What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “free video editor”? If you’re like me, you immediately assume there are extreme limitations, such as minimal features, watermarks, or only being able to edit a limited number of videos. The VSDC Free Video Editor, which also has a premium version called VSDC Pro, makes most of the features free and fully functional.
Let’s take a look at how the two versions compare and whether the free version really can meet most video-editing needs.
VSDC Free Video Editor Features
The first step is to take a look at VSDC Free Video Editor’s features. I’ll admit that the free version actually offers more features than many premium video editors I’ve tried. Some of the top features that really make VSDC stand out include:
- Non-linear editor – rearrange objects any way you want without the typical sequence editing you may be used to
- Wide variety of effects, both visual and audio
- Filters and blending options
- Support for almost every video, audio, and image format
- 4K and HD support
- DVD burning tool
- File converter
- Screen recorder (great for making tutorials)
- Direct upload to YouTube
Plus, there aren’t any watermarks, annoying ads, or trials. This is all included in the free version. Yes, I’m already impressed just from this.
Installation only took a few minutes at most, then I was ready to dive in. I appreciated the quick start and intro into what Pro could offer. Gentle suggestions to upgrade to the Pro version are the only ads you’ll see while using the editor.
You can either start with step one or just click the X to open the editor. I loved the main dashboard. Large icons make it easy to find what you’re looking for and the “Get to Know Top Features” area helps you get started even faster.
You can start completely from scratch with a Blank Project, import existing content to edit, create a slideshow, or even capture video from your screen or a webcam.
Opening the editor to a blank project instantly shows that the VSDC Free Video Editor isn’t your typical freebie. In fact, I have access to more effects and editing features than I’ve had in certain expensive editors. I don’t have to spend a fortune, and I get a full-featured video editor. Also, when you’re first creating a project, you can access templates to help you get started faster.
If you’re new to video editing, all of this may seem intimidating. I’m definitely not a professional, but after playing around with the various options, it’s surprisingly easy to use and figure everything out.
Don’t let this fool you though. You can easily get carried away and spend hours perfecting a video to upload to YouTube.
One other thing I’d like to point out is the Editor Wizard for creating a file sequence quickly. This is under the Editor menu. Simply choose the type of wizard to run to start a slideshow-style project in seconds. The rest is just choosing your effect and adding files.
I had to test out the screen recorder. I do video tutorials from time to time, and some screen recorders are just a massive headache. After selecting Screen Capture from the main screen, I just had to choose a few settings (I went with defaults for the most part), size the capture window (loved this option), and tap record.
The recording options set nicely at the bottom of my screen and even include drawing options to highlight areas on the screen, such as drawing red circles around options I’m asking users to click on.
Effects of any sort are usually scarce in any free video editor. In many premium editors, the effects are just all bunched together. VSDC Free Video Editor not only gives you most any effect you could want, but organizes them for easier access.
Of course, as you can see, you have both video and audio effects to choose from to really customize your projects. It’s worth taking the time to try out the effects on a test project to get a feel for how each one works.
The easiest way, though, is to look through the Quick Styles. Most of your commonly-used effects are right here, so it’s a nice editing shortcut.
Another part I liked was the Filters effects. Think of Instagram, but much better. You can blur, sharpen, pixelize, and much more.
Upgrading to Pro
Obviously, VSDC has to make money somehow, right? That’s why there’s VSDC Pro. It’s the free version but with some very nice extras.
As a side note, you may need to go into Settings in the editor to disable hardware acceleration to export projects in the free version.
As one of the big extras, hardware acceleration helps speed things up considerably. I personally liked the extra speed, but it’s not a deal-breaker. Having video stabilization is also useful, depending on the types of videos you plan to edit.
As you may notice, Pro also gives you additional options with some of the features already included in the free version. It’s available for $19.99 a year, which is surprisingly affordable for a premium video editor. And it’s a great way to support the developers if you really love the software.
Free vs. Pro
For most users, the free version is all you’ll ever need. Yes, the additional Pro features are nice, but you can do most anything you need for free.
I’d recommend Pro for more advanced editing or for professionals. It’s reasonably priced and adds features that make your job a bit easier.
Try out the VSDC Free Video Editor before buying anything, though. It’s completely free, doesn’t come bundled with any other software, and you can use it as long as you like for as many projects as you want. There’s really nothing to lose.
If you love it but want some extra features, upgrade to VSDC Pro. You get a full year for just under $20. Plus, if you decide you want to go back to the free version after a year, skip the auto-renewal, and you’re all set.
This is a sponsored article and was made possible by VSDC Free Video Editor. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
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