Best Free Video Editing Software for Beginners on Windows and Linux
Two beginner-friendly free video editing applications are OpenShot and Shotcut. Both are open-source software projects originally created for Linux but are now available for Windows and macOS as well. Let’s take a quick look at these.
OpenShot and Shotcut
OpenShot’s interface is clearly designed to be simple and friendly. The brightly colored buttons and a timeline that makes heavy use of rounded corners, bright outlines plus gradients and shadows is a bit much for my taste and could be distracting to many editors.
But for beginners who are focused more on learning the interface and less on their content, this could be helpful.
This contrasts with the cleaner, more subdued, and generally more professional looking interface of Shotcut. Both Shotcut and OpenShot offer multi-track editing capabilities and are powered by the FFmpeg media framework, which enables native support for a wide array of video codecs. Far more than iMovie.
Both of these free video editors also provide a wide array of audio filters, video transitions, and effects. So, in talented hands, they are very capable tools.
Something that both Shotcut and OpenShot seem to be missing is a decent media management system. Most editing software allows filmmakers to organize their material into bins, which are like folders - or some equivalent such as events in iMovie and Final Cut. This is critical when working on any moderately complex project with a decent amount of material to sort and organize.
Although, eventually editors learn that upfront work will save you loads of time later on while also allowing you to be more focused and therefore more creative with the edit itself. Again, OpenShot and Shotcut are very capable tools - just be aware of their missing media management features.
My advice is to try both and decide which editing software you like best. The biggest difference to me is the visual style of the interfaces.
Windows and macOS Downloads
Anytime you are downloading free and sometimes even commercial software, be very careful to only use trusted sources. A lot of malware and spyware is distributed through illicit software downloads.
Many Linux distros have OpenShot and Shotcut ready to install by way of their package managers. If yours does, just check the official websites to ensure the version your package manager offers is relatively up to date. If it’s not, openshot.org and shotcut.org have free Linux downloads available as well.
Thank you so much for visiting and until next time, I wish you the very best with all of your filmmaking endeavors!