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Best Free Video Editing Software: Top 14 for 2024

Need free video editing software to help you make killer TikToks or YouTube videos? Or a longer cinematic masterpiece? Your search is over.

Stacey McLachlan March 20, 2024
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In a dream world, we’d all hire Scorsese to direct our social media video campaigns. But in reality, most social media marketers have to figure out how to make Oscar-quality content on Oscar Meyer Wiener budgets.

Luckily, there are tons of free video editing software options to help you turn your original content or stock video footage into a mini-masterpiece.

(Because 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.)

Read on, budding directors, for our list of the best free video editing software and apps available in 2024.

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Best free video editing software for 2024

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.

Still, we’ve done our best to put together a list of the most helpful, least annoying options here. These 14 winners make it tough to see why anyone would pay for a full-cost video editing program.

1. iMovie

Source: iOS app store

For Mac enthusiasts, iMovie is the go-to video editing software, conveniently pre-installed on all Apple devices.

iMovie’s charm lies in its simplicity: it only has two video tracks, making it incredibly user-friendly and straightforward. With its preset filters, transitions, and titles, you’ll find it a breeze to give your videos a polished, professional look.

While its toolkit may be basic, iMovie is surprisingly comprehensive. It includes essential features like cutting and trimming, color correction, background noise reduction, and even stabilization for those shaky shots.

Plus, its seamless integration with iTunes allows you to easily pull songs from your music library or choose from a variety of royalty-free audio and SFX.

Short on time? The latest Magic Movie feature harnesses the power of AI to edit your video for you.

One of the greatest perks of iMovie is its lack of pressure to upgrade. Unlike many other free tools, there’s no constant nudging towards a premium version. It’s a straightforward, what-you-see-is-what-you-get experience with no hidden catches.

And for those not in the Apple ecosystem, don’t worry—Windows offers a built-in video editor with most of the same features, making it a solid, free alternative for PC users.

2. CapCut

CapCut short-form video editing scream poster

Source: CapCut

If you’re looking for a widely used and super user-friendly video editing tool, CapCut should be near the top of your list.

If you want to edit on the go, you can download the CapCut app to your iPhone or Android. If you’d rather work from your PC or Mac (or just stick to CapCut’s web tool), you can do that, too. Every version of the tool is free, and its intuitive interface makes it easy to get started immediately.

CapCut is owned by ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, so it’s no surprise that this software is great for editing short-form video content for social.

It’s got all the basic features you’d expect from video editing software: you can trim and merge clips and embellish your videos with sound effects, personalized fonts, and expressive stickers. Plus, it boasts an extensive library of free and paid music and backing tracks.

3. Splice

Source: Splice

Splice is a mobile-only free video editing tool that’s great for busy social media managers.

It’s novice-friendly, too. When you first download the app, it prompts you to select your video editing experience (from “None” to “Advanced”). Splice even points you towards specific templates and effects based on your goals.

But even if you’re a little more advanced, Splice still has you covered. Features include both basic and advanced editing tools, speed effects, overlays and 4K exports.

4. Lightworks

Source: Lwks.com

Lightworks brings over 30 years of experience to the table, making it a polished gem in the realm of free video editing software.

It’s not just for amateurs, either. The professional version is a hit in Hollywood, having been used to edit hits like The King’s Speech. If the allure of editing like the pros (and the Colin Firth connection) appeals to you, Lightworks is worth a look.

While Lightworks might have a steeper learning curve than iMovie or CapCut, a quick run-through of its orientation video will have you editing like a pro in no time.

Professional editors rave about the tool’s efficient keyboard controls and cutting tools, perfect for handling large volumes of footage.

Free users even have access to top-tier color correction capabilities and built-in video effects.

Lightworks excels with its powerful timeline, instant autosave, and background processing, all designed to streamline your editing process. This means you can focus on bringing your creative vision to life and sharing it with the world faster.

The only catch with the free version is that your export options are a bit limited — think 720p and formats tailored for YouTube, Vimeo, or MP4. But for most purposes, these options more than suffice.

5. OpenShot

OpenShot’s award-winning free video editing software works for Mac, Windows, or Linux; all video creators are welcome here.

This open-source tool offers unlimited tracks, so you can add as many layers as you want — incorporate background videos, audio galore, and sick effects.

A built-in animation framework makes this one a unique contender in this list. You can fade, bounce, slide, or animate pretty much anything in the frame to make your video project pop.

6. Adobe Rush

Source: Adobe Rush

This one’s for the speed demons in the house. Whether you’re using your phone or computer, Adobe Rush makes it super easy to shoot, edit, and share top-notch videos.

Adobe Rush offers simple tools for audio, motion graphics, and more, so creating standout videos is a breeze. Add transitions with a drag and a click, or jazz up your titles with lots of cool built-in templates.

Rush is also super social-friendly. You can share your creations on any social channel with the perfect aspect ratio with just a few taps.

And if you’re into making your videos pop, the color correction options (both preset and manual) are a game-changer. Plus, the app has super easy speed controls and audio adjustments, including handy audio ducking (automatically turning down the background noise) for voiceovers.

7. DaVinci Resolve

Source: iOS app store

Want to use “Emmy award-winning image technology?” (Who doesn’t?!) DaVinci Resolve is the free video editing software for you.

DaVinci’s cloud-based workflow makes it particularly useful for remote collaborations.

Fans also applaud DaVinci’s UX design, which allows users to tackle individual parts of the editing process in a focused way. Start on the Cut page to do your trimming, then head to the Color tab to tweak the hues and shadows. A wide range of formats are supported on the Media and Delivery page, so you can even output right to Twitter.

Heads up, though: this powerful tool requires a powerful computer. Make sure your hardware can handle it before you hit Download.

8. Blender

Source: Blender.org

Though Blender is best known as a robust animation tool, it’s also a powerful video editor. (And, like everything else on this list, it won’t cost you a penny.)

Like many other free video editing software options, the non-linear video editor lets you perform tasks like splicing, masking, and color grading.

However, Blender’s ability to combine video editing and 3D graphics opens up creative avenues that other programs can’t compete with. A robust set of VFX features includes everything from smoke simulation to particle effects.

Fans of Blender say its greatest strength is its community. The tool is supported by online forums, tutorials, and extensive documentation, making learning Blender an adventure rather than a chore.

9. Wondershare Filmora

Source: iOS app store

Filmora’s robust media library (integrated right into the program!) helps it stand out from the other free video editing software on this list.

Filmora integrates with Unsplash, Giphy, Pexels and more free stock sources. That means the tool offers a treasure trove of royalty-free music and 10 billion stock media options at your fingertips.

AI tools like Audio Stretch help comfortably fit an awkward sound clip into a scene, while Instant Mode, preset templates, and auto beat sync tools help you craft professional-level videos with just a few clicks.

Plus, if you’re into the magic of green screens, Filmora makes editing with layers easy.

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10. Shotcut

Source: Shotcut.org

Shotcut stands out as a champion of free video editing tools, proudly open-source and cross-platform.

Shotcut is the people’s choice for video editing. While it may have its share of bugs, its robustness and reliability make it a staple on almost every ‘Best Video Editing Software’ list.

With Shotcut, compatibility woes are a thing of the past. The tool supports hundreds of video and audio formats, making it a breeze to amalgamate various files into one seamless project. The drag-and-drop file management is a dream, simplifying the process of gathering all your materials for your next viral social media video.

11. VideoPad

Don’t be fooled by the website’s quirky, retro style – VideoPad packs a punch in terms of functionality. It’s all about intuitive design with VideoPad.

Imagine jumping right in and creating your masterpiece in just minutes. That’s the kind of ease and speed the developers boast about, claiming it’s the fastest tool around.

VideoPad is a creative powerhouse, loaded with over 50 effects and transitions and supporting more than 60 video formats. Whether you’re animating title text using templates, recording narrations directly in the app, or using professional-grade templates for quick, stunning results, it’s all at your fingertips.

Available for desktop and iOS, VideoPad offers versatility in exporting your movie in various resolutions, sharing it online, or directly uploading to YouTube.

12. Olive Video Editor

Source: Olive Video Editor

Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, Olive’s flexible, feature-rich environment is designed to enhance your video production process.

Olive’s node-based compositor is the gold standard in the visual effects industry. This approach allows users to “visually program” their video and audio. If layer-based workflows aren’t your jam, Olive might be the tool for you.

Olive blurs the lines between a video editor and a compositor, providing all the tools needed for complex compositions, like GPU acceleration, customizable nodes, and OpenColorIO integration for end-to-end color management.

Sound too complex? Then maybe this one isn’t for you. But if you’re nodding along, you’re probably already a video editing pro, and Olive’s robust features might be the perfect fit.

13. Kinemaster

Source: iOS app store

KineMaster’s free version features a bunch of trendy, ready-to-use templates, but the world is your oyster from there. Add unlimited videos, images, texts, and layers to your heart’s content.

A full-screen timeline makes managing multiple layers easy-breezy, while tools like Chroma Key, Magic Remover and the AI-powered Super Resolution make sure every frame looks amazing.

KineMaster supports 4K exporting and has an awesome Asset Store filled with royalty-free music and high-quality assets, too.

The paid version offers more options, of course, but the free edition is definitely robust enough for beginners.

14. Kdenlive

Source: Kdenlive

Take advantage of the collaborative programming knowledge of the kind strangers who contribute to Kdenlive. Download this hyper-effective (and free!) open-source video editing software to make your social video dreams a reality.

Arrange your interface in any way that works best for you, then save it. Keyboard shortcuts can be configured to match your special creative process, too. Use any audio or video format here.

Free video editing software FAQs

What is video editing software?

Video editing software is any computer program or app that helps you adjust one or many video files.

Video editing software can 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 adjusting the specs of a video to make it fit a certain social media platform.

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.

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 it to social media.

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 fine.

All the free video editing software we’ve recommended above will allow you to combine video clips, adjust visual and audio elements, and crop to the correct platform dimensions.

That’ll likely be all 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?

Many YouTubers use iMovie 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. It’s a great choice for beginners.

However, iMovie only has two video “tracks” (a.k.a. layers) you can use, so there are some limitations 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, having this sort of freedom will cost you: 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 collaborate a lot, 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. (You may find that TikTok’s in-app editing features cover everything you need.)

The only thing you’ll risk by downloading the “wrong” software is wasting your time on something that can’t do what you’d like. 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?

To edit your videos professionally, you should look beyond the in-app editing features of TikTok, Instagram Reels, or Facebook Reels.

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 2024.

What’s the best free video editing software with no watermark?

We’ve compiled our favorite free video editing programs above, and none have a watermark.

Scroll back up to review all 14 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, the right video editing tools and skills are only part of 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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By Stacey McLachlan

Stacey McLachlan is an award-winning writer and editor from Vancouver with more than a decade of experience working for print and digital publications.

She is editor-at-large for Western Living and Vancouver Magazine, author of the National Magazine Award-nominated 'City Informer' column, and a regular contributor to Dwell. Her previous work covers a wide range of topics, from SEO-focused thought-leadership to profiles of mushroom foragers, but her specialties include design, people, social media strategy, and humor.

You can usually find her at the beach, or cleaning sand out of her bag.

Read more by Stacey McLachlan

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