Whether we are making videos for YouTube or making a project for work or school, video editing is an essential part of the video creation process.
That said, video editing software can be quite expensive.
Although some operating systems do come with their own video editors (Windows Movie Maker etc.), if you want something of higher quality, then it is almost necessary to spend money.
But are there other solutions?
If you need to do some rudimentary video editing and do not require a premium program, here are free best open source video editors for windows and Linux.
Top 10 Open Source Video Editing Software
Open Shot Video Editor
Open Shot Video Editor is one of the best free and open source video editors currently available.
It hosts many features which can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the best-paid software on the market.
Apart from being cross-platform, it possesses features such as:
- It allows you to quickly and easily slice your footage
- You can add as many tracks/layers as you want for background music, watermarks, etc.
- There are a host of animations and keyframes which can be used to make your footage more interesting
- Many video effects allow you to transform your footage
- You can visualize and edit your audio as waveforms
- Adding titles and subtitles is incredibly simple with the built-in editor
- The software also has many 3D animations which can help you do things such as add lens flares or snow
- There are time effects available such as slow motion, and you can also speed up footage
- Adding videos to Open Shot Video Editor is as easy as dragging and dropping them from your file editor
- It is available in many different languages
- The user interface is simple and inviting
With a list of features like this, it does not take a movie-making expert to see why Open Shot Video Editor is an amazing piece of open source video editing software.
If you are looking for a free video editor, definitely give it a try: OpenShot
Kdenlive Video Editor
The title is an acronym for KDE Non-Linear Video Editor.
Currently, it works with the GNU/Linux platform but also on MacOS and BSD, and they are working on porting it to Windows too.
As the name suggests, this editor is a non-linear editor, which means that it is more powerful than a beginners’ linear editor. This does not mean that only specialists can use it, however, as with a bit of practice it can be used for most projects.
Kdenlive integrates many different plugin effects both for video and audio editing, a titling tool, a DVD authoring solution etc. This makes it a full package for making videos.
Its features include:
- Editing videos with multiple tracks/layers
- Supports almost every video and audio format
- An interface that is highly configurable so you can set up your workspace the way you want it
- Ability to create high-quality 2D titles and subtitles
- A host of many different effects and transitions
- Check your footage for balance with video and audio scopes
- Many resources available online for it
- A bunch of light and dark interface themes to choose from
- Automatic backup of your projects
- Can keep footage low-res while editing, then render it at high resolution
- You can pre-render certain parts of your timeline to get smooth playback
- Ability to keyframe the effects
This list of features (and for free) is more than enough for anyone just getting into video editing. It is unlikely that Kdenlive Video Editor will disappoint you.
Check out Kdenlive.
#3 LightWorks Video Editor
The makers of Lightworks published it for free because they wanted to give everyone access to video editing software that could perform on a professional level.
It is definitely more than just a simple tool for arranging clips and applying effects.
This is a powerful and complicated video editor, having been used for movies such as The King’s Speech and Road to Perdition. Keeping that in mind, it is easy to conclude that it takes some learning to get good at using it.
Once you do master it, however, it will be a professional-grade video editor right at your fingertips for free.
You do not even need super powerful hardware to run it.
The free license has basically everything you will need for doing some quality video editing, but you can also get the pro version to get extra features such as exporting in formats other than MPEG, publishing directly to YouTube, and exporting 3D videos.
On its list of features you will find:
- A simple and easy-to-use interface
- Access to quality royalty-free video and audio
- A timeline that is easy to edit
- Ability to use lo-res proxy workflows if you are working with 4K videos
- Ready to use audio and video effects in real time
- For the Pro version, ability to export to YouTube or Vimeo
So there you go, an almost premium-quality video editor for free.
Shotcut Video Editor
Similar to Lightworks, this is another video editor that feels professional even though you can get it for free.
It takes some work to master if you really want to harness the amazing capabilities that it offers, but once you do your results should be amazing.
Because it started as a Linux application, the interface can be a bit strange at times, so keep that in mind. This only serves to make the already steep learning curve steeper but should be nothing impossibly difficult.
That said, you can achieve results that are pretty decent just by applying the ready-made filters the software comes with.
However, if you really want to experience all that Shotcut has to offer, then we recommend that you take the time to learn it and use it to its full potential.
Its features include:
- Wide format support which includes 4K, FFmpeg, ProRes etc.
- An impressive array of audio editing tools
- Video effects which by themselves can make your videos seem professional
- Editing features which make the editing process smooth and painless
- Flexible UI and ability to be viewed on multiple displays
- Available on Windows, Linux, and MacOS
- The software is codec independent
- Supports a wide variety of hardware
Shotcut video editor is a great option for someone who needs a quality video editor for free but is also willing to invest a bit of time in learning how to use it
Pitivi Video Editor
Coming up we have a video editor which is perhaps the least popular on this list.
The reason for this is that it is relatively new and has not had the chance to break out on the market.
The main driving force behind this one is its very intuitive and friendly user interface. Along with being aesthetically pleasing, it is also impressively functional.
This makes this video editor a pleasure to work in.
One great advantage to this video editor is the fact that it is still in development, so its creators are constantly their users for input on how to make the editor better.
Its list of features includes:
- A timeline that is independent of framerate
- A flexible interface that helps you get the job done with things like real-time trimming previews
- Accepts quite a wide variety of formats
- Available in many languages
- Naturally integrates into the Linux desktop
- Accurately and beautifully represents audio in waveforms
One thing to note with the Pitivi Video Editor is that it is currently only available for Linux.
So if you are a Linux user, you are quite lucky to have access to such an amazing piece of open source software!
Check out Pitivi
Although Blender is primarily a tool for making 3D art renders, the software also features a built-in video editor which is no slouch.
It has a very professional-looking interface so that it feels premium while you are working in it. The software also features a variety of keyboard shortcuts which make working in it enjoyable, quick, and efficient.
That said, Blender’s video editor will not allow you to do more advanced things that other free video editors might, but it is a more than satisfying package for someone looking for the essential tools and interface.
Its features include:
- A variety of preview modes including live preview, luma waveform, chroma vectorscope, and histogram
- Ability to work with audio in many ways such as mixing, scrubbing, and waveform visualization
- It has 32 slots that you add video, audio, images, scenes, masks, and effects to
- Standard video-editing features such as speed control, keyframes, filters, and effects etc.
As the last entry in this list, Blender is awkward only because it is not completely dedicated to video editing.
Disregarding that, it is a great open source video editor.
Check out Blender
Other Free Video Editors (Not Open Source)
DaVinci Resolve Video Editor
DaVinci Resolve is a premium piece of video editing software, but you can get a free version of it that is substantially packed with features—enough that you will not feel like you are missing any.
Resolve’s interface is intuitive and easy to use, its mastering options rich, exporting simple and flexible.
Across the board, it is a professional-level video editing suite, with a multi-track timeline for arranging footage and audio, tons of effects, and content-sensitive trimming.
The software has HDR support and one of its standout features is color correction. It allows you to adjust the colors of either the whole video or just one part of it.
Of course, as with any free version, some things are left out, including support for export resolutions up to 3,840 x 2,160. But these features are only really necessary for super advanced video editing, and the free version should be more than satisfactory for trimming videos and preparing them for YouTube.
Some of the features include:
- A very advanced array of color correction tools
- An audio editing interface which could bring some DAWs to shame
- Incredible 2D and 3D effects
- A simple and easy way to organize media
This is only a very rudimentary list of features, as the software itself has so many that we cannot fit even a good part of them here.
What you need to know is that DaVinci Resolve is definitely one of, if not the best free video editors around.
Check out DaVinci Resolve
Hitfilm Express Video Editor
Among the video editors that provide pro-level features for free, Hitfilm Express is another piece of software which delivers quite nicely.
The free version is quite loaded with features, including amazing video and audio filters, composition options, and even chroma keying for green screen effects.
Of course, as with all of these free versions, you can pay for further features including color correction, a variety of filters, screen masking, and exposure adjustment.
Be warned, however, that Hitfilm Express boasts quite the array of features, which comes at a price. That price is performance.
It takes quite a beefy machine to run Hitfilm Express to its true potential, so make sure to check the system requirements before installing.
In its impressive list of features, you will find:
- A revolutionary workflow which includes combined timelines, personalization options, intelligent search, and much more
- No limit to the number of tracks/layers you can have
- A host of different animation tools
- Has an available particle simulator add-on
- Effortlessly add fire and lightning, muzzle flashes, and lens flare effects
- Specialized effects
- Support for 3D models
And much, much more.
Even the free version of this software comes packed with features.
Check it Hitfilm
VSDC Video Editor
The VSDC Video Editor is one of those that is just brimming with pre-made filters and effects that you can use on your raw footage.
These can be added manually or with the provided wizard if you are not that interested in customization.
Just like Kdenlive, VSDC is a non-linear video editor, which makes it more complicated to use than simple linear video editors, but the results it yields are often of higher quality.
If you can bear VSDC’s slightly peculiar user interface then it is possible to make professional-quality videos with it.
The new version, especially, is faster and provides lots of new effects which will guarantee a premium-feeling finish.
On top of the standard features it boasts an array of extra ones:
- Change the way your videos blend colors and how those colors are rendered (similar to Instagram filters)
- Masking allows you to apply effects only to certain areas of the video
- Finished videos are easy to export to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook etc.
- Position objects on the screen with buttery-smooth subpixel accuracy
- Supports all popular formats including HD and 4K
- Create videos for specific devices (phones, tablets)
- Create all different kinds of charts and diagrams
This video editor has many other features such as video stabilization, DVD burning, and many more!
Check out VSDC
This list is not in order.
We could not do full justice to many of the editors in such a short space, but we have given you a general idea.
If you are looking for video editing apps for your smartphone, our friends at Pixpa put together a list of the Top 12 Video Editing Apps.
When choosing which one is best for you, just remember that it is not a matter of better or worse, but rather which one suits you the most.
No two people will have identical video editing needs, and each video editor we have mentioned on this list excels in different things. The key is to find out which features you need the most and choose the software that offers most of those features.