Best Free Video Editing Software for Mac 2023
Video editing is often considered to be too difficult for beginners to master, but that’s starting to change. Beginner-friendly video editing software is now freely available for Mac users, letting you quickly splice together different video files, switch out audio tracks, add special effects, and more.
Choosing the best free video editor for Mac can be tricky, especially with so many features to consider. Whether you’re a keen amateur or a seasoned professional, these free video editors will help you make the changes you want to create the video you need.
Best for (beginners, professionals, etc)
Completely free/ free trial
Rating on a 10-point scale
Beginners and professionals
Best free video editors for Mac
It can be difficult to find the best, easy to use video editors on the market. To help you, here are some of the best video editors available for Mac OS X today.
It’d be odd to start a list of free video editors for Mac users without mentioning the freely available Apple iMovie first. Pre-installed on every Mac, this free-to-use video editor is the go-to for most beginners, allowing you to edit videos up to 4K in quality.
It isn’t a professional editor like Final Cut Pro, but it does offer many professional-grade features, including the ability to add special effects to your videos. Basic editing is easy, with the ability to create smaller clips, splice together video and audio tracks, import videos from your iPhone or iPad directly, and more.
If you want to carry on editing on the move, you can easily switch to iMovie on iPhone or iPad, with seamless project sharing using AirDrop or iCloud. Some of the advanced features (such as the special effects) are pretty limited, however, especially when you compare it to DaVinci Resolve or Movavi Video Editor for Mac.
iMovie is perfect for beginners who want to get stuck in and learn the basics, but if you’re thinking about turning pro, you’ll probably need to look at alternatives to get the full scope of features you’ll need.
Supports 4K video editing
Seamless video editing across Apple devices (including iPhones)
Limited number of special effects and features
Reduced number of editing tracks compared to Final Cut Pro
If you’re looking for a free video editor that includes professional level features but without a huge price tag, consider Movavi’s own Mac Movavi Video Editor. Free to try for 7 days, Movavi Video Editor for Mac is a transformative editor that can be adapted to suit your particular editing requirements.
Looking to create basic videos for Instagram? Drop the video into the timeline and add a few pre-made special effects and ready-to-insert intros. Looking to create complex, well-made movies? Take your time building up your video with multiple video clips, audio tracks, visual effects, and more.
Casual snappers will find that features like video stabilization, transitions, and chroma keying help to quickly create complex videos from the source content. Pros, meanwhile, will love the built-in ability to record voiceovers during editing or add a picture-in-picture commentary using a camera, as well as import additional effects from Movavi’s own effects store.
With a simple, drag-and-drop visual interface, beginners are going to love how easy it is to create the videos they want in Movavi Video Editor for Mac. Once the trial period is over, you can upgrade to the full version for a one-off cost of $59.95.
Easy to use interface
Many special effects, with additional effects available from the Movavi Store
Built-in camera and microphone capture for voiceovers
No Look Up Table (LUT) support
There’s a reason the Emmy award-winning Lightworks is considered a top-tier video editor by professionals – it’s been used to edit movie classics, from Pulp Fiction to The Wolf of Wall Street. Mac users can take advantage of many of the features it has to offer for free, with some file output options and special effects missing.
Lightworks’ interface follows the industry standard, with an easy-to-use timeline allowing you to manipulate multiple video and audio tracks. With a vast collection of tutorial videos and free-to-use music and video clips, you’re free to let your creative juices flow, although Lightworks’ free version is limited to web-friendly 108p output.
It also supports speed enhancements over other editors, allowing you to quickly import, render, and export videos in the background as you continue to work on files using the power of your graphics card or chipset. If you want to take things even further, you can add enhanced special effects using add-on plugins like Boris FX.
Lightworks is also a great option for team video editing, unlike many of the other options listed, with options to grant view or edit access over project files to other users, as well as supporting hardware video editing equipment out-of-the-box.
There’s no doubt that Lightworks is a great video editor for professionals, but if you’re a beginner, or if you want to output your videos in a high-quality format, you’ll be better served by other options unless you decide to pay for an upgrade.
Award-winning video editor
Large library of effects and features
Support for GPU rendering
Lots of limitations for free users
Not beginner friendly
Another award-winning video editor, DaVinci Resolve is perfect for professionals looking to branch out, with none of the limitations on file output that Lightworks and other editors include for free users. It supports 8K video, offers Hollywood-grade special effects, and more – totally for free.
Each new release of DaVinci Resolve brings a whole level of new features and improvements to make it more competitive, from AI touch ups to enhanced audio editing. With HDR support, you can bring out the color in your video tracks, with the ability to tweak and adjust levels accordingly.
It’s also a fast and easy-to-use tool for basic video editing, letting you quickly cut up and correct videos using multiple video and audio tracks. You can add transitions, effects and more to your content, as well as use a speedy automatic trimming tool to quickly remove parts of a video you don’t like.
There are friendlier video editors for Mac users out there, but if you’re after a professional tool that can create video suitable for broadcast (online or on TV) without an upfront cost, DaVinci Resolve could be the one for you.
Award-winning video editor
Huge number of features and special effects
Supports 8K video editing
Not the easiest video editor to master
Those who support the open source community will love OpenShot Video Editor, a completely free and open source video editing tool for Mac. It also supports other operating systems like Windows and Linux.
OpenShot aims to be simple to pick up and use, with a simple interface that allows you to insert different media (such as photos and video clips) and merge them together. It supports basic video editing, with the ability to cut up and trim your clips, but also includes animations, slow motion effects, unlimited layers, and more.
If you’re looking to make your videos stand out, you can even add 3D animations to your video project, with preset effects such as lens flares or special 3D text. It isn’t as advanced as a tool like DaVinci Resolve, but OpenShot offers a number of advanced features you wouldn’t normally expect to see in a completely free editor.
OpenShot also supports over 70 different languages, thanks to the efforts of translators and supporters. With no price to pay, and support for almost every type of video, OpenShot is a worthy choice for beginners, but professionals may need to look elsewhere for a full range of features.
Completely free to use
Some special effect features
Support for 70+ different languages
Not the fastest video editor
Almost all of the top video editors on this list offer some kind of special effects, but they’re usually quite basic. That isn’t the case with HitFilm Express, a free-to-use video editing tool for Mac users which bridges the gap between amateur and professional video editing with over 400 special effects to choose from.
At its core, however, HitFilm Express is just like any other good video editor on the market, with a customizable interface and easy-to-use features that let you cut up, combine, and create new video projects. It also offers numerous animations, enhancements, and built-in audio editing to help you create the best possible videos.
You can even create niche-style videos with HitFilm, turning photos into 3D-style scenes with 3D camera projection, or creating commentary-style videos with picture-in-picture inserts. Special effects are its biggest advantage, however, with the ability to create, insert, and render 3D models and animations directly.
It’s also handy that HitFilm Express supports all major video files and high-quality video formats up to 4K. With a free download available, HitFilm Express can help you create visual effects unlike any other. With a steep learning curve, however, beginners may want to stick to the preset effects that other editors have to offer.
Impressive number of VFX features
Support for 3D-modeling and rendering
Supports up to 4K video
Difficult to master
Rather than trying to appeal to professionals, the free and open source Avidemux focuses on the other end of the market with basic video editing. It doesn’t offer lens flare effects or 3D animations, but instead focuses on the core tools and features that other editors take for granted.
While it supports all major video formats, Avidemux is a tool for basic editing, allowing you to convert videos to other formats, add subtitles to videos, trim and edit videos and change the audio track. As it’s completely free to use, Avidemux also adds no watermarks to videos you edit or create.
Avidemux may seem a little dated compared to more modern video editors, but it’s also a simple editor that isn’t trying to offer thousands of features. If basic video editing is all you need, Avidemux might be suitable, but there are certainly better performing (and better looking) alternatives out there.
Good and basic video editor
Blender, with its rich history in 3D modeling, might seem like an odd choice for a video editing shortlist, but it’s actually one of the best video editors for Mac, especially if you’re looking to create complex, 3D-rendered videos.
At a basic level, Blender offers standard video editing with a number of advanced features, such as chroma keying, audio editing, transitions, slow motion effects, and more. It allows you to combine a number of different videos, images, and effects together, with a built-in previewing tool to test out any changes.
Blender, however, offers far more than just video editing. Once you master its functionality, you can create 3D-modeled scenes that can bring your imagination to life. You can create realistic character animations, convert 2D drawings to 3D, add realistic world effects like rain and fire, and more.
It even supports motion tracking, allowing you to reconstruct real areas in 3D. The skys the limit, with new features added with each release. Available entirely for free, Blender is a 3D modelers dream, but if you lack the skills, you’ll be downloading alternatives pretty quickly.
Perfect for 3D modeling
Lots of effects and features
Very high learning curve
Not beginner friendly
As a product created for Linux users, it might be surprising to see Kdenlive on a shortlist for Mac users. Thanks to cross-platform functionality, however, Kdenlive is a perfectly suitable video editor for Mac users to consider, especially if you’re looking for software you can use on multiple operating systems.
With nearly twenty years of constant development, the open source Kdenlive supports all major, modern audio and video formats. It allows you to edit and combine multiple video and audio tracks at once, letting you lock in or hide certain tracks to test your changes.
Kdenlive’s interface is built for ease-of-use, but if you don’t like it, you can customize it to suit your screen size and preferences. Along with basic effects like 2D text and color gradients, you can also insert some special effects and filters, but these are quite limited, especially compared to more professional editors.
Built for everyone, Kdenlive is a good (but not great) Mac video editor. To get the latest version, you’ll also need to download and compile the source code yourself, which may limit new users to only the most enthusiastic of supporters.
Easy to use
Supports all major video and audio formats
Users have to compile from source code
Fairly basic features
With virtual reality content becoming mainstream, Mac users need a VR-friendly world creator to sink their teeth into. That’s where Jahshaka comes in, allowing you to create rich, 3D environments that your viewers can experience with the right VR headsets.
It has a number of preset special effects and animations, allowing you to insert your own textures and shapes into the interactive worlds you create, with the ability to export these as videos to view. As far as standard video editing is concerned, however, Jahshaka isn’t really the software to use anymore.
Jahshaka version 2 is the last release of Jahshaka as a more traditional video editing tool, allowing you to edit and combine video clips with some 3D-modeling and special effects. While Jahshaka v2 is still available for download, it’s no longer supported by the developers.
If you’re curious about creating interactive VR environments, the new Jahshaka is a great option, but as it’s no longer a traditional video editor, you’ll need to switch to an alternative like Movavi Video Editor for Mac if you’re after a true Mac video editor.
Great for virtual reality environments
Standard video editor deprecated and no longer supported
Each of the editors on this list are high-quality, powerful options for creating and editing simple and complex videos. If you’re looking for the best free video editing software for Mac, however, then Movavi Video Editor for Mac is our recommendation.
With professional-grade features integrated into a simple interface, Movavi Video Editor for Mac gives you the freedom to create videos you want, whether it’s vertical videos for Instagram stories or cinematic trailers for your next big project. With a 7-day free trial, you can try before you buy without any commitment.
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