written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 3/21/2011
There are plenty of free video editing options available, from easy-to-use software with basic editing tools to more sophisticated video editing applications. They can be used for simple home videos and even professional films.
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The best free video editing software programs are those that can provide you with tools that suit your needs whether you are a beginner or a professional. They give all the features you need without restrictions and without asking you to pay for it.
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Windows Live Movie Maker
Windows Live Movie Maker is one of the easiest ones to use. Its user interface is easy enough to understand for people who are new to the software, as well as people who have never done video editing before. This simplicity and user-friendly user interface does not mean that its set of features is bare. It has powerful tools for editing and sharing videos online. The program lets you include an soundtrack and it even lets you use still images. With the help of video effects and transitions, you can edit videos in style. If you don't have the time to manually edit your videos, you can just use the AutoMovie theme that only requires you to specify which photos and videos you want to use and the program will do the rest.
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While Movie Maker is best for beginners in video editing, Blender is on the opposite side of the spectrum. It is best used in creating 3D computer generated movies thanks to its 3D rendering, shading, imaging, compositing and animation tools. It can be used to do simpler 3D tasks like modeling or more sophisticated tasks like creation and editing animated movies. It can also be used to develop game graphics. Its versatility goes beyond its uses because it can be installed on several platforms like Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It also supports different image and video file formats such as JPG, PNG, TIFF, MOV, SGI Movie and AVI. If 3D graphics-based video is your thing, this is definitely your best free option.
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VirtualDub is designed to be used in basic trimming and editing of videos. It may not have the advanced editing tools available in premium software, but it has everything you need for pre-processing and post-processing like removal of audio tracks, filter application, resampling, fram rate adjustment, compression and segment removal. Basic editing tools are available such as noise reduction, field swapping and real time downsizing, but it is designed to be complement software to your main video editing software if you are doing more sophisticated video editing tasks.
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iMovie is the Mac OS X counterpart to Windows's Movie Maker. It is designed to accommodate users who do not have a lot of experience in video editing or people who simply want to create movies in the easiest way possible. It has various video themes that lets you easily create visually attractive movies, as well as one-step effects that let you apply different special effects on parts of your movie. There is also a basic audio editing tool that lets you modify the soundtrack of your movie. A trailer creation tool is also included that lets you produce movie trailers for your movie using an intuitive user interface.
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The best free video editing software programs are those that offer high performance while giving you room to be creative, and that is what Wax is offering. From simple editing tasks to more sophisticated video editing jobs, Wax is an ideal tool. It includes 2D and 3D effects like Shatter, Particle Generator and Text 3D. It uses graphics acceleration offered by your computer's video card to provide a smooth experience in effects application in real time or near real time. It is designed to accommodate plugins from different developers. This type of plugin support gives you the chance to add more features to your editing arsenal, offering you the ability to do more sophisticated video editing tasks. It is a very capable video editing software for both beginners and professionals.