March 11, 2021

606 words 3 mins read

Free Editing Software for Learning Pro Workflows

If you would like to work in a professional post house, on feature films, in broadcast television or for leading streaming services - you need to learn industry standard terminology and be comfortable with professional post-production workflows.

I think one of the best ways to do this is by using the same tools post-production professionals use. Sounds expensive, right? Fortunately, there are free versions of these high-end tools available to help you learn.

In this category of free video editing software, we have we have two contenders for you to consider. Avid Media Composer | First and Lightworks. Both are free versions of their respective commercial counterparts. Let’s begin with Lightworks.


Lightworks is best known for being used to edit several high-profile feature films such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Pulp Fiction, Heat, and Road to Perdition to name a few.

Lightworks features a clean, professional interface, excellent editing and trimming tools, a decent selection of audio filters and video effects, and full support for Windows, macOS, and Linux distros based on Debian and Red Hat. In fact, Lightworks provides the best Linux support of any editing software in its class.

The single biggest disappointment with the free version of Lightworks is the limitation to 720p H.264 export. This is unfortunate because in 2021, very few filmmakers and videographers find anything less than 1080p to be acceptable for delivery.

I understand reserving 4K delivery for paid license owners, but 720p, com’on Lightworks! This unfortunate limitation makes the free version of Lightworks good for learning, but not practical for most real-world work.

Download Lightworks

You can download the free version of Lightworks from

Avid Media Composer | First

Which brings us to Avid Media Composer | First, available for Windows and macOS. Unfortunately, a Linux version is not currently available.

Avid is the grandfather of all modern film and video editing applications. First released in 1989, it was the first widely adopted software of its kind and therefore has strongly influenced everything that has come after it.

To this day, Avid remains the editing software of choice for the vast majority of professional editors working in the film, television, and streaming industries.

Avid Media Composer | First is the free version of Avid’s industry standard editing software. It is hands down the very best way to learn the fundamentals of editing with Avid without paying for a commercial license.

Not only will Media Composer | First prepare you for a post-production career, it will also make learning any other editing software much easier. This is because after you are comfortable with the Avid’s workflow and terminology, it is just a matter of adapting to the equivalent in another tool.

Final Cut Pro is a good example of editing software that on the surface appears to be very different than Avid. But once you understand Avid, it becomes clear just how much these applications actually have in common.

A word of caution though, projects created in Media Composer | First cannot be imported into the full commercial versions of Avid. This is a substantial limitation that many editors would like Avid to correct in the future.

But as long as you are aware of that limitation, Avid Media Composer | First is by far the best choice to learn industry standard tools and terminology that will help you land a good paying job in the industry.

Download Avid for Free

You can download the free version of Avid from


Thank you so much for visiting our website and until next time, I wish you the very best with all of your filmmaking endeavors!