Apple computers are geared towards creative professionals. They excel in video and photo editing. The price of industry-leading packages such as Adobe Premiere, After Effects and Apple’s Final Cut Pro is high.
All is not lost. There are many free and capable video editing programs for Mac. Many are suitable for beginners while others will appeal to more experienced video editors due to their impressive feature set.
These are our top free Mac video editors.
Summary: A free, consumer-grade video editor. It is optimized for Apple hardware, and can be used for personal projects.
Anyone who has a Mac can use iMovie for free. All iPad and iPhone owners can download the iOS version for free. This software is for consumers who need to quickly create videos from footage in their Photos library. iMovie has a simplified timeline editor, which doesn’t allow multi-track editing.
iMovie can handle 4K video as well as green screen compositing despite its basic UI and linear editing. It supports slow-motion and fast-forward visual effects, as well as picture-in-picture. iMovie allows you to create titles, drag-and drop transitions and add motion graphics such as 3D globes and travel maps.
It comes with sound effects and music built in that you can use immediately. The app can create trailers in Hollywood style using footage you provide. The app also allows you to directly export to YouTube or Vimeo in up to 4K resolution. This is the app you need to create a video on your Mac.
2. DaVinci Resolve
Summary A powerful and professional-grade video editor, but it does not have the color-grading tools that developers are famous.
DaVinci Resolve Studio costs almost $1,000, while the basic version is free. It also includes the same high quality image-processing capabilities as the more expensive version. It includes a powerful video editor and some of the most advanced color correction capabilities. You can even use external hardware panels to speed up editing.
There are some limitations. Resolve cannot output in SD, HD, or Ultra HD. However, this is probably more than enough for most users. Resolve also places limitations on advanced grading tools and tracking tools. These restrictions are intended to encourage professional users to upgrade.
Although the app has a steep learning curve DaVinci Resolve offers a powerful video editing suite that you can use for free. For more information, see our comparison between DaVinci Resolve & HitFilm Express.
Summary A Mac-based open-source video editor with a large number of features. Some users may be put off by the outdated interface.
OpenShot, a cross-platform open-source tool, has been around since 2008. OpenShot was created with the goal of making a stable, open-source, and free video editor. In line with expectations for an open-source project that has a small team, the project is updated several times per year.
OpenShot’s features list has expanded over the years to support a wide range of formats, animation keyframes and unlimited audio or video tracks. You’ll also find transition and compositing support and titles. There are many other features that you would expect from a modern video editor.
OpenShot has been criticized in the past, but it is still worth giving it a try.
Summary An open-source editor that is capable and has an interface superior to OpenShot.
Another free, cross-platform open-source video editor is here. Shotcut’s features are just as impressive and as extensive as OpenShot. However, Shotcut has a more attractive interface. It is more like a paid application than a free one.
You can import a variety of formats and video files, such as 4K, ProRes and DNxHD. Shotcut offers great audio support, a wide range of effects (including transitions and compositing), and an intuitive UI.
You will be able to use advanced features such as 5.1 surround sound and three-way colour correction. There are also a lot of audio and video filters. You can even watch a complete set of Shotcut video tutorials to help you get up to speed with using the editor.
Summary Although not a purpose-built editor, it is still a powerful and free tool.
Blender is a 3D modeling and compositing program that’s free. It has been used in high-profile productions. Many people don’t know that Blender can also be used to edit non-linear videos, provided they are willing to spend the time to learn how it works.
Blender can be used to cut, splice, sync, adjust layers, transitions and filter video. Blender won’t be able to edit a complete film, but it may suffice for basic editing tasks.
Although Blender is not the easiest to use, it is an extremely powerful and flexible non-linear editor. Daniel Pocock has a quick guide for editing video in Blender.
Summary The Editor is powerful and has many features. However, the Free version feels more like a trial.
Lightworks is one the most powerful apps in this list. If it weren’t so restricted for free users, we’d recommend it over all other packages. The free version has video effects, multicam editing and titling. It also includes the multi-layered timeline approach that you would expect from a comprehensive editor.
Unfortunately, rendering (exporting your projects) is limited to 1080p output on Vimeo and 720p to YouTube. Lightworks Archives can also be rendered, but this will result in the loss of H.264, MP4 and DVD export options.
Lightworks, while a comprehensive toolkit, is not a great free editor for Mac users. Unless you want to fully test it and then upgrade later, Lightworks won’t be a good fit.
Summary A competent freebie but lacking in features and polish.
Avidemux was also included in our top Linux video editors. It’s simple in design, but it does a good job for basic editing tasks. It supports many input and output formats. The app is updated several times a year. Development continues at a steady pace.
The team ensures that all versions are equal, so you won’t be missing any features if the Mac package is chosen.
Avidemux can be used for basic tasks such as trimming a video to fit, applying audio or video filters, and transcoding. You can automate many common tasks with Avidemux if you are willing to look deeper.
For learning materials, make sure you visit the Avidemux Wiki. The Avidemux Forum is available for assistance if you are stuck.
8. HitFilm Express
Summary A Mac video editor that is free and includes over 410 presets and effects, 2D and 3-D compositing, as well as many other features.
HitFilm Express, a free video editor for Windows and Mac computers, is available as a download. There are two versions. The free HitFilm Express version is what we’ll be focusing on. This allows you to do basic editing.
This tool is ideal for both beginner and intermediate level editing. The home interface of the software provides all the latest industry news as well as a host of helpful tips and tricks to help you use the tool. To get started right away, you can drag images, videos, and music files into the software panel. You will also find the built-in clipper useful.
It also allows for VFX editing. What if the free version lacks a certain functionality? They have that covered too. The additional features can be purchased right from your home workspace. HitFilm has more information if you are interested in this feature.
Summary An online video editor for free that can compete with any offline tool.
InVideo is the Canva for video editing. Canva, a free online tool for graphic design, is what you need. This basically means that you can edit your videos directly from your browser without having to deal with all the hassle and clutter associated with offline tools.
This is a powerful free Mac video editing program that includes over 35,000 video templates, and more than 3 million images in its standard media library.
Did we mention that videos are free from watermarks?
InVideo allows you to create many things: InVideo templates, YouTube intros and memes, slideshows and slideshows, as well as Facebook templates. You’ll also receive perks such as 1GB free cloud storage, automated speech to text, and many more.
InVideo is the best cloud service available. To get started, all you have to do is create an account at the official website.
10. Final Cut Pro
Summary A simple-to-use tool for video editing pros and beginners alike.
Final Cut Pro is the obvious choice for iMovie users, or those within the Apple ecosystem. Apple allows a free 90-day trial of Final Cut Pro, even though it is a paid product. This is about three months.
Final Cut Pro is a great option for those who are new to video editing or have only a few projects.
It has a simple drag-and-drop area, several editing effects, as well as a media organization tool with Smart Collections or Auto-Analysis. It supports 360-degree content, and is compatible with the most advanced VR headsets.
Final Cut Pro, Apple’s latest beauty, is a piece that celebrates creativity and artists.
11. Cyberlink PowerDirector
Summary The Powerhouse for all your Mac video-making needs.
Cyberlink PowerDirector, like its name, is a powerful Mac video editing program.
When we first saw it, the tool’s wealth of solid features caught our attention. Most of these features are free.
This Mac movie maker has more than 3,000 effects, templates, and around 6,000,000 stock videos.
There are many other features that merit special attention.
- Support for 4K video resolution
- Audio Denoising
- Monitor Monitoring
- Compatibility with a large number of video formats
- Video Collage Designer
- PiP Designer
- Speed Designer
These are only a few of the many features in PowerDirector. The only problem with it, if we can call them that, is the watermark left in the free version. It’s not fair to expect this much from a freeware edition. It’s unlikely that it would be, which is why it made our top video editing apps for YouTube list.
PowerDirector is worth a try. If the app meets your expectations, you will be able to purchase the full version directly from the app (from the shopping cart icon at the top-right).
These are the Top Free Mac Video Editors
Which video editor is best for you? If you are just starting out, iMovie is probably the best choice. It’s free, simple to use, optimized for Apple hardware, and it’s also very easy to learn.
iMovie has many features that will satisfy both intermediate and advanced users. It lacks the raw power of Final Cut and Premiere Pro.
You can find a basic video converter app on macOS.