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5 free video editors you should use instead of iMovie

A screenshot of iMovie open with a title screen on the image.
Apple

If you’re looking for a free video-editing app on your Mac, iMovie isn’t a bad option. It’s easy to use, has its fair share of good features, and won’t cost you a penny either. But there are plenty of other options out there that can do a lot more than iMovie, and you don’t need to break the bank to get any of them.

In this guide, we’ve rounded up five of the best free video editors you should use instead of iMovie. Each one is replete with top-notch features that make video editing a breeze, yet they’re all completely free to download and use. And we’re not talking about low-effort shovelware either — each app is a genuine contender for your time and attention and could easily justify charging a fee.

So, if you need a free video editing app for your Mac and don’t want to use iMovie, here are five excellent choices.

DaVinci Resolve

The DaVinci Resolve video-editing app's user interface in macOS.
Blackmagic Design

If you edit videos, you’ll probably have heard the name DaVinci Resolve. It’s used by Hollywood studios and production teams to finalize movies and TV shows, so you know it’s a high-grade piece of software.

While there is a paid-for version, there’s also a completely free edition that is a full-fledged app in its own right. It’s ideal for video editing, color correction, audio enhancements, motion graphics and visual effects, giving you a strong post-production app that is one of the best free video editors around.

If you want to take things up another level, with higher resolutions and frame rates, noise reduction, lens correction, advanced coloring tools and a whole lot more, the paid version will be worth your time and money. But for most people, the free edition will be more than enough, making it the top choice for a free iMovie alternative.

Lightworks

The Lightworks desktop app's main screen.
Lightworks

Lightworks is one of those apps that manages to find the right balance between professional-pleasing features and a beginner-friendly user interface, meaning it won’t put you off no matter where you are and what you need. Its free version is tailored toward new starters, and you can upgrade to the paid version if your needs change and develop.

It’s a feature-packed app that covers more than simple video editing (although it is very good at that). Its well-stocked toolset covers audio refining, visual effects creation, color corrections and editing, and built-in sharing tools to get your work out there.

There are two paid versions with different tools included, but broadly speaking they permit higher-resolution exports, greater support for titling and templates, increased file formats, more advanced effects, and a bunch of other great tools. If you just need a free video editor, though, you can’t go far wrong with Lightworks.

Blender

The Blender video-editing app's user interface in macOS.
Blender

Blender is a well-known name in the world of video editing, particularly because it crams in so many tools and features yet is completely free. There’s not even a paid version with features locked behind a paywall — everything is available from the start, without you ever having to fork over a single dollar.

And it’s much more than just a video-editing app. Blender can be used to create 2D and 3D animations, sculpt models, render scenes, and create stories. Its extensive scripting support lets you customize its toolset, while you can also tweak its interface into whatever arrangement you want.

That makes it tremendous value for money. And since it’s an open-source app, anyone is free to take its code and develop it in a new direction. That puts it far beyond the capabilities of iMovie.

HitFilm

The HitFilm video-editing app's user interface in macOS.
HitFilm

Getting started with a new video-editing app can be tricky, but HitFilm makes it as straightforward as possible thanks to its extensive collection of tutorials and guides. There’s no guesswork and no frustrating dead ends, and it should get you up to speed and creating work as quickly as possible.

So, what do you get once you’re familiar with the app? There are tons of free assets included, as well as a suite of professional-grade visual effects that can be added to your footage. You’ll find powerful color correction and grading tools, audio effects, text-manipulation features, and more.

Paying for one of the paid-tier versions gives you access to a greater number of assets, higher resolution exports, and removes any watermarks (Pro version only). But doing so isn’t necessary to get a strong iMovie contender that excels at video editing.

Shotcut

Shotcut
Shotcut

Like Blender, Shotcut is free and open source, so you’ll never have to pay to access any of its features. Everything is available right from the start, making it an ideal option if you want to keep your costs down.

The needs of professional and hobbyist video editors can differ greatly. If you find yourself in the latter camp, Shotcut is a strong choice thanks to its straightforward interface that gets out of your way and lets you dive right into editing, all without having to deal with convoluted workflows and confusing features.

One of Shotcut’s strengths is its flexibility. It works with hundreds of audio and video formats, can import footage from a variety of sources, and has an adjustable interface that lets you work the way you want to. It might not be the most advanced video editor on the market, but its flexibility and ease of use make it a great choice for beginners and intermediate users looking for an app to create and edit their videos.

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