Lauren Olson, November 9, 2017
By now, it’s obvious to most businesses that video is crucial if you want to make waves in 2018.
Influencers, restaurants, startups, artists, contractors... Heck, even ACCOUNTANTS have begun to realize that this is not just a trend - but is actually the future of marketing. In fact, by 2019, 80% of the world’s Internet traffic will be video.
That is actually GOOD news, since video is the most powerful tool at your disposal to reach your customers, your audience, and grow your presence online. It’s even MORE effective when you’re using it to drive physical sales, with viewers up to 85% more likely to make a purchase after seeing a product video online.
Thing is, if you’ve just started your business, you probably don’t have a ton of extra coin to drop on expensive editing suites.
The good news is you really don’t have to, not with so many free options online. Maybe you’ve already started to do some digging and are coming up short?
If you've begun sorting through all the options for free video editing software, you will have certainly discovered by now that many of the free video editing programs available to you impose watermarks on your creative work.
That’s definitely not the professional look you’re going for!
It’s also discouraging to find a video editing program that covers your needs - but then you realize it won’t work with your operating system (we see you in the back, Linux).
Our take? Don’t waste time digging around when we can do it for you!
We found the top 4 FREE video editing programs that work with Windows, Mac AND Linux. The best part? No watermarks.
If you’re looking for something that will be very easy to use and quick to learn for short video projects, award-winning open source video editing tool OpenShot has you covered. You can smoothly resize your clips, scale, trim, mix audio all with drag and drop, with real time previews.
While there is no multicam editing function, OpenShot does incorporate a few unique features that are often left out of free software, like chroma key function and basic 3D animation tools for things like snow, lens flares or flying text. It’s a powerful little video editor, great for simple projects, and OpenShot lets you enjoy unlimited tracks and layers.
This tool is great for someone trying to edit basic YouTube or social media videos. It’s simplicity is part of it’s charm, and will appeal to first-timers. However, it’s lack of more professional editing functions means this one wouldn’t be great for filmmakers trying to edit anything substantial.
You have a need for editing software that meets pro standards? Look no further. Lightworks has been used on Hollywood Blockbuster movies like Pulp Fiction, The Wolf of Wall Street, LA Confidential, and many others. If it’s good enough for Oscar-nominated and blockbuster feature films, it’s safe to say it’s good enough for anyone!
Lightworks has done a really fantastic job of creating an online community that operates in a forum providing users with support on everything from YouTube commercials to full length films. That’s certainly another big takeaway, there are no limits on video length, something many free tools impose on their users.
The free and the pro (paid) version of Lightworks are identical in terms of functionality. The only thing the free version of Lightworks limits are your output formats, so for projects that are not intended for YouTube or Vimeo, you’ll need to upgrade to the $24/month subscription.
They also have manufactured and sell their own custom Lightworks keyboard, which is invaluable for editors working on professional or long projects.
If you appreciate special effects, Blender is going to knock it out of the park for you.
Blender is best known for it’s creative and advanced 3D animation capabilities, but this open source tool has some seriously powerful non-linear video editing functions, too.
The downside? You are only given 32 tracks to work with to add your video, images, animations and audio, but the editor works fluidly to add effects, provide speed control, filters and much more. Once you install it, you’ll enjoy multi-cam editing, simulation tools for everything from water to smoke to lasers, and even camera and object tracking.
Blender also comes with a massive 3D animation library, as well as some free templates. NOTE: Some Blender templates may have a watermark, but you can remove them yourself within the video editor.
If you’re looking for a tool that will help you achieve a ton of special effects, Blender can’t be beat. It’s a fantastic option to hone your amateur 3D animations skills without breaking the bank, too.
Shotcut is another free, open source video editor, and supports a wide range of formats. They’ve grown a community of newbie filmmakers who have gravitated to their all-in-one video editing and visual effects software, and if you try their editor it’s not hard to see why.
They support a huge list of formats and even allow for mixing and matching resolutions and frame rates within a project. The options you have for audio and video effects are staggering compared with other free tool options.
Another neat perk with Shotcut is that there is no import required, thanks to their native timeline editing capability. The sleek interface is a pleasure to use, with intuitive actions for everything from simple splicing and locking tracks to multitracks and waveforms.
It comes down to what you need most out of your free tool. The effectiveness of your video marketing will come down more to your idea, and what you need to accomplish than simply the tool you use to put it all together.
All four of these video editing software programs work across all operating systems, do not leave any watermarks on your work, and are 100% free to download and use.
In my opinion, OpenShot was the easiest to use, but it was also the most basic. Blender is best if you’re using special effects or need to create or add animations. Lightworks sets the Hollywood standard and is professional grade, but the free version limits your output options. ShotCut supports the most formats and functions across the board.