Teaching Tech

Best free video editing software

Person sitting at computer editing video

Editing videos can be as simple as removing an unwanted portion of a video, or involve assembling many video, audio and graphic files to create a complete video. 

If you have recorded a Microsoft Teams session, your recording will be transferred to Microsoft Stream.  Stream, the video service in Microsoft 365, is available to the UWindsor campus community.  You will receive an email with a link to the recording once it has been processed by Stream, or you can upload any video you create to Stream for sharing.

The great thing about Stream is that it automatically captions your videos, which is a legal requirement in Ontario for accessibility purposes.  Stream is like YouTube in some ways, but exclusive to UWindsor accounts, so if you do need to share videos to people without a UWin ID, then YouTube is probably your best choice for hosting the video (YouTube also has an auto-captioning feature). 

Stream also allows you to trim your video, basically edit the start and end times.  So, if you have a lot of dead space at the beginning of your video, you can choose to start it sooner.  However, if there was a point in your video where there were some technical issues, or you want to remove a portion of your video for whatever reason, you can’t do that in Stream.  Also, there are times when Teams will stop recording and then automatically restart the recording (this has happened to me on a couple of occasions and I have no idea why).  Now you have two or more videos for one session that you need to share.  This can be fixed.

The first thing you do is download the video, or videos if you are stitching together multiple videos.  Now you need to edit them, and for that, you need video editing software, and there are plenty of options. 

There are high-end video editors that are pricey and have a steep learning curve – Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, and Final Cut Pro to name the most prominent ones.  Chances are you don’t have access to these programs, and if you did, they would require more time than you have to learn how to use them. 

Beyond the professional-level programs, there are many other video editors, most are free, but some also have a paid version that gives you access to more features.  My recommendations consist of all of the types of video editors starting with simple to more complex.  One thing to keep in mind when doing any sort of video editing is that you will need a good high-performance computer.  If you find your computer lags or is slow while editing, then you might want to reconsider moving to a computer that can handle video editing.

  1. OpenShot – This video editor is probably the easiest to use, but some users complain about how slow the software runs.  It’s free, open source and available for Windows, Mac and Linux.  Jonathan Thomas has a video tutorials on YouTube where you can learn the basics of OpenShot, and then some.
  1. Shotcut – Shotcut is a free, open source, cross-platform video editor.  It is slightly more robust than OpenShot, and as such, might not be as intuitive, but does have more options, especially for audio editing.  If you tried OpenShot, and it feel you can handle something slightly more complex, or need to fix audio issues within videos, then give Shotcut a try.  TJ Free offers video tutorials on how to use it through his YouTube channel.  This software is probably the one I would recommend most to people new to video editing.
  1. Hitfilm Express – There are two versions of this video editor, a free version, and a more comprehensive feature-rich pro version.  However, you can do a lot with the free version including creating some very cool special FX if you want to spend the time learning how.  There are many tutorials on their website, but most of these have to do with creating effects.  Teacher’s Tech offers everything you need to know about how to do simple video editing on his YouTube channel.
  1. Davinci Resolve 16 – From Blackmagic Design, makers of high-end video cameras, Davinci Resolve was known for its colour correcting, but now is an all-in-one software that does everything from video editing to compositing to pro-level colour correcting.  Many major motion pictures are colour corrected using Davinci Resolve.  It is en par with Premiere Pro and any other high-end video software.  There is a paid version of this software, but the free version does everything you need it to.  It is very robust and as such, not as easy to use as the above choices.  However, if you are familiar with video editing and want to take it to the pro level, this is a good choice. Training videos can be found on Blackmagic’s website.

Once you have created your video, as already stated, Stream or YouTube are your best choices for sharing it.  If you have created content for a course and you want to share it with students, uploading the video files directly to Blackboard is strongly discouraged due to the potential stress of loading large files on the system in addition to the speed and/or buffering limitations in viewing the files.

If you have any recommendations for other video editors, feel free to leave a comment below.

Peter Marval
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Peter provides expertise in the area of multimedia in support of CTL programs, website design, and special events. He has been doing graphic and web design for about 20 years. He is a graduate of Print Journalism and Digital Media from Conestoga College, and Communication, Media and Film from the University of Windsor.

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1 Comment

  1. Helpful article Peter. I’m going to give Open Shot a try!

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