Whether you’ve been running your own YouTube channel or you’re just starting to splice together home videos, the best video editing software will help you achieve your vision. These software packages support a range of formats and features you may or may not need, depending on your ambitions and skill level.
We’ve picked six of the best video editing software currently on the market. Our picks include software for pros who need a wide range of editing techniques and compatibility with source and export formats. If you’re dipping your toe in the editing waters for the first time, we’ve scouted out simple solutions, too. We’ve also included a few tips to help you pick the best video editing software for your goals.
— Best Overall: Adobe Premiere Pro CC
— Best for Windows: Corel VideoStudio Ultimate
— Best for Mac: Apple Final Cut Pro
— Best for Beginners: Adobe Premiere Elements 2022
— Best for YouTube: CyberLink PowerDirector
— Best Budget: Apple iMovie
How We Chose the Best Video Editing Software
We looked for video editing software that takes advantage of the latest technology while keeping the interface simple enough for the intended user. For those reasons, we evaluated:
Ease of use: Even complex video editing software should be relatively easy to use. Interfaces that allow the user to customize panes and panels will make the editing experience more intuitive for each user and project.
Interface: A clear interface is one that puts the tools you need right at hand. Some interfaces get cluttered with all of the tools you can possibly use, while others limit what’s visible to what you’re using for the current project. We looked for interfaces that allowed customization or designs that made it easier to find the tools you needed.
Source compatibility: Today, there are so many source options that the more, the merrier makes sense for video editing software. At its most basic, the software should accept HD and MP4s, but software that accepts more advanced options like VR, 360, and HEVC are more useful for a quickly advancing visual media landscape.
Export formats: Like source compatibility, the types of formats the software can export will greatly affect what you can do with your final videos. MP4, Vimeo, YouTube, 4K, and HEVC are all possibilities. We looked for software with a wide range of export options.
Rendering speed: Rendering speeds depend on how well the software handles a mix of advanced features when rendering the final product. Fast rendering speeds mean the software works efficiently within the available system configuration.
Features: Multicam editing, multiple angles, multiple tracks are all features that let advanced users create more complex videos. We looked for easy access to basic features, as well as the advanced features included with the software or available through additional plug-ins or subscriptions.
The Best Video Editing Software: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Video Editing Software Overall: Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Why It Made The Cut: Adobe Premiere Pro offers a versatile tool selection and workspace, making it the best video editing software.
— Compatibility: Mac and Windows
— Supported Source Content: 4K, 8K, VR (including 360)
— Exports HEVC: Yes
— Customizable interface
— Unlimited multicam angles
— Wide array of organizational tools
— Regularly updated
— Requires subscription
Adobe Premiere Pro CC is used by the pros to create smooth attention-grabbing videos. There’s little wonder why. The interface is completely customizable. You can decide what you see and where you see it, making the interface an intuitive creative tool in and of itself.
The unlimited multicam angles sets this software apart from almost all of the other software out there, except for other premium packages. The only real limits are your system’s capabilities. But if your system has the juice, you can select as many angles as you want and bring them together for a cohesive end product.
Adobe goes to great lengths to make sure users can stay organized based on the kind of work they’re doing. Premiere Pro includes a wide range of organizational tools to meet that end goal, like tagging and recognition tools.
An up and downside of Premiere Pro is the subscription. It’s expensive in the long run, but the software is updated regularly. Additionally, you can expand what you do by adding on additional apps. However, those apps come at an additional price.
Best Video Editing Software for Windows: Corel VideoStudio Ultimate
Why It Made The Cut: Corel’s VideoStudio offers a good mix of simple tools and a few premium features to make impressive videos for a one-time price, making it the best video editing software for Windows.
— Compatibility: Windows
— Supported Source Content: HD, 4K, 360 video
— Exports HEVC: Yes
— Flexible interface
— Multipoint motion tracking
— Fast rendering
— No subscription required
— No keyword tagging
— Weak audio editing features
Corel VideoStudio Ultimate focuses on a clean, simple interface where you have plenty of access to simple editing tools. Some people with more video editing experience may find that there are too many simple tools. However, they’re mixed with a few premium options, like multipoint motion tracking and color stop motion.
VideoStudio also includes fast rendering thanks to the software’s support of the three big video hardware — Nvidia, AMD, and Intel. That also gives the software greater stability, so freezing and errors rarely happen.
There are a couple of shortcomings. For example, you can’t tag with keywords, which would be nice for organizational purposes. VideoStudio also lacks some of the stronger audio editing features of some competitors.
Best Video Editing Software for Mac: Apple Final Cut Pro
Why It Made The Cut: A wide breadth of organizational tools, multi-cam support, and lightning-fast performance make Final Cut Pro X the best video editing software for Macs.
— Compatibility: Mac
— Supported Source Content: HD, 4K, 360 VR
— Exports HEVC: No
— Fast performance
— iPad Sidecar support
— Excellent organization tools
— Multicam support
— No motion tracking or stabilization for 360 video
If you need something beyond iMovie for your video editing, Apple Final Cut Pro is the program for you. Designed only for Macs, this program offers fast performance and excellent organizational tools to ease your way through the editing process. This software supports iPad Sidecar, where you can use an iPad as a second screen. It also supports MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. The Touch Bar adapts its appearance based on how you’re using the software.
This software can also be used remotely through proxy for those who’d rather skip the office for remote locations. Apple also includes many organizational tools, from face recognition to ratings and tagging. Despite all of the great features this software has, it does have its limitations. For example, there’s no motion tracking or stabilization for 360 video. That could make it harder to create the smooth transitions you’re used to. Explore more options in the best video editing software for Mac.
Best Video Editing Software for Beginners: Adobe Premiere Elements 2022
Why It Made The Cut: Adobe Elements lets newbies develop their skills with an easy-to-use interface and a decent number of tools, making this pick the best video editing software for beginners.
— Compatibility: Mac and Windows
— Supported Source Content: HD, 4K
— Exports HEVC: No
— Simple interface
— Can integrate Elements Organizer and Photoshop Elements
— Guided support throughout the editing process
— No HEVC export
— No 3D or 360 VR
Adobe Premiere Elements keeps things basic and includes guided support for beginners still learning to edit. Instruction comes in the form of guides that pop up as you’re editing to help you through the process. Those guides are helpful when you’re new to the program but also as your skills advance.
Elements features a simple interface where the basics are easy to find and use. Adobe has also integrated Elements with Elements Organizer and Photoshop Elements for those who love the Adobe suite experience. However, Elements is designed for beginners. Consequently, it can’t edit 3D or 360 VR, nor can you export HEVC. That might limit where and when you can upload or download videos.
Best Video Editing Software for YouTube: CyberLink PowerDirector
Why It Made The Cut: CyberLink PowerDirector supports a wide range of source and export content, and it’s easy-to-use, making it the best video editing software for YouTube.
— Compatibility: Mac and Windows
— Supported Source Content: HD, 4K, 8K, 3D, VR
— Exports HEVC: Yes
— Multicam editing
— Motion tracking
— Faster rendering
— Easy to use
— No DVD authoring or burning
— Interface can be overwhelming for new users
CyberLink PowerDirector offers both Mac and Windows users a full range of features that beginner and advanced editors can appreciate. It can incorporate up to 100 video tracks and includes multicam editing and motion tracking. It can also create everything from MP4s to 3D videos. CyberLink can also easily format and output videos for YouTube or Vimeo. CyberLink includes the option of assisted movie making, with downloadable templates through Express Projects. They’re especially useful for social media, in case you want to post stories on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook.
You can also stabilize and adjust angles on 3D videos with an intuitive window that opens when you choose 360 editing. Everything from the motion tracking to color tools are easy to use, too. On the downside, you can’t author or burn to DVD, and the interface can be a bit much for first-time users. You’ll also have to consider whether you want to splurge for a (affordable) monthly subscription for access to extra plug-ins, updates, and audio options.
Best Budget: Apple iMovie
Why It Made The Cut: For free software, iMovie is versatile and helpful for making beautiful videos without breaking a sweat.
— Compatibility: Mac and other Apple devices
— Supported Source Content: 4K, HEVC, HDR
— Exports HEVC: No
— Very simple interface
— Offers helpful (and classy) themes
— Excellent range of audio tools
— Helpful number of movie templates
— Only supports two video tracks
— Lacks more advanced features
— Only available for Apple devices
Apple users can jump into movie making with the best free video editing software — Apple iMovie. It’s available for free for all Mac devices through the App store. Upon opening, you only see what you need rather than the full range of tools available. That keeps things fairly fast and simple.
You can edit source content that ranges from 4K and HEVC to videos you take on your GoPro or phone. However, the export options are more limited. For example, it doesn’t export HEVC. You can also transfer projects from your phone to a desktop or laptop with iMovie on it. Apple has loaded iMovie with more audio tools than many paid software. iMovie is also loaded with helpful themes to get you started. It doesn’t hurt that they’re classy, so you can look like a pro without a lot of experience under your belt.
Of course, there are limitations to free software. Namely, iMovie only supports two video tracks and lacks many advanced features. Consequently, you might need to upgrade after using iMovie for a while. Finally, it’s only available on Apple devices.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Video Editing Software
Source Content Support
Today, there are many sources of video, from low-res mobile phone video to (the rare) 8K cameras. Each source content requires programming that supports it. If you want to edit high-res videos, you’ll need video editing software that supports HD or 4K XAVC-S format.
Virtual reality, 360 video, and 8K are three advanced options that will require supporting the advanced H.265 format, also called HEVC. This format compresses the video, so the video takes up less space but offers better resolution. Some video editing software can support these advanced options but can’t export them. In short, know where you’ll be getting your content source to make sure the editing software can support it.
There are many export options, from posting to social media to burning a DVD. Like source content, different export options require extra support for each export choice.
Some software, like iMovie, can post directly to social media. Others require you to download the video before uploading it to another program or social media. Software that can export HEVC will allow you to up and download higher resolution videos on slower WiFi because they’re more compressed. A few of the formats include MP4, AVI, MOV, HEVC, or social media formats. If you know what you want to do with the video, you’ll know which formats you need.
Ease of Use
Some video editing software is designed for consumers, which usually means they’re less complicated and more user-friendly. Professional-level video editing software has more features, which will naturally make it more complicated. However, even among professional programs, there are those that are easier to use.
If you’re new to video editing, look for software with adequate support. Some include guided editing to help learn how to use the tools. Many manufacturers also create tutorials and how-to videos you can access online.
Q: What do most YouTubers use to edit their videos?
Most YouTubers use one of three software programs to edit their videos — Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Final Cut Pro, and Apple iMovie. The first two offer more features for those who want and need professional software. iMovie provides an excellent free option to create high-quality videos for social media as long as you have an Apple device.
Q: How do I learn to edit videos?
You can learn to edit videos through online tutorials, blog posts, and how-to videos supplied by the video editing software manufacturer. One of the best ways is to use tutorials provided by the manufacturer supplemented by individual user tutorials on YouTube and other places on the web. Some software includes guided editing to help you learn to use the tools more effectively. After that, it’s about practicing your new skills until they feel more natural.
Q: What is the easiest software to edit videos?
The easiest options are iMovie and Adobe Elements. Both are designed for those with little video editing experience. They do the basics well, and both offer a few extra features to make great videos.
Q: How much does video editing software cost?
Video editing software can be free or cost over $200 per year for a subscription. Consider what you want to do with the videos to justify the cost. For example, if you’re using the software for personal videos for family and home use, you probably don’t need every last bell and whistle. A basic program that lets you cut scenes together and add music and titles may be enough. Professionals are the ones who need the expensive software that may include a yearly subscription for 24/7 support and the latest updates and access to plug-ins.
Q: What else do I need to edit videos?
You need little more than a device to record the video and a device on which to edit that video. Sometimes you can do all of that on a single device. For example, you can shoot the video on your mobile phone and edit it there before posting to YouTube or another social media channel. In other circumstances, you may need a camera to take the video and a laptop on which to edit.
Pros and amateurs ready for skill growth can dive into Adobe Premiere Elements 2022 and get everything they need to make incredible videos. This software will keep you at the forefront of video editing with frequent updates. If you’re on a budget (and you own an Apple device), you can’t beat the price or beautiful results of Apple iMovie. Its simple interface lets you create videos well above your paygrade.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.