The Best Video Editing Software for Every Level

video editing software
  • Alex Lefkowitz
    (Author)

    Alex Lefkowitz is the founder and CEO of Tasty Edits. He holds a BA in Entrepreneurship and is an experienced video editor, having edited hundreds of videos for dozens of creators before starting his own video editing company. Since launching Tasty Edits, he has directly managed thousands of video and thumbnail orders. Now, he draws on his experience working with professional creators to write about video editing, the creator economy, and video marketing. You can also read his work on Hackernoon and Medium. Plus, he's contributed several expert opinions in interviews and articles as a guest on platforms like Jotform.

    View all posts
  • Carl de Jesus
    (Author)

    Carl de Jesus is a creative professional with a varied skill set in video production and animation. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Multimedia Arts from Lyceum of the Philippines University and has over 12 years of experience in video editing, 2D animation, VFX, motion graphics, and graphic design. Today, he is a full-time video manager at Tasty Edits, working closely with dozens of influencers from diverse niches in the creator economy.

    View all posts
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Video editing is a complicated job, and you need both skill and powerful tools to do it well. If you’re working on more than casual clips, you soon hit the point where iMovie just doesn’t cut it anymore. Let alone whatever mobile apps your phone came with.

That’s when you start looking for the best video editing software for your needs. There are plenty of options out there… which doesn’t really make taking your pick easier.

After all, choosing a new editing software usually means laying out serious money. And that’s not all: You’re also committing a lot of time to actually get fast and productive with it.

Quick Facts

  • The most popular professional video editing software is Adobe Premiere Pro.
  • Other high-end options are Final Cut Pro, DaVinci Resolve, and Avid Media Composer.
  • Adobe’s Premiere Elements and Apple’s iMovie are good beginner’s options.

Keep reading for the full scoop!

Ideally, the basics of the software should be easy to learn. At the same time, it will need to incorporate high-powered editing tools. Some of those, too, will take time to get comfortable with.

This means that truly mastering a new software can take years. You really do want to make the right decision the first time around.

As video editors ourselves, we’re well aware of just what you should be looking for in video editing software. We’re going to discuss the top video editing programs – and what separates them from the rest.

Let’s start with our professional pick.

Contents

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Adobe Premiere Pro

  • The industry standard
  • Useful automation and AI tools
  • Tight integration with Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Expensive

The video editing software we use here at Tasty Edits is Adobe Premiere Pro. It’s simply the pro editing software across the industry. YouTube creators use it just as much as professional video editing companies (like us).

Because it’s so common, it’s relatively easy to share projects with somebody else. Other editors, creators, businesses and agencies often simply ask for “the Premiere project files.”

Just as importantly: We think it’s just the best for producing amazing videos.

Premiere Pro’s workflow area is sleek and adaptive. The user interface lets you polish your work without ever leaving the timeline. Also, it’s simple to jump in and out of different parts of your video.

Premiere Pro can edit videos in 8K, so it can handle whatever footage you throw at it. You can also automate many workflows with the AI tool Adobe Sensei. This simplifies tedious work, such as captioning.

A draw of Adobe products is that they integrate seamlessly with Adobe Creative Cloud. For video editors, one of the most useful is After Effects, which lets you create high-quality motion graphics. The mobile Premiere Rush is technically a separate app, but integrates perfectly with Premiere Pro.

Premiere Pro, like all Creative Cloud products, requires a monthly subscription. As a high-end program, it’s not cheap. But, if you’re serious about video editing, you’ll earn back the investment.

The subscription does always get you the newest update. You’ll never be stuck on an outdated version, which lets you keep up with the rapid progress of AI features, especially.

A final plus: Adobe Premiere Pro runs on both Windows and Mac.

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Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro has a very user-friendly interface
  • User-friendly interface
  • Great for Mac users
  • Expensive

Though also a fantastic option, Apple’s Final Cut Pro is half a step below Premiere Pro. First, Final Cut Pro is Mac-exclusive. Second, it doesn’t integrate into a full creative suite like Adobe’s.

It does, however, leverage Apple’s ecosystem. Among other things, this means you can easily access photo and music libraries, even if they aren’t stored locally. Additionally, the software lets you take full advantage of Apple’s hardware capabilities. This has become a little more important now that the company uses its custom Apple Silicon chips.

Final Cut Pro has Apple’s trademark simple interface. It’s full of intuitive and easy-to-navigate screens combined with high-powered editing tools. User favorites include the Magnetic Timeline, grouping tools, and a range of effect options.

Another plus of Final Cut is that it’s a one-time purchase. While the price tag is hefty, you won’t pay a subscription fee.

All things taken together, Final Cut Pro is a really high-quality video editing platform. If you’re the kind of user who likes trying out all the options, Apple offers a generous 90-day free trial.

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DaVinci Resolve

screenshot of da vinci resolve video editing platform
  • Free version available 
  • Multiplatform: Mac, PC, and Linux
  • All-in-one tool for post-production 
  • Steep learning curve

DaVinci Resolve by Blackmagic Design is a top-notch desktop video editing solution that’s widely used by both professional editors and amateurs. It prides itself on being an all-round tool for video post-production, including editing, color correction, visual effects, motion graphics and audio editing.

The best bit? There’s a free version – and not the kind that slaps watermarks on your clips. Instead, it puts professional-grade video editing tools at your disposal, from key framing and compositing to multi-cam editing and color correction. For beginners in serious video editing, this is a great start.

For professionals, the paid DaVinci Resolve Studio offers even more advanced options, including collaboration tools, noise removal, and a neural engine AI (though not a full-on AI editor).

At a one-time $295 (including all future updates), pricing is comparable to tools like Final Cut Pro, and cheaper in the long run than subscription-based software options.

Blackmagic also makes a range of pretty good YouTuber cameras, the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema series. DaVinci Resolve Studio is included if you buy one. Naturally, the software is particularly well suited to footage from these cameras.

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Corel VideoStudio Ultimate

Corel Video Studio Ultimate gives you an easy-to-navigate interface
  • Easy to learn
  • Limited tools for professionals
  • Expensive for limited scope

Corel is a household name in the video editing industry, and VideoStudio Ultimate is a big reason why. Its intuitive interface and ease-of-use make it an excellent choice for editors who aren’t quite ready to shell out for the high-end products.

Despite the relatively low price point ($99), VideoStudio Ultimate has a few stand-out features. The software is 4K-capable, has multi-cam support, and includes advanced lens-correction tools. The wide variety of graphics are easy to integrate into your videos.

Corel also recently added an Instant Templates feature. This makes it easier and faster for you to produce videos in a consistent style. This is pretty useful for creating videos for a whole series or a channel.

This may not be the best option if you’re looking to produce truly professional-quality videos. But, if you aren’t entirely committed to video editing yet, it’s a great intermediate tool to master. Note that VideoStudio Ultimate is for Windows users only.

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Cyberlink PowerDirector

CLPD gives you all the professional tools you need
  • Powerful, versatile tools
  • Affordable
  • Steep learning curve

Cyberlink PowerDirector is a professional-quality video editing software. It’s suitable for anyone serious about making beautiful videos. PowerDirector isn’t for the faint of heart, though. It trades in the ease-of-use of the top two programs for a truly vast set of useful tools.

In fact, you’ll get to use a heavy-duty 100-track timeline, meaning that you can add up to 100 different video and audio files in a single project. Though few creators will find this necessary, it’s nice not to be limited by the tools you use. It does come in handy if you apply a lot of video effects with external tools – it’s simple to import the results back in.

PowerDirector includes some fantastic automatic video stabilization and correction tools. Trimming, though, is trickier to get right than in the top two options. It has a useful 1:1 aspect ratio editing feature. This makes it perfect for social media videos, especially Instagram.

Good news for Mac users: Previously Windows-only, Cyberlink released a Mac version of PowerDirector in late 2020. Now, the tool is worth considering for anybody with the right system.

Cyberlink offers both a lifetime purchase – with a small discount on version upgrades – and a subscription. The latter also gives you access to Shutterstock and iStock for royalty-free footage and photos.

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Adobe Premiere Elements

Adobe's creative suite makes all their tools useful
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Not as powerful as Premiere Pro

Another decent option inside the Adobe ecosystem is Premiere Elements. This slimmed-down version of Premiere Pro will serve experienced enthusiasts well. Professional video editors, obviously, won’t find it powerful enough.

A main plus of this lower-end software is the ease-of-use. Like Premiere Pro, Elements gives you access to AI-based editing. This makes simple jump cut editing of your videos easy. Plus, it’s full of other tools designed to speed up your workflow.

Premiere Elements is a great stepping stone before you decide on a high-end option. To produce beautiful content that’ll pull in huge audiences, though, you’ll soon need something more powerful.

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Apple iMovie

iMovie is a great beginner's tool
  • Best free video editor for Mac users
  • Easy to use
  • Limited tools
  • Mobile iPhone and iPad version

Honestly, if this list were longer, then iMovie would still be at the bottom. It’s really a tier or two below the other entries.

Why, then, do we still want to talk about it here?

Well, that’s because iMovie is the most popular editing software among new creators. That’s likely because it’s free, super-simple, and there’s no commitment. Other than your time, that is.

The interface is also somewhat similar to Final Cut Pro. This gives you a decent starting point if you’re hoping to move on to Apple’s professional option later. Of course, it doesn’t have anywhere near the same tools and capabilities.

It’s not a bad starting point, though, and it’s better than many other preinstalled or cloud-based video editors, free or otherwise.

Microsoft’s Clipchamp, for instance, is actually a free online video editor wrapped in a browser-based app (unlike its Movie Maker predecessor). Some of its features are also behind a subscription paywall.

These days, iMovie is even capable of greenscreen and 4K editing. That said, don’t expect to make a real income creating videos with it. Importantly, it has no true multicam editing or motion-tracking features. Today, these are essential to ensure your videos are on par with the competition.

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Honorable Mention: Avid Media Composer

video editor working with avid media composer
  • Enterprise video editing software
  • Strong collaboration features
  • Most useful in its own hard- and software ecosystem
  • Used by large teams for top tier productions

For completeness’ sake, there is another software suite we should mention, and that’s Avid Media Composer. However, it’s pretty much reserved for big-budget shows and Hollywood movies.

It’s an enterprise-grade video editor for Windows and MacOS roughly on par with our top picks here. Where it really shines, though, is collaboration. Avid’s tool has no problem handling dozens of editors working on the timelines simultaneously. The company also makes sound editing software and dedicated hardware, similarly aimed at absolute top tier productions.

That kind of functionality has its price… and simply isn’t necessary for the vast majority of projects. If you want to check Media Composer out anyway, there is a free basic version called Media Composer | First.

The Bottom Line

If you’re asking us pros here at Tasty Edits, there is really only one answer to this — Adobe Premiere Pro. It’s the most powerful tool available, it comes with the Creative Cloud ecosystem, and most of the pros use it. With Premiere Pro, you will never find yourself limited by your software, not least because of its growing AI editing arsenal.

For us, Final Cut Pro comes in a close second. Frankly, if you are serious about creating video content that will captivate audiences, those are the only two options.

Learning to use a new video editing software can be daunting. Especially if you don’t actually plan to become a professional video editor. For casual use, most of the other tools on this list are plenty good enough.

If you prefer creating videos over editing them, then your best option is to hire a professional.

Want to dive deeper into the editing process and continue to edit your own work? Try to learn from someone experienced in the type of editing you need. This way, you can learn to put out the fantastic videos you envision much faster.

FAQs

The best free video editing software is the basic version of DaVinci Resolve. On a Mac, iMovie is a good beginner option.

Professional video editors typically use Adobe Premiere Pro. For studio-grade projects, Avid Media Composer is also common.

Adobe Premiere is the most popular professional video editing software in the industry. Editors for high-end studio projects often also use Avid Media Composer.

The easiest video editing tools for beginners are stripped-down versions of pro software, such as Adobe Premiere Elements. iMovie is a good starter to upgrade to Final Cut Pro later.

Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro are the best video editing tools on a Mac. Among the free options, iMovie is a good choice.

Yes, Adobe Premiere Pro is used in Hollywood, but not for everything. High-end productions with large teams often use Avid Media Composer.

Authors

  • Alex Lefkowitz

    Alex Lefkowitz is the founder and CEO of Tasty Edits. He holds a BA in Entrepreneurship and is an experienced video editor, having edited hundreds of videos for dozens of creators before starting his own video editing company. Since launching Tasty Edits, he has directly managed thousands of video and thumbnail orders. Now, he draws on his experience working with professional creators to write about video editing, the creator economy, and video marketing. You can also read his work on Hackernoon and Medium. Plus, he's contributed several expert opinions in interviews and articles as a guest on platforms like Jotform.

    View all posts
  • Carl de Jesus

    Carl de Jesus is a creative professional with a varied skill set in video production and animation. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Multimedia Arts from Lyceum of the Philippines University and has over 12 years of experience in video editing, 2D animation, VFX, motion graphics, and graphic design. Today, he is a full-time video manager at Tasty Edits, working closely with dozens of influencers from diverse niches in the creator economy.

    View all posts