Skip to main content

Best video editing software of 2021

(Image credit: Image Credit: Photographee.eu / Shutterstock)

Whether a complete beginner or an expert in video-editing waters, everyone needs a good software companion to help them achieve their final task - be it the creation of an amazing visual masterpiece or a simple Facebook video. 

Such a video-editing program would be able to not only facilitate the video post-production process, but also speed it up, embellish, automate where possible, and apply various filters or even special effects.

Your ideal software depends on what sort of video you’re making and for what purposes, what level of quality it needs to be, and what format(s) it needs to export in. It also matters whether you’re a professional or a newcomer, how much control you want to have, and if you are planning to collaborate with others on your video projects. Of course, the price is an important factor but it shouldn’t be the deciding one.

To help you sort the wheat from the chaff and find the one suitable for you, we have assembled a list of the best video editing solutions in the industry.

(Image credit: Future)

1. Adobe Premiere Pro CC

It doesn’t get better than this

 Wide array of filters 
 Collaboration options 
 Countless features 
 Some might not like the subscription model 

Adobe Premiere Pro CC is a complex cloud-based video editing platform that isn’t very quick to master but once you do, your time and effort will definitely pay off. It is equipped with countless video and audio filters, supports VR and 360-degree video, all kinds of raw file formats, and allows multiple people to collaborate on video projects.

It is available on Windows and Mac devices, and all users will get 100GB of cloud storage, their own portfolio websites, premium fonts, Adobe Spark (online and mobile design app), and Premiere Rush - online video creation and sharing service which by itself costs $9.99/month.

Pricing is based on a subscription model and signing up for a year will cost you $20.99/month or $239.88/year. There’s also a monthly plan at $31.49/month. A 7-day free trial is available for everyone who wants to test the platform out before committing.

(Image credit: Future)

2. Apple Final Cut Pro X

Perfect for Mac users

Supports all sorts of formats 
One-off payment with all major updates 
90-day free trial 
May be too expensive for some 

Apple Final Cut Pro X allows you to edit your video in separate elements according to their function, such as music, voiceover, or titles. The platform is an ideal companion for your drone as it supports raw video from many popular models and adds new profiles all the time.

Already becoming the industry-standard, support for 360-degree video editing isn’t lacking here either, and Final Cut Pro also features HDR and advanced color grading. Additionally, the Angle Viewer allows you to view up to 16 angles at the same time.

While some competitors offer a subscription-based pricing model, Apple does things differently with its professional video editing software. Specifically, you only need to pay once and you’re getting all the major updates. At $299.99, it may seem expensive, but it will pay off over a couple of years if you’re serious about video. In any case, there’s a 90-day free trial so you can see what you’re getting yourself into.

(Image credit: Future)

Video editing for various levels of expertise

Beginner-friendly 
Video optimization in a few clicks 
Good value 
Lacks some advanced controls 

CyberLink PowerDirector offers a somewhat lighter approach to video editing, without compromising on quality. This approach might especially appeal to beginners as it starts things slow, easing you into the platform with tutorials and simpler tools, without hitting you immediately with all the super-advanced options, tools, and filters.

For example, its Magic Movie Wizard facilitates combining and optimization of videos in only several simple clicks if you just want to publish something on social media or don’t have the time to tweak them in the timeline editor. 

If you do have the time for the timeline editor though, you’ll probably get better results. More advanced controls are available if you look for them in the control panels, and you’ll discover that all the options and filters are highly flexible.

PowerDirector is currently priced at $4.33/month ($51.99 paid annually) or $19.99 if paid on a month-by-month basis. If you’re still on the fence about CyberLink PowerDirector, you can take advantage of its 30-day free trial to see if this is what you’re looking for.

(Image credit: Future)

4. HitFilm Pro

Specialising in special effects

Packed with special effects options 
Various export options 
User-friendly interface 
Requires a lot of resources 

While all the other video editing tools described here are great, HitFilm Pro throws in something extra - hundreds of impressive special effects and presets. You can add distortion effects, powerful color correction, masks, blue/green screen keying, amazing particle effects, chroma-keying to reduce spill, and more.

It’s not all about special effects, either. You’ll also get a comprehensive set of features for all parts of the video post-production process, including titles, audio editing, animations, color grading, and more, all available in just a click or two. 

You can import and animate custom 3D models with the help of 3D cameras, dynamic lighting, and simulated 3D cameras. The platform even throws in a dedicated 360-degree viewer if you have the right equipment.

This may sound overwhelming, but trust us, it isn’t, especially since all the features and options are neatly arranged into an intuitive user interface. HitFilm Pro can be yours for a one-time payment of $349. There’s a free trial available, but it doesn’t support exporting.

(Image credit: Future)

5. Adobe Premiere Elements

Video-editing beginners should start from here

Very affordable 
Beginner-friendly and intuitive 
Simple wizards 
It might become too basic when you get used to it 

Adobe Premiere Elements was created with complete video-editing beginners in mind. The company has done its due diligence to make the interface as simple and approachable as possible, and the same goes even for its Expert interface. This, however, may result in outgrowing the platform once you master it.

Centered around an editing timeline to which you drag video, image, and audio files, it features large, clearly labeled dashboard buttons. There are also searchable tutorials and guides for every step of the video-editing process and many common issues you may encounter while using it.

The platform can only be acquired through a rather inexpensive one-off purchase of $99.99 ($69.99 at the time of writing, due to a sale), so once you make your payment, it’s yours to keep forever. There’s a 30-day free trial so you can check whether Adobe Premiere Elements is good enough for your requirements before purchasing.