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3 Free Video Editing Applications

Johnathan Paul

Pro video editing tools at a price everybody can afford – free!

Although Final Cut Pro X and Premiere Pro are getting most of the love these days, there are a few other video editing options that provide a professional toolkit, but won’t cost you a dime. In this post we share 3 FREE video editing apps.

As for paid professional apps, Adobe has been on top of the subscription model, including Premiere Pro in the Creative Cloud at a cost effective price of $49/mo. Final Cut Pro X costs a 1/3 of it’s previous price, now available from the Apple App Store for $299.99.  Lastly, Avid Media Composer will set you back $1,300 or $49/mo.

So, how do the FREE alternatives hold up to their professional counterparts? Let’s take a look…

DaVinci Resolve 11 Lite

DaVinciResolve11_Screenshot

DaVinci Resolve started off as a color grading system, however that changed once Blackmagic Design purchased the system from JDS Uniphase Corporation in 2009. Since that time Blackmagic has been expanding the editing capabilities of the app with every release (along with more powerful color tools). Resolve 11 is the premiere color grading app it’s always been, but it also includes a comprehensive video editing toolset, similar to what you’d find in the paid NLEs we discussed above.

DigitalTutors highlighted some of the recent video editing related additions to the app in their recent blog post:

  • DR11 incorporates a updated edit index that can filter clips by flags and offline clips.
  • A variety of different editing and trimming tools that increase the power and precision of editing clips.
  • A new JKL trimming tool allows you to trim during playback, both forwards and reverse at different speeds.
  • Transitions can be added through a drop down menu that’s accessible by right clicking between cuts within the timeline. The drop down menu contains preset options that can be changed by the user.

The full version of Resolve 11 costs $995, however Blackmagic has made a free ‘Lite’ version of the application available with much of the same functionality as the paid version. In fact, all of the editing tools from the paid version are available in the Lite version (the biggest differences between the versions is missing 3D features and noise reduction).

DaVinci Resolve Lite is available for both Mac and PC. Download at Blackmagic Design.

Filmmaker Central has a detailed introduction to DaVinci Resolve Lite:

EditShare’s Lightworks

Lightworks_Screenshot

Lightworks is a professional video editing application created by Editshare. With the ability to edit 2K and 4K video, Lightworks has been used on several Oscar and Emmy Award winning productions such as Hugo, Mission Impossible, The Departed and Braveheart.

While the functionality is impressive, Lightworks does have a steep learning curve. If you have no real experience with video editing applications then you’ll need to dive head first into the documentation and online tutorials (of which there are plenty).

Lightworks is available on Windows, Linux and Mac. Download at LWKS.com

Here is EditShare’s tutorial on creating a project in Lightworks:

iMovie

iMovie_Screenshot

You may be thinking “iMovie, really?”

Yes, iMovie doesn’t have the toolset that Final Cut Pro X does. Yes, iMovie comes with EVERY Mac. Yes, iMovie has some really cheesy transitions and backgrounds! I hear what you’re saying! But iMovie’s interface and workflow is similar to just about every other professional non-linear video editing application. Successful video editing is, above all else, about storytelling and iMovie has everything you need to put together a story on a timeline base. Final Cut Pro X borrows some of it’s look and features from iMovie, so it’s a solid primer before you take the FCPX leap.

iMovie is, and always will be, available on Mac only. It costs $14.99 as a stand alone app, but does come FREE with all new Macs.

Which one of the FREE video editing apps do you like best? Do you know of other free solutions that did not make the list? Let us know in the comments below!