Ten Video Editing Tools

Category: Video

Whether you’re just touching up a smartphone video before uploading it to YouTube, or creating your next full-length Oscar-worthy movie from scratch, you’re going to need some video editing software. There are dozens of free and commercial video apps designed for novices, enthusiasts, and professionals. Here are ten desktop and mobile video editor contenders to check out...

Ready For Your Closeup?

Webcams, portable video cameras and smartphones have made it so much easier to capture video. At the same time, video sharing services and social sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Flickr make it simple and fun to share them with others. But not even the greatest film directors get it right on the first take. Even if you just want to grab the best five-second clip from a longer video, you need video editing software.

Today’s video editors make it possible for even novices to take selected clips, join them together with special effects, add audio tracks, and output the finished product in a variety of formats. Some of these video editing tools are free, and some require a paid license. Here are some of the best for your consideration.

Windows Live Movie Maker is an easy to use freebie from Microsoft that does the basics without a steep learning curve. Earlier Movie Maker versions are included in Windows XP and Vista. Windows 7 users have to download a copy at the link above. Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 offers six AutoMovie themes to help you apply a consistent style to your videos. It includes canned intros, transitions, and effects, such as converting color to for black-and-white. It also supports webcam capture, full-screen preview, and HD formats. When your editing is done, Movie Maker will upload the finished video to YouTube, Facebook, or Windows Live Skydrive for you.
Video Editing Software

Freemake does basic video cutting, joining, and rotation, but its main purpose is file format conversion. It supports over 250 file formats. It can prepare videos for iPod, iPhone, PSP, Android, PSP, and other popular devices. It claims to be the only free software that rips videos from YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Dailymotion, LiveLeak, and 50 more sites. Also, it downloads YouTube vids to iTunes. Freemake can burn Blu-Ray and DVD discs. Oh, and you can add or edit subtitles, too.

Apple iMovie is part of the iLife suite, and is the hands-down winner if you're a Mac user. It’s more sophisticated but just as easy to learn as Windows Movie Maker. You can create trailers by selecting clips and dropping them into a storyboard. Soundtracks played by the London Symphony Orchestra are added automatically. Audio editing tools let you add voiceovers, sound effects, and music to your creation. One-step effects can speed up or slow down action, add jump cuts, and transition parts of clips with fades to black-and-white, sepia, or other effects. Just choose a clip, select one of 12 effects, and click. People Finder lets you quickly locate clips that contain faces. You can add sports and news themes, and even share your video with CNN iReport, Facebook, or Vimeo directly from iMovie.

Cyberlink PowerDirector 10 is a commercial product with lots of power. It’s designed for video enthusiasts to be the fast, feature-packed, and efficient. Features include 3D editing and playback, output to mobile devices, Blu-Ray and AVCHD support, and a whole lot more. A library of dozens of effects make almost any video editing dream come true. The Ultra version costs about $82.

Adobe Premiere Elements 10 has lots of effects and transitions. It supports up to 100 simultaneous video and audio tracks. It does keyframing, Chroma key, and picture-in-picture This $99 package is one of the most popular commercial programs. However, it lacks 3D capability and isn’t as fast as some competitors.

Video Editing On Your Smartphone

If you have an Android smartphone, the built-in video editing capabilities are pretty basic. You can add a title, extract a frame to be saved as a still shot, remove the audio, or resize the video. Fortunately, there are some excellent Android video editing apps available. The free VidTrim Video Editor does basic trimming functions. AndroVid Pro Video Editor ($1.99) does much more, but power users may prefer the full-featured Clesh Video Editor ($4.99).

On the iPhone or iPad, there's the mobile version of iMovie ($4.99 in the App Store) which does pretty much everything, but only runs on the iPhone 4, iPad 2 or newer models. Edit clips, pan & zoom, add themes, titles, transitions, or add a soundtrack if you like. The Splice Video Editor has the advantage of being free, and also runs on older iOS devices.

Do you have something to say about video editing software? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Ten Video Editing Tools"

Posted by:

Green Bunny
25 Jul 2012

Check out the MPEG Video Wizard by Womble:

About a quarter of the cost of Adobe Premiere Pro.

Posted by:

25 Jul 2012

Anybody using Windows Media Center with Windows 7 to record TV shows ends up with a video file in Microsoft-specific container designated by *.wtv. Even though Windows 7 has been out for years, few video editing tools support WTV files. The only one I've found is VideoReDo. It's not free, but it is well worth the cost for what it does.

Freemake kinda-sorta supports WTV to the extent that it will "see" and convert the first 12:34 seconds of a one hour show, but even the portion that gets converted has audio that's badly out of sync.

When writing articles about video editors, I wish authors would mention whether or not the programs can deal with WTV files, and I'd like to read WHY developers are so slow or so reluctant to address this "standard."

Posted by:

25 Jul 2012

Is Cyberlink PowerMaster10 supposed to be PowerDirector10? I purchased PowerDirector10 with some add-ons and find it to be a super program for nearly all video editing tasks.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, thanks!

Posted by:

25 Jul 2012

What do you think of Avidemux?
I use it occasionally, it's free and quite fast.
But it's also a little geeky and may be limited in scope.
To help solving the geeky part, here is some help:

Posted by:

25 Jul 2012

It hasn't been updated for over a year, but VideoReDo is my go-to for cutting commercials from TV shows.

What I like about VRD is the ease and quickness with which it can navigate a video file. (Takes me less than five minutes to make the cuts from a 60 minute show.) It also displays audio levels--important since audio usually continues after the picture goes to black. I also appreciate that VRD is frame accurate and a native MPEG editor and does its cuts and joins without degrading quality.

VRD can also author DVDs, converting HDTV to 480p, yeah, well...

Posted by:

26 Jul 2012

Lightworks Beta is a free version of a professional video editing suite, which is supposed to be extremely powerful. It's a free download at http://www.lwks.com/, but it has a really steep learning curve. Probably only for serious video editing.

Posted by:

26 Jul 2012

How could you miss out on the free VirtualDub ?

This is perhaps THE best video editor of them all.

Posted by:

Jou baur
26 Jul 2012

Personally, I found that Windows Live Movie Maker is not nearly as good as Windows Movie Maker, which is the older version that came with my Windows Vista.
On my laptop with Windows Seven, I searched the MS website and found it, although they push the Live version more prominently.

Posted by:

Paul Newton
26 Jul 2012

The link to Freemake got a warning from Charter as a harmful site,

EDITOR'S NOTE: False positive.

Posted by:

Eli Marcus
26 Jul 2012

Thank you Bob! your mail with top video editing tools arrived just in time to save my skin this week at work!
I was looking for something that can simply cut a video clip for me, without any complicated configurations or trying to figure out which codec and what encapsulation to use... in short, the Freemake converter tool hit the mark exactly - in a few minutes, I managed to snip off the unwanted frames on my WMV source video, and convert it to an MP4 format for smaller file, and to embed it in a PDF document.
We wasted so much time earlier this week with other available free applications, and they all had some complication or some dead end where I couldn't get the final result I wanted...
for quick and light cutting and converting, Freemake is just right!

Posted by:

28 Jul 2012

There was a tool called MC-TVConverter that will convert WTV, DVR-MS, et al.- To TS, DEMUX, MPG, WMV, AVI, FLV, MKV and MP4 et al. You can also convert WTV to DVR-MS using the command line easily and then convert with freeware like DVRMSToolbox to other formats by typing (w/out quotes):

todvrms.exe c:foo.wtv c:test.dvr-ms

Just replace foo with the name of the file you're converting.
There is also a GUI tool in & you can bring up using the "Run" command. It's called todvrmsgui.exe Just click Start > Run > and then type todvrmsgui.exe and hit enter, but I think the command line is simpler.

Posted by:

08 Nov 2012

I also recommend Any DVD Cloner Platinum to edit DVD to videos. http://www.dvdsmith.com/any-dvd-cloner-platinum.html

Posted by:

Terry Jones
16 Jan 2013

Thanks for introducing some great video editing tools. some paid tools seems very costly for me. Actually I am looking for some free video editing tools.

Posted by:

11 Apr 2015

Hello, I enjoy reading through your article. I wanted to write a little
comment to support you.

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