To create good films, you need the best video editing software that is easy to use and powerful. The software you choose should make it easy for you to blend images and sounds in a way that connects the target audience with the film they are watching. In this article, I will show you the 5 best video editing software for both beginners and advanced professionals.
I am a professional Filmmaker/Video Editor with over 16 years of experience, so I’ve tried and tested many video editing software over the years. I will be brutally honest that most blogs ranking high mention terrible software.
They were obviously written by writers who don’t know what they are talking about or have been paid to say it. This is why I’ve put the effort into creating this article to give you truthful, genuine information from the pros in the industry. Feel free to check out my latest production venture Stunt Camera Crew, and my professional video editing store Bounce Color.
These listed below are the best overall video editing software whether it’s either paid or free.
The top video editing software
The best video editing software is DaVinci Resolve. It has the best pro colour tools in the world, the best user interface, and the most features, and it is an all-in-one solution for professionals and beginners.
DaVinci also has a comprehensive free version if you’re on a tight budget. It’s always getting upgraded and releasing new revolutionary features.
1. Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve
DaVinci Resolve was designed to provide the much-needed deviation from the visually complicated interfaces of other video editing software. The software allows effortless use, letting you trim a film or add footage without heading to the edit page.
DaVinci Resolve key features
- It’s got a free version – It’s plenty for beginners & intermediates
- It supports all the latest video and audio formats
- It allows you to export multiple video and audio formats
- It integrates well with Linux, macOS, and Windows
- Come with a free version, premium packages start from $299 per year.
- Supports Dolby Vision License
- Change the bit-depth & colour space of your timeline
- Many third-party plugins available
- Loads of effects.
- Blackmagic Cloud
- Keyboard shortcuts different to the rest of the established editing software
Linux, Mac & Windows
Complete Review of DaVinci Resolve
Users also love the DaVinci Resolve colour correction toolset that ranks among the best in the industry. The software’s cut page capability is great for people working on TV news or commercials. The page allows you to import, add titles, transitions, trim, match colour, and mix audio in a single place.
There are other features in this software, like Dual Timeline for fast navigation and source tape that lets you see all clips in a bin. There is also a dedicated trim interface that lets you see all sides of the edit. The tool is made for TV and film recording, mixing, editing, sweetening, and finishing options.
View a list of our extensive DaVinci Resolve tutorials.
Why is DaVinci Resolve free? Check our guide here to learn more about the DaVinci Resolve free version vs the Studio version.
DaVinci Resolve has a great user interface. It’s one of the best UIs for colour grading by far. But for video editing, it’s not the easiest out of all of them and will take some getting used to, especially if you are trying to convert from Premiere Pro. But everything is laid out nicely with plenty of spacing.
It’s got amazing dual monitor support. Learn here how to use your second monitor as a video feed.
The Best Coloring Software
One of the main features of DaVinci Resolve is its colour correcting and grading tools. Used by most TV shows and movies in recent years to colour their shows. Blackmagic Design has crafted the best colour grading tools on the market – DaVinci Resolve. It’s superior to Premiere Pro and any other software on this list, so if colour grading is your thing, DaVinci is the route to take.
All-in-one editing software
DaVinci Resolve stemmed mostly from colour grading. Over the years, an insane amount of development has been pumped into it and it now features an incredible amount of tools for video editing.
When you use this software, you pretty much won’t need to use other software because it does most things you need for a full project.
It’s got a lot of templates and presets, which are actually great. Usually, templates are pretty lame in video editing, so this makes a difference. Get free DaVinci Resolve effects here.
The free version is perfect for most people. Usually, free versions of software, in general, are quite limited in terms of flexibility and use cases, but Blackmagic Design has really thought about the user here.
The free version of DaVinci Resolve features pretty much most settings apart from the top-end professional settings such as custom resolutions, Dolby Vision and other things you would only need if you’re a pro. There’s a great blog here if you want to read more about free vs. paid DaVinci Resolve.
Latest file format support
Just like Adobe, Blackmagic Design is on top of the latest technology and formats. There’s no need to worry if DaVinci supports specific formats. They pretty much support everything. Read our blog on all the DaVinci Resolve supported file formats.
DaVinci Resolve has a huge range of audio tools for professionals. It’s got everything you need such as DeNoiser, EQ and much more.
There’s a range of useful control surfaces that Blackmagic Design has created such as the Micro Panel, Mini Panel and Advanced Panel.
2. Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro carries the day as the best video editing software for beginners, intermediates & professionals. The software flaunts a nonlinear editing interface and a vast range of tools and capabilities that will easily help you make any type of film.
Premiere Pro is a great all-rounder that has some of the most versatile amounts of tools/effects. Pretty much all professional video editors I know use Premiere Pro as their main video editing software.
Premiere Pro key features
- Native file support
- HDR support
- VR support
- Multi-cam support
- Edit footage in all formats
- Part of Adobe Creative Cloud
- Cross-compatible with Adobe software
- Free trial for seven days
- Price starts from $19.99 per month making it accessible to everyone
- Known for crashing a lot. They have a good auto-save feature to avoid losing work
- Colour grading tools aren’t great. It’s hard to send projects to DaVinci to colour grade
- For better masking and title animations, you will need to get Adobe After Effects
Mac & Windows
Complete Review of Premiere Pro
Premiere Pro features some professional, easy-to-use tools such as Lumetri Color, Blurs, Transitions, Sound mixers, Multi-camera switcher, automatic audio sync, Adobe Fonts compatibility and much more.
The professional video editing software boasts a wide range of tools for Cinematic Color correcting and grading, which beats much software on the market, apart from DaVinci Resolve. Read more about DaVinci Resolve below Premiere.
Easy to use User Interface
Despite its advanced capabilities, this software is amazingly easy to use due to the well-organized application window that uses a series of tabs called Workspaces. Each part offers an exclusive layout to meet your needs. Some notable workspaces are the learning station, introductory tutorials, video editing workspace, with audio and video effects, graphics and titles, and transitions.
The workspaces are presented in quadrants known as panels. One panel worth mentioning is the project panel that lets you import and organize all your media, whether it’s titles, graphics, or videos. There are other panels like Source Monitor for previewing your work before importing it into the timeline, Program Monitor for viewing your timeline as it currently stands, and the timeline for displaying the historic view of the project.
You can resize and move these panels anywhere on your screen to match your preferences.
Each license gives you 2 computer uses. For example, if you have a MacBook Pro and an iMac desktop computer, you can use a single subscription for both.
Syncing across computers
Because you can use 2 computers on one license with Adobe, your projects and data are automatically synced between both computers. This is a lifesaver so you can have all your projects and favorites settings synced between devices.
Automatic backup of data
Adobe Cloud is amazing. Basically, it backs up all your important data to their cloud. You get 1TB of storage with your plan, and this is plenty. If you happen to lose your laptop, then all your projects are automatically synced to the cloud and safe.
Great audio tools & flexibility
Premiere Pro also has a wide range of professional sound editing tools. It includes the Audio Track Mixer which is amazing for adding sound effects and adjusting the volume for individual tracks in the timeline.
There are also a bunch of effects tools such as Denoiser, Dehummer, Equaliser, Channel mixer and much more.
Colour tools & effects
There is a huge library of colour effects with Premiere Pro. It features the most used effect, Lumetri Color, which includes all sorts of basic colour tools you need to get going. There are also tools such as Scopes, Levels and Lumetri Color Presets.
There have also been some new additions in recent years which have really helped professionals get work done faster. This includes Captions, Adobe Stock, Colour Matching and Reframe. Read more about Premiere Pro effects here.
The masking features are quite basic with this software. They allow you to do the job in a basic way, but if you want to bezier keyframes edges and create more precise masks, you will need to get Adobe After Effects, too.
Latest file format support
Adobe is always on top of the latest updates and file formats. They need to be because they are so huge and play a massive part in all content creators’ worlds.
Support & Updates
It is constantly updated by Adobe, so there’s no worry about it not getting the latest support for new things. The support is incredible with Adobe, too, so if you ever need any help, you can get it super fast.
Avid Media Composer
Avid Media Composer is one of the most popular commercial video editing software programs on the market today – a tool used for innumerable commercials and Hollywood blockbusters. The brand claims about 95% of TV shows and movies were edited using this video editing software.
Dune Editing Timeline on Avid
Avid’s key strengths
- Ability to edit 4K and high-resolution media
- It supports Windows 7 and later, macOS 10.12 and later
- Work on any resolution and aspect ratio
- Keyboard mapping and colour correction
- Available with a free version (view pricing in the conclusion)
- Price starts from $23.99 per month
Windows and Mac
Complete Review of Avid
Avid Media Composer a product that is reliable when it comes to editing and can handle all media projects with ease.
The software offers a dynamic media folder that enables you to deal with multiple individual bits of video footage and audio files in different formats. It also allows you to specify your editing workflow to save time.
File format support
You can quickly access and work on multiple file-based formats from your favourite camera brand. This includes full support for all the top cinema cameras on the market. What that means is it supports HD, SD, Ultra HD, 2K, 4K, and 8K media. It gives you advanced tools to allow editing without transcoding or copying the video.
Another notable feature is the ability to edit your media remotely through the cloud using Avid’s Cloud Remote. This feature lets you work anytime you want and from every corner of the world together with other editors at the same time.
Avid is on par with Premiere Pro in terms of workspaces. It boasts an efficient workflow for bins (folders) and workspaces. This is really important for professional video editing.
Distributed processing & rendering
This software is leading in terms of distributed processing. Because Avid is a favourite for large movies and TV shows, rendering could take a long time! Especially a full-length feature film with an insane amount of effects and layers.
Avid’s distributed processing makes it quicker to render enormous projects using other computers on its network.
Like DaVinci Resolve, Avid has its own control surfaces, such as the Avid S1, Avid Dock, and the Artist Mix.
Final Cut Pro X
Final Cut Pro X is a video editor for people who want to enjoy an easy-to-use UI while working on videos. It’s recommended for casual or professional use, such as videographers and content creators, but I wouldn’t recommend it for Movie Editing. It is a simple platform that helps to develop quality videos, thus avoiding the complicated, intense features of higher-end software such as Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve.
FCPX key features
- It’s only compatible with the macOS operating system
- Easiest user interface out of all software for beginners
- Advanced colour grading capability
- 360-degree VR editing
- HDR video support
- VR support
- Trimming and moving clips
- One-off price $299.99
- Only works on Mac
- No subscription plan
- Project management isn’t the easiest
- FCPX (10) upgraded the timeline structure to what most professionals would say is very amateur. It features unusual magnetic mechanics which will snap your footage onto the end of the previous clip
Complete Review of Final Cut Pro X
FCPX has many ups and downs in its software, but it’s definitely a favourite for most semi-professionals and intermediates. It has a magnetic timeline feature that lets you move and trim your clips without affecting the entire footage. You can even colour-code them for efficient and easy identification.
The software also lets you create attractive VR films for immersive experiences. You achieve that thanks to the 360-degree viewer that allows you to view the footage from all angles. The program also lets you apply effects and graphics, including blurs and text.
Another notable feature is the organiser, which allows you to sort your audio and videos. The software also comes with video effects, video filters, and graphics templates that you can use to improve the story. You can also bet on the fast delivery of all video formats for upload to Blu-Ray Discs, DVDs, social media platforms, and video-sharing channels.
Unusual timeline mechanics
Final Cut Pro X upgraded heavily from FCP9. Most professionals hated the upgrade, but I can see why they did it. I believe Apple wanted to cater more for beginners too, so they made the timeline similar to iMovie.
It doesn’t feature a timeline similar to Premiere Pro, DaVinci, or Avid. The way it works is by adding a clip directly onto the previous clip on the timeline, like an add-on magnetic sort of method.
Great external plugins
Because FCPX is built on macOS, this has made it super easy for software developers to develop third-party plugins that integrate smoothly. Apple has made it really easy and is fully supportive of developers using the API to integrate plugins into the video editing software. This is brilliant because it opens up doors for the software to expand.
Some amazing tools are
Bounce Color has a huge amount of professional effects, such as Animated Elements, and Color Grading presets.
Color Finale, I have to say, is absolutely incredible. Built by software developers who know how to make colour grading software. I met them once, and they talked me through everything, the closest colour grading software you can get to DaVinci Resolve.
The user interface is very easy to get your head around. Easier than DaVinci Resolve and Avid I would say, but not as professional. Everything is laid out just as you would like it for straightforward software to learn.
File format support
Like other software that has full support on Windows and Mac codecs, FCPX is a bit limited to only Mac codecs. See a list of supported codecs for Final Cut here.
Filmora is ideal for beginners more than professionals and has a brilliant, easy-to-use interface. It is also quite intuitive and helps to export videos within minutes. The product does not contain the advanced features of Adobe Premiere Pro or DaVinci, but you can still find it useful. The software has a wide range of templates for titles, presets and transitions.
Filmora key features
- Full editor feature
- Many templates
- Special effects and colour grading tools
- Filter effects
- Supports macOS, Windows 10 and later
- A free version is available
- Price starts from $52 per year
- Built more for beginners rather than professionals
- Need a different license for different operating systems
- Not as many advanced professional tools
Mac and Windows
Complete Review of Filmora
The software has constant updates to ensure that you get the most advanced features in the industry. It offers an action cam mode that suggests the most useful tool for the genre you are editing to make your work easier.
One great thing about this tool is the freedom it provides when adjusting the film. It is not meant for users who want to do a lot of trimming, and it supports one clip at a go. The product also provides a three-panel layout for timeline, video preview, and source content.
You also get to enjoy a dark or clean interface with simple controls. It performs well on all PCs.
The user interface is one of the easiest to learn that I have experienced. I believe Filmora is best for beginners who are starting out in video editing. It’s got a great layout and is very clear on how to do things, including a bunch of templates and special effects.
License & purchase
Their pricing structure is a bit complicated and unusual. With Filmora, Windows licenses can only be used on Windows computers, and Mac licenses can only be used on Mac computers.
If you purchase a license, you will have it for a lifetime, including updates to that version. But if they release a whole new version of Filmora, you will need to purchase that separately. Even though you need a separate license, the Windows versions are more expensive.
Filmora comes in 2 versions – Filmora X for beginners and intermediates, then Filmora Pro for professionals. See this blog for the differences between FilmoraX & Filmora Pro.
Templates & effects
This video editing software probably features the widest range of templates in this list for titles, transitions, special effects and more. This helps beginners get a step forward in creating a professional-looking video without needing to know how to create the effects themselves.
Filmora stands out above the other software for its templates and effects. Some of these are Audio Ducking (otherwise known as side-chaining in audio production) and colour matching.
Supported file formats
This software is the most limited on this list in terms of file formats. Take a look here at the supported file formats for Filmora.
So, what is the best video editing software?
Any of the film editing software in this review list can get you into the video creation world without a hassle. They are the perfect brands to allow you to upload the final content to different platforms, render all popular file types and keep using them for years to come.
All of these on the list are constantly receiving constant support and updates. DaVinci Resolve & AVID will probably lead on this as the companies are very active and revolutionizing the industry.
What editing software to avoid
I’m going to be brutally honest: avoid all other video editing software – Power Director, iMovie, Premiere Elements, Vegas Pro, Corel Video Studio, Pinnacle & Premiere Rush are really outdated or just not very good. They lack support for new codecs and features. Also, they are not the best, like loads of other bloggers say, because they’ve probably been paid to say it.
Take this from a professional video editor who has been in the industry for over 16 years. I wrote this blog to bring genuine, truthful info & recommendations from an expert. Feel free to check out my latest production venture Stunt Camera Crew, and my professional video editing store Bounce Color.
My recommendation for the best overall
I would recommend DaVinci Resolve if you’re getting into editing. It’s got a free version, which has all you need to start. The company behind it are just smashing the game and releasing so many updates. They have top-quality effects, insanely good tools and it’s sort of an all-in-one solution.
Premiere Pro has always been my favourite for over a decade, but it’s lagging behind, and Adobe doesn’t seem to be progressing much. It’s brilliant software, and I still use it on occasion, but it lacks colour grading features, good audio tools and more.
I believe it’s going to be the favorite for everyone in the near future. It’s also the best colour grading software on the market. I use DaVinci for my colour grading.
I just believe Premiere Pro is nicer to use for general video editing and syncing features at the moment. DaVinci has better colouring and effects tools than Premiere Pro. Once DaVinci Resolve gets better, it’s going to be the leading software for many.
Pricing table comparison
DaVinci Resolve, by far, is the best pricing, in my opinion. It’s a top-end video editing program that’s used by Hollywood editors, and it’s got a free version with most of its main features! It may take a bit of getting used to the UI, but it’s incredible top-quality software.
|Yes – Avid Media Composer First
|$19.99 per month
|$360 one-time fee
|$23.99 per month, $49.99 per month (Ultimate), Contact sales for Enterprise
|$299.99 one-time fee
|Filmora X Mac:
$79.99 one-time fee
Filmora X Windows:
$89.99 one-time fee
|7-day free trial available
|30-day free trial
Free and Paid
Free (media composer first), Media Composer, Media Composer Ultimate, Media Composer Enterprise
Filmora X & Filmora Pro
Mac & Windows versions sold separately
Best video editing software for colour correction & grading
DaVinci Resolve by FAR. It’s got the best colour grading tools on the market, and it’s free. FCPX has brilliant colour grading tools such as Color Finale, but you need to pay for FCPX and the plugins.
Best video editing software for audio tools
Premiere Pro, Avid and DaVinci Resolve. All of them have great professional audio tools. FCPX and Filmora are more amateur/intermediate, in my opinion, but they are still great for most use cases.
Best video editing software for YouTube
I would highly recommend using DaVinci Resolve for YouTube. It covers all aspects that a YouTuber needs for video editing and features tonnes of professional templates, effects and transitions.
DaVinci Resolve always has frequent updates and also has the best compatibility for codecs and new cameras on the market, with endless customer support if you ever need help.
Premiere Pro is also one of my favourite recommendations, but it does cost a permanent monthly subscription, so it depends on the budget and needs. I do believe the effects and colour tools are much better in DaVinci Resolve. Premiere Pro has slacked a lot on these, but their UI is awesome.
There are also a bunch of compatible third-party video editing effects which help improve your videos. You can see the video editing effects here.
Best video editing software for beginners
For beginners, the best editing software to use is Filmora. Filmora is built for beginners, with some professional features which give you all that you need to do in video editing. It does cost but it’s not expensive. Filmora also has a lot of brilliant templates and is updated frequently so it supports the latest codecs and cameras.
If you are looking for a free option and something more professional, I would recommend DaVinci Resolve. DaVinci Resolve is free to use, but it’s a bit harder to use than Filmora if you aren’t aware of how to use editing software.
Premiere Pro could be a good option, too. Premiere Pro has the best user interface for beginners and pros, in my opinion, but it does cost more than Filmora and DaVinci Resolve. Again, this one is probably better for professionals or intermediates.
I would stay away from Avid & FCPX if you are a beginner. FCPX is a bit pricey, and I don’t like their timeline mechanics as they’re so different from all other editing software. Avid is more for top-end professionals.
What editing software do movies use?
The main editing software that movies use is Avid Media Composer. It’s trusted by many of the top video editors in the world and has an amazingly powerful, reliable platform.