Video editing tools vary in many ways, including features, pricing, and usability. But as someone looking to take their clips to the next level, it’s important to realize that no matter what your goal — whether you’re striving to create something that will win awards, or simply looking to edit a few clips — there’s a tool for every need.
This comprehensive breakdown of the top criteria — editing capabilities, platform interface, customer support, pricing, and usability — will help you choose the best one.
The first step in choosing a video-making tool is to understand what you’re looking for. Do you need to edit a video for your grandmother’s 80th birthday party? Or are you in need of a tool that can help you create a killer video for your work presentation, that will blow your boss away?
Editing capabilities are what will take your video from good to great. Capabilities range from the ability to put your video to music, filter options, video effects and transitions, to timing, and more. One company that is known for its comprehensive and advanced editing capabilities is Lightworks. This software has been around for over 25 years, and has been used to edit many top movies. It’s packed with advanced features, and well known for its easy editing and clip trimming feature that really helps editors like you create the best videos possible. Its software is advanced, so if you’re ready to jump in and learn, it’s the one for you.
Another tool is PowerDirector, an app created by parent company CyberLink, which has many different photo and video software editing tools available. PowerDirector’s positive reviews on the app store confirm that this app the packs a serious punch. It describes itself as “full-featured,” and we agree; PowerDirector offers extensive picture editing options within your videos, including color editing; allows you to apply custom voice-overs to your videos; and allows you to easily share your project after it’s done.
If you’re searching for a serious editing tool and still haven’t found the one, make sure to check out VSDC Free Video Editor. It offers extensive video effect options, such as color correction and object transformation, as well as audio effect options, like sound normalization, volume correction, echo, and reverberation. It features a non-linear editor, conversion tools, and DVD authoring. It’s relatively well designed, and is certainly worth checking out.
As editing can take a significant amount of time, depending on the project, you will want to choose a platform that you are both comfortable with, and trust. Our favorites when it comes to UI are iMovie and Quik By GoPro. As an Apple product, it’s no surprise that iMovie wins in this category. The iMovie platform is clean, pleasant to look at, and very user friendly. Because of its design, and Apple’s keen attention to detail, the tool is intuitive and can be learned quickly. Its buttons are placed in all the right places, allowing you to edit your clips with ease and few frustrations. You can get started on your project right after launching the application, and from there, edit until it is 100% perfect.
Like Apple, GoPro places a lot of importance on its product detail, and pays great attention to user friendliness and design. Quik is a crisp-looking app, offering vibrant colors and aesthetically-pleasing buttons and selection options for editing for video.
Just as a tool’s user interface as important, so too is its usability; how easy or hard it is to use and edit videos with.
Adobe Premiere Clip offers fast and extremely simple editing, with its drag-and-drop system. It’s also extremely simple to share your videos once they’re complete — just save them to your camera roll or post them on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. If you still want to work on your video, you can send it to Premiere Pro CC, its premium product, for additional editing.
Another extremely easy-to-use tools is Splice By GoPro. As with Quik, GoPro’s other editing software tool, Splice is nicely designed and super user-friendly. Because GoPros are marketed towards extreme sport enthusiasts and other on-the-go individuals, the tool is really easy to use and makes editing your video clips a breeze.
In addition to these two apps, Kinemaster takes the often burdensome task of video editing and turns it into a hassle-free experience. Trim and edit clips, and add filters and creative transitions simply, using Kinemaster’s well designed user interface.
If you’re an inexperienced video editor, and are looking for a tool that offers good product and feature documentation, you should be looking at Magisto. It is an extremely well-known and popular tool in the editing world, and boasts thousands of users. One reason could be its superb documentation and in-depth FAQs, offered in the help and learning center. You’re likely to find an answer to any of your questions by visiting the learning center, and either entering your question or keyword, or selecting an article from any of the categories on offer. Categories include movie editing and creating, managing your movies, and more practical support, like accounts and billing information. If the article you’re searching for isn’t listed under any of the provided categories, you can choose an article from the FAQ section such as “selecting footage” or “subscription features.” As a last resort, you can submit a ticket to the customer support team; but note that you will have to open an account and sign in to do so.
The cost for some of the best video-making tools out there varies, but there’s a pretty common model. The tools—both apps and desktop software—are usually free to download, with premium features offered for an add-on cost.
Initial Download Cost
*Updated September 2017
Note that if you’re looking to edit your videos on a professional level, you will most likely need to pay for the premium features. Videoshop is one app in particular that offers high-end features for its one-time download cost of $1.99, but that is definitely not the norm. High-end and professional-level software, like Lightworks, could cost you $26.55 per month, and that’s just for the basic package.
All of these easy-to-use tools also have mobile apps, which make editing videos on the go super simple and quick. Edit your videos on your way home from a surf session, or while you’re at your niece's birthday party!