I like movies. Or, rather, I like taking movies, editing movies, sharing movies. My YouTube productions may not get many viewers to Google’s advertising, but it’s a safe and inexpensive place to store video creations for neighbors, family, and posterity.
That means I like and iMovie, right? Not so fast. Yes, iMovie is a powerful, multi-platform video editor, but Final Cut Pro does more, and others do less but do what they do with video faster and easier than iMovie.
iMovie is free with every Mac. Final Cut Pro has a hefty price tag by comparison (still dirt cheap for what it does). In between are a few alternatives, each of which can make quick work of video editing and come with features and capabilities not found in iMovie.
First, Shotcut. This well-designed iMovie editing alternative is packed with audio and video features in a traditional non-linear package. Look familiar?
Shotcut’s claim to fame is the traditional three point editing platform with just the right blend of features. Plus, Shotcut is free and cross platform.
- Video compositing across video tracks
- HTML5 (sans audio and video) as video source and filters
- 3-way (shadows, mids, highlights) color wheels for color correction and grading
- Eye dropper tool to pick neutral color for white balancing
- Fade in/out audio and fade video from and to black with easy-to-use fader controls on timeline
- Video wipe transitions:
bar, barn door, box, clock (radial), diagonal, iris, matrix, and custom gradient image
- Track compositing/blending modes:
Over, Add, Saturate, Multiply, Screen, Overlay, Darken, Dodge, Burn, Hard Light, Soft Light, Difference, Exclusion, HSL Hue, HSL Saturation, HSL Color, HSL Luminosity.
- Trimming on source clip player or timeline with ripple option
- Easy-to-use cut, copy, and paste operations
- Append, insert, overwrite, lift, and ripple delete editing on the timeline
- 3-point editing
- Hide, mute, and lock track controls
- Multitrack timeline with thumbnails and waveforms
- Unlimited undo and redo for playlist edits including a history view
- Create, play, edit, save, load, encode, and stream MLT XML projects (with auto-save)
- Save and load trimmed clip as MLT XML file
- Load and play complex MLT XML file as a clip
- Drag-n-drop files from file manager
- Scrubbing and transport control
The real list is much longer. Shotcut lives on the Mac, Windows, and even on Linux, so if you’ve ever wanted to dig into Linux for video or audio editing, this is the way to go.
Still interested in a free video editor? Check out MovieMator’s free version.
Real-time preview feature ensures what you see is what you get, and even video editing beginners can quickly get started and freely edit videos as they want. Making movies has never been easier! It fully supports all media formats like 4K UltraHD, H.265, MP3, OGG, JPG, SVG, etc. and optimized for the decoding of different formats, which significantly improved the decoding speed and quality.
All the basics for video editing are included in the free package, but if you need more filters, transitions, and a video longer than five minutes, the price tag is more modest than Shotcut. In fact, MovieMator looks and works more like the earlier iMovie of yesteryear.
Considering the price tag, there is much to like here.
- Edit videos, audios and photos, allowing you to trim, split, rotate, crop and split clips on the timeline
- Multi-track timeline editing, which allows you to add multiple videos in the same frame on multi-track timeline to make a picture-in-picture effect
- 160+ video formats can be imported to MovieMator: 4K, HEVC(H.265), TS, TRP, HD AVI, HD MP4, HD MPG, HD MOV, HD Divx, AVI, ASF, MOV, M4V, WMV, MKV, and many more
- Input audio formats supported by MovieMator: MP3, M4A, AC3, AAC, WMA, WAV, OGG, APE, MKA, AU, AIFF, FLAC, M4B, M4R
- Users are able to add all common photo formats such as BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, SVG, TGA, and TIFF
- MovieMator helps users to exported their home movie as these formats: HEVC(H.265), WMV, OGG, WebM, MPEG-2, ProRes, DNxHD, HDV, DVCPro50, XDCAM-422, etc.
- De-interlacing function
- Video properties, such as speed, aspect ratio, scan mode and sync can be adjusted
Of the two, Shotcut has more a capability and functions, but MovieMator is easier to use. I use Shotcut more frequently as I’ve gain experience, especially with audio sweetening, but I recommend MovieMator to those new to video editing and find iMovie too complex.