Oct 11, 2022
What makes a good video editing software these days? Is it high-end controls for fancy VFX and animation? Or is it simply ease-of-use and an intuitive design? Or, even better yet, is it an embracement of future-tech features like machine learning and AI auto-edit options?
In truth, the real answer to this question will vary drastically from person to person and project to project. For a run-and-gun vlogger creating content for YouTube and Instagram, it might mean one thing. However for an expert VFX editor looking to create a splashy logo animation, it might mean something completely different.
Yet, while we acknowledge that there are layers to any video editing need, there has become somewhat of a consensus on the state of NLE (non-linear editor) softwares as of late. So, if you are starting out in video editing for the first time (or looking for a refresher) we have this quick list of the best video editing softwares currently on the market.
(Plus a few free software options for your smartphone workflows listed at the end as well.)
Before we dive into our picks, let’s first go over some of the core tenets to what makes a good video editing software a — well, you know — good video editing software. These components can vary from need to need of course, but in general this is what you should look for in an NLE:
We’ll go more in-depth into some nuances of each of these tenets, but in general these are the elements which you should be looking for when deciding on which video editing software is right for you and your project.
Now, let’s get to our top selections. (And if you don’t agree, be sure to @ us on our social channels so we’ll know how you feel 😊)
Our current top pick for the best video editing software is Adobe Premiere Pro. Now, there are a lot of reasons for this pick, but for many the number one reason to use Premiere Pro is because it’s still currently the most popular option for video editors from beginner to expert.
This means that Premiere Pro is the NLE option with the most support resources at your disposal. From great YouTube channels dedicated to Premiere Pro tips and tricks, to plenty of guides and self-help options, Premiere Pro is the most accessible in terms of learning the ropes online.
Premiere Pro is also cross-platform compatible and connectable with other Adobe tools and programs like Photoshop and After Effects, so if you’re already using the Creative Cloud (or other apps) you’re probably already part of the ecosystem.
Making a somewhat surprising spot on our list to some, DaVinci Resolve has quietly become one of the most popular editing softwares on the market — if not the top pick for many new, cinematography-focused creators.
Long known mostly for their color grading controls, Blackmagic Design has made strong steps into the world of NLE softwares and their DaVinci Resolve program truly combines the best of their historical color expertise with a very intuitive and well-equipped turnkey editing software.
With DaVinci Resolve 18, the program rivals Premiere Pro in terms of clear design and helpful tools and features. While it doesn’t have After Effects to connect with, Resolve can connect with Fusion for GPU accelerated 2D and 3D compositing and motion graphics, plus plenty of extra-precise controls for those looking to really focus on the nuanced and minute elements of their edits.
For many of us who started off in film and video in the late 2000s or early 2010s, Apple’s Final Cut Pro might have been the most popular digital video editing software of the time. And while Apple’s legacy with digital video is rich, the company unfortunately pushed resources away from their flagship NLE in favor of their stripped down, and more accessible, iMovie program for some time.
In turn, many video editors made the transition to Premiere Pro in the late 2010s and haven’t looked back. Yet, to be fair, many of the best aspects of both Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro are similar. Their timeline-based editing system feels pretty much the same to most users, it’s really only the hotkeys that have been different.
In recent years though, Apple has refocused on Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro has gone off in its own specialized direction. DaVinci Resolve has found its own audience and Final Cut Pro now sits as a great option in its own right and is waiting for the right customers to find it.
In addition to the video editing softwares which we highlighted above, there are also several options worth mentioning that won’t cost a monthly subscription or one-time cost. And, in fact, many of the free video editing softwares currently on the market are quite capable these days.
Here is a quick list of some of the best free video editing softwares which you should absolutely check out before you purchase any of the paid versions above.
Keep in mind, even with each of these free video editing app options, a free version will usually not give you all the features you'd expect a video editor to have when trying to edit videos or video clips together. Motion tracking and other editing software perks might be out the window.
There’s also actually quite a few great options for working with video footage directly on your smartphone as well these days. For many of these options though, they might be best for editing footage shot by said smartphone, instead of taking in external footage of a higher quality.
But for many instances, these smartphone video editing apps should work just great for cutting together short videos for different social video apps like Instagram, TikTok or even YouTube.
Here are some of our top picks for best video editing softwares for smartphones (including both iPhone and Android options):
Similar to the other paid video editing software options for professional video editing experts, a video editor might struggle to really bring a project together for anything besides YouTube videos or other social platforms with these basic editing elements which lack the advanced tools and advanced features you might find with the best video editor options.
Hopefully you’ve found these video editing software solutions helpful for your own editing needs. Feel free to explore each option thoroughly though before you make up your mind and make a purchase.
In the meantime, if you’d like to read up more on any other editing tips, tricks, or guides, check out these additional articles from the Soundstripe blog below: