We here’re our roundup of the latest options with our pick for the best video editors in every category from the best free software to paid and professional options with everything that you need to know to help you decide which one is right for you.
Hey, it’s Justin Brown here from Primal Video where we help you grow an audience and scale your revenue with online video. If you’re new here, make sure you click that subscribe button and all the links to everything we mentioned in this video, you can find you linked in the description box below.
So let’s jump into it. Now I’m video editing software updates so fast. So we do a roundup like this every six to 12 months for both Windows and Mac. And every time we go back to the drawing board, we restart all of our research, and we retest a ton of options to eventually narrow the list down to our recommendations for the best video editing software on every budget.
And as always, there have been some significant changes since our last video. Some of my priorities commendations still cut, whereas others have fallen behind and some new options have stepped in to take their place.
Now, just like last time, I’m going to break this overview down into multiple pricing categories, including free, paid and more professional software. So that you can see what’s available at each level, you can hear our recommendations, and if you’re starting at one of the lower brackets, then you can know precisely what you’ll be unlocking if you do jump into a higher bracket.
And while you’re watching, make sure to drop a comment and let us know what video editing software you’re using right now, and your number one pick for best video editing software on Mac in 2020.
And once we’re done with my recommendations across every pricing bracket, we’re going to wrap up with three quick tips that you can use to level up your editing and edit faster in any video editing software.
Okay, so here are the pricing categories that we’re going to be breaking this down into. The first one is free. So obviously that’s going to include all the free video editing software out there available on Mac right now.
But note we are not going to include any video editing software that consists of a watermark or branding when you’re saving out your videos so you can get great results in any of these options. The next category from there is the sub $200 category, so that includes all video editing software under that $200 price point.
Now we’ve also included free software in here as well because if you are willing to spend up to $200 on your video editing software, then obviously you’ve got some free options in there that are options for you as well.
And the last category then is opening it up to all video editing software above $200 as well. So this third category is going to include all video editing software that is available, covering the $200 plus, covering under $200 and also covering free so that you really can get the best editing software for you if you’re interested in spending above $200.
Okay, so starting in the free category then this includes things like iMovie, Shortcut, HitFilm Express, DaVinci Resolve, Lightworks and Avid Media Composer first. Now from testing all of those my top three or my shortlist comes down to iMovie, HitFilm Express, and DaVinci Resolve.
Now, each of these is different programs, and they are going to suit other people depending on the types of videos you’re making, and your skill level as well. So iMovie is like a household name.
When it comes to video editing software on a Mac, it’s free to download from the Mac App Store if it’s not already pre-installed on your computer and it’s going to allow you to create decent videos.
The interface in there is really intuitive and even for someone that this is the first time you’re going to be editing a video, you’re going to be able to get up to speed relatively quickly and start creating your masterpiece.
I think the most significant limitation on iMovie right now is the limited formats that it supports. Pretty much all other video editing software out there will let you create a widescreen video, a portrait video for something like Instagram or Instagram TV or a square video. In contrast, iMovie doesn’t give you those options you just stuck with a widescreen video.
So it’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s something you need to be aware of. So I think iMovie is great for someone if they’re an absolute beginner, or they’re not after too many features and advanced controls and those sorts of things.
But what I like about it too is it has a clear upgrade path. If you are someone who is looking for more and outgrowing iMovie, then you can go to their powerful brother software, their next step up Final Cut Pro and the interface is relatively similar.
So if you get up to speed with iMovie, you’re looking to upgrade. It’s not going to take you long to get familiar inside of Final Cut as well. But we will get to Final Cut a little bit later on. HitFilm Express is another one with a nice clean, easy to use and comfortable to get up to speed interface.
It’s going to be great for an absolute beginner, right through to sort of an intermediate level because there are more advanced features and things in there than what you’re getting in iMovie. Now while HitFilm itself is free, you do have the option in there to unlock additional effects and additional features and tools in there either as purchasing them as a separate add on as and when you need them or beyond that, as well, there’s also the clear upgrade path through to their pro version which unlocks all the features and functionality.
Now, while HitFilm Express is an excellent option for video editing, it’s not just video editing software. It’s also got great tools in there for motion graphics and special effects and those sorts of things as well.
Now the third one on the shortlist is DaVinci Resolve. Now this one is hands down the most professional, most advanced video editing software out there for free, without any question. It is ridiculous that they are giving this away for free.
This is actual professional video editing software that people use for things like movies and documentaries and even in the broadcast. And it’s free. And like with HitFilm how it’s not only video editing software.
DaVinci Resolve is the same. It has a heap of extra built-in tools, again for compositing for special effects, for motion graphics for audio as well. And the colour grading tools in there are second to none. Still, I do want to stress that for someone who is a beginner or a brand new editor, the learning curve in here to get up to speed and to find everything and to start editing really, you’re going to need to invest some time to learn the process and learn how everything works in here.
It’s not like some of the other options, where you can jump in and start editing quick, there’s going to be a lot more to learn and navigate inside of Resolve. To resolve is going to be perfect for someone who is looking for all of those extra advanced features and pro-level tools while they’re creating their videos.
But also, I would say someone from the sort of intermediate level through to the advanced user, and a beginner is going to be overwhelmed in there. Now if I had to pick a winner in this category, it is going to go hands down to DaVinci Resolve.
It is just incredible what they give you access to in that software for nothing. So yeah, it’s a clear winner in this category. So moving into the next class, this is where we open it up to all paid video editing software under $200.
And again, we’ve included the free software is here to make it the best option for you under the $200 price point. Now typically what you usually find with paid video editing software versus free software is that you’ve got that next level of professionalism, next level of polish, next level of features and controls without restrictions on things in the free software.
And I say typically though because there are clear standouts like DaVinci Resolve, that don’t have a lot of those restrictions in place, or nowhere to the point that some of the other free software does.
So now in this sub $200 category, we’ve got things like Filmora, Adobe Premiere Rush, Movavi Plus, Wevideo, ScreenFlow, Adobe Premiere Elements, Filmora Pro and Lightworks Pro. Now once again, from trying and testing all of these I’ve narrowed this down to a shortlist of four, and those include Wevideo, Filmora, Filmora Pro, and DaVinci Resolve.
So you can see that free version of DaVinci Resolve is beating out a lot of the paid options in this category. So as for the new ones, in the shortlist then, Wevideo is an excellent online video editor.
It runs in your web browser, which means that you don’t need to download and install anything onto your computer. Which also means you don’t need to have a potent computer, you can edit and get great results on something low powered like a Chromebook with Wevideo.
The overall interface and experience are intuitive. It’s effortless for someone to jump in, and to get up to speed editing, even if you were an absolute beginner. But it also packs a punch with a lot of the features and the power that you have in there as well.
I was blown away with how well Wevideo this cloud-based editing solution, edits 4K video and multiple tracks of 4K video. And that’s where I think this is powerful because you don’t need to have a beast of a computer to be able to edit multiple layers of 4K video in something like Wevideo.
Now the most significant thing to be aware of if your internet speed isn’t too great is it, it will take you some time to upload your files to Wevideo, but that upload process does happen in the background.
And you can start and continue editing your videos while that upload is happening. But also because this is a cloud-based solution. It’s easy to log in and use it on different computers or easy as well to work with people remotely, having them log in and work on your projects and work that way collaboratively.
Now in regards to pricing Wevideo is a monthly subscription starting at $4.99 for their power plan, that plan does limit the quality of your videos to 720P but the next list of the unlimited plan for 7.
99 removes that limitation and will give you right up to 4K quality. The next one on our shortlist is Filmora. Now, this was one that not that long ago, I never thought that I would be recommending to people, but it’s incredible what they have in there now.
Once again, this is a easy to use, really intuitive video editing solution. It’s going to be perfect for someone who is an absolute beginner, right through to sort of an intermediate level because there are some advanced features and things in there as well.
One of the biggest standout things for me though was how fast this application is not just for rendering or for export but also timeline performance and editing performance as well. And we tested it on some older computers too.
So it’s not just the latest and greatest, Filmora seemed to work pretty well across the board. And the other cool thing about Filmora is that they let you purchase lifetime access to use it. So you’re not just limited to a monthly subscription.
So you can currently grab Filmora lifetime access for 59.99. And as I said, for someone who’s an absolute beginner to an intermediate level, this is going to be perfect. So the next one on the shortlist is Filmora Pro.
So the pro version of the one that we just looked at. Now want to say at this point that this video is not sponsored. It’s not paid for endorsed by Filmora they have no idea that we are even creating this video.
It’s just ridiculous how excellent this software is, especially when you’re looking at the price and comparing it to what else is out there. And again, it wasn’t that long ago that I thought I would never be recommending anything Filmora on this channel.
So, hey well-played Filmora. So this pro version builds upon the standard version of Filmora. So the interface, very similar, still intuitive, really easy to use. But obviously, it’s adding in a heap of pro functionality as well.
This was one of the biggest things I was blown away with how many features that they have in here that mimic what you find in applications like Adobe Premiere Pro and even Final Cut.
And the interface itself mimics Adobe Premiere Pro closely. So if you’re familiar with that, then you’re going to feel right at home inside of Filmora. But even explicitly looking at things like the effects and the colour control and the colour effects that you have in there to apply and tweak and adjust for your videos.
They’ve gone over that on this and are bringing in pro-level features into Filmora Pro. Now in regards to pricing, you’ve got two options. The first one is 89.99 per year on an annual subscription, or once again, you can purchase lifetime access for 149.
99. So if you’re someone who’s not a big fan of the subscription models, these guys have you covered. And the last one on our shortlist for this category was DaVinci Resolve, which again was the winner in the previous class.
For best video editing software for free. It is ridiculous what you were getting access to for free. So much so that you can see this is beaten out a lot of paid options up to that $200 price point.
So in this category, if I had to pick a winner, it’s going to go again to DaVinci Resolve, it is ridiculous what you’re getting access to in there. These pro-level tools, pro features for free, so it’s pretty hard to beat that.
And that brings us to the third category, and we’re about opening this up. And we’re adding in all video editing software above $200 as well. So typically at this price point, this is where we’re opening it up to all the pro-level software, all the advanced features, all the advanced functionality, really the stuff that you would use in broadcast or as a video production professional.
And again, I say typically because DaVinci Resolve is kind of giving you all of that for free. So in this category now we’ve got things like HitFilm Pro, Camtasia, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, and DaVinci Resolve Studio.
So the studio version or the paid version of DaVinci Resolve. And the most significant differences between the studio version of DaVinci Resolve and the free version come down to things like unlocking higher resolutions.
So the free version will let you create up to a UHD 4K file. Whereas for true 4K and above up to 8K, that’s what you want the studio version. The studio version also unlocks a heap of really professional filters and effects, higher frame rates in your projects as well.
So up to 120 frames per second, 10-bit colour support, collaborative video editing and even facial recognition. So my shortlist then for this category which becomes my shortlist for best video editing software on Mac includes Wevideo, Filmora, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, and DaVinci Resolve.
So those are my top five. So let’s take a quick look at the two that we haven’t mentioned yet in this video. They are Final Cut and Adobe Premiere Pro. So Final Cut Pro is really the big brother or the professional version of iMovie.
In there, it’s got an excellent easy to use interface, and a full suite of professional tools for editing your videos. Now, just like with Filmora it wasn’t that long ago that I used to think that Final Cut was a bit of a joke that it was iMovie plus.
And that it definitely couldn’t be considered professional video editing software. But I had changed my tune with that a few years ago. I seriously started using Final Cut, and I have to say it is probably one of the fastest video editing software applications out there not just performance-wise.
It definitely is performance-wise but not just performance-wise, is also your editing speed wise, the whole approach to editing and how you can save and catalogue of files and everything in there. It’s different from any of the other options out there, but it makes your editing so fast.
So now I’m here once again, flying the flag for Final Cut. Now that power and performance that you get inside of Final Cut are due to Apple writing the software and Apple also making the hardware.
So the two of them work together really, really well. And it is, I would say unparalleled against any other software out there to have the hardware, talk to the software so well. So it is optimized and that’s why it’s so fast.
But the other thing about Final Cut is that it’s a one time purchase for $299. Buy at once and get free updates forever. I bought this thing years ago, and I’m still getting updates today without spending any more on it.
And the next one then is Adobe Premiere Pro, and this one is now becoming the household name or the go-to for a lot of people creating their videos out there on the professional side of things. Not only is it fantastic video editing software on its own as a standalone, but it also works well with the rest of the Adobe suite like Photoshop or After Effects or Audition.
So you can bring in all of those different applications and work seamlessly on your project literally with the click of a button. What’s also cold is because the premiere is so popular, there are so many themes and plugins and templates and things that you can purchase to use with it as well.
All to level up the videos that you’re creating and to help you make them faster. But the standout thing for me with premiere is how easy it is to work with a team, work with external editors and extra people that are helping you create your videos.
So for me, anything that is a long-form project, client work, documentary premiere is my go-to for that. Now in regards to pricing premiere is a subscription model. So you can pick up a subscription, a monthly subscription, starting at $20.
Ninety-nine for just premiere or you can grab it with the rest of the Adobe Suite. Such things like after effects and Photoshop and everything for $52.99. So to round this shortlist out and to give you some recommendations, Wevideo I would say is going to be perfect for an absolute beginner through to an intermediate level that maybe doesn’t have access to the best hardware or the most powerful computer or is looking to edit in the cloud and work remotely efficiently with other editors.
Filmora is going to be perfect if you’re an absolute beginner right through to an intermediate sort of level, given how fast given how intuitive and easy the interface is to use, but also having that power and the performance in there as well not to make it tedious or painful to edit in.
And beyond that, moving into the more professional applications like Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro and DaVinci Resolve. This is where things get a little more complicated. There is no right or wrong here, and there are standout features across all three of these, that may be the game-changer for you.
Hands down, DaVinci Resolve, has the best colour grading tools out there. Adobe Premiere probably has the most popular so it’d be easy for you to find an editor to come and help you with your editing, to find extra plugins and templates and those sorts of things for your edits.
But also probably a lot more tutorials and help out there to help you get up to speed editing. And Final Cut, I would say on the pro level of things probably has the most amount of performance and is the fastest to edit in.
And yes, I can edit pretty damn fast on all three of them. But I would say the way that Final Cut handles the edit and takes its approach to edit, it is faster than the other two. So if I had to pick a winner out of these right now for best video editing software on Mac 2020, it is going to go to Final Cut.
I think it is the old rounds best solution out there when it comes to power, performance, functionality, tools, and obviously how fast you can edit in there as well. But I will say that it will also come down to the type of project that I am taking on.
I liked the workflow and how easy it is to work with external editors in Adobe Premiere Pro. Yes, I know that you can do it in Resolve. Yes, I know that you can do it in Final Cut as well. But it’s not the same, and it’s not as good in my opinion to what you can do and how it works with Adobe Premiere.
So I do think the best video editing software out there for you is going to come down to the types of videos that you’re creating and also your skillset. And for me, I don’t just use one application for everything, I treat video editing software, like a tool to get the job done, which device is the best one for me to use for this type of video.
And I’ll jump in and use that. Now I’m not saying you need to go and learn and purchase lots of different applications. But what I would suggest is that you grab some trial versions and have a play around and see which one is the easiest for you to edit in, the most intuitive, but also has the number of features and things that you need to edit right now.
You can always upgrade to something else later if you’re hitting limits with the software that you’re currently using. Now I know that’s a lot to take in. But I did say that I would share with you at the end of this video my top three tips to help you edit faster, no matter which editing software you’re using.
Tip number one is to try and learn some of the keyboard shortcuts. I can’t stress enough how much faster this is going to make your editing. With just pressing a couple of keys on the keyboard is going to save you maybe three or four mouse clicks and mouse movements, which over time is going to speed up your editing dramatically.
Tip number two is to focus on editing down your core story or your core content first, before getting carried away with all of the colour grades and colour effects and those sorts of things. A lot of people jump straight into the stuff to make your video look pretty first.
And all that does is end up slowing down your computer and making your computer process and render everything while you’re editing. Save that stuff for last to focus on the content and the story first.
And tip number three is to take that little bit of time when you’re starting a new project to create some folders or bins to categorize everything that you’re bringing in. So it could be that you’re making a folder for footage, one for music, one for sound effects, one for any photos or graphics that you’re going to use.
Also that you can have things in a quick, easy to find a place while you’re editing, you don’t be sorting through a big list of files, trying to find everything when you’re in the middle of editing.
It’s all about keeping that momentum going and so taking that little bit of time upfront. To catalogue everything and categorize, everything is going to save you a heap of time later in the editing project.
Now those three tips are just three tips from our full video editing process guide, the Primal Video method, the most efficient way to edit your videos down with minimal wasted time and rework. You can grab your copy with the link on the screen.
There’s the link below in the description as well, and I’ll see you in the next one.