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Best Free Video Editor for Mac: Top 10 Expert Picks

Edit like a pro with these free video editors for Mac users.

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Last updated: December 5, 2023

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macOS offers many great apps and tools for editing videos, but finding the right one can be tricky. So, I’m here to walk you through the top 10 best free video editors for Mac. Whether you’re just starting out, a hobbyist, or a pro, these tools are designed to fit various needs. Let’s check out my top picks for video editing on Mac.

Best Free Video Editor for Mac: My Top 10 Picks

Here’s a quick list of the best free video editors for Mac:

  1. PowerDirector Essential
  2. iMovie
  3. DaVinci Resolve
  4. VideoPad
  5. Blender
  6. Kapwing
  7. Animoto
  8. HitFilm
  9. Movie Maker Online
  10. Lightworks

Before diving into the top free video editors for Mac, I want to share how I picked these editors. I’ve thoroughly tested each one, focusing on their editing features, ease of use, and how well they run on Macs. I’ve tested these on my MacBook Air M1 (2020) and MacBook Pro M2 (2022). This way, you get real insights into what makes these editors great for your Mac in 2023.

1. PowerDirector Essential: Best Overall

PowerDirector Essential Video Editor for Mac

PowerDirector Essential is a free video editing software that doesn’t cut corners on features. It has a user-friendly interface packed with cool features you’d usually pay for, making it my top choice in free editing software.

If you’re interested in adding effects or transitions to your videos without dealing with complex features, PowerDirector is a practical choice. It has a good selection of editing tools like video collage creation, speed control, chroma key for green-screen effects, and title designing. It covers the essentials without overwhelming you with too many advanced options.

Key Features That Really Stood Out to Me

  • Mask Designer: The Mask Designer is quite useful. It lets you easily remove objects and blend clips, making your projects look more professional and refined.
  • Customizable Templates: The sheer number of templates, including intros and outros, made my editing workflow much more seamless. These templates significantly speed up the editing process, providing a quick way to achieve polished results.
  • AI Body Effects: The AI effects are my favorite, especially for videos featuring people. They add a layer of fun and creativity that’s usually hard to achieve with free video editing software for Mac.
  • Animated Assets: Adding animated titles and stickers into videos is effortless with this editor. This feature added a lot of charm and personality to my projects.

You May Not Like This If

  • Limited Advanced Features in Free Version: While PowerDirector Essential offers a solid range of features for free, some of the more advanced tools are only available in the paid version.
  • Windows-Centric Design: Originally designed for Windows, you might find its interface and functionality less intuitive than software originally built for macOS.
  • Resource-Intensive: Users with older or less powerful Macs might experience slower performance, as it can be resource-heavy, especially with high-resolution video editing.

2. iMovie: Best for Beginners

iMovie Video Editor for Mac

iMovie is a great starting point for anyone new to video editing. Its user-friendly interface, combined with a good set of basic tools, makes it ideal for beginners. It simplifies the editing process while allowing for the creation of visually appealing videos. From my personal experience, it’s a must-try for Mac users looking to get into basic video editing without feeling overwhelmed.

Being free with Apple devices is a significant plus, making it accessible for anyone with a Mac. With its essential yet effective features, iMovie is the perfect free editing software for Mac, especially for those just starting in video editing.

Key Features That Really Stood Out to Me

  • Ease of Use: The simplicity and intuitiveness of iMovie’s interface are remarkable. It made my dive into video editing feel less daunting and more streamlined. The layout is clean and easy to navigate, perfect for beginners.
  • Basic Editing Tools: iMovie’s basic editing tools, like cutting, trimming, and adding transitions, were exactly what I needed to get started. They’re straightforward but effective, making the initial steps in video editing a smooth experience.
  • Built-In Sound and Music: A range of sound effects and music tracks built into iMovie was a huge advantage. It saved me time and added a professional flair to my projects, even as a beginner.
  • Trailer and Movie Templates: The pre-designed templates for trailers and movies in iMovie are great. They allowed me to create something that looked polished and engaging with minimal effort.

You May Not Like This If

  • Basic Toolset: iMovie is great for beginners but might be too basic for more advanced users.
  • Limited Customization: The options for customizing effects, transitions, and overall editing are limited, which might frustrate users looking for more creative control.
  • Apple Ecosystem Restriction: iMovie is exclusive to Apple devices, so you won’t be able to use it across other operating systems.

3. DaVinci Resolve: Best for Professionals

DaVinci Resolve Video Editor for Mac

DaVinci Resolve is a full-blown production studio packed into one program. It meets top industry standards and offers a wide variety of features. It’s the best free video editor for Mac if you regularly edit professional projects like movies or commercials. From what I’ve seen, its comprehensive and versatile nature makes it a must-have for anyone into professional-level video editing.

Its comprehensive set of tools for editing, color grading, visual effects, and audio post-production means you can manage an entire project within one software. Plus, DaVinci Resolve performs exceptionally well for large-scale and demanding projects, handling high-resolution footage and complex edits without a hitch.

Key Features That Really Stood Out to Me

  • Advanced Color Grading: DaVinci Resolve offers incredible color grading tools. The level of control and precision it offers in color correction and grading is unmatched, allowing for cinematic-quality results.
  • Complex Editing Capabilities: The software’s multi-track timeline is a dream for complex editing tasks. It handles layers of video and audio with ease, making it ideal for intricate projects.
  • Fusion for Visual Effects: The Fusion feature in DaVinci Resolve is great. It offers an extensive range of visual effects and motion graphics capabilities, all within the same software.
  • Fairlight for Audio Post-Production: Fairlight, integrated into DaVinci Resolve, provides professional audio post-production tools. This feature alone makes it an all-in-one solution for video projects.

You May Not Like This If

  • Steep Learning Curve: It requires time and effort to master, especially for those new to video editing.
  • High System Requirements: It demands powerful hardware, especially for 4K editing and complex visual effects.
  • Complex Interface for Casual Users: The interface and multitude of features, while great for professionals, might be too complex for casual or hobbyist video editors.

4. VideoPad: Best Export Options

VideoPad Video Editor for Mac

VideoPad is another great free video editing Mac software that stands out for its flexibility and range in exporting videos. It’s a valuable tool for editors who need to deliver content in multiple formats. Plus, the exported videos maintain high quality, which is crucial for professional work and content creators.

Its wide range of supported formats, direct social media integration, customizable settings, and DVD-burning capabilities make it an excellent choice for anyone looking for flexibility in how they share their videos. 

Key Features That Really Stood Out to Me

  • Wide Range of Export Formats: VideoPad supports various video file formats for export. Whether it’s common formats like MP4, AVI, or more specialized ones, it likely has what you need.
  • Speed Adjustment: VideoPad makes it simple to apply slow-motion or fast-motion effects, adding dynamic elements to your videos with ease.
  • Chroma Key: This feature allows you to remove backgrounds from your videos without a green screen, which is great for adding more creative visuals.
  • DVD Burning Capability: The built-in feature to burn projects directly to DVD is a nice touch, especially for those who require physical copies of their videos.

You May Not Like This If

  • Limited Advanced Features: While VideoPad is great for basic editing, it may lack the advanced features needed for more complex video editing tasks.
  • Performance Issues: Some users report performance lags, especially when working with longer or high-resolution videos.
  • Basic User Interface: The user interface may feel a bit dated or simplistic for advanced users.

5. Blender: Best for Animation

Blender Video Editor for Mac

Blender has been a part of my toolkit for animation projects, and its capabilities in this domain are impressive. Known primarily as a 3D modeling and animation software, Blender offers a comprehensive set of tools that cater to amateur and professional animators.

This free movie editing software for Mac has a comprehensive suite of tools for 3D modeling, rigging, and animation. The quality of output, combined with its open-source nature, makes Blender an invaluable resource for animators and 3D artists.

Key Features That Really Stood Out to Me

  • Robust 3D Animation Suite: Blender’s strength lies in its powerful 3D animation tools. It allows for complex modeling, rigging, and animation, making it suitable for high-quality 3D projects.
  • Powerful Hair Nodes: The curves-based hair system, including 26 hair assets across 6 categories, lets you create realistic hair, fur, or grass, enhancing the realism in characters and scenes.
  • Realistic Simulations: Blender excels in creating realistic simulations like smoke, fire, fluids, and cloth, adding a lifelike quality to animations.
  • Impressive Rendering Capabilities: Blender’s rendering capabilities, especially with its Cycles rendering engine, produce stunning visual outputs, bringing animations to life with a high degree of realism.

You May Not Like This If

  • Steep Learning Curve: Blender’s comprehensive set of features can be overwhelming for beginners, requiring a significant time investment to learn.
  • Focused on 3D: Blender is primarily a 3D software, so its video editing capabilities might not be as developed as other dedicated video editing tools.
  • Resource-Intensive: It demands a powerful computer, especially for 3D modeling and rendering.

6. Kapwing: Best for Subtitles

Kapwing Video Editor for Mac

Having used Kapwing for several projects that required subtitles, it won’t be unfair to say that it is one of the best free editing software Mac has for subtitle editing. It combines an intuitive interface, automatic transcription capabilities, and customizable options to add subtitles to videos efficiently. This makes it easy to achieve clear and professional-looking subtitles in your projects.

Kapwing is perfect for content creators, marketers, or anyone who regularly needs to add subtitles to their videos. Its ease of use makes it accessible for all skill levels.

Key Features That Really Stood Out to Me

  • AI Audio Waveform Generator: The AI-driven feature to add visual sound waves to videos is innovative, enhancing the viewer’s experience, especially in music-centric or sound-focused content.
  • Customization Options: I appreciated the ability to customize the subtitles. You can change the font, color, and size, ensuring that the subtitles match the style and tone of the video.
  • Canvas Resize Tools: The ease of changing aspect ratios, adding padding, and showing safe zones for popular platforms like YouTube and Instagram makes adapting content for different media easier.
  • Automatic Subtitle Generation: The auto-generate feature for subtitles is a game-changer. It can automatically transcribe the audio in videos, saving a significant amount of time.

You May Not Like This If

  • Internet Dependency: Being an online tool, it requires a stable internet connection.
  • Limited Free Version: The free version of Kapwing has limitations, like a watermark on videos.
  • File Size Limitations: There may be restrictions on the size of files you can upload and edit.

7. Animoto: Best for Templates

Animoto Video Editor for Mac

Animoto is a macOS free video editor that offers plenty of high-quality templates that are easy to use and customize. Its intuitive interface and diverse range of design options make it a standout choice for template-based video editing. The pre-designed templates save a lot of time and effort, especially when you need to put together a video quickly.

This video editing software is well-suited for marketers, educators, and small business owners who need to create polished videos without much fuss. Despite the ease of use, the end results look professional and well-crafted, which is crucial for maintaining a high standard of visual content.

Key Features That Really Stood Out to Me

  • Voice-Over Capability: The option to record, upload, and edit narrations directly in Animoto adds a personal touch to videos, which is great for storytelling or explanatory content.
  • Drag-and-Drop Interface: The drag-and-drop function makes it incredibly user-friendly. Even those with no prior video editing experience can create professional-looking videos with ease.
  • Brand Kits: You can save and reuse brand elements like logos, colors, and fonts. This is extremely useful for maintaining consistency across videos, especially for business use.
  • Video Resizer: The video resizer tool allows easy adaptation of videos from vertical to square to landscape formats. This makes it convenient to optimize content for different platforms.

You May Not Like This If

  • Limited Editing Flexibility: Animoto is template-based, which might restrict creative freedom for users wanting more control over their edits.
  • Internet Requirement: As an online platform, it requires an internet connection, limiting offline accessibility.
  • Subscription Model: The free version is limited, and full access requires a subscription.

8. HitFilm: Best for Visual Effects

HitFilm Video Editor for Mac

HitFilm goes beyond the basics of video editing to offer a comprehensive suite of visual effects. Its advanced tools and intuitive interface make it a standout choice for anyone serious about VFX. From personal experience, HitFilm has consistently proven to be an invaluable resource for projects that demand high-quality visual effects.

HitFilm is particularly well-suited for filmmakers and VFX artists who require a solid set of tools for visual effects creation. This Mac video editor’s capabilities cater to independent creators and professional studios.

Key Features That Really Stood Out to Me

  • Particle Simulator: The particle simulator in HitFilm lets you create complex particle effects like smoke, fire, and explosions, adding a high level of detail to your projects.
  • Motion Tracking: The motion tracking feature in HitFilm is impressive. You can attach text or effects to moving objects or people, adding a dynamic and professional touch to your projects.
  • Lighting and Lens Flares: The high-quality light leaks and lens flares in HitFilm enhance the visual appeal of videos, especially when creating cinematic effects.
  • Professional Text Tools: The text tools in HitFilm are robust, allowing for the addition of subtitles or the creation of 3D titles, which is essential for professional video editing.

You May Not Like This If

  • System Requirements: It requires a relatively powerful computer for smooth operation, especially when working with effects-intensive projects.
  • Learning Curve: There is a learning curve to effectively use its advanced features, which might require time and patience.

9. Movie Maker Online: Best for First-Timers

Movie Maker Online for Mac

Movie Maker Online is a great entry point into video editing for first-timers who don’t want to install new apps on their Macs. Its ease of use, accessibility, and basic feature set make it a suitable choice for those who are just starting out and need a straightforward tool to create simple videos.

Being online and free to use, it’s easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection. While it doesn’t have advanced features, its basic tools can handle simple video editing tasks.

Key Features That Really Stood Out to Me

  • Free Music and Photos Library: It offers a library of free music and photos, which is particularly useful for first-time editors looking to enhance their videos without searching for external resources.
  • Plenty of Filters: It has a variety of filters to change the look of your video, offering easy presets for instant visual enhancements.
  • Slideshow Maker: The ability to combine video clips, photos, and music into an animated slideshow is a great feature, especially for creating compelling presentations or memory videos.
  • Blur Tools: The blur tools in Movie Maker Online are versatile, allowing you to blur the entire video, just the background, or specific text, which is useful for creating focus or privacy in your videos.

You May Not Like This If

  • Basic Features: It’s a very basic tool, which might not be suitable for more advanced editing tasks.
  • Ad-Supported: The website is ad-supported, which may impact the user experience.
  • Limited File Support: There may be limitations on the types and sizes of files you can work with.

10. Lightworks: Best for Special Effects

Lightworks Video Editor for Mac

Lightworks is a highly capable tool for special effects in video editing. Its combination of an advanced effects suite, real-time capabilities, and a customizable interface makes it a strong choice for editors looking to elevate their videos with special effects.

Lightworks is best suited for intermediate to professional video editors who require a robust tool for creating special effects. The level of control and the quality of effects achievable in Lightworks are on par with professional standards, making it a strong competitor to more expensive software.

Key Features That Really Stood Out to Me

  • Advanced Special Effects Suite: Lightworks has an advanced suite of special effects tools. It lets you create a wide range of effects, from simple to complex, that can enhance any video project.
  • Advanced Timeline Editing: It includes sophisticated timeline editing features like multi-point and asymmetric trimming, sliding, rippling, rolling, and more, offering precise control over the editing process.
  • Transitions: The software provides hundreds of professional-level transition presets, facilitating smooth and creative scene transitions.
  • Audio EQ & Mixing: Lightworks offers advanced audio editing capabilities, including clip-based audio leveling and midi control, enhancing the overall sound quality of the projects.

You May Not Like This If

  • Complex Interface: The interface can be complex and overwhelming for new users.
  • Limited Export Options in Free Version: The free version restricts export formats.
  • Hardware Requirements: Like many professional tools, it requires a good hardware setup for optimal performance.

Edit Videos Like a Pro on the Best Free Video Editor for Mac

So, there you have it – a rundown of the 10 best free Mac video editors. Each offers something special, whether it’s easy-to-use features for beginners or advanced tools for the pros. The key is to find the one that aligns with what you need and your level of expertise.

Here are some more tips for you:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can free Mac video editors handle 4K video editing?

Yes, many free Mac video editors can handle 4K video editing. However, the performance and smoothness of editing 4K footage largely depend on the specific editor and the capabilities of your Mac hardware. Some may offer seamless 4K editing, while others might be more limited.

Are free Mac video editors suitable for beginners?

Yes, free Mac video editors are suitable for beginners. They typically feature user-friendly interfaces and basic editing tools, making it easy for those new to video editing to learn and create projects without feeling overwhelmed by complex functionalities.

Do free video editors offer advanced features like color grading and special effects?

Some free video editors offer advanced features like color grading and special effects. While these tools may not be as advanced as those in premium software, they provide a good starting point without incurring costs.

Can I export videos in different formats with free Mac video editors?

Yes, you can export videos in different formats with most free Mac video editors. This flexibility ensures your final product is compatible with different platforms and devices, catering to various project requirements and distribution needs.

Hashir Ibrahim

Author

I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

Ojash

Reviewer

Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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