Best 4K video-editing software on Windows and Mac

Edited by Ben Jacklin

August 12, 2021

There are a lot of paid and free 4K video editors out there all offering a wide range of features, effects, transitions, interfaces, and capabilities. But which is the best for your needs?

Read our breakdowns of some of the top options and compare and contrast for yourself.

Program

Key features

Rating

Download

Movavi Video Editor Plus
  • Sound with transitions
  • Chroma Key, picture-in-picture, and motion track tools
4.8/5
Pinnacle Studio Ultimate
  • Edit 360-degree VR video content
  • Fast rendering
  • Superior keyframe editing
4/5
Cyberlink PowerDirector
  • LUT color presets
  • Theme templates
4.5/5
iMovie
  • Storyboard editing options
  • Lots of audio tools
4.3/5
Final Cut Pro
  • Magnetic timeline editing
  • Multicam and 360-degree content editing
4.3/5
Adobe® Premiere® Pro
  • Multicam function offer unlimited angles
  • Best stabilization tools
4.5/5
VEGAS Pro
  • Slow motion effects
  • Lens correcting
4.2/5
Corel VideoStudio Ultimate
  • Great stop-motion tools
  • Superior color grading tools
3/5

8 best 4K video editors in 2021

If you’re looking for simple, straightforward editing that removes complexity from the process, you’ll find it here. Movavi Video Editor Plus is one of the best 4K video editing software packages out there. The program is intuitive, responsive, and allows content creators to render full HD productions in no time.

The core reason for the ease and speed of production links directly with Movavi’s interface. It’s almost refreshing to see how the team clearly labeled every tool and function and placed the buttons in logical locations on display.

For example, buttons on the left group key function modes so you can easily transition between different stages of the editing process.

Keying up productions is easy as you can upload files from a button, menu, or by drag and drop. The software supports the most common video file formats, and Movavi’s team consistently updates it for new and emerging formatting types.

Along with the interface, Movavi has other key elements that give users the ability to create professional-quality videos with ease. There is a huge selection of transitions and filters to choose from, but the real fun is in the advanced tools.

With these, you have options to create additional effects and make even more detailed adjustments, including picture-in-picture, speed, stabilization, colorization, animation, chroma key, and audio tools.

Pound-for-pound, this is one of the best 4K video editors on the market.

Pros:

  • Simple, intuitive interface
  • Offers sound with transitions
  • Chroma Key, picture-in-picture, and motion track tools

Cons:

  • Limited trimming features

How to edit a 4K video with Movavi Video Editor Plus

Step 1. Install Movavi Video Editor Plus

After you’ve downloaded the program file, double-click on it and follow the installation instructions.

Step 2. Upload your files

Click Add Files and import the 4K video you want to edit. The video will be added to the Media Bin. Drag and drop your files into the Timeline in the lower part of the program window.

Step 3. Edit the video

There are many ways in which you can edit your 4K video footage: cut the footage into parts, add transitions and titles, apply filters and adjust colors, stabilize shaky video, and much more. Movavi Video Editor Plus can do all this and many other creative tasks.

Step 4. Export the result

To save your video in ultra-high definition, click the Export button. In the Save Video File tab, choose the video format that suits you best. Then click the Advanced button, open the Resolution drop-down list and select 3840 × 2160 or 4096 × 2160.

If you want to export your video for viewing on a particular 4K TV, open the Save for TVs tab and choose the required preset at the bottom of the list: Samsung 4K, Sony 4K, or any other 4K TV.

When you’ve chosen the format, hit Start to save your video.

Now up to version 24, Pinnacle continually refines the core elements of their software to make each version even faster and more powerful. Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 24 gives users the ability to edit 4K videos and make professional quality videos with excellent features and effects.

From the moment you open Studio 24, you know you’re working with professional software. And though the interface is clean and easy-to-use, it will take some time to learn and realize the full functionality of the program.

For example, Studio 24 allows users to work with features like multicam editing, stop-motion video, motion tracking, tracked masking, and animated GIF creation. It even lets you edit 360-degree VR video content. Pinnacle states the program has over 2,000 effects, which is more than you’ll ever need.

However, the key feature of Studio 24 for professional video editors is the keyframe editing. This function gives you complete control over any frame and allows you to fully manipulate any effect or adjustment within it.

With great audio, sharing, and output tools, Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 24 is an excellent choice from editors looking to make the transition into professional video editing.

Pros:

  • Very fast rendering
  • Ability to edit 360-degree VR video content
  • Clean, professional interface

Cons:

  • PC only
  • Not for beginners
  • Motion tracking functions are limited

With Cyberlink PowerDirector, you’ll find editing software that’s the medium between professional and beginner. The software comes equipped with loads of effects, transitions, and titles that allow you to create solid videos with a very fast rendering time.

Cyberlink PowerDirector differs from some other 4K editors out there because it’s a subscription-based service – annual or monthly – where you can download updates that often contain new effects and plugins.

Again, this program is the medium between professional and beginner. So while you may not have full control of your frames, you do have professional editing abilities like motion tracking, stabilization, color matching, and some keyframing available. It also comes equipped with vector shape designing and nested video capabilities and it has dual video preview.

Most importantly, it supports professional video formats to help editors take their abilities to the next level.

Pros:

  • Good value with the subscription-based concept
  • Consistent updates
  • Lots of premium effects and transitions included

Cons:

  • The interface gets muddled with all the options
  • Color matching could be better

iMovie is the free 4K video editing software for Mac computers offered by Apple. It’s a free download in the App Store and for the price, it’s great at what it does.

With iMovie, you have the ability to edit up to two video tracks at once, and the software includes a wide range of features and effects. You can make simple home movies that look sleek, clean and borderline professional – if you know what you’re doing!

iMovie allows you to adjust color grades and speed and insert soundtracks and narration into your videos. Plus, it has some great tools to help keep media organized and offers storyboarding features to help avoid any confusion during editing.

Just remember that this is a video editing program for beginners or entry-level editors. If you want to take things to a more professional level with multicam and motion tracking functions and more layers of video, you’ll need to move up to Final Cut Pro. iMovie is a great starter kit before making the transition.

Pros:

  • Great for beginners
  • Simple interface
  • Excellent templates and themes
  • Tons of audio tools

Cons:

  • Edits only two video tracks at a time
  • No multicam or motion tracking

Final Cut Pro is Apple’s answer for users who want or need more features than those offered by iMovie and for professional editors working on TV shows, movies, commercials, and other digital video content.

The software itself is seamless and comes packed with loads of transitions, effects, and features that will keep editors busy for years trying to learn all of the ins and outs of the program.

However, the most notable feature for Final Cut Pro is how it strays from the traditional timeline editing styles of many other video editing programs.

With Final Cut, you use a magnetic and trackless timeline. This means that when you move clips into a timeline, the program moves any interfering clips out of the way. It helps editors to never overwrite nearby clips and allows them to move connected clips at the same time.

Some professionals hate this style of timeline, and others live by it. It’s up to you to determine if this style of editing is for you.

Regardless, Final Cut Pro has very fast rendering times and support for multicam editing, 360-degree video content, HDR, and of course, 4K. It also has one of the best organizational tools out there for your media libraries with the ability to rate and tag files and automatically analyze them by face or scene.

Pros:

  • Magnetic timeline editing
  • Multicam and 360-degree content editing
  • Best organizational tools

Cons:

  • Not everyone likes magnetic timeline editing
  • Only works on Macs

For many, Adobe® Premiere® Pro is the classic, traditional professional video editing software on the market. The program offers powerful editing tools in a nonlinear editing timeline with the ability to add unlimited video tracks in a wide range of formats. If you think it, you can probably do it in Adobe® Premiere®.

Premiere® Pro works on both Mac and PC and is part of a subscription service through Adobe, where you can bundle it with a variety of other tools to help create professional videos and productions.

The beauty of Premiere® Pro is that Adobe is always adding new tools and features to the software. Most recently, they added new caption tools, the ability to copy and paste audio effects, free stock footage, and a quick export button. But this is just a small fraction of all of the features available within Premiere® Pro.

That being said, all of the tools, functions, and features in the software can be daunting for entry-level editors and beginners. It can take months to get comfortable and learn everything that’s possible in the program. But once you do, the sky’s the limit.

Pros:

  • Great for stabilization
  • Multicam function offer unlimited angles
  • Highly responsive, clean interface

Cons:

  • Not for beginners or entry-level editors
  • Sometimes you need other bundled programs to complete a function

VEGAS Pro is a very powerful video editing program that’s been used by some professional TV shows and movies – “Paranormal Activity” – to utilize specific capabilities within the software.

It offers many of the standard tools and features you’d expect from any professional video editing software but incorporates things into a different style of interface. It doesn’t have as many buttons as some of its competitors and instead offers a dashboard panel where you can gain access to effects, transitions, and audio options.

The newest version of the program added features for better color grading and storyboarding along with the ability to do lens corrections, slow-motion effects, and screen captures. They even added graphics processor acceleration for faster interface use and rendering.

Overall, VEGAS Pro is definitely for experienced consumers or professionals. If you’re a beginner or entry-level, there will be a learning curve.

Pros:

  • You can customize the interface
  • Tons of effects and plug-ins (user-made available)
  • Solid transitions

Cons:

  • Rendering is on the slow side
  • The interface is customizable but less intuitive than competitors
  • Doesn’t offer Look-up table support

For consumer-level video editing software, Corel VideoStudio Ultimate packs a punch with everything it offers. You can utilize a lot of professional-level editing tools like motion tracking, multicam, and stop motion and even do tricks like audio ducking and video masking to make your videos perfect.

The interface on the program is user-friendly and lets you work with a lot of icon buttons as opposed to hard-to-find thumbnails. You can also easily switch between modes on the interface to keep your workflow clean.

Corel VideoStudio also makes Pinnacle Studio Ultimate, which is their pro-level editor. So simply put, this is the consumer version that offers many of the features of Pinnacle, but not necessarily all of the functionality controls.

Many of the buttons are quick-edit tools, which are cool to have at the consumer level, but might not be suited for editors looking to go pro.

Pros:

  • Great stop-motion tools
  • Fantastic color grading tools
  • Offers motion tracking at multiple points

Cons:

  • Lots of quick-edit tools
  • Audio editing options are a little below par

Ben Jacklin

Ben is a writer from the UK with qualifications in Media and Music Technology, he specialises in software reviews and tutorials. Ben has been blogging about media and tech subjects since he was a teenager from his base in the East of England.

* The free version of Movavi Video Editor Plus has the following restrictions: 7-day trial period, watermark on the output videos, and, if you’re saving a project as an audio file, an ability to save only half the audio length. Learn more

Frequently asked questions

Which 4K video editing software is free?

iMovie is the only free 4K software listed above – with a Mac – but there are other options available.

DaVinci Resolve is a free 4K video editing software for Windows or Mac that allows you to edit in 4K. The software offers some paid upgrades and add-ons if you want more features, but at the basic level, it gets the job done.

Another software along these lines – and considered the best free 4K video editing software by some – is Lightworks. Like DaVinci Resolve, you have to pay if you want to take things to the next level, but it will edit 4K videos with basic functionality on the free version.

Also, many of the options listed above – like Movavi Video Editor Plus – offer a free trial. See what you can try for free and then make a decision.

Саn I edit 4K videos on a PC?

Absolutely! Using Movavi Video Editor Plus, you can use these step-by-step instructions to edit 4K videos on your PC.

  1. First, download and install Movavi Video Editor Plus on your PC and open the program. Then click Add Files to and select the 4K video you want to import into the timeline.
  2. Next, start editing your video! On the timeline, you can cut the clip and rearrange it however you want. You can also add transitions and titles to your video and even adjust the color or stabilize your footage if it’s a little shaky – and that’s just a small fraction of what you can do with the software.
  3. Once you’re done editing, click Export to bring up the Save Video File tab. From there, click Advanced and open the Resolution drop-down list. Select 3840 x 2160 or 4096 x 2160 to export in 4K.

    With Movavi Video Editor Plus, you can even export your movie for a particular 4K TV under the Save For TVs tab. Just choose your TV from the list after you open the tab.

Is there an open-source 4K video editor?

Yes, there are many open-source 4K video editors out there, including Shotcut, OpenShot, and Blender.