If you want to make your video presentable, be it a vacation video or your child’s first birthday, learning a little video editing can go a long way. And if you are not the type to fiddle with complex video editing software nor want to spend half an arm to buy and half a life to learn it, here’s a list of free video editing software to get you started. Most of these free stuff do not have the same level of quality that you would expect to find from commercial software. However, with some practice they can churn out pretty professional looking videos.

1. Windows Movie Maker

Available as a free download, Windows Movie Maker is very easy to use. It supports most formats. To edit your video just drag and drop the clips onto the program they will be assembled in the order you want. Special effects  and transitions are all just a click away. You can change the speed of your video to make the video play faster or slower.

It’s just as simple to add captions and soundtracks. You can save the finished video as a video file, or upload them directly to YouTube, Facebook or any of your favorite video sharing sites. There are also options to fine tune your movie to make it look more polished and professional.

2. Kate’s Video Toolkit

– For Windows PC only

While Kate’s Video Toolkit is not exactly free it comes with a free trial and if you decide that it is works for you it is relatively inexpensive at $9.95. The interface is very basic as you’d expect but it does provide useful editing features. The good thing is it is very easy to use. It supports most formats like AVI, WMV, MPEG, MOV, MP4, 3GP and ASF. There’s a simple file format conversion tool too. You can trim files or join two clips with a transition, and create a sequence of videos with a custom soundtrack.

There are many limitations too, for eg you can’t maximize the program window to use your full screen resolution. But if you don’t want spend your day reading the manual or help files and your editing needs are simple, Kate’s Video Toolkit may suit your needs.

3. Avidemux

– for Linux, BSD, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows under the GNU GPL license

Avidemux is a small but capable open source video editor. Although not as user friendly as Kate’s Toolkit, it is completely free and is designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks.  It supports many file types, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of codecs. It allows you to join clips, cut them (without re-encoding), and apply a lengthy list of useful filters like adding logos, crop, rotate, flip, re-size, remove noise, sharpen, adjust brightness, contrast, colors and more. There are also lots of options and fine controls for those who are more proficient. If you run into problems look up the online wiki which documents everything.



-For Windows PC only

This is a very easy to use drag-n-drop video editing program. What makes EZVID different from other free video editing software is that it is able to capture computer screen with just “one-click” of a button. Its speech synthesis feature called “text-to-speech” system converts normal text into a computer language. It can also splice a video, plus speed and slow motion control. EZVID makes it easy to edit your video and then save it for later, or upload it directly to YouTube. Here’s a short video of its features:

5. MPEG Streamclip

– For Windows and Mac

MPEG Streamclip is a lightweight editor with a small download size of only 327kb. It plays many file types, not only MPEGs. It can convert MPEG files between muxed/demuxed formats for authoring,  encode movies to many formats, including iPod, plus cut, trim and join movies. It can also download videos from YouTube and Google by entering the page URL.

Supported input formats: MPEG, VOB, PS, M2P, MOD, VRO, DAT, MOV, DV, AVI, MP4, TS, M2T, MMV, REC, VID, AVR, M2V, M1V, MPV, AIFF, M1A, MP2, MPA, AC3.

6. Lightworks

– Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8

Lightworks is one of the best of the free video editing software out there. It comes trong multicam support, realtime effects, great trimming tools, and a feature-packed timeline. With the incredible timeline can change clip speed, control clip and track volume levels, add effects and transitions in realtime. But to take full advantage of its feature set be prepared for a steep learning curve.

Lightworks has the widest support available for formats currently available in a professional NLE. MXF, Quicktime and AVI containers, with every professional format you can think of: ProRes, Avid DNxHD, AVC-Intra, DVCPRO HD, RED R3D, DPX, H.264, XDCAM EX / HD 422 and more.