The Best Video Editing Software Every Creative Business Owner Should Consider


For a design business—or really any business, for that matter—to remain competitive these days, having an impressive online presence is essential. Add intriguing behind-the-scenes footage and snappy social media video clips into the mix and you’ll be a step above the rest. (Not to mention the fact that well-performing digital content on sites such as YouTube and TikTok could result in an added revenue stream.) But what’s the best video editing software for design firms that have yet to budget for the full-on camera crew and video editors? With these nine video editing tools—from free video editors for beginners to more complex programs that create striking visual effects—you’ll have the potential to make videos for your websites and social media feeds that look professional.

Understandably, creatives may have a few questions en route to developing video content. How do you decide which software is the best for your business? Is Premiere Pro better than Final Cut Pro for expert-level video editing for your website? Or is a more simple program like VSDC, Videopad, or Filmora all your design firm needs to post snappy YouTube videos? And which program has the best video editor app for your smartphone? AD PRO breaks down the basics, the pros and cons, and the expenses of each of these video editing tools.

When comparing nine of the best video editing tools side by side, here is how each stacks up.

Adobe Premiere

The Basics: Known as the industry standard, Adobe Premiere has been hailed as one of the best video editing programs for beginners and more advanced video editors alike, as it boasts basic as well as advanced features and a versatile toolkit. Adobe Premiere Elements is tailored to beginners just learning how to edit simple videos, while Adobe Premiere Pro offers a customizable set of professional tools that enable users to edit videos like a Hollywood filmmaker. Even Premiere’s simplest video editor provides a comprehensive set of tools. For example, with the Text Tool you can easily add titles and captions; the Pen Tool allows you to draw and animate shapes, paths, and objects; and the Razor Tool lets you create the jump cuts that you usually see in vlogs.

With a host of presets and templates, Premiere allows you to implement filters, special effects, and audio/video transition options that are all customizable, and then you can save them as your own templates for future use. It also offers advanced features like 3D editing and multicam editing. By using the program’s Media Browser, you can import images, video clips, and music, or you can drag-and-drop these items into your project.

While Premiere comes with an introductory guide, watching tutorials is how you’ll truly learn the ins and outs of the platform. This highly intuitive program is well-suited for video editing newbies, but the steep price might be cost-prohibitive for young designers after the initial 7-day free trial expires. Like all Adobe products, Premiere is constantly updated. It’s also cloud-based and coordinates with other Adobe software like After Effects and Photoshop (with a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud).

The Pros:

  • Appeals to both beginners and advanced users
  • Delivers high-quality, professional video editing results
  • Excellent color grading features
  • Chock-full of tools
  • Intuitive workspace, traditional non-linear timeline that can be configured and scaled to suit individual needs
  • Constantly updated
  • Advanced stabilization tools
  • Compatible with both Mac iOS and Windows PCs
  • Great for video editing for YouTube, streaming content films, or video essays

The Cons:

  • Requires a subscription
  • Pricey

The Cost: 12-month plan for $251.88 total ($20.99 per month); a 7-day free trial

The Best: Best video editor to make movies like the pros

Apple Final Cut Pro

The Basics: Considered the industry standard along with Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro puts professional video editing capabilities in the consumer’s hand for a true “prosumer” experience. As an Apple product, Final Cut Pro (formerly known as Final Cut Pro X) is not compatible with Windows or Linux, and users have cited its lack of alignment with Adobe products as a downside. However, for Mac users, it integrates with other Apple products like iTunes and Photos, and the platform offers the ability to edit film in post-production like a Hollywood pro. In fact, with a similar user interface to Avid Media Composer—the TV and film industry’s gold standard of video editing software—Final Cut Pro was used to create a number of blockbuster hits, including The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and The Matrix.

The platform’s highly advanced multicam editing feature synchronizes up to 64 different angles of video—definitely a pro-level capability that the average user might not need, but it’s a feature that positions Final Cut Pro as one of the best video editing programs available. And while this software has been used by big-time movie makers, it’s also appropriate for editing video clips for your website, TikTok, or YouTube. Projects can be uploaded directly to YouTube, Facebook, or Vimeo.

Relatively easy to learn with an intuitive layout, Final Cut Pro can be mastered via online courses or YouTube tutorials. One important difference is the editor’s magnetic timeline configuration, which means that there’s a primary storyline that other workspaces attach to (this is a distinction from Premiere Pro’s traditional nonlinear editor timeline). The program empowers beginner and novice video editors with tools that enable them to add title effects and audio to video footage. Other noteworthy features include 360-degree video editing, advanced color-correction tools, convenient grouping tools, as well as lightning-fast processing that can render video almost instantaneously. Users also laud the software’s ability to preview certain effects before actually applying them to the project and to execute effects with scaling without losing image quality. Final Cut Pro’s expansive range of features can feel complex for beginners, but the beauty of this robust platform is that it offers a plethora of tools and advanced features that can be executed if you know how or that can be simplified and used in a more basic format.

The Pros:

  • Fast workflow and processing for video editing
  • Intuitive interface that’s relatively easy to learn
  • Advanced features for filmmaking and excellent stabilization tools
  • A host of tools
  • Perfectly optimized for Mac users

The Cons:

  • No monthly payment option available
  • Compatible only with Apple computers
  • Lack of alignment with Adobe products

The Cost: $299 per license after the 90-day free trial ends. But once you buy it, you own it forever, the license can be installed on multiple Macs, and you receive all updates at no additional cost.

The Best: Best professional-quality video editor for Macs

Apple iMovie

The Basics: Apple iMovie enables every Mac user to become a movie maker. One of the best free video editors, iMovie is great for entry-level video editing and making short video clips with effects and music on your Mac computer, iPhone, or iPad. Since it uses proprietary Apple software, it’s connected to iCloud (making saving and storing projects a breeze), is interchangeable with all Apple products, and enables you to work seamlessly among your devices.

Excellent for making TikTok or YouTube videos, for compiling video clips, or creating slideshows, iMovie allows users to create pro-quality films thanks to a range of features and easy-to-use templates. Simply replace the templated content that’s already incorporated into the project with your own transitions, filters, special effects, and background music. And an advanced and effective stabilization tool allows users to create top-notch videos from their smartphones. While it does not come with all the bells and whistles of some of the more pricey pro-level alternatives, iMovie still allows users to adjust clip speeds, add audio overlays, and work with chroma key (green screens), split screens, and picture-in-picture effects. The automated editing that iMovie offers simplifies the entire video editing process to make this software ideal for beginners, yet the output is still high-quality video.

The Pros:

  • Completely free, comes standard with Apple iOS
  • Good for basic video editing
  • Tools are easy to use; interface easy to navigate
  • Ease of use via app
  • Standard templates to plug and play
  • Able to shoot and edit 4K quality video
  • Fast rendering

The Cons:

  • Lacks the depth of features of some of the more robust, paid video editing software
  • Only available on Apple devices

The Cost: Free

The Best: Best free video editing software

Cyberlink PowerDirector 365

The Basics: A very solid video editing software package for consumers—not quite the pro-quality of Premiere or Final Cut Pro, yet not as basic as iMovie—Cyberlink PowerDirector 365 scores major points for its host of robust tools and features, unlimited access to a royalty-free library of images and video (previously from Shutterstock and Version 20 is from Getty), ease of use via app and compatibility with Android devices, and flexible payment options (a basic free version or premium for a monthly, annual, or one-time fee). Not quite as easy to use as some of the other options on our list, PowerDirector appeals to experienced filmmakers for its multicam editing, 360-degree video, motion tracking, professional effects, video correction tools, among other sophisticated features—though a motivated beginner can learn this software with video tutorials, patience, and time. More simple features include object design tools, DVD menus, and the ability to make slide shows and screen recordings.

Fairly intuitive and available in both macOS and Windows formats, PowerDirector’s tools make creating a digital movie with transitions, effects, and titles a breeze for almost any user. With regularly updated presets and effects throughout the year—included with an annual subscription—PowerDirector provides the latest, essential tools to turn photo compilations and video clips into catchy TikTok videos and Instagram stories. For example, PowerDirector’s Effects Room provides 85 drag-and-drop effects that filter clips that you can view via an animated preview before applying them. Similar to other non-linear video editors, PowerDirector allows you to drag video clips to the timeline, rearrange their order, and trim them down; then add seamless transitions and punchy titles to create impactful little videos primed for social media.

The Pros:

  • Variety of features and robust tools
  • Large library of free stock photos and videos available
  • Simple drag-and-drop features to quickly combine and edit video clips
  • Advanced stabilization tool for use via smartphone
  • Regular updates with the most current effects and presets
  • Mac iOS and Windows versions available
  • Flexible payment options plus a free basic version and 30-day free trial

The Cons:

  • Not the most top-tier video quality or finish
  • A bit advanced for the average beginner video editor

The Cost: After a 30-day free trial, there’s a basic free version or paid premium versions: Ultra for a $99 one-time fee, Ultimate for a $139.99 fee, PowerDirector 365 for a $69.99 per year or $19.99 per month subscription. Or you can bundle the video editing software with Cyberlink’s ColorDirector, AudioDirector, and PhotoDirector for a subscription of $129.99 for a year or $29.99 per month.

The Best: Best for social media videos

Magix Movie Edit Pro

The Basics: Intuitive, easy to use, and simple to learn, Magix Movie Edit Pro’s clean and straightforward interface, interactive templates, and automatic features make it a top choice for beginner video editors using PCs. And while it’s not jam-packed with advanced tools and features and doesn’t have all the capabilities of professional-caliber software, Movie Edit Pro does deliver high-speed performance and offers a myriad transitions and special effects to make your videos really stand out on social media feeds. As with other non-linear video editors, Movie Edit Pro employs a simple drag-and-drop process for arranging and trimming video clips before exporting them up to 8K ultra HD quality.

Available in three versions, the Pro package delivers a decent amount of tools for basic video editing plus some 900 effects, transitions, and titles, while the Plus and Premium packages offer advanced features, including multicam editing to facilitate real-time editing, 360-degree editing, plus enhanced transitions, templates, and effects. Some say Magix Movie Edit Pro is similar to Premiere Pro’s workspace but much simpler, and overall this video editing software is on par with Apple iMovie but for Windows PCs.

The Pros:

  • Easy to learn and use
  • Full of useful templates
  • Generous amount of transitions and special effects
  • Clean, easy to navigate workspace
  • Fast editing process
  • Tiered pricing options

The Cons:

  • Not as advanced as more pro-level software
  • Slower rendering than its competitors
  • Some users have called it glitchy

The Cost: After a 30-day free trial, there are three packages to choose from: Pro is $69.99, Plus is $99.99, and Premium is $129.

The Best: Best easy video editor for PC users

DaVinci Resolve

The Basics: What distinguishes DaVinci Resolve, by Blackmagic, from competing video editors is that it combines editing, color correction, visual effects, motion graphics, as well as audio post production into one program, which allows users to work more quickly (i.e. they don’t have to switch between programs for different tasks). Another noteworthy advantage is the program’s multicam editing tools that can cut footage from up to 16 cameras; you can also toggle between cameras through the touch screen, which also allows you to trim footage without moving from one camera to another. The program’s trim interface also facilitates editing in minute detail, and a dual timeline affords quick navigation, cutting, and trimming. With a host of pro-grade features including 3D tools and 8K editing, an impressive suite of video effects, and a well-designed interface, DaVinci Resolve appeals to Hollywood professionals, but it definitely will take time and patience for an amateur to get the hang of the software. Many users have reported a learning curve for mastering the basics of producing video content—from importing footage to editing and trimming to exporting the final project.

Blackmagic offers a free download of DaVinci Resolve without a watermark that’s more robust than expected with standard editing and cutting, effects, motion graphics, color correction, and audio editing—everything one might need for basic video editing without all the bells and whistles that a true professional would require. The free version is all one would need to create simple behind-the-scenes videos for social media and YouTube.

The Pros:

  • Professional-caliber video editing capabilities
  • A bevy of editing tools
  • Striking transitions
  • Clear, concise interface
  • Combines motion graphics, audio editing, and post-production video editing in one program (which are separate apps in other pro editors)
  • Substantial free version; reasonably priced premium package

The Cons:

  • Complex program that takes time and patience to learn
  • For Microsoft Windows only

The Cost: A robust free version or $269 for the full Studio version

The Best: Best free video editor for skilled editors

Pinnacle Studio

The Basics: Available for PC users only, Pinnacle Studio offers almost pro-level video editing capabilities without the complex user interface and steep learning curves associated with competing video editors. With fast processing, a full suite of features and stunning effects, multicam editing, stop-motion video, motion tracking, color correction, enhanced keyframe controls, and powerful title editing and masking tools, Pinnacle Studio appeals to near-professional video editing enthusiasts but it’s still extremely simple to learn and use. Free effects, titles, and templates facilitate a beginner video editor in creating truly impressive content for websites, social media feeds, or YouTube videos.

The Pros:

  • Very good prosumer product that appeals to near pros but is easy to use
  • Intuitive, easy to learn for beginners
  • Growing range of features
  • In-depth interface and functionality

The Cons:

  • Some users might find it somewhat basic
  • Had a reputation for being glitchy but has improved in recent years
  • Available for Microsoft Windows only

The Cost: Available in three packages: entry-level Pinnacle Studio for $59.95, Plus for $99.95, and Ultimate for $129.95 for perpetual licenses, with no recurring subscription fee required. Upgrades from previous versions of Plus and Ultimate are offered at a $30 and $40 discount, respectively. There’s no free trial, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The Best: Best novice video editor using Windows


The Basics: Considered the best video editor on a budget, Wondershare’s Filmora offers a pleasing interface; well-designed title and text templates; standard trimming, transitions, and overlays; and a host of effects. Though it lacks 3D editing, multicam editing, and 360 VR support, Filmora does provide decent motion tracking, and it really stands out for its sound effects. Noted as one of the best video editors for sound effects, Filmora comes with a library of free basic sound effects and background music tracks that you can easily add to your video clips via drag-and-drop, and a convenient microphone button allows you to easily record a voiceover.

Available in both macOS and Windows versions, Filmora also allows users to experiment with chroma key (green screen) effects, affords impressive rendering speed, and provides convenient buttons for fast uploads to YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo as well as DVD burning. What’s more, Filmora offers Filmora Go, specifically designed for video editing via smartphone, and Filmora Scrn, that allows you to capture and edit videos on your screen.

The Pros:

  • Pleasing interface
  • Decent effects, overlays, transitions, and title and text tools
  • Library of free sound effects and music
  • Excellent video rendering speed
  • Inexpensive
  • New effect collections added every month included with subscription
  • Available in macOS and Windows versions

The Cons:

  • Lacking in features of its competitors
  • Some call it too basic

The Cost: Free version with watermark or subscription version for $51.99 per year or $79.99 for an outright purchase

The Best: Best video editor on a budget

Vegas Pro

The Basics: Originally developed by Sony and now run by Magix on a Windows platform only, Vegas Pro delivers a range of video editing tools, but it’s been criticized for its interface complexity. Though recent overhauls to the software have attempted to make it more user-friendly, beginner or novice video editors cite user frustration. While a benefit of the program is the number of tools available, the system lacks a start-up screen and often relies on industry jargon, which may be an obstacle for nonprofessionals. However, online tutorials on the Vegas website prove informative and helpful.

Vegas is set up as a traditional three-panel workspace with the source at the top left, preview at the top right, and timeline along the bottom, which facilitates ease of use. There are a number of keyboard shortcuts, though some are nonstandard. Overall, Vegas scores points for its good rendering performance, clear color grading tools, and 1.5 million free stock video clips and audio assets available to subscribers. It also boasts advanced features such as motion tracking, multicam editing, and 3D editing.

The Pros:

  • Full suite of video editing tools
  • Top-notch color grading tool
  • Fast rendering performance
  • Constant software development and monthly updates
  • Outright purchase or subscription payment plan

The Cons:

  • Not terribly user friendly and hard for nonpros to grasp
  • Challenging user interface
  • Limited text and title options
  • Lacks conveniences of competitors
  • Windows platform only

The Cost: Three packages available as a subscription or outright purchase. Edit level: $155.88 per year, $249 perpetual license, $119 upgrade; Pro level: $19.99 per month with annual commitment, $399 perpetual license, $199 upgrade; Post level: $29.99 per month with annual commitment, $599 perpetual license, $299 upgrade; all levels are available in a free 30-day trial version.

The Best: Best for taking up the least amount of storage space on your computer

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