Video editing can have a pretty steep learning curve, depending on what type of finished product you want to achieve. Modern editing software (even free programs) have a wide range of features that will give you the capability to produce Hollywood level productions with enough practice. Whether you’re an experienced editor looking for a new suite of tools to broaden your skills or a newbie wanting to try splicing a few clips together for the first time, with enough practice you can start creating. The best video editing software has a user interface and workflow that is easy to understand and manage.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw a shift in the way we worked, with more people realizing they wanted more freedom and autonomy. More employees have transitioned to remote or hybrid work and many have changed sectors altogether, venturing into contracting or entrepreneurship. A new survey by OnePoll shows that a quarter of Americans may wind up moving into a new career path in 2023. The survey of 2,000 adults finds that while 33 percent of respondents are likely to switch jobs within the same sector, 26 percent of employees are looking to change careers entirely. And with social media and streaming at an all-time high, video editing could very well be involved in a new career path.
If you’re looking to make a career change yourself, video editing might not be a bad option! The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts that employment of film and video editors will grow by 12% over the 10-year period of 2021-2031 which is higher than the average for all occupations. About 9,400 openings for film and video editors and camera operators are projected each year, on average, over the decade. You don’t need any prior experience or training to learn to edit, just some creativity, a will to learn, and the best video editing software.
StudyFinds researched the best programs to help you create your next YouTube video or cinematic film. We found the top recommendations across 10 expert websites for the best video editing software. Already have your own favorite platform? Let us know what you use in the comments below!
The List: Best Video Editing Software, As Recommended by Experts
Adobe Premiere Pro is the most well-known software, and is usually required knowledge for any standard job. The only downside is if you want access to the program, you have to pay a monthly subscription fee to Adobe Creative Cloud. The program is not a one-time purchase. “Premiere Pro is an industry standard among professional video editing applications, coming from the leader in creative design software, Adobe. Premiere offers all the effects, color tools, and collaboration and output options any pro could want,” writes PC Mag.
Adobe is an advanced video editing suite that includes everything from color grading and audio tools to VR Editing and Motion Graphics templates. “When we reviewed the software, we loved how it enhanced our productivity by dividing everything into different workspaces, such as editing, effects, and audio,” remarks CreativeBloq. “Each workspace helps manage a specific task, minimizing distraction.”
“After testing a number of programs, we think that Adobe Premiere Elements 2022 is the best video editing software for most people. Although it’s missing some newer technologies, such as 360-degree video and multicam editing, it’s got an intuitive interface and a gentle learning curve. That said, it’s got plenty of advanced features, so professionals will also feel right at home,” adds Tom’s Guide.
Da Vinci Resolve has been taking the film world by storm lately. They offer a paid version for a one-time fee of $295, or a more limited free version. The free version gives you a powerful set of tools to start with – more than any other free software on the market. “A powerful pro-level, cross platform app, you’ll want to use DaVinci Resolve on a system with discrete graphics to get the most out of this video editor,” says Tom’s Guide. “The latest version of DaVinci incorporates Fusion, previously a stand-alone application, which brings with it four high-end video-production modules for editing, color correction, audio production, and video effects and motion graphics.”
Despite being pro level software, Da Vinci’s interface is relatively easy to learn, with clear, self-explanatory sections that support editing flow. “Fans applaud DaVinci’s UX design, too: divided into ‘Pages,’ users can tackle each individual part of the editing process in a focused way,” writes Hootsuite.
Digital Camera World writes, “unless you’re actually working day-to-day on a TV show or movie, you’re unlikely to need most of these. For this reason, Da Vinci Resolve is our pick as the best free video editing software overall. ”
Lightworks is another editing program that has a free version you can download for trial, allowing you to test some of the same features Hollywood filmmakers use. “Lightworks is one of the best free video editing software tools – and it comes with a bit of a pedigree. Go to their website, and you’ll see how proud they are of the numerous professional feature films that have been cut with it,” writes TechRadar.
Lightworks is also largely recognized by professionals worldwide, though to access the full set of features you will need to pay $154.99. “As with Da Vinci Resolve, nearly all of Lightworks’ pro features are available in its free version, including precision trimming, multicam editing, and the ability to edit while importing new content,” says Digital Camera World. “You also get advanced effects, such as primary and secondary colour correction, blurs, mattes and masks, and over 100 inbuilt effect presets.”
According to Tom’s Guide, the proof is in the pudding. “If you want proof of the regard in which Lightworks is held, consider that the Pro version has been used to create multiple award-winning movies including Pulp Fiction, The Wolf of Wall Street and Jerry Maguire.”
iMovie is decidedly basic, but perfect for when you just need a simple cut and splice job. With cross-platform apps on Mac, iPhone, and iPad, you can edit across devices. “One of the best features of iMovie is its ability to make 4K-resolution movies,” says LifeWire. “You can even start editing on your iPhone or iPad and then finish on your Mac.”
iMovie gives you the ability to add sounds or music, transitions, and even simple stabilization or color adjustments. “Popular standby iMovie comes bundled with Mac OS. Like many native Apple apps, iMovie is uncomplicated and uses a simple drag-and-drop interface for moving files from your drive to your workstation,” writes Shopify.
PCMag writes, “iMovie targets nonprofessionals like people who want to put together a video of that family vacation or Junior’s soccer match. But its Storyboard feature makes it a great starting point for those interested in filmmaking.”
Avid Media Composer is an older tool, but it is still widely used. Its standout feature is the ability to collaborate and combine workflows with a team. “Avid Media Composer was the original nonlinear editing suite and is still a widely used powerful editor for many professional editors in Hollywood and small production houses alike,” says Videomaker.
The media industry often uses Avid to edit film productions and commercials, and the free version is a great place to start. “With this free video editing software, you can edit video on up to 4 video tracks and 8 audio tracks with 5 bins per project. It has a large amount of color-correcting tools and direct uploads to YouTube and Vimeo,” writes Cyberlink.
“Go to Hollywood or a major TV studio and the editing’s almost certainly being done in Avid Media Composer Ultimate,” adds TechRadar.
- PC Mag
- Tom’s Guide
- Digital Camera World
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.