Edit Videos For Free On Windows With These Handy Tools

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edit videos for freeSometimes it seems like the big audiovisual spectacles are unattainable if not accompanied by a big financial budget. After all, the top notch editing suites all have a pretty hefty price tag. It might seem that way, but that’s far from the absolute truth. For almost every big software name, there’s a great free (or even open-source) application alternative. Photoshop has Gimp. 3D Studio Max has Blender.

“First place” is debatable, but it’s undeniable that a lot of these applications are operating in the same league, and provide the same functionality—the same artistic potential—to creative individuals around the globe.

The same is true for video editing software. Yes, we’ve all heard about Adobe Premier Elements, Pinnacle Studio, Avid Media Composer, and Sony Vegas; amazing software, every last one. But enthusiasts need not take a second mortgage on their home to do what they love. Below are a few tools, ranging from simple to advanced, offering a large part of video editing functionality without charge.

Lightworks

Allow me to start by saying that Lightworks is the big fish in this roundup pool. Previously covered in a MakeUseOf directory article, this advanced editing suite is largely oriented towards the user base of the aforementioned pieces of software; that is, a full-fledged post-production suite.

edit videos for free

Without charge, Lightworks attempts to bring the same functionality that you would expect of a video editing suite costing thousands of dollars, including support for a number of third-party plug-ins. A professional version is available too, offering more import/export possibilities, additional tools and extended licensing for an annual of USD 60. Take a look at a comparison of the two versions here.

Movie Maker

Lightworks is great, but you might not be looking for an advanced video editing solution. If your goals are more minimal, a simpler solution might be better. That’s where Movie Maker comes in. Users of previous Windows versions are likely to be familiar with the software, but although it’s not present on Windows 7 and higher by default, you can still download it as a part of Windows Essentials.

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The feature set is very straightforward, with one-click filters, transition effects, animations, and text overlays. It’s everything you need to make a simple montage of several videos, and add a personal note.

edit videos for free online

As of Windows 7, Movie Maker (part of Windows Essentials) follows the same UI overhaul as does Paint and Microsoft Office, with a tab-specific large ribbon at the top of the screen. Not everyone is excited by this new interface. If that sounds familiar, I’ll let you know that it’s possible to install the old (Windows XP) version of Windows Movie maker. Simply download the old Movie Maker 2.6 installer from the Microsoft website.

VirtualDub

A lot of people in the video editing scene will be familiar with VirtualDub. Unlike the previous two pieces of software, VirtualDub might not be the ideal choice for video montage and composition. It nevertheless excels at (AVI) video processing.

edit videos for free

Previously, we published articles on MakeUseOf, telling you how to use VirtualDub to hard-burn subtitles, merge multiple video files, and compress your videos. Jessica wrote an article detailing 7 Video Editing Tasks VirtualDub Handles With Ease.

What tools do you use to (post-)process video, and why? Let us know in the comments section below the article!

Image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net / digitalart

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Comments (24)
  • Lori Rake

    Is light works pretty user friendly? It looks kind of complicated.

  • Kyle Pearce

    I used to be a huge user of Windows Movie Maker to help me make videos for my mortgage website, simply because it came preinstalled on Windows. Now that I’ve got myself a MacBook, I’ve jumped into iMovie and it is a much better program overall.

    I think using iMovie was harder for me to learn since I was used to another program, but if you are a beginner, I think iMovie would be easy enough to dive into.

  • Keith Swartz

    Wow! There is more online for video than I thought! Thanks for the article ‘IamAshMcLean’! Thanks for printing it Makeuseof.com!

  • venkatachalam ravindran

    for adjusting brightness and contrast and trimming, I am using iWisoft Free video converter.

    ffmpeg is also good to adjust the sound track of a video without disturbing video part

  • Priya Agarwal

    Best alternative to Windows Movie Maker..

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.