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The Best Free Video Editing Software for YouTubers

So you fancy making a name for yourself as a YouTube celebrity? Well, you're going to need the proper kit. Nothing is more off-putting in a YouTube video than dodgy resolution, pixelated faces and poor quality sound. Sure, a high quality camera will help with these issues, but for a truly polished finish you need to have decent editing software at your disposal as well. Unfortunately this software is often expensive, with Adobe's Premiere Pro, for example, starting at £17.15 per month. For those just stepping into the field it's an expense they can do without. So, to keep your costs down without ending up with sub-standard videos, we've decided to take a look at the best free tools the market has to offer.

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YouTube Editor

We couldn't make a list of free video editors without mentioning YouTube's own offering. This web-based editor benefits from a simple, clean interface, high speeds and easy uploading to the main YouTube platform. The web-based nature also cuts out the need to download large files, and some of the tweaks and after-effects available can really add a sparkle to your final video. It doesn't have quite as many features as some of the other programs on this list, but its simplicity and integration with YouTube makes it an excellent choice for beginners.

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Avidemux

Avidemux is probably a bit more specialised than the other options listed here, being much better suited to short clips than long videos, but it's still definitely worth a mention. The open-source editor provides all the basic options you expect from such software including contrast controls, audio tweaks and after-effects, but ditches a few extra features in an attempt to keep the interface streamlined and the download size to a minimum. While this does result in quick editing, many users criticise the interface for being less user-friendly than its rivals, and the software is still prone to bugs and crashes. Where Avidemux saves itself, however, is with its excellent output manipulation and wide range of supported formats.

Avidemux

Windows Movie Maker

The basic video editor for those running a Windows OS, Windows Movie Maker certainly holds its own against its other free rivals. Offering up an intuitive, click-and-drag style interface that is easy for beginners to pick up and master, as well as a wide range of transitions and after-effects, the software remains one of the best free options available. It also includes video stabilisation, a wide range of outputs and the ability to upload directly to sites such as YouTube and Facebook. The only major downside is more frequent reports of crashes as compared to other software.

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iMovie

Although listed by Apple at a price of £10.99, the fact that the iMovie software is available for free on all new Apple devices makes it eligible for a place on this list. Essentially serving as the Mac equivalent to Windows Movie Maker, Apple's software is often the preferred of the two, primarily due to the heavily documented fact that Macs provide better results in terms of graphics and display. The editor itself also uses a similar interface to the Windows software, using simple click-and-drag controls to create a platform that is well suited to both beginners and more advanced users. The big problem with iMovie, however, is its inability to import files in MP4 format, which will inevitably infuriate some users.

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Lightworks

In our opinion, Lightworks takes the prize as the best free video editor available, a claim attested to by its frequent use in professional film making. Lightworks boasts more features than any other software on this list, and delivers them to a highly professional standard. While the free version only offers resolutions up to 720p, this will be enough for most YouTubers and if you do want to upload 4K videos there is the option to upgrade to a premium version which comes with a few extras tied in to the package. Most, however, will never see the need to upgrade, with the free version providing just about every tool you may need to create a stunning final product. Unfortunately, all that editing power comes with a steep learning curve, but there are forums packed full of help and advice from other users to help you master the interface and the end results are more than worth the time spent figuring it all out.

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Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @SamAtSMF


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The Best Free Video Editing Software for YouTubers Reviewed by Sam Bonson on Friday, January 22, 2016 Rating: 5

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