It’s not easy going up against an industry standard. Adobe Premiere has been the go-to video editing software for amateurs and professionals alike, having been used by organizations like CNN and BBC, and used to edit films like Avatar and Superman Returns.
Along with Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro offers the best video editing experience for many.
But if you find this video editing program overwhelming, or find its subscription-based model expensive for your needs, then you will be pleased to know that there are several other video editors available that can serve as genuinely viable alternatives for Adobe Premiere.
Adobe Premier is a program that has built its name on offering a streamlined professional workflow for video editing. Filmmakers, designers, videographers, YouTubers, and home users use Adobe Premiere, and they all appreciate the power and freedom it offers when it comes to editing their footage.
The program works with all kinds of videos, in any format, from a smartphone capture to 8K and virtual reality media. Throw in seamless integration with other Adobe programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Media Encoder, and paying for a subscription for Adobe Premiere becomes an easy decision for many.
However, there are several other contenders for the crown.
Some of them downright exceptional.
There is no shortage of Premiere alternatives that offer most of the advanced feature set of the Adobe app, along with their unique strengths like a vibrant open source community, an easy to follow UI, collaborative workflow, automation, and support for video technologies like 4K, HDR, and even 3D.
Your options are plenty, so let’s take a look at the best ones worth your time.
Cyberlink Power Director
Movavi Video Editor
First Time Users
High End Users
Free or Personal Use
AVS Video Editor
General Use, Learners
An editor that has gained a lot of following the past few years, DaVinci Resolve is a free, cross-platform video editing solution that impresses with its responsive UI, stable playback engine, and advanced color correction tools, as long as you match it up with a reasonably powerful computer.
The developers have stacked this software with features, including robust multi-cam support. The latest release has brought Fairlight audio tools for working with 3D audio formats, with support for real-time mixing and routing. It can also handle up to 1000 audio tracks without breaking a sweat.
The multiuser collaboration tools here are second to none, meaning colorists, video editors, and audio mixers can work together on different parts of a single project. It even supports dedicated hardware control panels for professionals, which is quite impressive when you think about it.
Getting back to the editing bit, Resolve offers all the necessary video editing tools like transitions, facial recognition, speed effects, and more. Import and export are lighting fast with this software, and it even supports migration of projects to other video editing suites like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro X.
As far as fully featured video editing programs go, DaVinci Resolve is at the top of the list. With some of the best color grading controls in any software, this is something that is ideal for all use cases. The only downside is that you need right GPU power to see good performance.
If you would instead get a robust program, without spending a dime, then Kdenlive is here to help. This open source video editor offers a customizable UI that while not as good as its costly competitors, is more than enough to get the job done, and then some. You even get support for themes here.
Look beyond the cozy user interface, though, and you get a program that offers comparable performance to its competitors. For example, Kdenlive features fast, real-time playback like DaVinci Resolve, and things remain snappy while editing.
Its intuitive multitrack video editing is made all the better by automatic shot and scene detection. This feature comes in real handy when splitting larger clips, and no other nonlinear video editor offers this time saving functionality.
You also get support for numerous audio and video formats, and the program even supports proxy editing for videos. It uses low-resolution copies to allow for fast editing on any computer and then renders those to the original. This feature keeps things light and agile at all times.
And the best part of all this is the vibrant and active development community. You will find a ton of community made guides to help you get started with Kdenlive. The installation process may be a little tricky, but it is smooth sailing from then on.
Cyberlink is a somewhat popular name in the world of multimedia playback, with its disc playback software the go-to program for people that want the best solution to play DVD and Bluray movies on their PC. The company is also well known for its multimedia editing programs.
The highlight of which is PowerDirector. This program offers a unique combination of advanced editing features and high-end performance, making it an excellent solution for users, experienced and new. The fact that this program gets regular updates with new features and options is an icing on the cake.
You get a massive selection of customizable design tools, alpha transitions, animated titles, and particles, that come in real handy if you are want to create creative videos. Support for all the latest video formats means that PowerDirector is ready to take on any project.
The newest versions offer excellent support for 360° videos, as well as video blending that makes quick work of merging different timeline tracks. The included color enhancement engine intelligently analyzes video footage and automatically optimizes hue and vibrancy of your clips.
All this to say that Cyberlink PowerDirector is a solution enough for professional tasks while being excellent for home video editing and amateur content creation. The price tag may be a little on the high side, but the outstanding feature set and exceptional UI make it worth it.
For many folks, VEGAS Pro is the next best bet for professional grade video editing. Its interface is smooth and intuitive, and it does well to create stunning videos, even on a less than stellar computer. VEGAS Pro is also the only powerful editor that allows multitasking by running multiple instances.
As is expected of a program of this caliber, VEGAS Pro comes with a set of compelling, often unique features. You get options like GPU acceleration, multicamera editing, masking tools, color matching, stereoscopic 3D adjustments, Dolby Digital surround sound, Bluray authoring — you name it.
Its interface allows editing via a simple drag and drops functionality, with the UI being entirely customizable as far as sophisticated software like these goes. In fact, the only reason why some people choose VEGAS Pro over Premiere Pro is due to what they consider a better interface.
The most apparent weakness of this program is that lack of motion tracking. And its multi-cam editing feature also leaves a bit to be desired. But other than these missing or weak options, you have everything you need for a straightforward workflow and optimum productivity.
Things are not so pleasant when it comes to pricing, though. A free trial version is good enough for you to dip your toes in, but the full version retails for $599. At this price, you can use Adobe Premiere Pro for a couple of years straight.
It is impossible to think of a more welcoming video editor than Movavi Video Editor. It is a robust program, yet very easy to use, so much so that anyone can get started with, their first time out — as long as they know the basics of file formats, editing and exporting.
So short is the learning curve, that the company says it takes only 20 minutes to master. And, once you fire up the application, it is hard to dispute this fact. Filters, transitions, and titles are a click away, with the modern looking UI ensuring that all the options are within reach.
Speaking of options, you have everything you need to add your media files to Movavi, easily edit them, enhance the video quality if needed, applying special effects and titles, working on sound, and then saving the movie.
There is support for a wide range of formats and device, the application itself is light on system resources, and there is enough creativity on offer here to satisfy also the most ardent of casual users. You even get the ability to improve videos quality, with sharpness and stabilization enhancements.
It may not be a program designed for professionals, but if you are editing home or school videos, creating clips to post online, or share with others, then the toolkit that this program provides is second to none. The free version offers plenty of features; the paid one is out of this world.
Lightworks offers a lot. Things start with cross-platform availability that allows you to work with your videos on different systems without any issues. Its UI is highly customizable, and its free-floating windows and keyboard controls make it easy for you to fit the program to your video editing workflow.
Multicam editing also works well here, and you will find macro support for automation and speeding up of editing tasks. Video rendering remains fast, and the program is also completely integrated with other members of the Complete Collaboration family of software.
Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of Lightworks is that it is very light on resources compared to many other professional video editing programs. This simplicity does not mean that the program lacks an important feature, though. You get a lot of options, and support for a wide array of formats here.
GPU rendering? Check. Real-time editing? Check. 2D and 3D tile animations, with hundreds of presets, filters, and Boris FX? Double check. Now, yes, some advanced features are only exclusive to the paid version of Lightworks, like hardware I/O support, collaboration tools and real-time rendering.
But it only makes this a program worth paying for, if you find its feature set useful. Its practical approach, speed and flexibility, and a UI that adjusts with you make Lightworks a solid bet. No wonder it has been used to cut films like The Departed, Mission Impossible, Hugo, and The King’s Speech.
High on the list of open source video editors sits OpenShot, a tool that has been designed to be easy to use, yet powerful enough for most video editing jobs. With a complete focus on video editing, this program is what you need if you want to cut and clip your videos and clips.
What this means is that you will not find all that many options for creating effects and animations. But solely as a video editor, OpenShot is hard to beat. It is not as feature rich as Adobe Premiere Pro but still provides a complete toolset for video editing, nevertheless.
In fact, its video editing features bypass many professional programs. You get options like unlimited layers, rotoscoping, frame stepping, audio mixing, tons of filters and presets to go with title templates and animated tiles. Throw in support for HDV and AVCHD as well.
OpenShot makes use of the FFmpeg set of libraries for video encoding, which apparently offers its own set of natural benefits when it comes to hardware and file format support. The user interface of the app is focused and to the point as well, with everything in the right place.
The program is still beta, but it is ready to use. And the fact that it is a lot easier to use than other video editors makes this a perfect choice for novice video editors to start. Recommended, and very well worth a try.
A perennial favorite among casual users, Avidemux is a video editor that is ideal for simple cutting, filtering, and encoding tasks. The simple and straightforward user interface makes it easy to jump into editing minutes after installing the program, making this software an ideal pick up and play.
You get support for a range of file types and codecs, including all the popular ones like AVI and MP4, though this is not the software you want if you plan on editing high-resolution 4K content, or videos with HDR and 3D — there are better, more suited programs available for these jobs.
What you get with Avidemux is no frills, no thrills editing of your home, school, work or mobile videos, with some reasonably powerful scripting, automation, and job queues. There is power on offer here, but limited power. Then again, sometimes that is all one needs.
The UI is familiar, with all the options nicely stacked in their places. You get nonlinear video editing capabilities, backed by the ability to add a few visual effects and transcode from one format to another, which are the three most prominent advantages that Avidemux offers.
Ultimately, this is a program that leaves some of the newer video editing software, even open source ones. It still is an excellent choice for those starting out, or in need of a lightweight solution. But as far as Adobe Premiere alternatives go, this one is a bit frothy. Good, but bubbly.
An excellent choice, if you want something that focuses solely on video editing, VideoPad may not offer many advanced options, but what it does offer is a richly designed, familiar user interface that will let anyone be up and run within minutes.
In many ways, VideoPad is quite similar to OpenShot but lacks its advanced features. However, there’s a lot to like here, including better format support. Add to the mix, the hundreds of filters, transitions, audio and video effects, and you can edit any video to your liking with ease.
Including 4K ones, which work flawlessly here. You also get the handling of multiple projects, text to speech support, real-time preview, batch video editing, the ability to record custom audio, along with various export options, in what is a very neatly designed package.
It is easy to select a position for a new clip in the slider, add blank slides and overlays, and stabilize video with the included de-shake filter. All the usual video effects have cut here, and it is possible to add photos and digital images with the click of a button in VideoPad.
This software is more suited for amateurs and is ideal for home use and editing mobile videos. The developer has made it available free for personal use, and the commercial license is not all that expensive, for what is overall, a very rounded package.
Need a fully featured editor that is suited for professional use, but on the cheap? Then AVS Video Editor is probably worth a look. It is a complete program that allows you to record your clips, edit, add creative effects, make stunning slideshows, author discs, and export all from one convenient window.
There are more than 300 video effects and transitions, as is support for reading and writing in dozens of formats. The program supports all the popular file formats, with frame sizes ranging from standard definition to HD, Full HD to Ultra HD 4K.
The user interface is not what you would call stylish or sleek, but it gets the job done while keeping things nice and simple. All the different panels are neatly tucked away in their place, meaning you will have no issues navigating and going through the various options provided.
AVS Video Editor also allows you to transfer your video from DV and HDV cameras, webcams, or even record media from your PC screen — creating demos, video guides and training videos has never been easier. As is building slideshows by importing images and audio, captions and transitions.
And the company regularly rolls out regular discounts for subscribing to the suite of programs as a package. You get audio and video converters, an audio editor, and a program to edit files without re-encoding. Combine them all, and buyers get fantastic value for an excellent set of apps.
Shawn is a WindowsChimp Staff writer, who is a fan of making lists and does the same on this site. He has a Contemporary Writing degree and been in technology niche since last 3 years.