“Free” Video Editors

Video editing is one of the most computer-intensive functions most of us use.  Working with large file sizes and the inevitable exporting of your project really works the processor in your device.  Full-featured video editing programs like Adobe Premiere and Sony Vegas Pro are probably overkill unless you are teaching video production, plus they are expensive.  Your school may provide Premier for your school, but kids won’t have it at home or be able to use it on a Chromebook.  Fortunately, there are some free options that will do 95% of what you need for your classroom.

    • If you are in an Apple environment, there is iMovie which is included on all Macs.  There is also an iOS version for iPads, although not as robust as the Mac version.  I have used iMovie for years and teach a class in it and will be the first to admit that its interface is unusual.  It is not hard to learn, it just takes some getting used to.  Once you are familiar, it is quite easy to learn and has some great tools.
    • HitFilm Express is available for Macs and PCs.  It is free and you can pay for add-ons if wanted, but the free version does almost everything you’d want.  It has the traditional non-linear interface like Premier.  It won’t run on a Chromebook.
    • Openshot is an open-source video editor for Macs, PCs AND it can be installed on a Chromebook.  So, here you have a free basic video editor that will run on just about anything.  Now, you are not going to be able to produce a full feature movie on a Chromebook, remember there is not a lot of processing power in a Chromebook, but it will work for most school projects.
    • DaVinci Resolve – This program makes Premier look like it isn’t even trying.  Resolve is what the big boys and girls use in the film industry.  It is completely free and the company makes its money selling gear for the film industry.
    • Canva – Canva is a free cloud-based suite of tools with a huge library of elements.  The video editor is very basic with just one video and audio track and editing clips can be clumsy.  However, it is fantastic at creating small clips that can be imported into one of the above programs.  For example, animated graphics, a lively intro for your morning announcements, etc.

So, there are five possibilities.  I teach classes on all of these programs to teachers looking for professional development and salary advancement.  Of course, there are a ton of resources online for each of these programs.

Video Editing on Chromebooks? YES!

Created with GIMP

Actual software applications usually cannot be installed on a Chromebook, which usually means that editing video has to be done in the cloud, like at wevideo.com, which was neither free nor convenient for schools and students.

With the advent of being able to install some Linux apps on Chromebooks, developers have bundled together some Linux open-source applications that can easily be installed (You don’t need to know Linux) via Flatpak.

There are several choices, but my favorite is OpenShot.  It is a typical non-linear video editor that students can learn easily.  It even comes with a nice library of transitions and effects.

You are not going to be able to edit the next Star Wars movie with it on a Chromebook, but for presentations, science experiments, debates, book reports – you name it – it provides the best option for editing video on a Chromebook.

Here is how to install it on a Chromebook:

Improving Your Audio

This is the video that I mentioned earlier on improving your videos by stepping-up your audio.  It is impossible for me to provide a one-step-fits-all solution, so consider this a start and if you have questions or want a recommendation, please let me know.

BTW, here are some links to some of the gear I mentioned.  I don’t make any money off them, it’s just what I use myself.  With tariffs, COVID and so many people looking to improve their audio for online meetings, prices have been higher this last year, but they are getting better slowly.  Some products are also back-ordered.

Zoom Audio Recorder

Sony Lavalier Mic. Some mics require power, others don’t.  To avoid getting the wrong mic, choose one with free returns.  If your computer supports a mic 3.5mm input, this may be all that you need.

Blue Yeti USB Mic. I used one of these for 2-3 years and loved it until it stopped working.  Maybe I just got a bad one, but I replaced it with an AT2020 condenser mic and use a USB interface to connect it to my computer.

This is the USB mic I showed and I thought it was no longer made.  What I forgot was that they really jumped the price.  I used to get them for $20.  It’s worth a little more than that, but not $100.  There are many choices for that price or less that are waaaay better.

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