There was a time when editing a video from your PC was a task better left to professionals. Well, we’ve come a long way since the days of Vdub, and today we’re going to take a look at the best video editing software for YouTube.
Video Editing Software for Youtube
Final Cut Pro
The Best Video Editing Software for Mac Users
Final Cut is arguably the most popular editing software on the planet, depending on which side of the fence you find yourself on when it comes to operating systems. While it is in Pro class, it’s a great tool to learn with and something you can continue to use for years to come.
Final Cut Pro is one of a handful of programs on our list that has been used in Hollywood productions. That’s because of the high-end features which include HDR support, advanced color grading, and the Magnetic Timeline which makes finding and arranging scenes simple. The multichannel audio tools are top tier, and we’re big fans of the new noise reduction system as well.
Do you need to work with dozens of angles? If so, you’ll appreciate the Multicam feature which allows you to view 16 angles simultaneously and sync up to 64 angles. As it’s a program used by many in the film industry, support is excellent, and you’ll have a long list of third-party applications to work with as well.
Another advantage of Final Cut Pro X is the ability to work with 360° video. That’s ideal if you plan to work with VR, especially when you can mirror your headset view in the program. Whether you want to add closed captions to a video, unify your color or edit a quick video for your YouTube channel, FCP X can do it all.
The only drawback to this program is a big one, as it’s only available for Mac users which rules out a considerable number of consumers. While that’s a disappointment if you run Windows, it’s an amazing piece of software and a steal at $299 considering all it can do. If you’re not ready to make the jump, Apple also offers a 30-day trial version.
- Unlimited video tracks
- VR support
- Ease of use
- 4K and HDR
- Excellent tools
- Mac only
- Overkill for simple edits
Excellent Software for Beginners and Pros
If you’ve used a PC in the past 20 years, there’s a good chance you’ve used a program from Corel. Pinnacle Studio 22 is the latest version of their top-tier editing software, and one to keep an eye on if you need solid software for your YouTube videos.
Pinnacle Studio is packed full of cool features which allow you to edit videos with ease. That includes beginners that are just learning the ropes and advanced users looking for features like 360-degree videos, motion tracking or audio ducking.
Like most editing software these days, there are three tiers to choose from with Pinnacle Studio. The standard version lets you edit up to six HD videos and gives you simplified color grading, over 1500 video effects, split screen video, and 2-channel Dolby Digital support. You won’t need green screen software thanks to the chroma key, and you can export or share your content to all the popular channels including Facebook and YouTube.
With the Plus version, you can edit up to 24 HD tracks and detach audio or place clips with precision with three and four-point editing. Dolby gets an upgrade to 5.1, and XAVC S support is added, so it’s a solid bump up over the standard tier overall. When you want the best, you’ll need Pinnacle Studio 22 Ultimate which brings 4K editing into play along with unlimited streams. Everything from the previous tiers is available, but you’ll also get multi-camera editing for six cameras and other goodies as well.
You won’t need a beastly machine to run this program, and we’re pleased to say the pricing is fair across the board. The standard version is $59, Plus will set you back $99 while the Ultimate version is $129, but is not Mac friendly. The program is compatible with Windows, and there’s a trial version available as well if you want to give it a test run.
- Advanced color grading
- 4K editing
- Over 1500 effects
- Three and four-point editing
- Excellent audio tools
- Occasional crashes
- 360 editing could be better
Adobe Premiere Pro CC
A Professional Video Editing Solution
The minds at Adobe have produced outstanding design software for decades. That includes programs for consumers that prefer to edit videos instead of photos or creating vector-based graphics. Adobe Premiere Pro is the company’s solution for video editing and one of the standard tools used in Hollywood today.
Do you plan to work with 4K video or VR? Well, Adobe can handle those formats and anything else you throw its way. It can deal with 8K as well and even has end-to-end VR 180 support so you can publish directly to YouTube. If you plan to edit alongside others, you can do so remotely with a virtual screening room and invite people to your projects straight from your enterprise address book as well.
YouTuber’s will appreciate a cool new feature with Premier Rush CC. Rush allows you to create content from your mobile and share it across social media without having to access a PC. The tools are simple but effective and you can edit your files in Premiere Pro CC if you want to take things to the next level. Your social circle will definitely be impressed.
Editors that love effects will have plenty to choose from as well. Services like After Effects, Audition and Stock work seamlessly with Premier Pro alongside all the top third-party apps. In a nutshell, it has almost everything you need in one package and a price that makes it attractive for professional editors and amateurs alike. Well, with one minor drawback…
Adobe went the subscription-based route several years ago, and you can no longer buy Premier Pro outright, but it is available for Mac and Windows. You’ll need to pay by the month or year with prices starting at around $20 depending on how long you want to sign up for initially. Alternatively, this program is also available through the Creative Cloud bundle along with Photoshop and 30 other apps for $52.99 per month.
- Streamlined interface
- Wide range of formats
- Top-notch tools
- Excellent support
- Built for professionals
- Subscription-based model
- Better options for simple YouTube edits
When You Have the Need for Speed…
Media has changed considerably over the past decade, but Cyberlink has always been a name you can turn to. Whether you need to author a DVD or edit videos, they have a tool for everyone including PowerDirector, an excellent program for YouTube streamers.
PowerDirector is widely considered one of the fastest editing tools around with their speedy TrueVelocity engine. You’ll be impressed with how quickly it can deal with any clip or export, and it’s current, so you’ll have access to the latest formats. That means 4K is only a few clicks away and there are plenty of tools for 360° video footage as well.
The 360° feature was a major reason this program made the cut. From here, you can add PiP objects, set and switch angles or stabilize footage from a shaky cam. Fans of action sports will enjoy action cam center and motion tracking. The former can correct several issues brought on by action cams including the dreaded fish-eye. Motion tracking is also extremely handy for moving objects and allows you to track objects and people with precision.
Need a chroma key for green screen work? This program has one along with a slew of high-end features like multicam designer, screen capture, color correction, and video blending. We also feel it’s one of the more accessible programs to use considering there are several modes to choose from. The Magic Movie Wizard will definitely take the guesswork out of things for beginners new to editing videos for YouTube.
CyberLink has their editing software on the tier system so you’ll have three options when it comes to purchasing this program. You can buy it outright with the Ultimate version, but you won’t get continuous updates like you will with the Ultimate 365 – a subscription plan. Director Suite 365 is another option which includes everything from the other bundles along with some additional perks. Prices range from around $130 outright or $70 per month depending on your preference.
- Top-notch rendering speeds
- 360° video tools
- Modes for beginners
- Reasonably priced
- 4K and 3D capable
- Windows only
- Color tools could be better
An Exceptional All-Around Editor
Not all editing programs cost an arm and a leg. In fact, some of the best video editing software for YouTube is quite affordable including Filmora9. Wondershare offers this program in three different versions, but even the Premium tier sports a nice price.
We’re not going to go through this program level by level. Instead, we’re going to focus on the unlimited version which gives you everything. That includes over 1000 video effects with new ones added each month along with free updates and tech support for life. It’s a big step up from free programs but still easy to use if you’re a beginner due to the theme system.
Filmora9 allows you to slice and dice your YouTube videos or tailor them to suit your needs through a variety of filters and transitions. The controls are intuitive, and there are plenty of advanced features to keep more experienced users interested through Full Feature mode. This mode unlocks advanced color tuning, an action cam tool, freeze frame, and a power tool along with a slew of other options.
While the program was missing features a few critical features in previous years, currently it covers all the vital areas. You’ll get 4K support along with a robust set of action tools for stabilization and correction in your videos. Social sharing is simple as well, so you’ll be able to upload your videos to YouTube and other social media sites in seconds.
Wondershare’s Filmora9 is available for Mac and Windows systems in an individual plan, or you can purchase a license for educational or business use. The free trial version lets you try before you buy but includes a watermark on the finished product. You can also pick this software up on a yearly subscription or under lifetime or unlimited plans with prices starting at $69 and running all the way up to $279 for the unlimited annual plan with video and audio effects.
- Easy to use for beginners
- Great action cam tools
- Excellent price point
- Plenty of export formats
- Not as speedy as other programs
- Lack of advanced tools
Movavi Video Suite
Capable and Affordable Video Editing Software
Movavi is another affordable program geared towards novice editors looking for something quick and easy. We’re pleased to say it delivers in that regard and it’s an excellent choice if you’re looking to make tutorials or edit a gameplay session to post on YouTube or Twitch.
Movavi has several products in their arsenal, but we went with their Video Suite as it has everything you need in one package. Editors will have an array of tools at their disposal to merge, cut or add transitions to their videos. There are around 160 filters included as well along with features like caption support, chroma key, and slow-mo.
If you enjoy making tutorials, you’ll appreciate the screen recording feature. From here, you can capture your screen while making adjustments on the fly. Just make sure you’ve got a microphone and webcam, or it’s all for naught. If you need help with the latter, we have you covered with the best cameras for YouTube. Need to convert some files? It can handle that as well…
Media conversion is another advantage of Movavi as it has support for over 180 different formats. Whether it’s a GIF or an old AVI file it can handle jobs in seconds. Batch conversion is supported, and there’s no loss of quality even on UHD files. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the VHS digitization feature and disc burning in case you want to author instead of share online.
Movavi Video Suite isn’t as cheap as some of our other options, but reasonable at around $149 unless you catch it on sale. That’s for a personal lifetime license for one PC, and there’s a free version as well. The software is available for Windows although Mac users can’t get the suite so you’ll need to purchase the Mac video editor or individual products you need.
- Easy to use
- 4K support
- Lots of bang for your buck
- Wide variety of formats
- Optimization could be better
- Limited effects
The Best Free Video Editing Software for YouTube
It’s great to have a full set of tools in your arsenal, regardless of your experience editing video. HitFilm Express provides you with a boatload of features and is ideal for folks that want to add some pizazz to their YouTube videos for free.
Several picks on our list offer a trial version, but nobody gives you as much for free as the minds behind HitFilm Express. The aptly name program can turn amateur videos into professional masterpieces with over 400 effects and presets. There are tools for animations, composite shot enhancements, an adaptive trimmer and you can work with unlimited tracks. We felt the audio features are a little sparse without a “boost” but the mixer is very easy to use, and we love the built-in YouTube upload feature.
If you’ve ever had issues with color grading, you’ll dig HitFilm’s preset system. This allows you to recall and apply your favorite settings to any video you like. It goes hand-in-hand with the grading toolkit and warping tools that can distort your footage with some insane effects. The worklow is adjustable and easy to learn, even when you get to the more advanced features. They also have an active online community and great tutorials if you do happen to get stuck.
As much as you get for free with HitFilm Express, most of the pro features are missing unless you hit up the Add-on store. It’s purely optional but well worth checking out if you want to add 360° video, battle damage effects, or work with some third-party solutions. The particle simulator and custom color tools are fan favorites along with the LUT pack.
HitFilm Express if free to download and use for both Windows and Macs with a few obvious drawbacks compared to paid programs. If you like what you see and want more, there are two more options available with HitFilm Pro for $299 or Studio for $499. Both add a considerable amount of professional level tools but only come with 12-months of free updates and support.
- Wealth of free features
- Easy to use interface
- Animation tools
- Viewer quality options
- High system requirements
- Add-ons can get expensive
- Spammy download process
While a few programs didn’t quite or list like iMovie and Shotcut, the best video editing software for YouTube simply has to suit your needs. It doesn’t matter if you’re a power user that goes through hours of footage a day or someone that just wants to edit and upload vacation videos to YouTube. Just remember to keep your system requirements in mind if you opt for a Pro level tool. If you’re a gamer and prefer Twitch to YouTube, be sure to check out our list of the best streaming software as well!