Top 11 professional video-editing software
What’s the best professional video editing software for PC or Mac? With so many options out there, it’s hard to choose, but if you want to make high-quality videos, you need professional editing software.
|Movavi Video Editor Plus||Mac OS X 10.10.5 or later, Windows 7/8/10/11||$54.95|
|Adobe® Premiere® Pro||Mac OS X 10.15 Catalina or later, Windows 10 version 2004 or newer||$239.88/year|
|Magix Video Pro X||Windows 8/10 or later (64-bit only)||$24.99/month or $119.88/year|
|EDIUS PRO||Windows 10/11 (64-bit only)||$17.00-25.00/month|
|Autodesk Smoke||Mac OS X 10.9.5 Yosemite, El Capitan up to 10.11.6, Sierra 10.12 or later||$1700/year|
|Avid Media Composer||Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit only), Mac OS X 10.14.6 Mojave, 10.15.7 Catalina, 11.x-11.6.x Big Sur, 1.0, 12.1 Monterey||$23.99-49.99/year|
|Final Cut Pro||Mac OS X 10.15.6 or later||$299.99|
|Hitfilm Pro||Mac OS X 10.14 or later, Windows 10 or later (64-bit only)||$349/year|
|Lightworks||Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10, Linux, Mac OS X 10.9-10.12||$9.99-23.99/month|
|Blender||Windows 8.1/10/11, Mac OS X 10.12 Intel through 11.0 Apple Silicon, Linux||Free|
|Cyberlink PowerDirector||Windows 10 (required for AI features), Windows 8/8.1/7 (64-bit only), Mac OS X 10.14 or later||Lifetime licenses: $99.99-139.99|
Monthly licenses: $4.33-12.50/month
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Top 11 professional video editing software with free download
Let’s take a closer look at the best free professional video editing software as well as some paid options for Windows and Mac users. We’ll explore the basics of each platform with top pros and cons for each.
G2 rating: 4.8 out of 5, 84 reviews
Movavi Video Editor Plus is a free-download, pro-level video editing tool for a Mac or Windows. With Movavi, users can drag-and-drop video and audio tracks into the timeline, add effects, and perform all of the editing techniques that are popular with YouTubers, streamers, gamers, and moviemakers.
- Highly user-friendly
- Advanced motion tracking capabilities
- Enhanced transitions include audio functionality
- Rendering may be a bit slow
- Lacks collaboration tools
- Chroma Key makes green screen videos easy
- Multiple cool effects and filters
- Advanced stabilization capabilities
PCMag rating: 4.5 out of 5
Adobe® Premiere® Pro is one of the best video editing software for professionals. Pro editors and video makers use Adobe® Premiere® Pro for full-length films, YouTube videos, social posts, and TV shows. The application includes a wide range of features, including animations, filters, color correction, splitting and merging clips, and others. While it’s very robust, though, Adobe® Premiere® Pro is not the easiest software to learn for beginners. However, once you get the hang of the interface, you can use it to create professional-level videos with titles, opening and closing credits, transitions, filters, color gradients, and all the features that make cool videos really stand out. This software is one of the most used and has been a go-to for post-production pros in the film and video industry for years, but the cost and time to learn can present a significant financial and labor commitment.
- Supports multiple video formats
- Preloaded effects and fonts
- Numerous graphics templates
- Users report frequent system crashes
- Difficult to learn
- Confusing menus and feature options
- Edit simultaneous projects at once
- Project sharing for easy collaboration
- 360-degree editing for VR video projects
Magix Video Pro X is one of the best professional editing software for Windows 7, for Windows 8, and for Windows 10. It’s not compatible with macOS, so Apple users won’t find a solution for their video editing needs here. That said, Magix Video Pro X does provide a robust editing solution for most PC users (though it won’t work for Windows XP). Its features include advanced sound and video editing, visual effects, and professional project templates. Users have reported that the interface is not very intuitive at first, but that it’s a powerful tool once you adjust to its controls and workflows. If you’re looking for professional project templates, Magix Video Pro X may be a good option. If you want more preloaded animation templates, you might be disappointed with the small library included with this software.
- Several professional templates
- Quality audio editing
- Keyboard shortcuts for faster editing
- Slow rendering times
- Unintuitive interface
- Minimal pre-made animation templates
- Easy audio and video synchronization and beat matching with snap markers
- Updated subtitles, fonts, and title templates
- Multicam editing capabilities
TrustRadius rating: 9.6 out of 10, 4 reviews
EDIUS PRO is a non-linear video editing program that allows users to create custom workflows within video projects. It has a strong focus on collaboration, and the developers boast that it’s used across industries, for news media, independent film, and corporate video productions.
- Fast rendering
- Supports multiple codecs
- Picture-in-picture capabilities
- Chroma key effect is somewhat lacking
- Steep learning curve
- Users report glitches with some features and tools
- Background rendering allows users to work on other projects while videos render
- Advanced motion tracking is helpful
- Draft preview mode allows users to preview videos before rendering
G2 rating: 4.3 out of 5, 11 reviews
Autodesk Smoke is a professional editing software for macOS. It’s not compatible with Windows or Linux, and – while it has a lot of great features and tools – its price tag might scare off many users who want to create beautiful videos on a budget.
- Free version available for students
- Multiple 3D effects help enhance video projects
- Composition features help with setting up scenes
- Not compatible with Windows or Linux
- Expensive compared with competing software
- Uses a lot of RAM while rendering
- Timeline-based workflows
- Compositing capabilities include depth of field and dissolve functionalities
- Dynamic trimming for easy timeline navigation
TechRadar rating: 4.5 out of 5
Avid Media Composer is professional movie making software with a focus on collaboration and streamlined video creation. Its developers emphasize its fast rendering speeds and efficient editing workflows, which are designed to make the editing process as fast and easy as possible. Some users disagree, though, saying that the interface is a bit dated and unattractive.
- Online access to video editing suite
- High-resolution import and export options
- Includes cloud storage for large projects
- Unattractive user interface
- Gamers and streamers may have trouble with workflows designed for film and broadcast media
- Free version is limited to four video tracks
- Up to 8K import and export
- Automation features for faster editing
- Live timeline and playback streams
G2 rating: 4.4 out of 5, 339 reviews
Final Cut Pro is often considered the standard for Mac users who want to create professional video projects and movies. It’s known for having a full set of editing and effects tools, with multiple video and audio tracks that can be linked or separated to achieve the desired result. Users working with 4K and 8K projects can use Final Cut Pro for all of their high-resolution editing needs, and it’s possible to export into multiple file formats and compress videos for portability, as well. It does not integrate with most other complementary software (such as Adobe® Photoshop®), and some users have found that the fonts and some presets feel dated and could use an update.
- Fast processing speeds
- User-friendly interface
- Extremely feature-rich
- Not compatible with Windows or Linux
- Dated fonts and presets
- Lack of integration with Adobe and other complementary software
- Multi-cam editing capabilities
- Import and edit 360-degree videos in multiple formats
- Library of 2D and 3D title options
TechRadar rating: 4 out of 5
Hitfilm Pro is one of the most popular video editing software options because it combines editing, visual effects, and compositing tools in a single platform. Compatible with macOS 11 Big Sur, macOS 10.15 Catalina, and macOS 10.14 Mojave, Hitfilm Pro also works for Windows 10 and Windows 8 (64-bit). A comprehensive tool, Hitfilm Pro also supports a variety of file formats, and you can work with different frame rates and resolutions, as well. There’s no free download or trial period, though, and at $349, the price is a commitment for many up-and-coming editors. Expert editors enjoy hundreds of preloaded visual effects and features, but some users have reported that it doesn’t always save changes correctly when working on multiple elements at once.
- Library of 600+ visual effects
- Easy compositing
- Lots of tools for expert editors
- No free trial before purchase
- May not save all edits correctly
- Lack of export format options
- Multiple timeline tabs give users the ability to work on different aspects of a project at the same time
- 3D camera projection to turn 2D images into 3D scenes
- Picture-in-picture capabilities are great for streamers
TechRadar rating: 5 out of 5
Lightworks was one of the first applications available for non-linear video editing on PCs and Macs. While it’s been around for a long time and is used by many video editing pros, Lightworks has a very different interface in comparison with most other editing software. Beginners have found that the learning curve is very easy with Lightworks, and its interface is highly intuitive. However, professionals and other experienced editors sometimes run into more trouble because the interface is so different from the software that they’re more accustomed to. However, even if users have trouble with learning how to use Lightworks, there’s help. Users have had consistent success with support and education through online forums, and many video editors prefer Lightworks for short ads and video clips. However, if you’re looking for professional video editing software with video stabilization features and the ability to split or merge videos, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Lightworks does not include these features.
- Easy to learn for beginners
- Lots of support in forums
- Great for short ads and video clips
- Difficulty adapting for experienced video editors
- No video stabilization feature
- No split and merge features
- Advanced project-sharing capabilities
- Compatible with multiple video editing plugins
- Advanced color correction and enhancement tools
Capterra rating: 4.6 out of 5, 642 reviews
Blender is a freeware video editing and animation platform. It’s primarily geared toward 2D and 3D animation – so some video creators may find it limiting. However, if you’re creating animated movies, clips, or games, you may be interested in this free option.
- 3D modeling capabilities
- Free with no watermark
- Lots of community support and tutorials
- Users report running into bugs with larger video projects
- User interface can be intimidating, especially for beginners
- Lacks some key editing features
- Live preview capabilities
- Audio mixing, syncing, and scrubbing
- Up to 32 simultaneous video, image, and audio tracks
PCMag rating: 4 out of 5
Cyberlink PowerDirector delivers a full suite of video editing tools and features for hobbyists and professional video editors. When creating video projects with PowerDirector, you can apply filters and transitions, motion tracking, color correction, cropping and cutting, and other tools and effects. This software also supports both 4K and 3D videos. For beginners and amateur editors who don’t have a lot of time on their hands, PowerDirector also has a simplified editing module that includes the “magic movie wizard” feature. This feature automates the editing process to create videos in specific styles with preset background music and effects. Of course, pros won’t usually use preset video projects like this, but it’s good to know they’re there when you need them.
- Fast, easy video editing
- Multiple transition options
- Supports many file types
- Lack of documentation on some plugins
- Intrusive advertisements to upgrade
- Unintuitive navigation for some tools and features
- Multi-cam editing to easily stitch together footage from different angles and cameras
- 2K and 4K HD import and export capabilities
- Automatically adds transitions with the ripple editing feature
Summary: Choose the right professional editing software
Now that you have info on all of the top software used by professionals available today, how do you choose? The best editor for one project may be terrible for another. So here are a few things to consider before you make your decision:
What OS are you using? If you’re a Windows user, you won’t have much luck with Final Cut Pro, and Mac users will be disappointed if they try to download and use Magix Video Pro, as it’s only compatible with Windows machines. So, start by narrowing down your list to the software that works best for you.
What’s your budget? Some pro video editing software comes with a free download and trial, while other options come with monthly subscriptions or a one-time purchase price. Try out free options first to see if you like them, and if you don’t have a big budget, consider a monthly subscription that you can cancel when you aren’t using it.
Can you try before you buy? The information in this article hopefully gave you the details you need to make informed decisions about which software options are best for your projects. However, whenever possible, opt for a free trial before you commit.
With these factors in mind, and the information above, you should have everything you need to make the right decision. While you’re considering, though, why not try Movavi Video Editor Plus? You can download it for free and try it out before you make a purchase.
Frequently asked questions
What software do professional filmmakers use?
The main video editing program used by professional video editors is probably Adobe® Premiere® Pro, as it integrates with other popular Adobe® applications, such as Photoshop®. However, professional video editors use a wide range of editing platforms and applications. Professionals who use Apple devices will often prefer Final Cut Pro, but any robust editing software that has all the features an editor needs to create a film or clip can be used.
What do most YouTubers use to edit their videos?
The top applications include:
- Adobe® Premiere® Pro
- Final Cut Pro
What software does Hollywood use for video editing?
Professional Hollywood studios use a few different software options for film editing, including Avid Media Composer, Adobe® Premiere® Pro, and Final Cut Pro.
- Avid Media Composer is a professional-level video editing platform that’s used by Hollywood studios and independent filmmakers alike.
- Part of the robust Adobe® Creative Suite®, Premiere® Pro is a go-to option for studios that use Photoshop and other Adobe products.
- If a studio is using Apple products, though, there’s a good chance it’s using Final Cut Pro, which is almost the standard in macOS video editing.
Studios that do a lot of 3D movies and animated features may opt for more specialized programs, such as Nuke, Adobe After Effects, and Blackmagic Fusion.
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