Best Completely Free Video Editing Software For Mac For Beginners

Multimedia • Nov.4, 2019

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The best multi-format beginner video editing software for free With plenty of powerful features and an interface that has been called “appealing but quirky,” HitFilm 4 Express may look a little confusing at first, but after playing around with it for awhile, most users find.

Have you ever tried to create or edit a video only to give up halfway through? This is just so damn tough, right?

Well, you’re not the only one. Many of us struggle to do even the basic stuff, and we know the frustration and confusion of trying to navigate an extensive program that does powerful things with video—we don’t even know it does many of those things until years later.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way — let’s talk easiest video editors for beginners and newbies here.

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The evergreen demand for video editing

There’s no doubt that video content is everywhere, and it’s only getting more important. Not only Social media platforms are hosting more video content than ever, video interviews are becoming more prevalent – even the classroom is getting more video-friendly.

As per a study by HubSpot, about 70% of businesses say that their sales figures increased by incorporating video content; and, with 85% customers relying more on videos to make buying decisions.

At this moment, there are more than 3,000 available video editing jobs and that’s only for freelancing, only for Upwork, and, obviously, only for professionals.

Outside of that, there are also thousands and thousands of professionals who need this kind of software and millions of everyday people – like you – who need to do some basic editing.

While desktop video editing applications are powerful, editing your video content at a high level is still difficult, and if you’re getting ready to edit a video for the very first time, you’ll need to know the basics like video trimming, audio sync, subtitling, splitting, and the overall complexity of the program, etc.

That’s why we decided to make things a bit easier for you by listing some of the best options that are out there at the moment. As the title suggests, most of them are most suitable for beginners. But, some of them can also be used by some more advanced editor.

Let’s get started!

Our favorite option: Filmora 9

One of the reasons that we love Filmora so much is because it’s very easy to use while still offering the power of storytelling for creative people. Get inspired by the video below.

That being said, it’s probably not the best option for professionals. But, then again, if you’re a pro, then chances are that you wouldn’t be reading this article.

In any case, let us take a closer look at it!

Filmora’s editing solutions

One of the reasons that we love Filmora so much is because of how easy it is to use. If offers a huge variety of different options and features while still keeping things relatively simple.

You may find all the options to be a bit overwhelming at first. But it all becomes a child’s play after you get used to it. Trust us when we say that this is one of the editors that’s easiest to use.

Regarding the features, let’s start with the fact that Filmora does most of the work for you. As you can see at the image above, even if you end up going wrong somewhere, the program will fix things automatically – at least for the most part.

As for editing options, you get to play with titles, audio, transition effects and various other effects, split screen editing, and more.

One of the main differences between Filmora and “Traditional” editing programs is that we can use this one without having to rely on 3rd party soundtracks.

After all, the program comes with 51 music tracks that are bundled with it. Though, most of them need to be downloaded on demand – definitely something to keep in mind in case that you’ve got a slow internet connection.

The same thing applies for all the titles, subtitles, effects, transition effects, general effects, and anything that you can use to edit videos.

That’s one more reason for picking Filmora 9 as one of the easiest video editing software. For the most part, you don’t have to bother with creating custom subtitles, intros, buying soundtracks and dealing with copyright strikes, or anything like that.

And then again, if you like getting your feet wet and creating custom subtitles or inserting your own tracks, you’ve got that option as well.

UI and ease of use

As you already saw from all the screenshots, Filmora’s UI is pretty straight-forward and easy to get used to.

At the very top of the interface, we can find the basic file options, a few basic tools and functions like cropping, cutting, zooming, etc. Then we also have export options and a bit of help for anything regarding the program.

Clicking on a category will display several other sub-categories and those sub-categories hide even more options.

We know that it sounds like a lot of information to take in at once. But, really, once you get a sense of direction, this is as easy as it gets.

For example, let’s suppose for a moment that you need to add a quick blur transition effect between two clips. The first logical step is to head over to ‘Transition’.

After that, we get to choose between Basic Transitions, 3D, Ripple, Speed Blur, Warp, Lifestyle, and Slideshows.

So, since we’re after a quick blur, the next logical step is to head over to ‘Speed Blur’ and check out the available options.

All we’re trying to say is that the UI is very well made and easy to use. All you need is a bit of logic and some basic foresight on what you’re trying to achieve.

And even if you don’t have any plans, simply scrolling through the numerous effects and options is sure to give a few ideas.

The editing section is a tiny bit tougher since there are different colors and markings which are there to show us what kind of effects each clip is using. We’re not saying that memorizing each different color is a must. But it sure helps a lot.

That being said, if there’s something that you don’t understand, you can always rely on Filmora’s tutorial videos to figure things out!

Pricing and availability

Filmora is available for Windows and macOS and it’s available in a free trial, which offers you all the options but adds a watermark on exported videos. If you want to get the full version, you can get a subscription starting at $39/year. You can also get a lifetime license starting at $69 for a single computer.

Also great: Movavi Video Editor 2020

Don’t like Filmora 9? Then your next best bet is quite possibly Movavi Video Editor 2020. It’s without a doubt one of the best video editing software for beginners.

As for others who are more experienced and need to do more demanding work, there’s always the Video Editor Plus and the Movie Suit.

Still, as we mentioned above, beginners should stick with the basic version instead. And if you feel like you’re getting better at this, there’s always the option of upgrading later on.

That’s enough talking. Let us check out the program!

Movavi’s editing solutions

An older version of Filmora used to have a feature that was called ‘Easy Mode’. This feature could be used to quickly create a very basic clip with little control over the transitions, effects, and music.

Sure – it wasn’t the ideal option for those who wanted even the basic level of control. But, some people still found it useful.

For some reason, this feature got removed in Filmora 9. If you’re one of these people who liked Easy Mode, then you’ll be glad to know that Movavi Video Editor is using a very similar option which is called ‘Quick Video’.

As we mentioned above, you can use this to quickly create a video by putting a bunch of pictures together, selecting a theme (Or choosing the soundtrack and effects on your own), and that’s how you get a video ready in less than 10 minutes!

It’s not the ideal option for those who want attention to detail. But it gets the job done. And for everyone else? Well, you always have the option of using the full-fledged, basic editor.

Just like with Filmora, we get the option of easily adding various filters, transition effects, titles, stickers, and more.

At this point, let us mention that we struggled to find the basic subtitles quite a bit, which is definitely a huge con for an editor that’s focused on helping beginners. More on that later.

One thing that we particularly loved with Movavi is the quick tools that it offers.

Things like cutting/trimming, cropping, adjusting the contrast, quickly recording with the mic, and anything like that are nothing but child’s play. If you like creating parodies just for the laughs, then this is definitely the ideal editor for you.

UI and ease of use

As we mentioned above on the ‘editing’ section, Movavi Video Editor 2020 definitely doesn’t feel as easy to use as Filmora. Or at least that’s how we feel.

Everything is kind of straight forward and easy to understand. But, the lack of names next to the various icons is something that’s going to confuse a lot of people for the first minutes-hours of use. Especially if you’re a beginner to editing and your brain is on full processing power just trying to figure out what to do next.

At least the basic adjustments like brightness, contrast, saturation, and everything like that is pretty simple to understand.

The navigation is pretty similar to Filmora. So, if you’re a previous user, then switching over to Movavi should be simple.

Still, there were a couple of cases when we had to use Google in order to figure out how something works. For example, since there are no sub-headings/categories, we couldn’t find a dedicated category for subtitles – like we did on Filmora.

After a bit of searching, it turns out that you can use some basic titles in the form of subtitles instead. The only problem with that is that we didn’t need to rely on Google while using Filmora. So, that’s one con for Movavi here.

The lack of sub-categories can be a bit annoying as well. In some cases, like with blur effects, it’s not really an issue – because there are not a whole lot of effects to choose from in the first place.

However, things do get rather confusing when there are a ton of effects and they are all listed on a huge menu that almost seems to be never ending.

Overall, the UI is a noticeable downgrade when compared to Filmora. But, it’s still the best alternative.

Pricing and availability

Movavi can be used on both Windows and Mac. The price starts at $39.95 depending on the edition you choose to go for and has a free trial version for you to test.

Other options that worth mention

There are plenty of others to choose from. Here are some that we recommend!

1. Pinnacle Studio 23 ($59.95, Windows)

Pinnacle Studio 23 is the cheapest option out of the 3 Pinnacle’s offerings. But, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t worth anything.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. This program has so many options and features to play with that it barely qualifies as video editing software for beginners!

It’s most suitable for intermediate users – and that’s one of the primary reasons that we didn’t place it on our top 2. Because, otherwise, it’s pretty decent!

And you always have the option of spending a bit more and getting a version with more editing power. But, do keep in mind that the more advanced versions are mostly targeted towards, well, advanced users.

2: Adobe Premiere Elements ($99.99, Windows and Mac)

Adobe is a huge name in various professional areas – including photo and video editing. Adome Premiere Elements, in particular, is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best options that one can find.

However, just like Pinnacle Studio 23, Adobe Premiere Elements is a bit too good for its own good. Meaning that someone who is new to video editing may feel overwhelmed with all the features and the different options.

The automated modes and the Adobe Sensei AI definitely help a lot. But, again, this is not exactly targeted towards someone who’s never edited a video before.

3: Magix Movie Edit Pro ($69.99, Windows)

Magix Movie Edit Pro claims to be suitable for both advanced users and beginners alike – and it kind of is. But, compared to our top picks, the truth is that it struggles to compete.

Still, for everything that it offers, this program is a far cry from being a bad option. We’re talking about more than 900 effects, 4K support, an ‘Easy Mode’, bundled tracks, and more.

All of that and anything else that you may find is only there for the basic version. If you’re willing to spend even more, then we’re easily talking about more than 1500 effects, 360-degree video editing, and a bunch of other features that beginners are highly unlikely to take advantage of.

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4: Muvee Reveal Automatic Video Editor ($79.99, Windows)

Unlike most of the other alternative options that we checked out till now, Muvee Reveal is focused towards making video editing easy.

The only problem with it is that it asks quite a lot of money to do it while also taking away a big part of the control that you otherwise get with a traditional editor. It’s basically the ‘Quick Video’ feature that Movavi offers – but with a higher price tag.

Of course, it’s not like the program doesn’t have anything else to offer. But, for about 80 bucks, it’s a tough buy. That being said, do keep in mind that pricing may wildly vary from region to region.

Free video editing alternatives

Most of these programs frankly offer more than most of us can handle – which, in a way, is a great thing to have. But the truth is that not everyone can or is willing to pay for video editing software.

That’s precisely why we decided to list some free options as well. Here are our top free picks!

1: Apple iMovie (Mac, iOS)

This is quite possibly the best freebie that Apple users can get. And we’re saying ‘Apple users’ because it’s only available for the Apple ecosystem (iOS, and MacOS). And that’s actually one of the best things about it. Since it works flawlessly with Apple devices, you can easily switch between your iPhone or iPad to your Mac and vice versa.

This is something that can rarely be done with other editors – if ever. So, iMovie is definitely worth checking out. Especially because it’s free. While for the most part, it doesn’t offer a lot of features and options to play with.

2: HitFilm Express Free (Windows, Mac)

HitFilm Express is available for both Windows and Mac and it’s another great free video editor. And when we say free, we mean it. It’s not a free trial or the actual editor that exports everything with a watermark. It’s a full-fledged, basic editor that’s mostly targeted towards beginners.

It even offers a bunch of free tutorials that you can use to get better at editing. And when you feel like you’re capable of more, there is always the pro variant which is better in pretty much every single way.

3: DaVinci Resolve 16 Free (Windows, Mac, Linux)

For a free editor, DaVinci Resolve 16 seriously offers a ton of features to play with. There’s so much stuff to do that it’s not just, suitable for beginners but for Intermediate editors as well. Not to mention that it’s one of the very few editors that support all of the popular operating systems – Windows, Mac, and Linux.

As with our other free picks, Davinci Resolve 16 isn’t a trial and can be used indefinitely. And when you feel like you can achieve more, there is always the Studio version – just keep in mind that it’s rather pricey.

4: VideoPad Video Editor Free (Windows)

Last, but not least, there’s also VideoPad. Like our other free picks, it’s completely free to use. But, that’s only for as long as you don’t rely on it for commercial use – meaning that those who are in this for the video editing business should probably consider an alternative option.

Regarding the features, VideoPad may definitely feel a bit underwhelming when compared to some of our best options. But, for someone who is new to video editing and needs something to get started, this is probably more than enough.

There are quite a lot of effects to choose from, you get the basic tools like trimming, splitting, and anything like that, and also video optimization tools – such as stabilization, playback speed control, and things like that.

The way forward

Editing videos and shaping it into compelling ones consistently has always been the underlying objective. So, you finally found the best option for you. Now what?

Well, first of all, stop being afraid of tutorials. Video editors offer them for a reason and they’ll help you a lot in the long run.

Second of all, make sure that your computer is up to the task. Video editing is very demanding and it would be awful to get halfway through a project before your PC can’t handle the rest. Having at least 8 to 16 gigabytes of RAM with an SSD installed is the least that you can do.

As for editing, start by prioritizing work. For example, splitting and mixing generally comes first. You can start thinking about adding subtitles and/or effects after that’s done.

Also, never forget about things like contrast, brightness, audio levels, or anything like that. They can make a huge difference in quality with a very small amount of effort. To make certain repetitive tasks easier, you should learn some basic keyboard shortcuts as well.

Last, but not least, pay attention to the size of the video. The framerate, video quality, and format will make a huge difference in size and quality. So, adjust these according to your preference.

Hopefully, these best and easiest video editors help you create and publish content for your target audience.

Try out a few of these apps, identify the best one for you, and start editing!

The Mac is hugely popular among creative professionals, so it’s no great surprise that there are lots of video editing tools available for it. Whether you just want to add titles, transitions and a soundtrack, or you want to add Hollywood-style effects and access to professional color correction there’s a Mac application that will do the job.

The really great news is that many of these programs are free. You might expect that free video editing software would have fewer features or produce less professional results than expensive software, but many of the free tools featured here are more than good enough to produce professional-looking movies. The only downside is that they tend to have a steep learning curve and they don’t walk you through the process of editing. However, there are plenty of video on YouTube to help you get started. Here are the best free and paid-for video editing applications for the Mac.

Best free video editing software for Mac

1. iMovie

Apple’s consumer focused video editing tool used to only be free if you bought a new Mac. But now everyone can download it free from the Mac App Store. It’s a brilliantly easy to use application. One of its best features are the movie trailer themes that allow you to create amazing cinema-style trailers in a few minutes.

If you want to create your own movies, there are tons of effects, transitions, sound effects and title styles to help you. And it’s easy to import your own audio tracks and photos and add them to your production. If you’re looking for a free video editor for Mac, iMovie could be the only tool you’ll ever need.

Free video editor for mac

2. DaVinci Resolve

If iMovie isn’t for you, give DaVinci Resolve a try. It’s the free version of DaVinci Resolve Studio, but being free doesn’t mean there aren’t many features. It’s loaded with professional tools like some of the best color correction and image stabilization there is. In the free version, you can work at frame rates up to 60fps and export your movie in SD, HD and Ultra HD.

It has a full digital audio workstation for sound editing, meaning you won’t have to leave the app to get the audio just the way you want it. It’s available on the Mac App Store, but if you want the full features of the free version, download it from the Blackmagic website.

3. Lightworks

While DaVinci Resolve gives away lots of its high end features in the free version, the same can’t be said of Lightworks. There’s still plenty here though, including: effects, multicam editing, titling, and a timeline with multiple layers.

There’s also access to royalty-free video and audio content for you to include in your projects. However, output in the free version is restricted to 1080p on Vimeo and 720p on YouTube. And there are no detailed export options for H.264 or MP4. Also, if you want to use the free version for more than seven days, you’ll have to register.

4. OpenShot

OpenShot is an open source video editor with a user interface that’s much simpler than most. That doesn’t mean it’s short of features, though. It has templates for creating titles, effects, the ability to remove the background from your video, and slow motion and time effects. You can also create 3D animated titles and effects, there’s support for unlimited tracks, and for more than 70 languages. The interface isn’t the slickest you’ll ever use, and there have been question marks over its reliability in the past, but it’s definitely worth trying if you want a free video editor for the Mac.

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5. Video Editor MovieMator

Video Editor MovieMator allows you to trim, split, move, and merge clips from a variety of different sources. It handles every consumer file format you’re likely to need and can import directly from your iPhone or GoPro. There are lots of built-in effects and transitions, and, of course, you can add titles too.

The interface is simple enough for most people to get to grips with quickly and the real-time preview makes it easy to see exactly how your video is coming along. There is a significant limitation on the free version of the app — exports are listed to videos that are up to five minutes long. Also, there is only one transition and a handful of effects in the free version.

Best paid-for video editors for Mac

1. Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro has come a long way since it was overhauled a few years ago and lost several features that caused lots of criticism to be directed at Apple. The fact that it’s designed by Apple means that it takes full advantage of hardware on the Mac, particularly the Mac Pro and iMac Pro. It pushes their multi-core CPU and GPUs to the maximum.

Features like the Magnetic Timeline 2 and Enhanced Timeline Index may be beyond the needs of most of us, but if you edit videos for a living, you’ll appreciate them. Support for up to 64 camera angles with automatic audio syncing is another feature that makes video professionals lives much easier. And of course, it supports the formats you would expect of a serious video editor including ProRes, RED, and XAVC, as well as H.264 from digital SLR cameras. When it comes to Mac video editing, Final Cut Pro X has all the bases covered.

2. Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Like all of Adobe’s professional products, Premiere Pro is only available as a subscription package and subscribing for a year will cost you almost as much as buying Final Cut Pro X outright. However, if you prefer your video organisation tools and especially the timeline to look and work like a traditional non-linear video editor, you may prefer Premiere Pro over Final Cut’s Magnetic Timeline.

In other respects, Premiere Pro is very similar to its Apple rival, offering a full range of audio editing and color correction tools, as well as effects, support for multiple formats (including Apple’s ProRes) and all the output options you’re likely to need.

One area where Mac users will notice a difference is in rendering performance, particularly on a high-end Mac like a Mac Pro or iMac Pro. Adobe’s application is designed for Mac and PC and so optimized or for the Mac’s multi-core CPU and GPU the way that Final Cut Pro is.

3. Adobe Premiere Elements 2018

The simplest way to describe Premiere Elements is that it is to Premiere Pro what iMovie is to Final Cut Pro. But Elements and iMovie are two very different apps. For a start, while iMovie is free, Elements costs $100. The other main difference is that Elements is set up to automate much of the process of creating your movie masterpieces. So, for example, Quick mode takes the clips and other media you’ve imported and throws them together on the timeline, you can then re-order them, trim them and add transitions and other effects. Even here, however, the emphasis is on letting Elements do the hard work for you. So, press the Fix button and it will apply image stabilization and other ‘fixes.’ If you want to be more involved, a guided mode prompts you with onscreen tips. Of course, if you’d rather work completely manually, you can. Elements doesn’t make it as easy to import media as iMovie does, and you’ll have to download much of its additional content, like music scores, individually.

Best Video Editing Software Imac

4. Filmora

FIlmora allows you to import clips from your Mac’s hard drive, a camera, and even from social media accounts. It has a somewhat quirky interface, that may take some getting used to if you’ve used other video editors. But it has plenty to commend it including lots of effects, titling options, and audio controls. It’s neatest feature could be the lighting preset options that allows you to emulate the look of Game of Thrones, Star Wars, or House of Cards at the click of a button.

How to make space for video on your Mac

Working with video editing software means you need lots of free space on your Mac’s main drive — video clips use several gigabytes of space for every hour of content, and that’s before you export the final version. You should also make sure your Mac is running at its optimal speed, you’ll need every ounce of power to render video.

Video Editing Software Reviews

One quick and easy way to both improve your Mac’s performance and clear space on its hard drive is to use CleanMyMac X. CleanMyMac identifies “junk” files that sit on your Mac’s drive, taking up space and slowing it down. It makes removing the files very easy and could claw back tens of gigabytes of space. You can download it free here.

The best video editing software for Mac is, ultimately, the one that does what you need to do in a way that you enjoy working. There’s lots of Mac video editing software, and much of it is free. Take time, try out as many applications as you can and choose the best one for you.

Best Video Editor Mac

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