Nearly anyone that shoots video on a smartphone or an action camera wants the same thing: a way of turning raw footage into something slick and watchable that they can share on YouTube or social media. Yet if it's never been easier to get great-looking footage, video-editing tools have not quite moved on to match.
There’s a dearth of accessible apps, particularly on Windows, and those you can download and use tend to either be unintuitive or just too limited in what they do. While there are better options at the premium end, they’re not just expensive but difficult to learn and slow to use.
What’s more, some of the free, easy tools used by budding YouTubers and video sharers are disappearing fast. Microsoft has discontinued the venerable Windows Movie Maker, while Google has done the same with YouTube Video Editor (read The Ultimate Guide to YouTube Video Editor Alternatives). Is there still a simple way to lick your videos into shape?
There is with Wondershare Filmora. Now in its eighth major release it makes video editing fast, intuitive and – best of all – fun. It can help you make home movies your friends and family will actually want to watch again, but it can also put together professional-quality YouTube videos that will get viewers hammering the Subscribe button.
Video made easy
One of Filmora’s strengths is that you can make something in minutes without needing to watch a tutorial or pick up a manual. Launch the app and click the ‘Easy Mode’ button, and it takes you step-by-step through the process. First add your clips, either from your hard drive, social media accounts or direct from your phone or camera. Next, pick a theme to give your footage the deluxe treatment, complete with overlays, titles and slick effects. Now select some music; you can pick a track from your own music library or use one of Filmora’s built-in soundtracks.
Make your selection, and it’s time for a quick preview and fine-tuning. This is where you can change the text in the opening and closing titles or opt to stick with the original sound. Finally, you can choose your output settings – with presets for the most popular file formats and video-sharing services – before exporting your final mini-masterwork. Depending on the length of your clips and the speed of your PC or laptop, you can get the whole thing polished off within ten minutes.
If you’re looking for more creative control, however, Filmora still has you covered. Go to ‘Full Featured’ mode and you get all the tools you’d expect from a conventional timeline-based video editor, complete with separate tracks for effects and overlays or titles plus two stereo tracks for sound. You can trim and reorder your clips, apply transitions and add titles or captions, all using a sleek, streamlined interface that puts all the major features where you can see them, not hidden away inside a control panel or drop-down menu.
Filters, effects and a whole lot of fun
Most of all, Filmora never forgets that video should be fun. With just a few clicks you can apply an Instagram-style filter and treat your footage to a moody black-and-white, cartoon or vintage look. You can add overlays, ranging from subtle grain effects to authentic focus blurs and lens flares. The app packs in a huge selection of brilliant animated elements you can add to your image, so that a flurry of hearts, an Adventure badge or a colourful emoji can be dropped into place and dragged into position. Choose well, and you can take your YouTube videos up to a whole new level.
Of course, there’s always a risk with these effects that, as time goes on, they’ll become worn-out by over-use. Also, what if you’re looking for something the built-in catalogue can’t provide? That’s where you can reach for Filmora’s built-in Effects Store. Here you’ll find new free and paid packs of titles, effects and overlays, with new packs – including free packs – released every month. If you have your own vision for a video, Filmora expands to bring it into being.
Ready for action
Other tools focus on making short work of traditionally dull jobs. Take the new Instant Cutter, which takes the hassle out of trimming and merging your raw clips. You can assemble a quick-and-dirty cut of your video, or send the results through to the ‘Full Featured’ mode for further work. Meanwhile, the enhanced Action Camera tool gives you a suite of features designed specifically for action camera users, including automatic lens distortion correction to remove the fisheye effect plus stabilization and colour correction controls. If you want to add freeze-frames, cool reverse and replay effects or slow the footage down, you can do all of that within the Action Camera tool as well.
Throw in even more advanced tools, with support for green-screening, tilt-shift and split-screen effects, and there’s very little you can’t do with Filmora outside the more obscure technicalities of commercial video production. And where other packages make all these tools seem technical and daunting, Filmora makes them so easy and accessible that you’ll want to explore them all. You can start right now by visiting Wondershare and downloading the free trial.