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Recommended Simple or Easy Video Editing Software

Recommended Simple or Easy Video Editing Software

Easy Video Editing Software

Over the past few years all of the major video editing software companies have been battling each other in a game of who can come up with the shiniest new features to attract the attention of the public.

The end result has been that the average consumer level video editing software has become incredibly feature rich but in the process, has become quite complicated as well.

You can’t keep adding features without having to add access to those features through the user interface and this inevitably results in complexity.

They all carry the claim of being “easy video editing software” or “simple video editors” when being described by the their respective marketing departments but the truth is they have become progressively more difficult to use.

I have been asked on a number of forums and through this site to recommend some truly simple video editing programs or an easy video editor that anyone can use.

Something that has all the basic features that a user would need without the shiny “bells and whistles” and complicated interface that come with it.

I have listed what I think to be the best of this class below but keep in mind that just because they are classified as simple video editing software programs they are not crippled in any way.

They offer all of the basic features you will need to create your own videos with ease.

If you are just a beginner or really don’t see yourself spending hours alone in a darkened room editing your footage, or you just want to get your video masterpieces out as soon as possible with a minimum of fuss then you would be well served by the ones listed below.

They all cover the basic actions of cutting, slicing and dicing with transitions, audio control and a wide range of output formats.

*My standard disclaimer applies: Please, use the trials first to see how you like it and how it likes you and your computer setup before committing to a long term relationship!

Wondershare Filmora

filmora-250Wondershare Filmora is a recent re-branding of the company’s simple video editing software which comes in versions for both PC and Mac.

Previously it was just called Wondershare Video Editor and although not really an inspired naming you have to admire the efficiency of it!

In terms of ease of use and simplicity without sacrificing functionality I think you would be hard pressed to go past this one.

The guys at Wondershare have been bugging me to take a look at it for a while now and unfortunately I have always put it in the “to do later” file and never got around to it until recently.

To put it bluntly, this little editor is awesome! It’s so… well… easy!

It downloads and installs very quickly and I was up and running within minutes.

The interface is a “non-techie” dream come true with no hidden menus or menu items that you have to know in order to access them, it literally is “what you see is what you get.”

Everything is available through an icon that sits in the little menu bar smack dab in the middle of your screen.

Take a look at this intro video they created using the software itself to get an idea of what you can do with it and how easy it is.

The key to how they made it so good is in the time Wondershare put into the backend of the software rather than the interface.

“Intuitive” is a word that is often bandied about in the software world but what it really means is that within Filmora they have thought about every details of what the average person will be doing with the software and have anticipated those needs.

It doesn’t mean they don’t let you do things, it means they have designed the software so that you don’t have to keep answering endless technical questions about, “Do you want to do this?” or “Do you want to do that?”

If you want to add files to your library Filmora just asks whether it’s from your computer or another device… not which device, not which version of the device, not what kind of file.

It’s just “give us a little clue and we’ll handle the rest!”

The same goes for every step of the editing process and even then the software has a wizard based semi-automatic interface that you can use to make it even more simple.

On the Wondershare website there are 5 videos you can watch and really, if you just watch those you will have already seen just about everything you need to see to get up and running.

Filmora handles all the basic editing functions as far as cutting, chopping, slicing and dicing goes.

There is a range of filters for color correction and effects as well as simple yet effective audio controls.

It can deliver picture-in picture effects and even some still and motion graphics and on top of that can do green screen and capture still images from any frame in your video.

As far as sharing goes it comes with perfectly configured pre-set parameters for output to a wide range of mobile devices, online services like YouTube and FaceBook as well as burning DVDs.

All in all Wondershare Filmora is my new best friend when it comes to an easy video editing software program anyone can use.

Click Here To See Wondershare Filmora

muvee Reveal X

Muvee Reveal X BoxIf you are looking for easy video editing software in the strictest sense of the word “easy,” then it doesn’t get much better than totally automatic! And that is just what this one does.

Hard to believe I know but the fact is that muvee can achieve some pretty remarkable results given that the process is almost completely automated.

By using some very specialized scanning technology it can quite accurately identify various components of your videos and stills and at the same time analyze the speed of your chosen music.

In the end it slaps the whole thing together based on its calculations and voila! Movie magic!

Well ok, maybe not Hollywood magic but pretty darn good!

Although it may sound a little too good to be true there is a very large community of Muvee users who absolutely swear by the product.

Outside of the automated features it still offers a good set of manual editing tools that you can use to make final adjustments.

Click here for the full Reveal X Review

Click Here To See Reveal X

muvee Reveal Express

Muvee Reveal Express BoxReveal Express is about as easy as video editing software is going to get while you still actually do it yourself!

This is the chopped down version of muvee Reveal specifically designed for those who want to automatically create their videos and only upload to the internet or to mobile devices.

It comes with a bunch of preset styles that you can use to make the video or control the transitions, music, audio and panning and zooming on still images yourself.

Alternatively you can just load everything up in order and let muvee Reveal Express do it automatically. The results of doing it like that may surprise you and before you finish you can step in to make final adjustments.

It can handle WMV, .mov, MPEG4, H.264 and regular DV-AVI files which should cover most of the modern methods of capturing video.

It outputs to formats for all the current mobile devices and can directly upload to YouTube and Facebook.

Click Here To See Reveal Express

CyberLink PowerDirector 13

power-director13-box-250PowerDirector is my top choice at the moment for a fully fledged consumer level editing program and you can read the full review here.

From an “easy editor” viewpoint the CyberLink product contains within it a wizard based simple mode which the user can choose to enter either each time the software opens or as the default opening module.

Most of what I would describe as the “full” editors around today have a similar feature but for some, the implementation works more as an ill-conceived afterthought rather than as a genuine choice for the user.

Of the available choices I would easily rate the CyberLink offering as superior to the rest and part of the reason for this may be that the simple mode was developed as a stand alone concept instead of a hack of an existing program.

Of course any time you want to get out of the simple mode you can instantly switch over to the full editor.

This one is worth taking a look at if you suspect you may at some point get bitten by the editing bug and may want to take your productions up a notch.

You can click here take a look at my full review of the program.

Click Here to Look at PowerDirector for Yourself

Some Other Good Alternatives… and some not so

Some readers may be surprised that I have not included a number of well known products on this page. Here are a few and my reasons for not including them:

Roxio Creator, Nero Multimedia Suite, and Cyberlink Media Suite.

cyberlink-mediasuite12-box-250All of these are multimedia packages rather than just easy to use video editing software. They are all good products and if you have a use for ALL the features offered by these full program suites then yes, they are great and have good, easy to use video editing capabilities.

They all offer an image organization feature plus reasonably good image manipulation capabilities. Audio editing, video editing and disc creation along with some kind of file distribution feature such as uploading to YouTube etc.

My only reservation with all of them is that most likely a dedicated video editor will have these features anyway while offering the full editing experience.

My pick of the bunch would be the Cyberlink offering because of a superior editing feature set, image manipulation and audio control.

You can take a look at the full features by clicking this link

Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD

Although this is the bottom of the range in the Vegas line up from Sony it could never be confused with a simple video editor! The learning curve is steep and although Sony include great tutorials it kind of defeats the purpose of recommending something easy.

Corel Digital Studio

Quite simply a poor piece of software. Installs slowly runs slowly and although it is easy, it’s just not very good in my experience.

Anything Else?

There are literally hundreds of video editing software programs out there and many that claim ease of use as their selling point. You can spend the next year checking them out and still be no closer to a decision.

What I do know is that the software on this page is reliable, fits the criteria of easy or simple and will work very well for the majority of people.

77 comments to Recommended Simple or Easy Video Editing Software

  • Clinton

    Lance, i’m using corel video studio what is the best share out put setting for DVD files

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Clinton,
      Sorry you had to wait but it was the weekend and my copy of the software is on my work computer.

      The best settings for DVD are just the default ones. It’s a mature format now so no need to intervene really, the software is pretty well set up to create the ideal DVD.

      If you want to go straight to burning a DVD then go to the Share Tab, Click the Disc symbol and VS will work out which is best. Generally around 8000 kps data rate is perfect and the software will sort out the frame rate from your existing files as well as the resolution.

      If you are just saving some files or a project to be later burned to DVD then do the same as above only instead of burning just note down the parameters that the software selects for the burn then go back to the file creation Tab and select to create an MPEG2 file at those parameters.

  • RHYS

    Hi LANCE

    tAHNKS FOR THIS BLOG WAS REALLLY HELPFUL AS I AM NEW TO VIDEO EDITING/PRODUCTION. COULD YOU PLEASE ADVISE ME OUT OF THE LIST ABOVE QWHICH WILL BE BEST FOR ME TO MAKE A ONLINE NEWS VIDEO THAT I CAN ADD A VIRTUAL BACKGROUND IF NEED BE

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Rhys,
      Absolutely the one you should start off with (after checking out the free trial!) is Filmora.
      Simple to learn, good features and has the one you will need for the “virtual background” you are interested in.

      That feature is called green screen (technically it’s chromakey) which allows you to shoot in front of a green background, automatically remove that green area and replace it with another background of your choice.

      Just a little warning on that feature, the key is in the shooting, not necessarily the software so do a search on this site for “green screen” and you will find posts I have done on the subject of shooting for green screen.

      Make sure you check the tutorial videos on the Filmora site as they explain how to use the software very wqell and very clearly.

      Come back if you need anything else!

  • Anthony

    Lance, Thank you very much for your advice and opinion.
    Anthony

  • Dear Lance,
    My intention is to make short videos of me lecturing, while I am sitting in front of my computer, using a Logitech webcam, then I will upload them to YouTube and my website.
    I am an absolute beginner with video-making, and I seek your advice as to what would be the best video editor for me. I seek something very simple, that will allow me to add a title or two, a word banner, and the ability to tweak my effort so that it looks acceptable. You offer such good advice, and your editor reviews are excellent, for which I thank you. Any suggestions you have will be very welcome. Thank you. Anthony

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Anthony, thanks for the kind words!

      OK I would absolutely recommend Filmora for what you want. It actually offers more than you need and is super easy to get up to pace on.

      For recording your lectures using the webcam using the Logitech product you will be able to just hook it up to the computer and then run Filmora and it will detect it and from that point you are good to go.

      There are about 8 (I think) basic videos on the Filmora site that visually run you through the steps you will need to master.

  • Ton Wel

    Hi. Thanks for the helpful reviews but I still have a problem. I want to put slide shows together which will occasionally use video. Also I need at least 3 audio tracks that can be synched to the still image transitions which will mostly be fades and wipes. These are preferred as sometimes the effects overpower the images and story. I also need MP4 or MOV file outputs.

    Can you please advise me which software packages, hopefully at a reasonable price, will enable me to do this job?
    Thanks
    Ton
    West Australia

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Ton,
      I am away from my PC at the moment so this took a little digging around but!

      Filmora supports three dedicated audio tracks in the timeline on top of any audio that is part of any video you have as well.

      Everything else you have described is also covered by Filmora so on what you have said I would still think this is the best value editor around for what you want.

  • Realeboga

    Mr Carr i read all your reviews but i was wondering is the filmora wondershare heavy on say a intel core laptop?i need to have a device that handles such a software because of university coarse{multimedia}

    • Lance Carr

      Hi there!

      Of all the current video editing software around I would say that Filmora is probably the smallest as far as the actual space it needs to install because it doesn’t come weighted down with a bunch of other modules for other functions.

      As far as resources go on your laptop this is more a question of the size and type of files you will be using.

      It is important here to understand that the stress being placed on any computer processing video files does NOT come from the software.

      It comes from the way modern high definition files are compressed and what has to occur for them to be edited.

      My advice to you and to anyone that visits this site is to PLEASE download the free trial of the software, install it and then play with it using the type of files you will be using on a day to day basis.

      Only then will you really be sure you have the right one.

  • Cal

    Hi Lance, My question may be so basic that it might not belong in your Q&A area. If that’s the case, I apologize. I have a few dozen old 8mm analog tapes, and want to transfer them to my hard drive, and later make DVDs. I have not yet bought a capture device, but am looking at Dazzle, Roxio Easy, and Vidbox Video Conversion Suite because they are all available at my local Best Buy. Right now, all I want to do is transfer the video, edit out what I don’t need, and piece together the remainder for DVD. I’m guessing that the software included with all these systems will do what I need. Can you offer any advice? Thank You, Cal
    (Windows 7, 2.20 GHz, 4GB RAM)

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Cal.
      I have very little personal experience with capturing analogue to digital so keep that in mind!

      A few years ago this topic was all the rage because everyone was converting their old stuff like you are now.

      Because of that there was a lot of discussion on many of the forums I moderate on about this device or that device.

      From memory I believe that the Dazzle product was both popular and quite effective at getting the job done.

      As far as what you want to do with the files after I think they would all probably come with a straightforward editing to DVD solution and I really don’t think you need worry too much about that.

      I have no knowledge of the Video Conversion suite product but I think both the Dazzle and the Roxio product would be OK.

      • Cal

        Thanks Lance. I just talked to the guys at BB, and they agreed with your advice. What I’m doing is pretty basic, and I can hardly go wrong. Thanks again, Cal

  • Adrian

    Filmora is poor at transition. I add HD video from the same camera using the drop and drag import , go to story board view and add a transition. Somehow it seems to add a “echo” on to the sound track so at transition you get a series of clicks or a repeated soundtrack if there is audio. Very annoying. Am I doing anything wrong?

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Adrian,

      The problem you are having can generally be put down to a problem in resources, not the software itself.

      When you are previewing HD video on a computer it takes a lot of computer power to do that. If you do it when you have added transition the problem gets even worse.

      This is the most common area of trouble for people editing no matter what software they are using.

      As a test, add a couple of HD clips to the timeline and add a transition that gives you the click, pop, echo or whatever when you are previewing it.

      Then export the whole thing to a new file.

      Play the file and see if the problem still exists in the final file.

  • Hazel

    I also don’t know how to reply directly, so I’m going to ask my question here as well.
    I have been trying out the unregistered version of Filmora this week with only partial success. All I need is to simply crop and join my bits and pieces without changing the original ratio or format in any way. My problem is when I come to finish (export) I always get extremely distorted excessively wide short squashed people. This seems to happen regardless of which settings I choose. The helpline service has not been of any help whatsoever which makes me wonder if this is inherent to the program. I’m hoping it’s something stupid that I’m not doing as I love how easy this is to use, but I do need the end product to look normal.
    Hope you can help
    Hazel

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Hazel,
      Well possibly you are doing something wrong but characterizing it as stupid seems a bit harsh!

      Because Filmora attempts to keep things very simple unless you get things set up right it is pretty easy to go astray sometimes given the wide variety of video formats around these days.

      First of all I need to know that the video files you are using all came from the same source. Yes?

      Then, in Windows just navigate to one of the video files (assuming they are all the same) and right click on one.

      Select properties then note down what they are and post back here.

      If at all possible let me know if the videos were shot at 4:3 aspect ratio (standard definition) or 16:9 ratio (high definition or at least widescreen.)

      If all of that is unfamiliar to you then at least let me know the model and make of the device that you used to get the files in the first place.

      That should be enough to get the party started.

      • Hazel

        Thanks for coming back to me so quickly.

        I only join identical formats, and have been using Real Player Trimmer for years until recently when they appear to have removed support for it (I’m using windows 7 64bit).
        I’ve been testing it on a clip from ‘This Morning’ of ITV (UK) which usually videos in HD mpeg-2 TS Video in wide screen and the picture is fine. I would usually convert this to mp4 format to make it universal for everyone. I’ve had a look and all the figures are below – hope they makes sense to you.

        Most are: mp4 Video
        Some are: mpeg-2 TS Video

        Mp4 figures:
        Frame Width: 720
        Frame Height: 576
        Data Rate: 2168kbps
        Total Bitrate: 2296kbps
        Frame Rate: 25 frames/second

        Mpeg-2 TS Video figures:
        Frame Width: 704
        Frame Height: 576
        Data Rate: 15000kbps
        Total Bitrate: 15256kbps
        Frame Rate: 25 frames/second

        Mp4 figures after Editing with Filmora (file was much shorter):
        Frame Width: 720
        Frame Height: 576
        Data Rate: 1517kbps
        Total Bitrate: 1647kbps
        Frame Rate: 25 frames/second

        Thanks
        Hazel

        • Lance Carr

          Hi Hazel,
          Yes, you got a little lucky there on the reply because I was still at work!

          OK, I am guessing that the MPEG-2 TS video files are being captured by some kind of set top TV recorder.

          The problem you are having is because that box (or whatever it is) is capturing the video at a resolution of 704×576.

          That means the picture size is 704 lines wide and 576 lines high.

          The actual standard for TV in the U.K. and for any country using the PAL TV system is 720×576 so whenever you place any footage from that source into Filmora it is automatically stretching the 704 lines to 720 lines and it will look stretched.

          Take one of the MPEG-2 TS files and load it on to the Filmora timeline.

          Go directly to Export and choose the MP4 option.

          Click on Resolution and clear the contents of that box so it is blank.

          Enter this exactly as I have typed it here 704*576

          Choose Best Quality and let it run.

          Get back to me with what happens.

          By the way so that you understand, you are not recording in High Definition… sorry.

          You may be recording in widescreen but it is not HD. The minimum resolution for HD in your case would be 1280×720.

          • Hazel

            Thank you, thank you, thank you,
            Success – I have normal shaped people. You have made my Christmas. No more stressing out over computer problems. I will certainly order the full programme now, it’s a shame Filmora’s help team didn’t want to help me.
            FYI this was recorded on an integrated USB port using a memory stick in a HD TV, hence I just assumed it would automatically record in HD format.
            Have a great Christmas or if you are reading this after the holidays, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year.
            Oh I’m so happy
            Hazel

          • Lance Carr

            Yay!

  • Maria

    Thanks for the fast response!
    I don’t know how to reply directly, so I’ll answer here: I’ve been trying out filmora this week (unregistered) and get frustrated every time I want to trim at a precise time. Their trimming-tool is hard to work with when it’s comes to seconds.

    Again, thank you so much!

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Maria,
      OK, I am a little confused by your comment there!

      To trim a clip you just move the cursor to the end of the clip on the timeline, click and drag it.

      The counter on the right hand side under the preview window shows hours, minutes, seconds and even frames so I had no trouble trimming clips by only one frame.

      Given that there are around 25 or so frames per second that seems pretty accurate to me!

  • Maria

    Hi!
    I’m not even a beginner, I’m at the bottom. Just started out this week with a little funny video for my friend’s birthday, and found it quite funny. I like the old silent film style, with title/ dialogue card, and was wondering if there’s a software that offers/is capable of that. And also cropping.

    Though I’m a fast learner I’m still new to this and will only make some videos not longer than five minutes for friends and families, so I don’t want to spend a fortune on a little fun hobby.

    Appreciate your help! And sorry if the English is bad!
    Sincerely, Maria

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Maria,
      First up the English seems fine to me but then again I am Australian so what would I know!

      The kind of thing you are looking for is quite simple these days and stuff like the title cards are just basic parts of the titling module and the old film effects are just filters you apply.

      Nothing too technical there!

      So for you I would still recommend Filmora that is mentioned at the top of this page. I am pretty certain it has everything you need… and probably more!

  • andrea

    I had used adobe premier elements before it got to complicated. Looking to purchase new software. I have a bunch of home videos that I want to make into a home movie set to music and with pictures etc…. I will require to put to music, as well as have voices from videos playing at same time. What would you recommend? I have windows pc.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Andrea,
      I understand what you mean about things getting complicated!

      The reality is that all the big software players like Cyberlink, Corel and Adobe have been developing their products over the years to encompass more and more features.

      This is mainly driven by market demand but in the meantime if you want to keep things simple you end up in your situation.

      My current favorite in the category of something simple is Filmora which is at the top of this page.

      I think you will find it does everything you want but isn’t loaded with a bunch of extra stuff you probably will never use.

      • Cody

        Lance,

        Could you give me the best step by step process on editing videos from a gopro with filmora? I’ve always used the gopro studio for simple editing but I’d like something a bit more advanced so I went with filmora. I read a lot of reviews saying it was great for gopro. Anyway, with gopro studio, the final product always looks very crisp and clean. I edited a video with filmora and the quality was poor. Am I doing something wrong? I know that with gopro studio it converts the compressed footage from an MP4 to an AVI cineform for editing. With filmora I’m simply pulling in the raw MP4 off of the gopro and editing that. Is that what im doing wrong? Should I find a way to convert the file before editing and then export back to an MP4? I have a few gopros. I’m usually filming in 1080 and/or 1440 for POV shots. I haven’t found a step by step for gopro with filmora. If you could provide one for the best footage that would be great!

        • Lance Carr

          Hi Cody,
          The rule to keep in mind here is this:

          Every time you convert any digital video file from one set of parameters to another or from one file type to another you will suffer degradation.

          Even if you only change one thing there will be a deterioration in the quality. Sometimes it is so small no-one can see it, sometimes it is very obvious.

          So in editing any kind of digital footage you are seeking to maintain the original parameters of that footage all the way through to the end.

          The GoPro editing software is not converting the MP4 to anything! AVI Cineform is just a particular type of codec used for MP4.

          I can only guess here at why you are suffering from a loss of quality but I’ll shoot my mouth off anyway!

          Pull the files directly off the cam making sure there is no processing of those files going on. Just drag them off the cam on to the computer.

          Pull them into Filmora and do your editing.

          Hit the Export button then highlight the MP4 option.

          Now look to the right of that dialogue box and click the “Settings” button.

          Enter values here that EXACTLY match the parameters of your GoPro footage and let it run.

          Get back to me if your life is not now better!

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