Video editing can be an extremely daunting undertaking to get into, whether for work, as a hobby, or a possible career. The fact that there are hundreds of video editing programs out there doesn’t help either. Especially because each one has different features and its own design, and there’s no way for a beginner to know what they should focus on.
Don’t make the mistake of buying a costly editing program that’s more complex than necessary. Besides ease of use, some other criteria to look out for is the price, compatibility with a device/operating system, tutorials, and customer support.
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Here are 5 video editing programs that work well for beginners. These programs span from paid to free and work on different operating systems.
1. Adobe Premiere Elements – $99.99 once-off (30-day money-back guarantee)
Adobe is a well-known brand among creatives – although some view it positively and others not so much. That said, Premiere Pro is one of the most universally-beloved video editing programs out there, and Premiere Elements is its less complex little brother. The user interface is much simpler to navigate, and there are dozens of fantastic tutorials on how to use it.
Premiere Elements makes up for its hefty price tag by offering many nice features, including music scores, animated objects, and motion tracking. A nice complement to the program’s various editing features is its three user levels – Quick, Guided, and Expert. These levels provide a way for beginners to progress to more complex tools within the program when they feel ready or need them.
2. VideoProc – Starts at $29.95 per year/one PC
Besides its relatively low price tag, one of VideoProc’s biggest selling points is that it can also record, download, and convert different video formats. This versatility extends to video editing, where any file formats can be merged throughout the editing process. So regardless of what the video was shot on, it should edit and merge those files with any other video files.
Besides those benefits, VideoProc also features a simplified layout and powerful but less complex tools for video editing. It still holds up for those looking for some more advanced elements, too, though, such as “deshake” and “denoise” for GoPro footage.
3. Corel VideoStudio Ultimate – Starts at $79.99 once-off
VideoStudio Ultimate manages to pack an impressive amount of features into a neat and easy to use package. The software was created for consumers, and its tools reflect that. Things are kept simple with things like fun filters, color grading controls, a slideshow maker, motion tracking, and adding titles, among other things.
These are all generally pretty standard in a video editing program, but VideoStudio Ultimate also has a few aces up its sleeve. For instance, simultaneous screen and webcam recording, support for 3D, 4K, 360-degree VR video, and an automatic Highlight Reel creator. Anyone looking for a powerful tool with fun features and a simple interface can’t go wrong with this one.
4. Lightworks – Free version, paid starts at $24.99 per month
(macOS, Windows, Linux)
Despite having a paid version with more advanced features, the free version of Lightworks already provides an impressive punch. It should be more than enough for most beginners and intermediate users. Although exporting 4K videos is locked in the paid version.
Some notable features include support for a wide range of formats, royalty-free audio & video content, and video export options for platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. Of all of the free video editing programs out there, Lightworks offers the most powerful features and has a great support level. Since it’s a popular tool, there are also plenty of excellent tutorials available.
5. OpenShot – Free
(macOS, Windows, Linux)
Not only is OpenShot entirely free, but it also has a very simple drag and drop interface that takes the frustration out of editing videos for beginners. The program features all of the editing tools one would expect in an editor, like clipping, trimming, scaling, and rotation.
It also has a few specialized tools like cutting video transitions with real-time previews, 3D animated titles, and other effects. Since it’s open-source, OpenShot also receives regular updates and support.
As this small list of suggestions proves, there’s an incredibly wide range of video editing tools out there. Each has its unique selling points and caters to a different need and audience.
Beginners don’t have to go around wondering what’s best suited to them, however. Any of the programs in this list will provide an excellent starting point, no matter the level of video editing experience someone has.