Data Doctors: Free, easy-to-use video editors for Windows

Q: I want to start basic video editing on my Windows 10 computer and looking for suggestions for a beginner.

A: There was a time when the cost and complexity of video editing made it a challenging proposition for beginners, but all that has changed.

There are dozens of free options for video editing, including applications that work directly on smartphones and tablets. But for the best results, the additional real estate that a computer provides is preferable.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the need to commit the time to learn how to use these tools, so make sure you allocate plenty of “play time” before you attempt a serious project.

Windows Video Editor

If your needs are very basic, the free Video Editor that comes pre-loaded from Microsoft may be a good first step. Just go to the Start menu and type “video editor” to launch the program.

You’ll be able to trim the video, set the duration and add titles, text, filters, background music or custom audio such as a voice over.

This tool is about as basic as it gets for video editing, so you won’t find things like fancy transitions or advanced audio tools. This also makes it one of the easiest tools to learn.

FilmForth

Another free option that’s more feature-rich and available via the Microsoft Store is called FilmForth.

This app has a significant upgrade in features but is still very easy to learn how to use. Some of the more useful features allow you to split and combine video segments, detach the audio from the video and use fade in/fade out on your audio tracks.

It’s also a great tool for creating slide shows with effects to give motion to still images, and is a great tool for creating video for social media.

Unlike some other free video editors, FilmForth does not place a watermark on your video as a way of advertising itself through your videos.

OpenShot Video Editor

If you’re looking for more sophistication but still want something relatively easy to learn, I’d suggest a free open-source tool called OpenShot.

Their powerful animation and keyframe tools can really bring your project to life. They’ve also got lots of useful video effects, and you can use as many layers (audio tracks, titles, watermarks, even background videos) as you want.

This tool will require more of a time commitment because of this additional power, but if you’re going to be editing videos on a regular basis, it’s worth the effort.

It’s also got an incredible number of exporting options that won’t limit the quality, like many of the other free programs, which are trying to entice you to pay for their premium product.

Online video editor

If you would like the option of editing projects on various computers, including Chromebooks, an online tool called Clipchamp would be worth a look.

There’s nothing to install (although you can also download their desktop app), so getting started is quick and easy. For an online video editor, it’s pretty feature-rich and makes it easy to start and continue a project from any desktop computing device or to share the task with others.

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