The best video-editing software for beginners in 2022

Edited by Nataly Bogorad

December 28, 2021

It’s never been easier to create your own professional-looking videos. HD cameras have gotten incredibly affordable, and many smartphones have high-quality cameras that could rival some older digital camcorders. But, to do the job right, you need the best video-editing software for beginners. Let’s explore the top options available today.

Quick summary

  • Editor’s choice: Movavi Video Editor Plus
  • Pro-level video-editing tools that are simple and easy for beginners.

  • Best open-source option: OpenShot
  • A great free video-editing option for Mac, Windows, and Linux users.

  • Top-rated choice for Mac: iMovie
  • Free with no watermark, iMovie is an intuitive app for iOS or macOS.

  • Best audio extractor: VSDC Video Editor
  • Easily split, splice, and edit together audio and video tracks on PC.

  • Most budget-friendly editor: Shotcut
  • Built on FFmpeg technology, Shotcut is great for editors on a budget.

  • Best stock audio library: Lightworks
  • Easily publish customized videos to your favorite social platforms.

  • Most customizable editor: HitFilm Express
  • Choose and buy only the premium editing tools that you actually want.

  • Easy 360-degree video editing: VideoPad Video Editor
  • Free and paid versions include user-friendly 360-degree editing tools.

  • Film industry favorite: Final Cut Pro
  • It’s user-friendly, and Hollywood editors consider it the standard.

  • Most special effects features: Pinnacle Studio
  • Pinnacle’s premium version offers tons of the latest special effects.

  • Best online video editor: Fastreel
  • Create gorgeous, pro-level videos online with ease. It has it all!

  • Premium online editor for brands: Clipchamp
  • The premium version includes a brand kit and unlimited storage.

  • Most subscription options: WeVideo
  • Need more than basic but less than premium? There’s an option for you.

  • Best choice for automated text-to-speech: InVideo
  • InVideo includes text-to-speech in all subscriptions, including free.

  • Best free option with no watermark: Kapwing
  • Edit images and short videos with no watermark and no subscription.

  • Best auto-generated captions: VEED
  • Don’t waste time typing captions – have VEED do it for you.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. When you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, we receive commissions.

Best video-editing software for beginners

Movavi Video Editor Plus is arguably the best video-editing software for beginners on Mac or PC computers who are looking for an affordable, robust platform. This free-download software offers all of the most popular features and effects of professional video-editing programs, and the interface is so intuitive that it’s great for new users with little or no video-editing experience. Among its pro features, users love the stabilization feature, which creates a smoother, more polished look for footage taken with a handheld camera. Chroma key makes it easy to add in any background you want on a green screen video, and the titles and transitions facilitate a complete, professional look and feel to any video.

What are its best features?

  • Intuitive interface for easy, quick editing
  • Stabilization feature to fix shaky shots in post-production
  • Lots of popular effects and tools

What could be improved?

  • There can be no lags during rendering
  • Free trial may include more features

OpenShot is an open-source video-editing program that’s compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. Unlike a lot of freeware products, it’s very intuitive and makes editing simple for beginners. Fans of OpenShot have said it’s the best free video-editing software for beginners, but not everyone loves this program.

While some users enjoy the interface and claim that it’s very easy to use, others have reported that it can be too complicated and difficult to use for a beginner. Others have had issues with the software crashing. Because it’s open-source freeware, tech support and customer service are not always easy to find. However, if you have a little patience and you check out online forums for answers, you may have more luck. This is probably the best option for a beginner video editor who hasn’t learned about other popular software options and their interfaces.

What are its best features?

  • Free
  • Compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • Good for beginners who have no other video-editing experience.

What could be improved?

  • Interface can be simplified for beginners
  • Difficult to track editing progress in the timeline

iMovie is Apple’s free video-editing platform. It has a very user-friendly visual interface that makes it easy for beginners to edit QuickTime movies, MP4s, and other video file formats. For editors who’ve used Apple’s Final Cut Pro, iMovie should be very simple, as it’s built on a very similar platform. It doesn’t have all of the features and tools of Final Cut Pro, but it does include a library of fonts, titles, credits, and transitions, as well as many popular effects. However, iMovie is only compatible with macOS and iOS – so it’s not the best video-editing software for beginners on Windows devices.

What are its best features?

  • Free
  • Includes many fonts, titles, and transitions
  • Multiple features, tools, and effects

What could be improved?

  • Make the app available for PC
  • Stripped down in comparison with other editing platforms, so there can be more features

VSDC Video Editor is another contender for the best free video-editing program. While it’s a good choice for the best video-editing software for beginners, it’s not available for Mac, which could leave many users out.

This software excels in its ability to extract audio from videos and splice video clips together with ease. It’s also one of the fastest programs when rendering edited videos, and includes a wide array of tools and features that aren’t included in many free video-editing programs.

What are its best features?

  • Very easy for beginners
  • Lots of popular features
  • Supports multiple video file formats

What could be improved?

  • Add warning before shutting down
  • Fix glitch and overlap of text elements between clips

Shotcut is another free video-editing program, which is functional across platforms (Mac, PC, Linux). Built on FFmpeg technology, Shotcut supports hundreds of file formats, including audio and video formats.

It also has options to transfer videos between devices – so that you can create the best video output file format for your intended viewing device(s) and platforms. While this software includes several effects and tools that aren’t always available in free video-editing programs, it is not the most user-friendly platform around. It has tools to correct the fish-eye effect of some camera lenses, and it includes stabilization and chroma key features.

But it doesn’t include a stock audio library, making users go elsewhere for their soundtrack needs.

What are its best features?

  • High-quality output files
  • Fish-eye correction
  • Stabilization and chroma key

What could be improved?

  • Can be user-friendly
  • Stock audio library will be great
  • Add more transition options

Lightworks is a free video-editing program with paid subscription options. Aside from Lightworks Free, users can choose between Lightworks Create, starting at $9.99 per month, or Lightworks Pro, starting at $23.99 per month.

Among the top features of this software, we liked that Lightworks Create includes export presets for the most popular video-sharing platforms and devices. With this software, you can easily edit and export 4K videos for YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and others. However, it should be noted that you cannot change the quality of your video on the free version, and very high-quality video exports are only available for Lightworks Pro.

Lightworks Free will only export up to 720p, and Lightworks Create exports up to 1080p.

What are its best features?

  • Free version available
  • Built-in titles and transitions
  • Includes a large library of stock music

What could be improved?

  • Remove limited quality on free and basic subscriptions
  • Add custom output formats on free and basic subscriptions
  • Make uploading from the cloud available with a free subscription

HitFilm Express is a free-download video-editing program with options to pay for more advanced features and tools. The free version includes popular video-editing tools like trimming and audio tools, and there’s no watermark on videos exported using the free version. However, while it does the job for many beginner video editors, HitFilm Express lacks many editing features and special effects unless you purchase one of its feature packages.

These packages are available individually as add-ons for the free software, which is great for users who only need to purchase a single effects package. However, if you need multiple effects, your “free” software could quickly become very expensive.

What are its best features?

  • Lots of built-in editing tools in the free version
  • No watermark on any version
  • Playback feature makes editing easier and faster

What could be improved?

  • Add-on packages can get less pricey
  • Can be more intuitive for beginners
  • Chroma key capabilities can be included

VideoPad Video Editor is a video-editing platform for Mac OS X 10.5 or above, or Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/11. The developers offer a free version for non-commercial use. To edit a video, you can easily drag and drop your video clip into the software, apply all the transitions and effects that you want, and then export your edited video.

VideoPad is known for its fast processing speeds, but some users have reported that it may lag with larger projects. Along with the free non-commercial version, VideoPad also offers a pro version at $129 and a Home Edition at $70. While all versions are fairly intuitive in their video-editing capabilities, the audio editing tools may be confusing to new users.

What are its best features?

  • User-friendly
  • The free non-commercial version available
  • Easy editing for 360-degree videos

What could be improved?

  • Lags when processing large projects
  • Uploading can be faster
  • Audio editing tools may be user-friendly

Final Cut Pro is one of the most popular video-editing programs for professional filmmakers. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran video editor, you may want to learn how to use this software, as many editors and filmmakers consider it an industry standard.

With that in mind, the controls and effects for Final Cut Pro aren’t that different from many other video-editing platforms. Audio and video tracks are edited on a timeline, and you can separate and join them as you need throughout a project. If you’ve used iMovie, you’ll likely have little difficulty picking up Final Cut Pro’s interface.

However, be aware that this is not free software, and the price may be a bit high for many beginner video editors.

What are its best features?

  • Intuitive interface
  • Lots of editing features and effects
  • Quick processing times

What could be improved?

  • Only compatible with macOS
  • Add up-to-date effects and fonts
  • Expensive for what it includes, the price can be lower

Pinnacle Studio markets itself as “pro-level” video-editing software that helps users create “cinema-grade” productions. With three available versions, the software’s price ranges from $59.95 to $129.95.

The basic and mid-level versions have HD capabilities up to 1080p, but you’ll have to opt for the most expensive option if you want to edit in 4K. As you go up in price, you also get more template options, color grading, enhanced audio editing, and motion tracking features. 360-degree editing, seamless transitions, and premium effects are all reserved for the most expensive version.

What are its best features?

  • Quick and easy editing
  • Multiple special effects capabilities
  • 1080p exports on all versions

What could be improved?

  • It can be easier to locate imported files
  • 4K exports only available in a premium version
  • No 360-degree editing in basic or mid-level versions

Best online video editors for beginners

Fastreel is an online video-editing app that allows users to enhance their video projects without downloading any software. A few of the editing tools and features in Fastreel include merging, compressing, cropping and trimming, reversing, looping, and resizing videos.

Essentially, you can do almost any editing tricks you want with Fastreel – and you don’t have to download any software. This makes it a great choice for users on shared devices or who have limited memory on their computers. As far as pricing goes, this tool is extremely attractive, as Movavi offers a free version of Fastreel and two affordable licensing options.

To create a single video, you can opt for a one-time license at $5.95 per video, or if you’ll be creating multiple videos over an extended period of time, you can get a subscription for just $9.95 per month with unlimited exports.

What are its best features?

  • Very user-friendly
  • Affordable
  • Lots of templates and editing tools

What could be improved?

  • Remove watermark in the free version
  • The ability to switch between templates while editing

Clipchamp is another online video-editing app with multiple pricing options, ranging from free to $19 per month. The free version limits exports to 480p, which may be a problem for editors looking to create high-quality, pro-level videos.

Most social and video-sharing platforms today support at least 1080p HD videos, so being restricted to SD could be a dealbreaker for many video creators. At $9 per month, the mid-level subscription allows exports up to 720p, and the premium version has capabilities up to 1080p.

Clipchamp does not have 4K capabilities, but the premium subscription does offer a brand kit, unlimited cloud storage, and unlimited stock audio clips.

What are its best features?

  • Simple, fast video editing
  • No download
  • Unlimited stock audio in a premium version

What could be improved?

  • Add 4K capabilities
  • Make HD export unlimited
  • More expensive than some competing apps, the price can be lower

WeVideo is an online video-editing program with a free trial and multiple subscription options.

After the initial free trial, users may choose between four plans, ranging from $9.99 per month to $73.99 per month. The basic plan limits users to 30 minutes of exports per month. So, if you have a video that’s 31 minutes long, you’re going to have some challenges with WeVideo. Unlimited monthly export times begin with the Unlimited plan at $15.99 per month.

While this app is more expensive than many others, it does also come with cloud storage – so you don’t have to finish all of your edits in one session or risk losing them. The Professional and Business packages ($39.99/month and $73.99/month, respectively) have 4K export capabilities and other additional features.

What are its best features?

  • Cloud storage
  • Free trial period
  • Drag-and-drop editing

What could be improved?

  • Expensive compared with other apps
  • 30-minute monthly export limit with a basic plan
  • There can be no processing time lags

InVideo is a good option for the best photo and video-editing software for beginners who want to work online instead of editing videos on their computers. It works especially well for photo editing, as it has integrations with Shutterstock and Storyblocks. Users looking to add stock images to presentations and videos will find that InVideo makes this pretty easy and straightforward.

Users have also reported that, when issues arise, customer service is very quick and responsive. With that in mind, while InVideo claims to be free video-editing software, it’s not entirely free. The basic plan costs nothing but will include an InVideo watermark and limits videos to 15 minutes. Users must jump to a $15 per month plan to get rid of the watermark and gain more features and tools.

What are its best features?

  • Automated text to speech in free version
  • 10 pieces of iStock media per month included with Business plan
  • Lots of effects and editing features

What could be improved?

  • Videos limited to 15 minutes in the free version – the limit can be at least 30 minutes
  • Must pay $15/month to remove watermark
  • There can be no limits on monthly video exports in basic and mid-level plans

Summary: how to choose the best video-editing software for beginners

The best screen-recording software programs create solid videos and save you time. With this list of free and paid programs, you can now find one that’ll help you create the perfect recording – no matter your budget. Just remember to review your needs and match them with the features you see listed in the descriptions above.

Is downloading a video editor an option? If you’re on a shared computer, your options may be limited to online video editors. On the other hand, if you’re going to be working offline or if you don’t have the most consistent internet connection, you’ll need an editor on your local machine that you can use any time. If you’re going with an online editor, we recommend giving Fastreel a try to see how you like it before you purchase a license for any video-editing web app.

Are you editing HD videos? Some of the video-editing tools listed here don’t support 1080p or 4K video exports, or they only support high-definition videos for their premium license. Consider your budget and the quality of the videos you want to create before you make a purchase.

What editing features do you need? If you’re shooting on a green screen, you need an editing program with a Chroma key. If you don’t have a tripod or a Steadicam, you should consider editing software with stabilization capabilities.

How many videos will you be making? Some of the options here are limited to shorter video clips, or they only allow a certain number of video exports per month. Be sure that your choice supports the number and frequency of video projects you’ll be creating.

With these things in mind, you should have a better idea of which of these video-editing programs will work best for you. Why not try out Movavi Video Editor Plus today to see what a robust, user-friendly video-editing platform can do for a short clip or a feature-length film?

Nataly Bogorad

Nataly Bogorad is a content creator and a chief editor. With qualifications in English and American studies and art criticism, she specializes in writing SEO-optimized and user-friendly content. Nataly graduated from Universität Kassel with a bachelor of arts degree and worked as a project assistant for Regionalmanagement Nordhessen GmbH.