So you’ve started your vlogging adventures and are now looking for the best software to complete your projects before shipping them off to the world. Depending on the type of vlog you shoot, whether it is point and shoot, a video game channel, or a simple interview style vlog, you’ll want to make a careful consideration about the type of software that you use. Check out these top ten software tools for vloggers. It doesn't matter if you've purchased a top rated camera or a cheaper solution for filming, we’ve broken them apart between free and paid solutions so you can figure which ones fit your budget. First up, let’s check out the top 5 free vlog software solutions.
As the official video editing suite from Mac, iMovie is a great solution for people just starting out their vlogging endeavors and would benefit from a more user-friendly editing platform. It’s even a fantastic tool for pro users in a crunch as the software includes more advanced tools like color grading, green-screen effects, narration and video soundtrack support. Additionally, a surprisingly storyboarding features like movies and trailers are helpful for newbies and make the difference in how effective iMovie is compared to other entry-level video software tools.
Like most top software providers today, Apple works hard to update its full slate of tools every year and iMovie is no exception. Some major updates to the software include shortcuts that make use of the new Macbook’s touch bar as well as features that adhere to the HEVC video formatting used in the last few iPhones.
Unlike other, more advanced software editing tools that clutter the screen with tools, iMovie has a simple interface structure that is great for new editors. Additionally, importing video content is just a click of a button away. Once you have been able to import your videos, iMovie makes organizing individual video clips easy by providing markers that determine whether a clips is a favorite or should be rejected.
Some of the limits inherent in iMovie include importing files that are too large or three dimensional files as the support system for these kinds of files can crash the software and slow down your computer. Despite this, working with iMovie is great for the weekend warrior or absolute to intermediate beginner or even those in a time crunch.
Continuing on with our theme of free software and, in this case, the official licensed software editor, we bring ourselves to Windows Movie Maker. Although it might not have the same number of effects as iMovie or other premium tools, Windows Movie Maker has an extremely simple design and is very user-friendly. This makes it a great tool for people that are in a crunch or need a simple video editing solution. To create a timeline for your video in Movie Maker, simply drag and drop the video clips you import into the software in the order in which you would like them to play. Additionally, you can trim and split clips while zooming in and out of video clips to more easily see where you need to edit the clip. The free software also allows you to import music for background tracks that might accompany your video clips.
Editing with Movie Maker will give you the ability to both stabilize shaky video as well as add additional transition effects like dissolves and slides. In more recent versions of the software, editors have added in another set of visual effects that include artistic features such as blur, posterize, and edge detection as well as many others. These effects allow you to create a more distinct and edgier video that can surprise and interest your audience.
Lightworks has been providing professional grade video editing for content creators for more than twenty years. What’s interesting about the free version of Lightworks is that it is just as powerful as the paid version albeit you do not have the same exporting power as you would have with the paid version. However, you can export your content directly to digital platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. Working with Lightworks is simple in that the software setup has detailed tooltips and wizards to guide you through setting up your first project. After identifying project settings like resolution and framerate, you’ll be able to import files into the software for a more seamless user experience.
Looking into the actual use of the product, it is no surprise that Lightworks is so powerful when you realize that you have the ability to customize the actual size of the pixel, allowing you the control to tweak and refine the resolution yourself.
The extreme power of Lightworks makes the trial version of their software incredibly competitive amongst freemium software. Despite it’s export limitations, you can still get a solid end result out of the free product.
Much like the previous products we have reviewed, Avidemux has incorporated quite a few features into a free online video editing tool. However, unlike the more detailed features in Lightworks, Avidemux is better for editors that just need to make quick cuts and light touch-ups. This results in the program having a lighter toll on personal devices as well as giving users an easy to use and more sparse interface design.
Unlike most other software editing tools out there, Avidemux has made its name off of having a very “spartan” interface that is perfect for making quick edits and cuts. As there is no ability to have a pool of video clip imports, the best way to use the editor is by importing the entire video clip you need to edit and working within the editor. As there is no selection for multiple tracks and dubbing, Avidemux strips away all of the unnecessary features and provides a place where you can fully focus your energy on the single clip you are trying to edit into a rough cut or tweak into a fine or final cut. Other features in the app include cutting, copying, and deleting sections of a clip as well as pasting one clip to another.
Think YouTube is just a place to host your vlogs? Think again. In fact, the YouTube Video Editor has some quality tools you can use to retouch and refine your vlogs before publishing them for the world to see. All you need to do is login into your account and head over to the video manager. From there can go down to the “Create” button on the side bar which includes a “Video Editor” button.
The editor itself has a fairly easy to use interface where you can select and drag the uploaded clips that you want to use. You can shorten and elongate your chosen clips as well as add in “Creative Commons” videos. Once you’ve added a clip to your timeline, you can add filters and text as well as edit the audio to match the clip to your preferences. For example, you can add a slow motion effect or rotate your video as well as pan and zoom and shift around the contrast and brightness.
What is really interesting is that YouTube actually provides content creators with free soundtracks for your video. It might not be the latest hip hop song but there are enough tracks from a variety of genres on the platform to give you solid audio for your video. You can select and drag these tracks underneath your video clips so they play behind your video clips.
The YouTube Video Editor is another tool that is great for editors that only need some light touch ups or are in a crunch. If you are looking for more detailed editing tools, keep reading for the top paid software programs for vloggers.
Ask any professional video editor, and they’ll tell you they’ve worked with Adobe’s flagship editing program before. And it’s with good reason as Adobe Premiere Pro is the industry standard for editing software today thanks to the programs ability to seamlessly interweave a simple interface alongside powerful tools and an unmatched set of capabilities. In recent years, Adobe has also added 360 VR, 4K, HDR video, and Lumetri Coloring editing features.
Like it has in the past, Adobe makes use of a non-linear editing workstation approach that allows for easier access of editing video media. The interface for the software itself gets you up to speed on the projects you are working on or easily lets you import new projects you are ready to take to the cutting room. Unlike other programs, Premiere Pro has a large space in the middle for you to view your clips while the assembly, editing, coloring, effects, title, and audio features are easily accessible from panels at the bottom and on the sides of the interface.
Additionally, new collaboration features in the program allow you to store projects in the “Creative Cloud” for access by editors across the world as well as from any device running the Premiere Pro software. A new “team projects” feature allows motion graphics artists and editors the ability to collaborate in real time. With the new ability to edit 360 degree VR and additional color grading apps you can use within the software make Adobe Premiere Pro one of the top editing tools in the world.
Speaking of the top editing tools in the world, we would be remiss if we did not include Final Cut Pro in this article. Like its relative Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut also makes use of a non-linear editing workstation that makes use of a trackless timeline that leads to a wealth of professional grade tools from the extra computing power of modern-day mac computers.
Final Cut Pro is very well known for how well it organizes your catalog of clips. Events and Project panels can be separated and then backed up to a hard drive for use later. Then, when you want to import them, the program gives you the option of importing the media in the exact part of the library that you want the content to go. This can make life much easier for the editor who has to import hundreds or thousands of hours worth of video content to the editing platform. Another strength of organization is that clips in the software can be organized according to “role” including things like effects, dialogue, background, and b-roll. You can color code these functions and then have them appear in the timeline view, making things much easier when you are putting clips together.
Like Adobe Premiere Pro, the latest addition of Final Cut has 360-degree VR editing capabilities as well. Once you’ve imported your 360-degree content, you can open up the 360 degree Viewer and edit it. Some effects in VR mode include blur, glow and sharpen but it won’t be surprising to see later editions of the software increase in VR editing capacities as editing and virtual reality technology becomes more sophisticated.
For the editor that prides him or herself on the ability to layer special effects onto clips will benefit tremendously from using the HitFilm Pro editing software. Like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, HitFilm uses a non-linear editing interface as well as high level video effects to create a product that can be used in conjunction with other professional video editing software programs.
As a graphics-centered program, the ideal use-case for HitFilm Pro would be to use it after you have edited your film with another film editor, preferably Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro. The software is specialized to provide state-of-the-art 3D models, particle effects, and other visual effects thanks to it’s powerful tools like the animating engine, particle simulator, color grading kit, and chroma key.
Unfortunately, the product does not lend itself to editors that are not highly trained in motion graphics and special video effects so the learning curve to become proficient in using the various tools is quite steep. This might due to the extreme plethora of visual effects like explosions, lightsabers, energy distortions and how to accurately get the right editing you need with those effects.
HitFilm also has a relatively strong audio editing function that makes use of an audio-mixer that allows you to fine-tune the background audio for your projects. Another interesting feature of the audio function on HitFilm is the ability to auto-sync audio captured from various sources. This means that if you have one sound recorded from a camera and another from an audio recorder, you can import both into the software and sync them up perfectly for accurate backing tracks.
Though HitFilm has a bit of a learning curve, editors that figure out the software will have access to an extremely powerful visual and motion graphics editor.
This one’s the big kahuna. The mean monster. The number one editing tool for the motion picture industry. Even though this blog post is about the best editing tools for your vlog, we thought we’d drop in BlackMagic’s DaVinci Resolve just because it is such an impressive tool. You can just check out it’s track record: The Martian, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and Jason Bourne-and that’s just to name a few.
Compared to Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, Resolve has a much quicker software loading and rendering speed, however you will need a computer dedicated to working with the software thanks to the sheer amount of RAM it takes up. One of the difference makers for Resolve, and why it is such a behemoth of the industry, is its Fusion VFX package. Fusion is incredibly powerful and allows you to work within a three dimensional space to create a variety of effects like color correcting, key grading, particle simulating, warping, amongst a slew of others.
Because Fusion was specifically developed for large-budget motion pictures, it isn’t necessary for the average user or vlogger who might not need that kind of power. If you do find yourself in front of Resolve, however, take advantage of it because the editing and coloring capabilities (Resolve initially began as a pure coloring tool) are second to none.
There are many options out there when it comes to choosing the right software editing tool for your vlogging needs. From the most spartan options that strip away most features so you can create a final cut to tools used by major motion picture video and audio engineers there are a plethora of tools out there so make sure to find the ones that are best suited to your skillset and what your project actually needs. It doesn’t make sense to go off spending a significant chunk of money for features the content you are creating doesn’t need.
Additionally, before you start spending time with a paid program, make sure you are proficient with how the program works. Several of the paid options in this post have a demo program that you can use before you decide to pay for the real thing.
While working with the right video editor can greatly enhance your project, always make sure the content itself is compelling as that is what will bring your vlog audience back over and over again. Creating a channel with an engaged subscriber base is one of the best ways to monitize your vlog in the long run.