Finding a good video editing software can be a tricky job, especially once you consider just how many different choices there are out there. Some video editing programs come into your OS, some can be obtained for free, and others will set you back a lot of money. Perhaps the trickiest part is figuring out which editor does what you need it to do for the right price. If you’re doing super simple edits, often a free editor will do the job.
If you require high-quality files and the ability to add special effects and super customize your videos, you might want to spring for a top-tier option. There are also those people that fall in the middle and may need a low-cost program.
The most important thing with picking a video editing program is to pick one that suits you and stick to it. Learning video production and editing inside and out can take a long time, and switching just resets that clock back to the start.
Here we will introduce ten best video editing software at varying pricing tiers in order of price. All priced video editors on this list come with a free trial so you can give it a test drive before you decide to invest.
1. Windows Movie Maker
Windows Movie Maker is a great video editor available for free for Windows users. It comes for free with the Windows Essentials bundle available for free from Microsoft’s website.
Movie maker offers only simple functionality, but it does so in a very user-friendly way. It’s perfect for those just wanting to make simple cuts to their videos or play with volumes.
It offers stabilization as well for shaky hands. Where it falls flat is in the lack of premium choices like overlays, adding audio separately, and things like that.
2. YouTube Video Editor
OS: Any desktop OS
New content creators for YouTube often struggle with picking a video editor, not even realizing that YouTube has editing functionality built in. The YouTube Video Editor is perfect for people just getting started that want to make simple edits and cuts to their videos; it’s going to be enough.
The YouTube editor also has built-in access to an enormous database of creative commons and public domain video and sound sources you can use to accent your videos. If you’re hooked into Google’s ecosystem, you can also pull your photos or videos right off the cloud to insert into your movie.
Some of the drawbacks include lag due to it being a cloud service and once again, inability to clean up audio. Overall, though, it’s a great place to start for those with no experience.
Cinelerra is a fantastic free video editor. Unfortunately, it’s only available for Linux users. The UI looks and feels a lot like the premium options, such as Adobe Premiere Pro, and it comes with quite a few features.
Some of the characteristics include video effects and multiple tracks. Cinelerra also supports just about any file format out there, making it great for anyone with any needs. It doesn’t quite shake a stick at the premium alternatives, but it’s far better than any other free option.
4. Sony Vegas Movie Studio
Price: $49.95 with 30 day trial
Sony Vegas Movie Studio is an entry-level editor providing a significant step up from free options without hurting the wallet. The interface is super simple and easy to get used to. Features like scene transitions, filters, stabilization, and effects are available.
Most of the things are present and not customizable, but it’s still a significant step up from free options. It’s great for those with some experience looking to step up their game.
5. Wondershare Filmora
Price: $29.99/year or $49.99 for life. Free trial available.
OS: Windows and Mac
Filmora has an interesting hybrid approach to their software. Offering the ability to pay the essentially half price for one year of use or twice as much for free updates for life seems like a no-brainer. Of course, you should buy the lifetime license.
Filmora is an excellent editing program with a super intuitive and beautiful interface. Premium features include titles, transitions, HD support, effects, split screen, and filters. Built in is also simplistic audio editing capabilities, offering some advantages over other alternatives.
6. AVS Video Editor
Price: $59 with unlimited time trial (features restricted)
AVS is an entry-level professional video editing program that targets those looking to make an upgrade from the free options but still not requiring the powerhouse functionality of the big buck alternatives.
AVS supports input from a multitude of file formats and can output to various file types as well. It has multilingual support and support for Blu-Ray. It also has built in capabilities to allow sharing directly to your favorite social network from within the app.
Perhaps the biggest feature here that’s a step up from the free offerings is non-destructive editing, preserving the original file unaltered in case bad things happen.
7. Pinnacle Studio
Pinnacle Studio is an entry-level to mid-tier editing program that is a scaled-down version of Pinnacle’s more premium offering. While the upgraded version pales in comparison to some of the alternatives, the cheaper offering does an excellent job at its price point.
Some of the features that make this a great choice are custom overlays, a collection of royalty-free music and effects, and various transitions and effects. Drag and drop and HD support are of course also huge bonuses.
It’s also pretty simple to learn and won’t take nearly as much time as an advanced editing program to familiarize yourself with. It may, however, be somewhat harder than other editors to find help and support for, as there aren’t too many people making tutorial videos for it.
8. CyberLink PowerDirector
Price: $129.99 with 30 day trial
Cyberlink PowerDirector is an editor that falls pretty much right in the middle between free editors and the top-tier. Priced at $129.99, you’ll get some of the features that come in the higher tier editors without some of the customizability and tweaking capabilities.
In this tier, you’ll get 4K support, ability to write to Blu-Ray, motion tracking, and screen recording. It also comes with some special support features for GoPro users. The downside is it’s one of the first editors with a serious learning curve. Be prepared to invest weeks if not months into exploring the options.
9. Final Cut Pro
Price: $299 with 30-day trial
Final Cut Pro is the professional stuff. It’s what’s used by a lot of Hollywood studios to work on their movies, and it works well. Apple themselves develops it, so you know it runs well on Mac. It’s also fully integrated with Apple’s Quicktime codec, so it will thus support the input and output of any file type compatible with Quicktime.
It has vast organizational features that allow you to tag everything and sort it all out, great for those huge movie projects. It has multi-cam support and even supports 64-bit processing for faster rendering.
10. Adobe Premiere Pro
Price: $19.99/month for just Premiere. Additional fees for additional Adobe apps. 30 day free trial.
OS: Windows and Mac
Adobe Premiere is one of the industry leaders in video editing right alongside Final Cut Pro. You’ll get maximum functionality and the support of Adobe, one of the most trusted names in content creation. Premiere Pro is part of the Adobe ecosystem of apps.
If you use all of them, it can get pretty pricy, with monthy fees climbing to around $40 per month. However, the apps work so well together that you’ll be able to significantly speed up your workflow and find yourself loving the interplay between all of the fully-featured apps.
Premiere is a bit overkill for most people, but for those who are serious about filmmaking, it’s a fine choice.