Three (and a half) Ways to Edit Your Video For Free

Here are three ways to edit your video footage for free:

  • Using the free video editing software available for your Operating System: Windows Movie Maker if you are on Windows, or iMovie if you are on a Mac. This is the most basic video editing system of those described here, but the interface is quite simple, as shown in this screen shot of Windows Movie Maker: Windows Movie Maker 2013

Movie Maker is simple and easy to use, but may struggle with high resolution video shot on some high-end cameras.

  • Using the free online video editor, WeVideo. This is also great if you have several people collaborating on a project, as it allows different members of a group to upload footage and make their own edits using the uploaded footage, or the videos created by other group members. There are also three different "difficulty" modes, ranging from a basic iMovie/Movie Maker "storyboard" style of editing, up to more advanced timeline modes. The following images show the basic, intermediate, and advanced editing modes in WeVideo:

WeVideo (basic editor) WeVideo (timeline editor)

You can view a full playlist of tutorials for using WeVideo here:

UC Bootcamp Group Project:

  • Using the significantly more advanced (professional-level!) Non-Linear Editor (NLE), Lightworks. Lightworks is capable of the most advanced video editing operations, and is available free of charge. There are professional-level "add-ons," but you probably won't need any of them when you start out with video editing. Lightworks was the platform used to edit numerous Academy-Award winning and successful films: Hugo, Chicago, The King's Speech, Moulin Rouge, and many, many more. If it's good enough for Hollywood, it's probably good enough for you! You can view a full tutorial series on getting started with Lightworks here: Lightworks Editor

Finally, it's also possible to do simple edits to your videos using the built-in video editor in your smartphone or tablet/iPad. However, be aware that the editors in these devices are quite limited, and you'll be trying to edit your video footage on quite a small screen. It might be okay for simple videos, shot with your phone or tablet device, but is probably not suitable for larger or more complex projects.

Final Thoughts on Editing

Many people starting out with working with video find that editing is conceptually the biggest hurdle. In reality, the editing process is straightforward, and has just three main phases: import & select, trim & sequence, and finish & export. The finer details of the editing process are beyond the scope of this basic course, but can be gleaned from the tutorial videos provided above; or, you can get an overview of the editing process from this video on "Editing Basics".


Which video editor best suits your needs and aspirations at this point in time (and why?) Provide your answer in the "Comments" section below.


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