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Monday, May 28, 2012

2014 Best Free Video Editing Software

(Update February 23, 2014.  Since originally publishing this article, have decided that this subject  is extensive and requires its own blog.  As such, please also visit our new video editing blog for much more material and tutorials on the subject of video editing.  Only freeware is used in the tutorials, and download links are provided with each article.).

There are actually quite a few very good, and more importantly, totally free video editing software programs.  But similar to photo recovery software, the no-kidding freeware programs are very hard to find by a simple Google search.  You may come across some that claim to be free, but will ask for payment at that last moment as you try to save your file, or place a watermark on your saved files which can only be removed by payment.  Some also show prominently in Google, but may be just awful, difficult to use, or are very outdated programs.  This article will focus only on the newer, high quality, HD capable, and most importantly no-kidding freeware video editing software programs.  Detailed tutorials on their use in basic (splitting, cutting, transitions, etc...) and advanced video editing (chroma key, picture in picture,...) may be found here.

FileLab Video Editor
The first program to be featured in this article is FileLab Video Editor.  FileLab includes a wide selection of preset video effects, similar to Windows Movie Maker.  BUT it also has customizable color correction to include brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, and gamma (usually only pay programs let you do that).  Also included are many many video and transition effects beyond what WMM offers. Additionally you can fine-tune and adjust many of these preset effects & transitions by right-clicking on them in the timeline (WMM doesn't let you do that).

Other stand outs that make it different from other freeware video editing programs is FileLab's excellent title editor.  Also, your video can be saved in many different formats beyond just WMV.  You can conduct easy filesaves in formats for Web Videos (YouTube, Facebook, TwitVid ... all saved as H.264), 720p HD (DivX, Xvid, MPEG-2, H.264/AVC), along with presets for IPhone, iPod, iPad, Android, XBox360, PS3, PSP.   But even with all these features, the program has been designed to be very easy to use, and it is.

There are some cons to this program.  The first is that it runs from the cloud in your browser window as a "plug-in" program.  But that may be good for some as it doesn't really require a software install.  But it does require internet connectivity to run in your browser.  And to save your final video, you must login to either Facebook, Google, or Yahoo.  The program may be run or downloaded from here.

The following are video summaries of the FileLab free video editing software program, showing some of its more important features.  They were each created with FileLab:

"Picture in Picture" Video Editing with FileLab

FileLab Free Video Editing Software

VSDC Video Editor with Green Screen!
VSDC Video Editor is currently freeware as a beta release.  It's a very advanced video editor on-par with most advanced payware editors, but yet it's relatively easy to learn and use.  It's currently one of the few freeware programs that has "chroma key" "green screen" editing capability.   I'm aware of only two other freeware programs with chroma key capability (Debugmode WAX and Zwei-Stein), and both are very difficult to use as compared to VSDC.

With VSDC you can edit and save in most popular video formats and compression schemes including high definition (HD), AVI, H.264, MP4, MKV, MTS, 3GP, WMV, QT, MP3, MPEG2 FLV, SWF. YouTube. You can download it from here while it's free because eventually this will go payware.  Sadly, when that day comes it will be removed from this article as only freeware gets featured in this blog.  And here are some video tutorials on using VSDC Free Video Editor:

Editing with VSDC Free Video Editor

VSDC Green Screen (Chroma Key) Editing
(Yes, you too can now be abducted by aliens!)

Multiple Split Screen Editing!
(I apologize for my singing abilities and my webcam's microphone)

Freemake Video Converter
Freemake is a new breed of "All-in-One" video processing programs.  And as the word infers, it is totally freeware, no trial periods, no watermarks, nothing.  It's no-kidding freeware.  But because of its gaining popularity, I'm sure that one day this program will include some means of monetization for its makers.  But for now, I'm very happy with it and use it quite frequently.

Freemake, the ultimate Swiss Army Knife of video processors.  Freemake is the easiest program that I've seen to convert all those short video clips from your digital camera into a final production that you can view on your DVD, BluRay, or just about any other device that can play videos, no matter the format.  FreeMake can convert your videos into just about all the main video formats used by smartphones, tablet, and even many game and mp3 players.

Capabilities include:
- DVD Ripper/Converter - for converting DVD's to other formats, such as viewing on mobile devices.  Or just making backups of your DVD's (let your conscience guide you where you can go with that).

- DVD and Blu-Ray burner capability - for viewing your videos on BR and DVD players.

- Video downloader and uploader -  for downloading/saving your favorite videos from YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Dailymotion, + many many other websites.  With its built in video uplaoder, it also makes it very easy to upload your own videos to YouTube (the uploader only supports YouTube at this time).

- Basic Video Editor - for clipping, splicing, joining.  Also can modify each of you video clips audio level individually from the editor.  Only 2 transitions available, none or Fade transition.  But really these are all you need.  Nothing emphasizes a lame video more than tumbling, swirling, transitions.

- Video converter with customizable video resizing, bitrate and audio modification.  Also included is subtitle support, so that you can view your movies with their subtitles on your various devices.

- Device video presets, or you can set and save custom video presets for your particular device.

- Photo alideshow maker with user inputted audio (You can load up any audio that you please.  Some other free video makers may force you to only use their preset music).

- Audio converter and extractor. Save the music or audio track from any video as an mp3 file.  If you desire, you can modify the sample and bitrate for your saved file.

The following video was created with Freemake.  It goes over each of the above abilities in more detail so that you can see for yourself, and judge whether FreeMake might be for you.  If you think that you'd like to try this free program, you may download Freemake directly from Freemake here.   You might want to remember to pay particular attention to uncheck any ad-supported toolbars that may be offered during the installation process (why did CNET start doing that?).  The program also requires Microsoft's .NET Framework 4.0 to run.  Usually this is installed on most newer PC's.  But if Freemake doesn't run on your computer, you likely need to also install NET Framework.  It's very easy, and you can install .NET FW 4.0 for free directly from Microsoft at this download link.  And here are some tutorials on Freemake:

YouTube HD Editing and Upload with Freemake
(It just doesn't get any easier than this!)

Freemake Free Video Converter Software

VSDC Video Converter
Brand new release (August 2012)!!  VSDC another "All-in-One" video processing programs.  It is also totally 100% freeware.  Has most of the capabilities of Freemake, but has some additional conversions that Freemake does not currently have (such as Real Media RM conversion).  It also does not require MS NET Framework, and runs just fine on most PC's.  Recommend that you try both Freemake and VSDC to see which best suits you.  Can't go wrong as both are free.  Download VSDC here.

VSDC Free Video Converter Software