OpenShot™ was created in 2008, in an effort to build a free, simple, open-source video editor for Linux. It is now available on Linux, Mac, and Windows, has been downloaded millions of times, and continues to grow as a project!
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
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Work at a faster clip.
With its modern Metal engine, Final Cut Pro allows you to edit more complex projects and work with larger frame sizes, higher frame rates, and more effects — all at blazing speeds. And it’s built to harness the extreme power of the new Mac Pro for next-level performance.
Accelerated performance with Metal
Metal dramatically accelerates graphics tasks like rendering, real-time effects, and exporting. Video editors on 15-inch MacBook Pro will benefit from render performance that is up to 20% faster while editors using iMac Pro will see gains of up to 35%.1 And when you’re working on a system with an eGPU attached, you can select which GPU to use — internal or external — for peak performance.
Optimized for the all-new Mac Pro
For the ultimate editing experience, run Final Cut Pro on the world’s fastest Mac, the new Mac Pro. Final Cut Pro takes advantage of all the GPUs in Mac Pro and uses multithreading to spread tasks across up to 28 cores. And when equipped with the optional Afterburner card, Mac Pro delivers the fastest ProRes and ProRes RAW performance ever with dynamic distribution of decoding across Afterburner and multicore CPU. So you can do things like edit video, create motion graphics, and color grade in groundbreaking 8K resolution. All at maximum velocity.
The tools you need. From start to finishing.
With innovative features and an intuitive design, Final Cut Pro accelerates post-production. So editors can create and deliver at the speed of thought.
The Magnetic Timeline allows you to easily experiment with story ideas by moving and trimming clips without collisions or sync problems. Use Compound Clips to bundle separate video and audio clips into a single movable package, create Auditions to try out multiple takes in the timeline, and use Synchronized Clips to align video with second-source audio automatically. Color coding makes it easy to identify different types of content, with the ability to customize the look of your timeline while you edit.
Final Cut Pro offers the most advanced organizing tools of any professional video editing application. Easily tag entire clips or clip ranges with metadata for searching, and create Smart Collections that automatically collect content according to a set of custom criteria. Skimming lets you efficiently browse hours of material in a more visual way, so you can identify what you want in seconds.
Create 2D and 3D titles right in Final Cut Pro, apply and modify filters, and use the built-in chroma key for high-quality green- and blue-screen effects. Expand on the built-in effects with thousands of third-party tools and templates. And for even more control, use Motion to create stunning titles, transitions, generators, and effects you can access from Final Cut Pro.
Final Cut Pro lets you edit multichannel audio using built-in tools for removing background noise and optimizing levels. Adjust multichannel audio files in the timeline or open the inspector for more information and options. Choose from dozens of bundled plug-ins for audio compression, EQ, and more — or send to a professional audio application like Logic Pro X for advanced audio mixing.
Quickly encode video using the power of multicore CPUs and high-performance GPUs. Take advantage of presets to deliver ultra-high-quality masters or files optimized for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and websites like YouTube and Vimeo. And batch exporting makes it fast to deliver multiple files or projects in multiple formats. You can also use Compressor to create custom export settings that appear right in Final Cut Pro.
The industry’s most advanced multicam editing lets you automatically sync up to 64 angles of video with different formats, frame sizes, and frame rates. View up to 16 angles at once in the Angle Viewer. And open the Angle Editor timeline to move, sync, trim, add effects, or color grade individual clips.
Video noise reduction
Improve the look of archival and low-light images with powerful noise reduction tools that reduce or eliminate grain and video noise. Simple controls let you quickly adjust intensity, and it’s easy to change processing order by dragging the effect in the inspector.
Motion and Compressor
Create stunning effects and sweeping graphics with Motion, including studio-quality 2D and 3D titles you can open and adjust in Final Cut Pro. Use Compressor to create custom export settings and streamline delivery of your movie to the iTunes Store. And because Final Cut Pro, Motion, and Compressor all share the same Metal architecture, you’ll experience blazing performance and consistent rendering across applications.
Advanced color grading.
Every pixel closer to perfection.
Professional color grading tools are built into Final Cut Pro, including a dedicated color inspector with color wheels, color curves, hue/saturation curves, and keyframes to adjust corrections over time. You can work with High Dynamic Range footage on recent Mac systems that display an extended range of brightness. Or connect the all-new Pro Display XDR for the ultimate HDR experience.
Unique color wheels improve on traditional controls by combining hue, saturation, and brightness into a single, simple interface.
Color and luminance curves allow ultrafine level adjustments with multiple control points to target specific color and brightness ranges.
Sample a color with an eyedropper and change just the hue, saturation, or luminance of a specific color within the image.
Work closer to reality than ever before with HDR video. Import, edit, grade, and deliver incredibly lifelike images with Final Cut Pro. High-resolution scopes reflect HDR brightness levels as you edit, and tone mapping lets you easily convert HDR to Standard Dynamic Range output for broadcast. You can view beautiful HDR content on a wide range of Mac computers that use the reserve brightness of the display to show an extended range of light levels.
HDR on Pro Display XDR
View High Dynamic Range video the way it was meant to be seen. The gorgeous new Pro Display XDR delivers 6K resolution and 1000 nits of sustained brightness for HDR editing, grading, and delivery with Final Cut Pro. And setup couldn’t be simpler — just connect a single Thunderbolt cable from your Mac to Pro Display XDR to use it as an additional display or video monitor.
ProRes RAW. The flexibility of RAW with the performance of ProRes.
Best Video Cutter Software For Mac
Import, edit, and grade pristine video with RAW data straight from your camera sensor. Work with ProRes RAW files and experience all the creative advantages of RAW with the seamless performance of ProRes. And with Mac Pro and the Afterburner card, you can edit in ProRes RAW faster than ever before.
Remarkably smooth playback and real-time, multistream editing are part of the ProRes RAW package. The format is optimized for macOS and the latest Mac computers, allowing you to render and export faster than with other RAW formats. And if you’re working on Mac Pro, the optional Afterburner card accelerates ProRes RAW performance so you can edit at 8K resolution in real time. Since ProRes RAW files are smaller than standard formats, you can fit more footage on every card.View the Apple ProRes RAW White Paper
Work with untouched image data directly from your camera sensor. Wd my passport for mac backup software. RAW files provide maximum flexibility for adjusting the look of your video while extending brightness and shadows — an ideal combination for HDR workflows. And ProRes RAW preserves more of the original image data, making it a great format for archiving.
Workflow extensions. Extend the power of Final Cut Pro.
Work directly with powerful third-party applications — without leaving Final Cut Pro.
Use the Frame.io extension to simplify review and approval. Drag and drop clips and timelines, jump between markers, and review comments and annotations in real time from your Frame.io collaborators.
The Shutterstock extension lets you browse stock photos, videos, and music while you edit. Drag and drop watermarked files into the timeline and easily replace them later with licensed, high-resolution versions.
Connect directly to CatDV and KeyFlow Pro media asset management systems so you can browse, mark, and transfer files from within the Final Cut Pro interface.
Simon Says uses AI to transcribe and translate audio in 100 languages. Drag and drop clips and timelines into the extension to easily create accurate subtitles and captions for your Final Cut Pro project.
360° video. Take your work further. In every direction.
Final Cut Pro includes a complete toolset for importing, editing, and delivering both monoscopic and stereoscopic 360° video.
Import and edit 360° equirectangular footage in Final Cut Pro. Open the 360° viewer to see a headset view of your footage, and take advantage of simple tools for changing orientation, straightening the horizon, removing camera rigs, and more.
360° graphics and effects
Easily add 2D and 3D titles to your 360° video and apply blurs, glows, and other 360° effects. Or create more advanced 360° motion graphics in Motion, then add them directly to your Final Cut Pro project. You can even add 360° video to non-360° projects, using the Tiny Planet effect to create interesting spherical looks and animations.
VR headset playback
Watch your 360° video in real time with a VR headset like the HTC Vive Pro. Choose to mirror the headset view in Final Cut Pro, or turn off mirroring to watch video in the headset while independently controlling a separate view on your monitor.
Closed captions. Open to all.
Final Cut Pro includes an intuitive, comprehensive set of tools for closed captioning in a variety of formats, without the need for expensive third-party software or services. You can create, view, and edit captions within Final Cut Pro, and deliver them as part of your video or as a separate file.
Add an existing caption file to your project and Final Cut Pro automatically connects each caption to the corresponding video or audio clip in your timeline.
Type captions from scratch — in multiple languages and formats — and watch the text play back in real time right in the viewer.
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Attach captions to connected audio or video clips in the timeline so they move in sync with your edit. It’s easy to adjust text, color, location, and timing in the captions inspector. And the enhanced Timeline Index lets you quickly search and select captions, or use captions roles to instantly switch between different versions.
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Export captions in the industry-standard CEA-608, iTT, or SRT formats. Or burn them directly into your video. When delivering, you can choose to embed caption metadata in your video file or create a separate sidecar file. Captioned videos can be shared directly to YouTube and Vimeo. And you can send your project to Compressor to include captions in a batch or an iTunes Store package.
Step up from iMovie to Final Cut Pro.
iMovie is the easiest way to start making movies. And when you’re ready to ramp up production, it’s effortless to switch to Final Cut Pro from iMovie for iOS or iMovie for Mac. You’ll cut faster and more precisely with advanced editing tools, improve the look of your projects with third-party plug-ins, and easily integrate video recorded with professional cameras from RED, Sony, Canon, and more. You can import your iMovie projects right into Final Cut Pro, so you won’t miss a beat — or a cut — when you upgrade.
Third-party tools to make your workflow flow.
Choose from thousands of custom transitions, titles, and motion graphics. Work directly with powerful applications through workflow extensions in Final Cut Pro. And take advantage of other third-party tools for advanced tracking, EDL and AAF interchange, and more.
Five amazing apps.
One powerful collection.
Unleash your creative potential with the Pro Apps Bundle for qualifying college students, teachers, and education institutions. Get all five professional applications for video and music creation at a special price — including Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor, along with Logic Pro X and MainStage.