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Video Editing Software

Here are some basic video editing programs for beginners:

iMovie (Mac)!
Free and included with all Apple computers. App version available for iPhones and iPads. (Warning: App versions are simplified and may not provide as many options.) For college students/instructors: Apple computers on campus should come with iMovie.

Heads up! You will need to set aside space to store iMovie video projects. Anticipate that you might need 5-10GB of space. If you are using a computer lab, you may need a portable storage option.

WeVideo (Windows & Macs, browser-based) –!
Browser-based video editing program with free and low-cost options. Comes with cloud storage. (Yay, no need for extra computer memory!) The cloud storage option makes WeVideo really useful if you’re moving between different computers or different computer labs. A premium WeVideo account costs $25-39 for a year. However, for a short 1 time project, you can often make due with the free service.

Warning: The free version is great for a trial run and a quick 5 min video, but it doesn’t allow for significant storage and export time per month. Be careful if you go with this option. Minimize your exports and keep an eye on your numbers.

Canva (Browser-based) –
Canva is a popular browser-based graphic design tool which now also offers limited video editing. Canva comes with free and paid features. It also offers special plans for students, teachers, and nonprofits. Canva offers users a broad range of design templates which can be customized in various ways. There are also many options specifically tailored to popular online platforms (YouTube, Instagram, etc.).

HitFilm Express (Windows, Macs) –
Free video and video effects editor with paid add-on options. If you’re interested in progressing to using Adobe Premiere, you might want to try this software out. Several students have reported to me that HitFilm helped them advance to Adobe Premiere more easily. They found that the HitFilm interface paralleled Premiere in certain ways and made it easier for them to figure out Premiere on their own

Pitivi (Linux) –
Free and popular video editing tool for Linux.

MAGIX Movie Studio (Windows) –
A video editing tool for Windows. This software is offered via subscriptions or a perpetual license. As of 2023, basic subscriptions cost $2.99 a month and a basic perpetual license cost $39.

Camtasia (Windows, Macs) –
Camtasia is a video editing and screen recording software that is popular with educators. Many instructors use it to record video presentations with their slides. Some educational institutions offer it to instructors and students for free. As of 2023, the cost of the basic version averages $299.

Have video editing experience?

If you’re experienced with video editing or you simply want to take on a bigger piece of software, you may prefer to use one of these programs:

Adobe Premiere (Windows, Macs)-
Many universities offer students and/or instructors access to Adobe’s Creative Suite or Adobe CS. Adobe CS is a set of software products which includes Premiere. As of 2023, the paid version is available to students and teachers for $20 a month subscription.

Davinci Resolve (Windows, Macs, Linux) –
Davinci Resolve is a very popular program with a number of post-production tools for filmmakers, this includes video editing. As of 2023, there are two versions of Resolve, the one called “Davinci Resolve” is the lighter free version. “Davinci Resolve Studio” is the more elaborate paid version ($299 as of 2023).

Final Cut Pro (Macs) –
Final Cut is another of the major video editing programs out there. As of 2023, it costs $299.

Cloud Storage Recommendations

Video editing projects require storage space. If you’re working at a computer lab, you also need to think about portable storage options. Depending on your particular technology set up, you may want to consider setting up some cloud storage for your project.

If you are working on your project across different computers or if you don’t have devices with enough storage capacity, consider these options:

  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • Check Your School’s Online Storage Options – Popular online courseware often includes a “locker” or digital storage feature. For example on D2L/MyCourses, you can use the Locker feature to store and transfer files. Check with your teacher or tech support to investigate your options.


Video Editing Tips!

  • For WeVideo Users: Get Out of Basic Mode!
    Are you using WeVideo in Storyboard mode? Are you ready for more options? Look at the top left of the page. Just below the WeVideo logo is a button that says “Storyboard.” Click on the small triangle just to the right of it and look at the options on the dropdown menu. Timeline (S) mode gives you more options and Timeline (A) gives you the most options.
  • For iMovie Users Who Need to Access Their Files on Multiple Computers:
    Here are the steps you need to consolidate your iMovie files and make them portable.

    • Go to File –> Open Library
    • Choose “New” or “Other” (depending on whether the library already exists) and access the library’s location.
    • Now that you’ve opened the library, it will now appear in the iMovie Library Browser
    • Create and/or access the new folder or “Library” in the backup location.
    • In the original library, Consolidate Event Media. This will gather everything into the original library. (You may already be storing your files/clips in one place, but do this step anyway. Just in case.)
    • Now, you’re ready to move the project or “Event” to the new location.
      • Select the correct Event in the project browser.
      • Drag/drop the Event to the new library location.
    • Check on and save everything you’ve just done.
      • Right-click the new library location and choose “Reveal in Finder.”
      • Make sure all the files you need now appear in this new location.

Any additional tips? Do you have another tool you like? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list!