Free Video Editing Tools: Guide To The Best Software And Web-Based Services
Are you looking for a free video editing tool to cut or convert your latest video clips? This MasterNewMedia guide provides you with an up-to-date comparative reference to all of the best video editing software and web-based alternatives available.
Photo credit: Leon Suharevsky
Free video editing tools allow you to cut and edit video footage while being completely free and being quite simple to learn and use unlike their more expensive relatives like Adobe Premiere, Final Cut or the Avid Editing suite.
As a matter of fact, most video users just want to do a quick trim to a video ending scene or add an overlay title to the beginning of their latest masterpiece. Now these once complicated and hardware intensive operations can be carried out on free software or web-based tools, at absolutely zero cost and with simple drag and drop actions.
So, if you are looking for simple, bare-bones basic video editing and titling tools, there are quite some options out there that may just fit your needs.
Free video editing tools can be divided into two main categories:
- Software: These video editing tools must be downloaded and installed on your computer. These video software programs do not require an Internet connection to work and your final output video files are saved locally on your computer hard disk.
- Web-based: These video editing tools work right from within your browser by leveraging the power of the Flash plugin player to work. No downloads or additional plug-ins are required. Some web-based video editing services allow you to download your finished video while some others only allow you to share your video on the web or on your own site.
Let's look now into some of the key traits that characterize these free video editing tools:
- Ease of use: Drag and drop operations and one-click access to all key functions. Easy import, editing and saving of final work.
- Basic editing: Video editing tools generally provide all basic editing features including clip splitting, clip trimming, cropping, rotating, resizing, zooming as well as other popular video post-production tools.
- Use of a timeline: Video editing tools work using a timeline, a visual interface that visually displays the contents of your video clip alongside a time reference to facilitate the browsing and editing work.
I have also prepared a set of comparative tables and individual reviews to better compare all of these free video editing tools. The additional criteria I have selected include:
- Platform: Operating system supported.
- Input formats: Video file types supported in read mode.
- Output formats: Output video file types supported.
- Special effects: Support for transitions and special effects.
- Titling: Functionality to add text titles.
- 16:9 support: Support for new 16:9 video aspect ratio.
- De-interlacing: Feature allowing automatic merging of odd and even fields of your video footage to get rid of annoying horizontal lines appearing inside MPEG-shot type video.
Free Video Editing Tools Comparative Table
Free Video Editing Tools
- Windows Movie Maker
Windows Movie Maker is a free video editing software included inside Microsoft operating systems until Windows Vista. Windows Movie Maker provides basic video editing capabilities such as trimming, cropping, panning, zooming, titling, adding transitions and other effects to your clips. The software can also blend audio files with video tracks to produce video remixes. Supported input formats are: ASF, AVI, M1V, MP2, MP2V, MPE, MPEG, MPG, MPV2, WM and WMV. Once your video project is completed, you can save your clip to AVI and WMV video formats. Windows Movie Maker also supports videos produced in 16:9 ratio aspect but has no option to de-interlace videos.
iMovie is a video editing software for Mac computers. You can found iMovie already installed in any recent Mac computer or you can purchase the software separately inside the iLife suite for $79. iMovie supports 3GP, MPEG, MP4, MOV, M4V and MOD as input formats and MOV, MP4 and M4V as output formats. The software provides video editing features like cropping, trimming, zooming, panning, titling, adding transitions and has a large archive of custom templates you can use to enhance your clips. iMovie can also mix audio and video streams together and provides a one-click option to publish your clips to YouTube automatically. Video clips produced in 16:9 aspect ratio are also supported and iMovie automatically de-interlaces your clips when producing the output of your video.
- Avid Free DV
Avid Free DV is a free video editing software from Avid. Originally developed as a lighter version of the professional video editing software Avid Express, Avid Free DV is no longer available for download nor supported by the company. The software works both on Windows and Mac operating systems and supports AVI and MOV video formats both from import and export. The software can mix audio and video tracks to create video remixes and also edit or shorten your clips using the trimming function. Other features include: cropping, rotating, titling, zooming, adding transitions and also a set of special effects to personalize your clips. Avid Free DV does not support de-interlacing.
VideoSpin is a free video community that helps you share your video clips on the web. Powered by Pinnacle, VideoSpin has a free video editing software for Windows machine available for download to all registered users. VideoSpin video editing software accepts 3GP, AVI, MPEG, MP4, MOV and WMV video file formats both for input and output. Fully capable of basic video editing functions like trimming, cropping, zooming or titling, VideoSpin can also enhance your clips with special effects and transitions as well as mixing audio and video tracks to create compelling video remixes. You can also work on 16:9 videos while maintaining the same aspect ratio and quality when saving your finished project. De-interlace option is not supported.
- VideoThang ***DEAD
VideoThang is a free video editing software for Windows machines. You can mix video tracks, audio files and images to create enhanced visual remixes or just use the basic video editing capabilities to optimize and improve your video clips. The video editing software supports AVI, FLV, MOV, MPG,ì and WMV as input files and allows you to save your video projects in the MPG format. If you wish, you can also import your pictures and videos from Photobucket, YouTube and Picasa. Basic features of VideoThang include: trimming, cropping, zooming, titling and also adding special effects and transitions to your clips. When your video is ready, you can download it, share your work on most popular video sharing-sites or attach your clips to an e-mail message to send to your friends. No de-interlace option, nor 16:9 support for videos are available.
RichFLV is a free basic video editing software that allows you to work on your FLV video files. Based on the Adobe AIR platform, RichFLV can be installed both on Windows, Mac and Linux machines. The software accepts only FLV as input video files but can save your edited clips both to FLV and SWF video formats. RichFLV can also manage PNG and JPEG image files to mix with your video stream. The software has full support for 16:9 video resolution and lets you trim your FLV video files precisely using cuepoints, specific markers that identify separate portions of your clips. No special effects or transitions are available, nor you can de-interlace your videos.
Avidemux is a free video editing software that works on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. With Avidemux you can manage a wide range of video formats including: 3GP, ASF, AVI, FLV, MPEG, MKV, MOV and MP4. Video file formats available for exporting your finished clips are instead: AVI, FLV, MPG, MPEG, M1V, M2V, MP4, MKV and OGM. The free software allows you to do all the basics in video editing like cropping, trimming, zooming and mixing different video sources and audio files. Avidemux also allows 2-pass encoding and de-interlacing for better overall video quality. The video editing software has no support for special video effects and transitions, nor you can manage or save your finished videos in 16:9 aspect ratio.
ZS4 is a free video editing software that works on Windows, Mac and Linux machines. Input and output video formats supported are AVI and MJPEG. ZS4 offers you basic video editing features to work on your video clips and audio files and also supports the insertion of special effects and transitions to personalize your clips. Some of the basic functions are: trimming, rotating, cropping, zooming, panning and also the ability to mix image, video and audio files together to create video mixes. No support for 16:9 aspect ratio, titling or de-interlacing is available.
Photobucket is a free web-based video editing tool that lets you remix photos and videos with music, video captions and transitions. Supported input formats are: ASF, AVI, MOV, MPG, MP4 and WMV. Any video project created with Photobucket is exported to a FLV video file. The service provides all basic video editing features like cropping, zooming, panning, trimming and you can also add special effects to personalize your clips. Photobucket even provides an online storage service that enables you to share and publish your visual digital content online. 16:9 aspect ratio for videos is fully supported, but there is no de-interlace option.
StashSpace is a free video editing tool that you can use inside your web browser. You can upload, store and edit videos produced in AVI, MOV and WMV file formats. Projects created with StashSpace are saved in the FLV video format and can be shared via e-mail to your friends. You can also record directly from your camcorder or digital camera with StashPad to create a video library on your computer to sync with your StashSpace account. All basic video editing features like cropping, zooming, panning or trimming are fully supported. Also supported is the 16:9 aspect ratio for your video footage, as well as the ability to add special effects and transitions to your clips to create unique video remixes. No de-interlace option is available.
MotionBox is a video editing service that allows you to modify and publish your favorite videos right from your browser. At no expense, MotionBox supports the following video formats as input: ASF, AVI, MOV, MPG, MP4, QT and WMV. Once your file is uploaded, you can trim, crop, rotate, zoom, add titles and also insert special effects and transitions inside your video. Your video can be both in 4:3 or 16:9, because both aspect ratios are supported by MotionBox. The service also features the ability to link to a very specific point within the video itself which you can tag and share with friends. No de-interlace option is available.
JayCut is an online video editing tool that allows you to manage and edit your video clips online at no charge. You can import movies and pictures from your computer, web cam, mobile phone or video camera and start mashing your content together to create video remixes. Accepted input video files are 3GP, AVI and FLV. Once produced, your video can be exported to FLV, MP4 and WMV and downloaded to your computer or mobile device. You can also upload your clip directly to YouTube or your MySpace page. Video editing features of JayCut include all the basics like cropping, trimming, panning, zooming and titling. No 16:9 support, nor de-interlace option are available.
Pixorial is a collaborative web-based video sharing service. Free of charge you can upload, edit and publish your clips using only your favorite web browser. Other users can also grab your video mixes once published to add their own touch and re-upload your mashed content to the site. Pixorial supports a large set of video formats like 3GP, AVI, FLV, MOV, MP4, MPEG, RM and WMV. Once generated, your videos are available for free download in low-quality or web sharing in the MP4 format. The editing features of Pixorial cover all the basics like cropping, trimming, rotating and zooming as well as the ability to add captions, special effects or transitions to enhance your video clips. No 16:9 support or de-interlace features are available.
Wax is a free basic video editing software tool for Windows. The only input format supported is AVI, while videos can be exported to either AVI, MPEG and FLV video format. All basic video editing features like rotating, cropping, trimming, zooming, panning are all present. Wax can also mix image, video and audio files together and do 3D compositing and rendering using specific plugins that also enable transitions and effects you can apply to enhance your video clips. 16:9 aspect ratio, titling or de-interlacing support are not available.
Daniele Bazzano -
Originally prepared by Daniele Bazzano for MasterNewMedia, and first published on October 26th, 2009 as "Free Video Editing Tools: Guide To The Best Software And Web-Based Services".