Video editing is not a simple skill, even for the technically inclined. It does not help that the software to do so is generally expensive. If you are hoping to get into video editing without using a bundle, we have some suggestions.
We have chosen choices for both paid and free options on standard PCs, plus the obvious choice for macOS. For those of you who are limited to a smartphone or tablet, we also have an app selection, plus one for users limited to only online interfaces. No matter which platform or budget you should use, you can use at least one of the program options below.
The best paid video editor for beginners: Corel VideoStudio Pro ($ 70)
Corel is a software company that has existed longer than many of its users have lived (no, really, the company was founded over 30 years ago) and that experience shows. Their beginner-friendly VideoStudio video editor is an ideal choice for those who want to get started.
First, the interface is not as complicated or advanced as Adobe's options (although Premiere Elements is a bit overwhelming), but still contains some of the basic principles you need to master if you ever go on to more advanced editing. That said, it is perfectly capable of basic timeline and effects if all you need is a simple presentation or YouTube video. At under $ 100 for the full version – with a 30-day free trial if you're still not sure – the 2019 release of the software is an excellent choice for the aspiring videographer.
Best Free Video Editor for Beginners: HitFilm Express
Most free video editing software is a bit basic, but HitFilm Express includes a system that can handle surprisingly advanced editing tasks without overwhelming the user with a super-complex interface. The system also includes access to some special effects – a great tool for young people or students who hope to do some fun things.
HitFilm includes unlimited audio and video tracks – not a provided with free software – but you may have to purchase some of the add-on packages to access the most advanced features. You can see which features are free and paid here.
The best mobile video editor for beginners: Quik
Video editing on a phone screen is not an easy task: the touch-based interface means that the mouse's precision is not an option. But if you're looking for something quick and dirty for a simple sharing or YouTube upload, and your phone's built-in editor doesn't cut it, you're sorry, and quik gives Quik a try.
This free app is published by GoPro, action camera people, especially to be used with its camera hardware. But it also works well with video taken on your phone as well. It can even sync with a music track, and it supports advanced video options such as slow motion and 60 FPS output.
The best web based video editor for beginners: Kizoa
There are some video editing options exclusively on the web, especially the built-in upload tools on YouTube and Vimeo. But if you're looking for something fast that has more features than the simple stuff, check out Kizoa. It contains standard clip editing, music and title support, and intro and outro templates, handy if you only have twenty minutes to create the presentation video.
The best Mac video editor for beginners: Apple iMovie
While most of the choices above are available on multiple platforms, you can only use iMovie if you have an Apple computer. It's the gold standard for free video editors, and it's already installed on your Mac.
Although not as powerful as Apple's own Final Cut Pro X, it is much more user-friendly, and recent updates include iOS support and direct sharing to YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook. The only real drawback is that the basic iMovie titles will look like many other videos on the web. Oh, and of course it's not available on Windows.