring Sofia Coppola to shoot our video campaigns, but the reality is, most marketers have to figure out how to make Oscar-quality content on Oscar Meyer Weiner budgets. The good news is, the internet is full of free video editing software designed to help you make your video dreams come true.
Whether you’re making YouTube videos, TikTok videos, Instagram videos, Facebook Reels, or Twitter videos, sometimes the in-app editing features just aren’t robust enough to get the job done. That’s why we’ve compiled this super-list of the very best third-party video editing apps to add to your content creator toolkit.
This is video editing software to help you turn your original content or stock video footage into a mini-masterpiece.
So read on, budding directors, for our list of the best free video editing software and apps available in 2022… plus the answers to all your burning social video questions.
Bonus: Download the free 10-Day Reels Challenge, a daily workbook of creative prompts that will help you get started with Instagram Reels, track your growth, and see results across your entire Instagram profile.
Best free video editing software for 2022
While all of the tools on our free video editing software list below are great for crafting content for social media, there are of course limitations to any free program — whether that’s limited features, watermarks, or in-app ads.
But we’ve done our best to put together a list of the most helpful, least-annoying options here, and honestly, these 10 winners make it tough to see why anyone would pay for a full-cost video editing program at all.
This is the default video editing software for Mac users since it comes pre-installed on all Apple devices. Though there are only two video tracks you can use, there’s a beauty to its simplicity: it’s super intuitive and easy to hit the ground running. Explore the app’s decent selection of pre-set filters, transitions, and title options to quickly get your video looking professional.
The editing toolset is basic, but it’s got everything you need, really: cutting and trimming, color correction, background noise removal, and stabilization for shaky footage. Integration with iTunes means you can import songs from your music library, or layer in sounds from the royalty-free audio and SFX selection.
No time to craft the perfect vid? Use the Magic Movie feature in the latest version to let AI make all those decisions for you.
One of the best things about iMovie is that it never bugs you to upgrade to a premium version. What you see is what you get: no upselling.
(Not a Mac user? Windows has its own house video editor that offers most of the same features, a solid choice of free video editing software for PC users.)
Lightworks has been around for 30-plus years, so expect plenty of polish from this top-notch free video editor. The pro version is a Hollywood favorite: The King’s Speech was edited using Lightworks, in case the Colin Firth factor is a decision maker for you.
It’s a little more complex to get started than iMovie, but watch the orientation video and you’ll be flying in no time. Professional editors love the keyboard controls and cutting tools that are specifically designed to wrangle large volumes of footage. The color correction options and built-in video effects are super impressive, and not limited, even if you’re a free user.
A powerful timeline, instant autosave, and background processing make it a hyper-efficient tool for getting your video done and out into the world as quickly as possible. The only downside to using the free version is that your export options are more limited — export up to 720p and in formats preset for Youtube, Vimeo, or MP4.
Want some “Emmy award-winning image technology?” Who doesn’t?! Then DaVinci Resolve is probably the free video editing software for you. DaVinci is particularly useful for remote collaborations, thanks to its cloud-based workflow systems.
Fans applaud DaVinci’s UX design, too: divided into ‘Pages,’ users can tackle each individual part of the editing process in a focused way. Start on the ‘Cut’ page to do your trimming, and make your way over to the ‘Color’ tab to tweak the hues and shadows. Over on the ‘Media and Delivery’ page, there’s a wide range of formats supported, so you can even output right to Twitter.
This is a powerful tool that requires a powerful computer, so make sure your hardware can handle it before you hit ‘download.’
Microsoft recently acquired a web-based free video editing platform Clipchamp, so you’ve gotta assume they’re doing something right. Specifically designed for content creators, the templates and user-friendly interface make whipping up videos for social a breeze — plus, you don’t need to chew up all your hard drive space in the process.
Free and paid stock footage (video and audio!) can be accessed right from Clipchamp, so if you’re missing that perfect shot to complete your incredible TikTok saga, you can quickly grab a suitable replacement. Craft your video to the social media specs of your choosing.
HitFilm’s claim to fame is its speed. The intuitive interface invites you to trim, copy, slice, and sync with zero lag — allegedly, it’s twice as fast as competitors at exporting, and eight times speedier when it comes to playback.
The tools are basic but highly effective: use drag-and-drop transitions and ready-to-use presets to create pro-quality content in a snap. Auto audio sync makes tweaking sound a breeze.
Lighting effects are a nice touch, too, if you want to go that deep with your social video editing: light leaks and glows give footage a cinematic feel.
Open-source and cross-platform, Shotcut is the free video editing tool of the people. That does mean it comes with the occasional bug, but overall, it’s a highly robust piece of software that makes almost every ‘Best Video Editing Software’ list out there.
Shotcut supports hundreds of video and audio formats, so it’s super handy for bringing disparate files together. Drag-and-drop file management makes it easy to pull in everything you need for your social video grand opus.
The website is weirdly retro-looking, but the functionality of VideoPad can’t be denied. VideoPad was designed to be intuitive. In a dream world, you’ll be able to hop in and create your video in just a few minutes. (The developers claim it’s the fastest tool on the market.)
The software features more than 50 effects and transitions and supports 60+ formats of video: create title text animations using templates, record narrations right in the app, or use professional-grade templates to whip up something special in a snap.
Available for desktop or on iOS, you can export your movie in all of the resolutions under the sun, or easily share it online or directly upload to Youtube.
The award-winning free video editing software works for Mac, Windows, or Linux: all video creators are welcome here. Another open-source option, OpenShot offers unlimited tracks, so you can add as many layers as you could ever want — incorporate background videos, audio galore, and sick effects.
A built-in animation framework makes this one a unique contender in this list: fade, bounce, slide, or animate pretty much anything in the frame to make your video project pop.
More open-source video editing software! It turns out, the people of the internet are kind and generous after all. Take advantage of the collaborative programming knowledge of the kind strangers who contribute to Kdenlive and download this hyper-effective free video editing software to make your social video dreams a reality.
Arrange your interface the way that works best for your workflow, and then save it. Keyboard shortcuts can be configured to match your special creative process, too. Use any audio or video format here.
Like all of the other video editing tools on this list, Avid Media Composer is free — but that doesn’t mean it skimps on the UX. A modern interface design is helpfully divided into workspaces so you can tackle editing, coloring, audio, and effects with focus. Or, rearrange panels and widgets as you need to accommodate your own custom creative flow.
Avid’s multi-cam editing feature syncs up to 64 different angles automatically so you can quickly start editing and aligning. Sure, you’re editing an Instagram video and not an Emmy-contender sitcom… but why not take advantage of the tools at hand? Built-in VFX and filters all add a little flair to your footage, but if that’s not enough, download even more plugins and play with composite imaging, motion effects and more.
Free video editing software FAQs
What is video editing software?
Video editing software is any computer program or app that helps you make adjustments to one or many video files.
Video editing software can be used to cut down video clips, compile or rearrange video clips, tweak audio or visual components, or add special effects or sound effects.
You can use video editing software to do something as complex as editing a full-length feature film (we see you, Zach Snyder), or do something as simple as adjust the specs of a video to make it fit a certain social media platform.
The create modes of TikTok and Instagram Reels are video editing tools, though very basic ones. More robust free or paid video editing software can be used to make more intricate adjustments to video content before you upload them to social media. Most videos you see on social media have been edited using video editing software in some capacity. The creator may have trimmed the length of their video, stitched together multiple scenes, or added filters or effects.
Is free video editing software good enough?
It depends on what you want to do! For 90% of cases on social media, free video editing software is absolutely good enough.
All the free video editing software we’ve recommended above will allow you to combine video clips, make adjustments to visual and audio elements, and crop to the correct platform dimensions.
Chances are, that’s going to be all that you need to create a social media video that engages and delights your audience.
Of course, if you’re a professional filmmaker, you might need the more specific editing tools that a paid video editing program offers — but for most people and brands, free video editing software offers more than enough functionality. And really, what do you have to lose by trying out a free program? If you don’t like it, then go right ahead and treat yourself to Final Cut Pro: our feelings will not be hurt.
What do most YouTubers use to edit their videos?
iMovie is a common tool that YouTubers use to edit their videos when they’re first getting started since it comes free with Mac devices. It has all the basic functionality you need to edit scenes, cut out ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’ and, importantly, add in a Ken Burns effect.
iMovie is extremely easy to use and fairly intuitive. In other words, a great choice for beginners.
But, there are only two video “tracks” (a.k.a. layers) you can use, so there is some limitation on how wild you can get with effects. (The other downside to iMovie? It’s only available on Apple products.)
Many professional Youtubers eventually upgrade to Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere CC to take advantage of the more robust editing features there.
With tons of project templates, presets, and effects, both of these video editing programs are great tools for letting your creativity fly unfettered… and there are tons of tutorials out there to help you take advantage of all the fun features.
Of course, it’ll cost you to have this sort of freedom: both Final Cut and Premiere can be pretty pricey.
How do I choose the free video editing software that’s right for me?
There are a lot of free video editing programs out there, so take a close look at their features to see which ones align best with your needs.
Do you want something that exports easily to social formats? Is green screen or picture-in-picture capability something you use a lot? If you do a lot of collaborating: can you share the file easily with other creators? Are you just splicing together clips, or do you want to incorporate tons of effects and layers?
Have a think about how you use (or want to use!) video and what has delighted or frustrated you about other tools in the past. Then, do your research and try to find one with features that fit your unique preferences.
That being said: the only thing you’ll really risk by downloading the ‘wrong’ software, of course, is wasting your time on something that’s clunky or can’t do what you’d like. So don’t subject yourself to too much analysis paralysis: pick one, try it out, and move on to the next if it’s not grooving with you.
How can I edit a video like a pro for free?
Download a free video editing program to get access to basic tools to help you color correct, add audio and visual effects, crop, cut, or add scenes — just like the pros.
Scroll up to check out our list of the best free video editing software for 2022.
What’s the best free video editing software with no watermark?
We’ve compiled our favorite free video editing programs above, and none of them have a watermark.
Scroll back on up to review all 10 options for free video editing software that will allow you to edit away, free from the fear that a weird visual trademark will ruin your video masterpiece when you go to export it.
Of course, having the right video editing tools and skills is just one part of the equation when it comes to creating compelling social media content. Your message — and your videography skills — matter too. Download our social video strategy guide here to build a winning game plan: lights, camera, action.
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