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7 Best Free Video Editing Software for Mac in 2022 (Inc. M1 Macs)

Last Updated on Mar. 11, 2022 – by David Morgan
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The Best Free Video Editors with Effects for Beginners

The best free video editing software doesn’t break the bank and lets you create pro-level videos.

Searching for free video editing software?

Maybe this is your first time editing video, and you’re not ready to invest in expensive software. Or perhaps you want to create professional look videos or add cool effects without paying for pricey programs like Premiere Pro.

Video editing can be a casual hobby or a full-time career. With so many different needs and reasons to edit, there are many free programs to choose from.

But beware, with so many options out there, many free choices can be hit-or-miss; some only offer the most basic of features, while others provide the same or better tools than expansive programs.

With that in mind, we have crafted a list of the best video editing software available for free on Mac. Learn the pros and cons of each to help you determine which option is best for your video editing needs.

Top 3 Free Video Editing Software for Mac Snapshot

PowerDirector Logo

1. PowerDirector Essential - Best Choice Overall

PowerDirector offers the functionality and features of an advanced, paid program without the hefty price tag. You can get most of its features for free and subscribe if you would like to take full advantage of all its creative design packs and a full range of export formats. Its intuitive interface and design will make you feel like a pro. Detailed Review >

iMovie Logo

2. iMovie - Best for the Absolute Basics

If you’re a Mac user looking for free video editing software, you can’t go wrong using iMovie, which comes pre-installed on most Mac desktops. The program is simple, easy to use, and includes a wide range of basic features, making it one of the best bare-bones video editing software programs for Mac. Detailed Review >

Davinci Resolve Logo

3. DaVinci Resolve - Best for Industry Professionals

There is no denying DaVinci Resolve is an incredibly powerful video editor. Designed best for working with Blackmagic camera footage and specially designed DaVinci hardware this is a great choice if you are willing to put in the time and have the dedication to learn it. Detailed Review >

What Should I Look for When Searching for Video Editing Software?

Here are a few essential things to look for:

First, does it support your operating system?

Does it read and write in the video, image, and audio formats you need to use? It should support the most common formats like MP4, MP3, and WAV.

Is it a program appropriate for your skill level? Getting a professional-level video editor when you have never used video editing software can cause you a lot of trouble. Instead, look for software that caters to your level so you don’t waste time trying to use software you aren’t ready for.

Does it include the effects you want to use in your videos? For example, you will need a chroma key tool to create videos using a green screen.

Lastly, does it include templates and AI tools to make editing easier? You want software that will make creating as easy and fast as possible while outputting high-quality results. The best way to do that is via templates and tools that do most of the work for you.

7 Best Free Video Editing Software for Mac

1. PowerDirector Essential - Best Overall Choice

PowerDirector Interface

Compatibility: Mac, Windows

Overall Rating: 10/10

Beginner-Friendly: 10/10

Key Features:

  • Simple, easy-to-navigate audio and video editing
  • Wide selection of essential editing features, including AI tools
  • Several choices of editing style
  • Designed for all experience levels, beginner to professional

You will appreciate PowerDirector Essential's comprehensive free features if you're new to the video editing world. It introduces you to the program's mechanics and lets you dive into fundamental video editing tools before investing in the premium option. 

If you want to add basic effects or transitions to videos without paying for hundreds of advanced features, you will find that PowerDirector suits all your video editing needs. Its wide range of editing tools includes a video collage designer, speed controls, chroma key, and a title designer.

No matter your experience level, you won't have any issues using PowerDirector. It's designed to be simple enough for beginners yet powerful enough for professionals. 

Download PC Mag Editor's Choice PowerDirector for free.

2. iMovie - Best for the Absolute Basics

Apple iMovie Interface

Compatibility: Mac

Overall Rating: 7/10

Beginner-Friendly: 10/10

Key Features:

  • Simple design
  • High-quality audio editing tools
  • Already installed on most Macs
  • Automated video editing

iMovie comes pre-installed on your Mac which makes it a convenient choice if you need to make basic edits. It includes a set of audio and editing tools that can produce polished videos for free. It is a good editor for absolute beginners.

iMovie includes effects, transitions, and titles options. It also has a set of movie trailer templates and a background music/soundtrack library.

If you have never edited before, you won't have any issue using it. However, the one big downside to iMovie is the lack of advanced features and tools you find in other editors. Apple has reserved all of these for its paid software Final Cut Pro. 

3. DaVinci Resolve - Best for Industry Professionals

DaVinci Resolve Interface

Compatibility: Mac, Windows

Overall Rating: 10/10

Beginner-Friendly: 1/10

Key Features:

  • Intelligent color correction
  • Multi-user collaboration
  • Quality post-production audio tools
  • Motion graphics and visual effects

DaVinci Resolve is a clean, intuitive program that you would never guess is free. It offers a wide range of advanced features, including intelligent color-correction tools that let you edit skin tones, eye color, and lip color at the touch of a button, along with quality audio-editing software.

The software is not for beginners as it is designed for industry professionals. It is best used for feature films, tv shows, and commercial work. 

If you are thinking of buying Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro for professional jobs, you should give DaVinci Resolve a try first. It could save you hundreds of dollars and potentially better fit your editing style. 

4. Lightworks - Best for Experienced Editors

Lightworks Interface

Compatibility: Mac, Windows

Overall Rating: 8/10

Beginner-Friendly: 4/10

Key Features:

  • Professional-level editing
  • Access to tutorials
  • Multicam support

If you’re looking for a free program that professionals use, Lightworks is one. It has been around for years, and the professional edition was used to edit box office hits like Pulp Fiction, 28 Days Later, and Congo. So if you’re willing to put in the work to learn this software, it’s a great choice.

With Lightworks, you can import just about any common type of media file. It has Increased performance with optimized proxy files from HD, 4K, and 8K media. Plus, you can edit directly from your cloud storage.

Lightworks is easier to use than DaVinci but is still unsuitable for first-time editors.

5. Shotcut - Best for Intermediate Editors

ShotCut Interface

Compatibility: Mac, Windows

Overall Rating: 7/10

Beginner-Friendly: 7/10

Key Features:

  • Open-source program
  • 4K HD resolution
  • Timeline editing

For editors who have moved on from base-level editing software like iMovie, ShotCut is an excellent next step. 

The program is open source, so once you download it, you will have access to all its features and customize your interface to your liking. In addition, Shotcut offers advanced effects and filters that will help you produce a high-quality video for free.

One of the most useful features of ShotCut is the unlimited undo and redo for edits, including a history view. This makes it easy to step back to any part of your editing process, even if it has been hours since you started making changes. 

6. Openshot - Best for Beginners

Openshot Interface

Compatibility: Mac, Windows

Overall Rating: 6/10

Beginner-Friendly: 9/10

Key Features:

  • Similar interface to iMovie
  • Unlimited layers
  • Open-source

Openshot is free video editing software that simplifies advanced features you would see in more expensive programs. The program is open-source, so anyone can use and adapt the program to meet their needs.

Quickly trim down your videos, add animations, and create video effects. You can even make 3D animated titles and effects, such as snow, lens flares, or flying text

Beginners will find the built-in templates, real-time previews, and advanced timeline features helpful to learn the ropes of editing, while intermediate users will appreciate the unlimited layering options.

7. Hitfilm Express - Best for 3D Effects

Hitfilm Express Interface

Compatibility: Mac, Windows

Overall Rating: 6/10

Beginner-Friendly: 5/10

Key Features:

  • Customizable user interface
  • Professional tools
  • Advanced visual effects

Hitfilm Express offers all of the advanced, professional features that editing enthusiasts need for free. The option to add on features starting at $9 each lets you up to your game without breaking the bank.

Hitfilm Express includes 180+ editing effects, a wide range of import formats, plus 2D and 3D video support.

If you are interested in learning visual effects as a profession, this makes a great starting software. However, if your main goal is to cut together videos, there will be a lot of bells and whistles that get in your way. 

How to Use Video Editing Software

Here are the most basic steps to video editing. If you need more help, check out our article on how to edit YouTube videos.

  1. Create a project
  2. Import your footage
  3. PowerDirector - Cut, trim, splice, and arrange your clips
  4. Cut, trim, splice, and arrange your clips
  5. PowerDirector - add Text
  6. Add text
  7. PowerDirector - Add transitions and effects
  8. Add transitions and effects
  9. Add audio like voice over and music
  10. Save your project and export your video

Best Mac Video Editing Software [Free Download]

Dozens of free video editing software options exist on the market today, but not all of them offer the same features and high-quality results. Thankfully, because these programs are free, you can try them all out to find the one that suits your needs and expertise.

Check out PowerDirector or our other free editing programs today to begin editing incredible videos.

Free Video Editing Software FAQ

1. What is video editing software?

Video editing software is a program that allows you to cut and trim videos to combine them into a longer video. It can be used to modify and manipulate footage in a wide variety of ways.

You can use it to add text, images, special effects, sound design, and color grade your videos.

2. What is the best video editing software for beginners?

The best video editing software options for beginners are built on easy-to-use platforms that users can learn quickly. PowerDirector has the most intuitive platform and offers dozens of tutorials to help beginners learn the ropes.

3. Does Mac have a free video editor?

Yes, Macs come with iMovie, a basic video editor that allows you to trim video clips, add text, music, and simple effects. Look in your Applications folder to find it.

4. When is the best time to buy video editing software?

Typically, during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the best time to buy software is around the end of the year. However, you can find great deals year-round. For example, CyberLink, the creators of PowerDirector, have sales on their website throughout the year. It is always good to check a product’s website before purchasing to see if you are getting the best price. 

If you’re interested in PowerDirector 365, definitely check out CyberLink.com’s home page before purchasing to make sure you are getting the best deal.

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