Top 4 Best Free Video Editors for Windows

June 22, 2017

Once you outgrow Movie Maker, choosing the next video editing tool might be challenging. On the one hand, professional software - such as Sony Vegas - is a bit pricey for an average user. On the other hand, there are dozens of free programs and if you start testing them one by one, finding the right option will take you a while.

Here is a piece of advice: set priorities. What is it exactly you are looking for and why? What features are essential and which ones you're ready to sacrifice? You may not find all the strong sides of Sony Vegas in one freeware, yet a combination of tools can replace a suite worth hundreds of dollars.

In this post we've reviewed the most feature-rich free video editors for Windows and their key advantages.

Lightworks: Trimming and Color Correction

Among video editing tools, Lightworks is a legend. According to the developers, it is widely used in Hollywood due to a fast and intuitive trimming feature. Fairly speaking, this is the only intuitive part of Lightworks. In fact, its interface is so far from being logical, it was easy to get lost at almost every step while testing.

Lightworks trimming feature

Where Lightworks is unbeatable though, is color correction. Hats off to the developers - that part is at the level of Adobe Premiere or Adobe Lightroom! You have full control of the picture and can literally set up every parameter - the HSV and RGB panels are quickly accessible.

Lightworks color correction

Key limitation of the free version: export is available to YouTube and Vimeo only (1080p), so you won't be able to save the project directly to your PC.

VSDC: Blending Modes and Gradient Tool

While on the subject of working with color, VSDC is worth checking out. Despite an old-school interface this software has a couple of unique features.

VSDC bollywood video editor

First, there is one unobvious advantage - VSDC performs a lot like a graphic editor. That means you can place graphic objects in the scene and modify them. There are many ways to make use of it, and a quick example is a cinema look: two black bars added on top and on the bottom of a scene. Most video editing programs suggest using masking for that purpose, which is more time and effort consuming.

VSDC cinema look effect (before-after)

VSDC also stands out with its set of 30+ blending modes applicable for color correction as well as such awesome effects as "Video in text".

VSDC video in text effect

Yet the most distinguishing feature here is "Gradient". In combination with the above described tools it practically provides endless possibilities for a creative mind.

Key limitation of the free version: None.

Videopad: Masking

If it was an interface contest, Videopad would have probably won the prize. Its timeline is incredibly intuitive and thought out to the last detail. The overall look produces an impression of Sony Vegas' "younger brother" - as you can't but notice similarities between two programs. Hotkeys are nicely implemented, though one can easily manage using a mouse only.

Videopad interface

When it comes to features, Videopad is the best at masking. Applying a mask in most video editing tools can be a challenging process. In Videopad it is intuitively done in a couple of clicks, and by adding new red points you can change mask shape according to your needs. What's also remarkable, there is a separate effects window helping you focus on editing the object.

Videopad masking

Key limitation of the free version: only two video tracks available and only personal use allowed.

Shotcut: Chroma Key (Green Screen)

Shotcut interface will look familiar to those having experience with Adobe Premiere. The former might not be as intuitive as the latter, yet Shotcut is considered more stylish and versatile. Shotcut developers also did a great job by implementing a multi-level action history, so there is a way to go back and apply undo/redo commands at any moment.

Shotcut interface

The biggest advantage of Shotcut, however, is a Chroma Key effect. The feature itself is nothing unique, but the performance makes the difference. First, Shotcut is capable of multicolor Chroma Key effect - that means you can remove background of any color, not just green or blue. Second, the number of clicks between adding a video clip to the timeline and the end result is lower than in alternative video editing programs.

Shotcut chroma key (before-after)

Key limitation of the free version: while there is no paid version available, the current one appears to be unstable and crashes on Windows at times.


Is it possible to completely replace professional video editing software with a free tool? Probably, not. At least one component of the "Interface-Stability-Functionality" combination is missing in each program reviewed above. However, if you are ready to make concessions, they will save you a good amount of money without compromising quality.