The Best Video Editing Software for YouTube (Mac & Windows PC)

Entertainment • Apr.10, 2020

edit youtube video

Are you a video marketer looking to craft amazing videos to engage with potential customers?

Or are you someone who wants to have a well-edited video published on their YouTube channel?

Research shows that engaging video content converts 7.5x more than display ads.

With that in mind, you would want to make videos that resonate well with your brand so that you can maximize your conversions.

However, videos are more than just marketing. Maybe you are just working on a personal project and want to upload it on YouTube after some edits? You might want to edit out those extra frames or that part with the choppy voice and noise.

For starters, the YouTube studio works just well to help them edit the videos before they can upload it on YouTube.

You can perform some basic editing tasks with the YouTube video editor. It lets you edit out frames, add audio and elements along with blur effects. You can also add an ending screen to your video.

The YouTube Studio Video Editor has evolved over the years to provide a cleaner approach to working with videos before they go live on your channel. However, it still lags miles when it comes to professional video editing. The functions are basic, and they are just not enough if you want your videos to stand out.

This is when third-party YouTube video editor software can help you get the job done. Having a video editor for Windows, or Mac, can help you add efficiency to your workflow — especially if you are someone who has to work a lot with videos.

Quick navigation

Best for most users: Filmora Video Editor

Wondershare Filmora is one such YouTube video editor that is simple and easy to use. You can use it for numerous purposes — from personal use to creating customer-centric promotional videos.

Filmora Pros

The app is beginner-friendly. It launches with a tutorial interface which guides you through the app. If you are just starting, you will have a lot of control over the app and the entire video editing process at large.

filmora tutorial

The interface spans out in a media library, a preview window, a toolbar, and a timeline panel.

The media library lets you import your media, photos, music, and video clips. It also allows you to access effects, transitions, and other assets that you might find valuable while editing a video.

Well, you also get to have a total of 100 audio and video tracks. It’s a significant upgrade over the last version of Filmora, which only supported single track edits.

The preview window is where you get to access the timeline. It shows the time code in the lower right corner of the screen. You even get to input a specific time code to jump to a particular section of the video.

Then there’s the toolbar, which lets you access all the tools and commands that you need to edit your video.

Lastly, the timeline panel is the place where you put everything together and segment them to come up with a video that you can upload on platforms such as YouTube.

filmora editing timeline

Creating a new project on Filmora is easy.

It lets you add and import media to your timeline, which is of great help if you directly want to record some audio clips to use in the videos.

There’s also a project library where you see your most recent projects along with the dates that you modified them. From here, you can also delete projects by clicking on the trash icon placed on the right side of the screen.

We found out that it was easy to edit videos on Filmora. We got several options around basic video tasks, such as trimming, splitting, rotating, and cropping media. The app also lets you enhance your videos for that added clarity before you hit the publish button.

editing with filmora

You can edit audio, add images, insert transition, and even add text or credits to your video files.

There are also some video effects such as filters and overlays that you can play around with. You can gain access to Filmstocks by logging in through your Wondershare ID. Filmstocks lets you access royalty-free videos, music, sound effects, images, and unique video effects with one click. Isn’t that cool?

However, you must note that the video effects from Filmstocks only find compatibility with Filmora version 9.1 or above.

filmora templates

If you are working on a video where you need to set the tone, you can use Filmora’s advanced editing features such as pan and zoom, video stabilizer, reverse playback, color tuning, Picture in Picture (PIP) mode, green screen, split-screen, and scene detection, among others.

Once you are done editing a video on Filmora,  The app offers you handy post-production options.

While exporting videos for publishing, you can create a simple video file and optimize it for tablets, smartphones, and even gaming systems.

You also get to upload the videos directly to platforms that support video sharing, such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. Still into the old media? Well, you can burn your video project on a DVD as well.

Filmora Cons

Filmora caters to casual users, and therefore, it lacks some of the advanced video editing tools.

For example, you don’t have the option to create closed captions for the hearing impaired. Also, you can’t work on 360-degree videos for now. While the program lets you burn DVDs, you cannot add menus to them.

However, these are not dealbreakers, especially if you are looking to purchase an app that is easy to use.

Pricing and availability

Filmora comes free trial with all features and free updates. However, the free version doesn’t have tech support, and it shows watermarks in the videos. But you can use the free version to figure out if it’s the app for your needs.

A yearly license of Filmora costs $89.99, whereas a lifetime license comes at $149.99.

Filmora is available for both Mac and Windows. With a conveniently laid out price tag, it becomes much easier to choose a plan that best fits your needs. There are also Android and iOS apps to help you edit videos on the go.

Best for professionals: Lightworks

Whole Filmora is excellent for starters, professionals can opt for our second pick — Lightworks.

Lightworks has been around for over 25 years and has been one of the most popular film editing apps. Guess what? It has even been used in some of the finest and cinematographic Hollywood movies, such as Pulp Fiction. The Wolf of Wall Street, Hugo, and LA Confidential, among others.

lightworks edit interface

The newest release — Lightworks v14.5 — comes with a complete video editing package so that you can make your high quality videos stand out from the crowd before you decide to publish them.

Well, it doesn’t matter if you have a 4k film project — Lightworks makes it all possible.

Lightworks Pros

Lightworks’innovative video editing features are packed in a simple and intuitive user interface, which makes it much easier to explore the elements as you play around with the app.

However, if you are completely unfamiliar with how video editing apps work, then it may take you some time to get used to the interface since the app derives roots from professional film editing.

editing lightworks

You have your video editing timeline, which lets you easily merge elements and lay them out for a comprehensive editing experience. There’s also a simple tutorial around the functions that guide you through some of the functions of the app.

While editing videos, you also get access to real-time video and audio FX that is ready to use. There are plenty of amazing royalty-free audio and video components that you can directly use while editing videos.

If you are working on a 4k video, then you get access to low-resolution proxy workflow, which ensures that you achieve maximum productivity, which is unhindered by your CPU performance. And once you are done with working on these massive videos, you can export them for YouTube or Vimeo.

One of the woes while working with videos and audios is the format they come in. Sometimes, videos come in formats that are not quite supported by apps. When that happens, you have to convert videos which leads to a loss of quality — sometimes, the videos go on to become glitchy.

If you are concerned about the app supporting unique formats, Lightworks provides access to a wide variety of file formats that can be used. That takes away all the hassle around having to convert videos to supported formats.

Another cool thing about Lightworks is that you can access it on any OS — be it Windows, Mac, or Linux. This is especially great for developers who often have Linux running on their system. They can use Lightworks without having to log out, boot into a different OS, or change the system.

It’s time saving and convenient. Besides, the support for all these platforms are great — you don’t have to worry about missing out on specific features if you are on any of these platforms. All of them are equally supported.

Lightworks Cons

While Lightworks does a great job with editing videos professionally, it’s not the most user-friendly app. It would be great if they had some sort of onboarding tutorial like Filmora (more than just popups) to help you guide through most of the editing process.

Thus, it may take you some time to get used to the software’s interface.

Besides, if you are on a free version, you cannot export videos after the 720p resolution mark, which means that you have to upgrade if you want to keep on editing higher resolution videos.

Pricing and availability

Lightworks is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Its cross-compatibility makes it easier to use the app if you work on different machines at your home or workplace.

Lightworks comes in three license versions. There’s a monthly license at $24.99. The yearly license comes at $174.99, whereas an outright — lifetime — license can be purchased at $437.99.

Lightworks ensures that professional video editing tools do not just get limited to Hollywood studios. They bring these features home. So if you want to get hold of a professional video editing tool where you can employ cutting-edge tools to make engaging videos, then Lightworks should be your choice.

Worth mention: Animoto

Animoto is another video editor for YouTube (or for other video sharing platforms) for creating impressive videos in minutes through its intuitive drag and drop video maker.

It is targeted to video marketers — the company claims that 93 percent of businesses that used video reports landed new clients. That stated, Animoto can help you drive traffic to your website or product page through engaging and high-quality video. That way, you can also stand out in your social feed. You can get more likes and shares that can further help you with engagement.

Animoto Pros

Animoto lets you select a storyboard template and start editing it from scratch. The available templates help you better decide how your video is going to look, giving you better control over your video editing.

animoto web interface

You can then drag and drop video clips and other media directly into your project to ease up the video editing process.

From there, you can quickly adjust colors, music, fonts, and other elements to further customize your video. The fact that you can easily customize these individual elements of your videos makes it convenient to match your video with your brand design with much ease.

Once you are done working on your video, you can then export and share it easily to video sharing sites to better engage with your friends, family, and customers.

If you just on their Professional or Business plan, starting as low as $5 per month, you get to access over 1 million stock photos and videos through Getty Images.

Besides, Animoto supports pre-built marketing storyboards that let you choose a template where you can fit your design. That way, you won’t have to waste time creating your own template.

There are numerous designs to choose from — simply select one that resonates most with your brand and ideas, customize it, and see the magic.

Another great aspect of using Animoto is its pre-built list of over 3000 licensed music tracks. Want to add a cool groovy track to your marketing video? Well, just select one of these tracks and you are good to go.

Since there are always copyright infringement issues with using soundtracks, video editors can find much relief in this feature of Animoto where they get to add amazing music tracks to their videos without having to worry about license issues.

Animoto Cons

Okay, Animoto is great for beginners, but don’t expect James Cameron to make the next Avatar movie on it.

As video professionals, you might find a problem with the app’s inability to edit single frames in detail. You also have less control over the edit styles that Animoto provides. You may also have trouble editing one section of the video without affecting the entire video.

It’s understandable that Animoto has tried to keep things basic, and it does a decent job in that regard. But for video professionals working on their dream projects, this might just turn out to be a bit off-taste.

Pricing and availability

Animoto has three packages — personal, professional, and team.

The personal plans start at $5 per month or $60 per year. The professional plans let you create unlimited branded videos for $33 per month or $396 per year. In contrast, the team plan enables you to create unlimited videos with multiple accounts for $49 per month or $588 per year.

All plans include unlimited video creation and video downloads, social sharing, and access to the stock and media library.

Animoto is available online, and can also be downloaded on iPad and iOS.

Other video editing software used by YouTubers

While our top picks help you get through most of your video editing endeavors, here are some other video editing tools that are popular among YouTubers.

iMovie / Windows Story Remix (bundled within Windows Photos App)

iMovie or Windows Story Remix are the default programs in macOS and Windows for editing videos.

They are furnished with only the simplest video editing tools that can help you get through some of the basic editing tasks. Both of these come with features such as transition overlay, timeline narration, special effects option, title, and credit customization tools, among others.

iMovie also provides support for HD and 4K video editing, along with pre-built themes and backdrops, and real-time titling.

windows movie maker

iMovie is also available for iOS users — they can download the app for free from the App Store.

If you are new to video editing, then these two apps can help you figure out how a basic video interface works. From there, you can move on to the professional apps to better your video editing experience and production.

VideoPad Video Editor

VideoPad Video Editor is a video editing tool for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Kindle. It comes with a fast video stream processor for intuitive and fast video editing.

The app includes over 50 effects and transitions to smoothen up your video editing experience. You can just import these stock effects and transitions to your video editing timeline and play around with them to give that professional touch to your videos.

It also supports all those popular video formats, so you don’t have to worry about missing out any bit on your video editing if you have some uncommon format at hand.

VideoPad is more than just video editing. It also lets you edit and apply audio effects to your video files to give that smooth sync between the audio and the video.

There’s also support for 3D and 360 video editing for those 360 lovers, and this, perhaps, is one of the most exciting elements of this application.

The app is available for Mac and PC. It’s also free for non-commercial use. But you can always purchase the app for additional features such as plugins. VideoPad has two paid versions — Home and Master.

Apple Final Cut Pro X

The Final Cut Pro X is Apple’s professional video editing tool for Mac. It brings a lot of features to the editing table. It can be used to make high-quality videos that you can use for maximum engagement on platforms such as YouTube and Instagram.

finalcut edit youtube

Some of its highlights include support for 360-degree content and improved stability to make the app run smoothly on Mac.

Another exciting feature of the Final Cut Pro X is color wheels. These wheels, along with other color grading tools, help you make accurate adjustments to your YouTube projects in an intuitive fashion.

The support for touch bar on the Mac Pro, 3D titles, and multicam only takes your video editing experience to the next level.

Final Cut Pro X includes a 90-day free trial. Post that, you can purchase the app from your App Store at $299.

Adobe Premiere Rush

Again, a lot of our lists do not seem to be complete without the inclusion of Adobe.

Here, we have the Adobe Premiere Rush, Adobe’s ultimate video editing software for Mac and Windows. You can also download it for Android and iOS.

Premiere Rush also comes with an in-built camera module, which lets you take professional videos from your smartphone.

That done, you can edit these newly shot videos with simple tools for adjusting the audio, motion graphics, and more. From there, you can share it on social channels such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

The app is built for user engagement. It comes with “eye-popping effects” that let you speed up or slow down a clip, and the process is as easy as dragging a slider.

You can start working with Premiere Rush for free. The free plan comes with three exports, 2GB of cloud storage, and Adobe fonts.


Shotcut is a free, open-source video editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

It supports numerous video and audio formats and comes with multiple dockable and undockable panels that let you easily navigate through your playlist, filters, encoding panels, job queues, and more.


It supports SDI and HDMI for input which comes handy if you have your video files saved externally. There’s also support for preview monitoring, screen and webcam capture, 4k videos, IP stream, and more.

HitFilm Express

HitFilm Express is another free video editing software for PC and Mac. It lets you use professional VFX tools that you may need for creating engaging videos, game content, and other media.

It’s a cool option for those who are just starting with video editing.

It has a video editor that supports 2D and 3D compositing and more than 410 presets and effects.

There are also free video tutorials that you can access to better use the app.

If you like what this video editor has to offer, then you can upgrade to the pro version starting at $244.30 (discounted price).

Tips to make your YouTube video truly amazing

Now that you know more about the best apps to edit YouTube videos, here are some tips to craft amazing and engaging YouTube videos for your audience.

Get familiar with editing terminologies

Well, editing is an art. It might not be the easiest to master — you will have to spend lots of hours in getting familiar with the interface and developing your own style.

If you do not want to end up in a pile of confusion, make sure that you spend some time making yourself familiar with editing terminologies. That way, you won’t be stuck between your editor and Google searches while handling projects.

Consistent style editing

If you have a YouTube channel then you’d want to have a specific style so that your viewers can relate to it. Here, you’d want to have a setup and a presentation style that resonate most with your viewers and subscribers. Out of ideas? Look at what others are doing in your niche and find some inspiration.

You can even switch back and forth between different styles to figure out what works best for you. A style which is unique to you — maybe the way you talk, or the theme to your edited videos — does so much for creating a brand.

It is also advisable to be consistent and use the same text color and font throughout your brand videos.

Get the audio clear

One of the common mistakes that new YouTubers make is messing up the audio. Sometimes, there’s too much noise in the audio resulting in clarity issues. Here, you’d want to have a nice microphone which records fine audio. Later, you can use the audio to further clear up your audio so that your viewers get the most out of their video watching experience.

You might also want to edit out on those long pauses while talking — the entire point is to keep your viewers engaged for as long as possible.

Use a fast computer

Now, this is important. If you have older hardware, then you may struggle with video editing. Even newer computers sometimes struggle with editing 4k videos.

Make sure that you have a decent computer which is capable of handling editing tasks with ease. You can also better your computer’s performance by cleaning your disk and freeing your memory.

If you are on a Mac, then check out this post which we did on the best Mac cleaners in 2020.

Spread knowledge with educational content

Organic growth is highly valuable — if you provide quality and engaging content to your viewers, they are bound to remain engaged to your channel. If your channel provides some value to the viewers, they are bound to stick to it, regularly checking it for new content.

You’d also want to communicate with your friends and network about your channel. If you have just launched your channel, you could send a personal note to people where you talk about your channel. From there, you can ask them to subscribe to your channel.

Final words

Now, that was a list!

With so many options on the table and clarity about them all, it’ll be much easier for you to choose the best video editor for YouTube and other media platforms.

If you want something comfortable yet robust, then you can go with Filmora, which also happens to be our top pick. Professionals could look at investing in Lightworks which has all the tools that you may need to create high-quality and professionally engaging videos that you can cater to your social media followers and customers.

If you just want to start learning video editing, then maybe you could get hold of one of those free and open-source video editors.

We wish you luck on your editing endeavors!

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