If you search the Internet for free video editing software, you’ll surely find a lot of options. Many of them, however, either place a watermark on the exported video or struggle with some video formats. Another challenge is to find a video editor that would actually not require too much of your PC resources and run stably even with a limited RAM.
In this post, we’ll review VSDC, a free video editing software for Windows that comes as a balanced solution for those who consider basic tools like Movie Maker insufficient but can’t yet afford a professional-level tool like Adobe.
At a glance, VSDC is packed with features to create a short movie from scratch, play with cinematic effects and save the project in high quality with no watermarks or other unpleasant surprises at the export level. Plus, it appears to have low system requirements – just 256Mb of RAM for the program and 50Mb of free disk space. So, even those on low-end computers might be able to make use of it.
Let’s take a closer look at VSDC feature-set.
Non-linear video editing
First of all, VSDC is a non-linear video editor. If you haven’t heard the term, it means that instead of direct (or linear) file sequence, VSDC allows for placing videos and images in any sequence creating layer overlaps. So, technically, you can place multiple objects in the same scene and make them work together as a composition.
The best examples of a non-linear editing technique are the picture-in-picture effect and split screen. Both include two different videos playing simultaneously in the scene. You’ll easily recognize the split screen effect from TV news when two presenters based in different locations are shown on the screen at the same time. Meanwhile, the picture-in-picture effect is widely used in tutorials when the presenter’s face is only seen in a small square in the corner of a screen. VSDC enables you to create these and many other effects easily. We’ll go over them in the following paragraphs.
Excellent format compatibility
Have you ever struggled to process a video recorded in MP4 format? Or perhaps your action camera footage? Many video editors require you to convert files before editing them, and this is where VSDC stands out. This software has a built-in video converter, that’s why it easily opens nearly any video format and codec, works with 4K and processes 120 fps footage. The latter is especially convenient for GoPro camera owners struggling to find the right editing software.
Built-in screen and webcam video capture tools
Apart from the video editing toolset, there are few add-ons that make VSDC a “full multimedia pack”. For example, you’ll find a built-in desktop recorder that comes in handy for working on game walkthroughs and video tutorials. There is also a webcam video grabber and a voice-over tool allowing you to record voice commentaries and use them for your project. Finally, YouTube uploader speeds up the process of publishing videos online, as you can upload the finished project directly to your channel without saving it to your PC first.
Wide choice of video effects
VSDC is capable of many advanced-level effects. Some of them can be applied in one click, others will require you to perform a sequence of actions.
In the first group, there are quick Instagram-like filters that will help you achieve a nice stylish look. You’ll also find color adjustment settings, LUTs, and various filters to add an artistic touch to the image or blur it. Regarding the latter, VSDC even has a quick tool called DeLogo to instantly hide any area in the video with a blur or a pixelated mask. The feature comes in handy when you need to hide a logo, a watermark, a number, or a face.
For those shooting in 360, there is a dedicated section allowing for rendering a 360 video into 2D to split or merge the footage, add titles, music, or color adjustments.
The most interesting video editing tricks, however, may not be so obvious. Those include transparency settings, vector drawing, and blending modes. Combining these features in a smart way, you can achieve such effects as a text mask (a video playing inside a text), double exposure, Hollywood-style with cinematic bars at the top and the bottom of a scene, and much more. What’s also noteworthy, VSDC transparency feature-set includes a quick background remover also known as Chroma Key. It is used to replace a green background with another video or a still image.
Flexible export settings
We’ve mentioned already that VSDC provides you with a way to upload a video directly to YouTube. However, if you need to save the movie on your computer first, there are many options available depending on what your goals are. You can manually set up a format, codec, framerate, quality and the width of your video – or you can choose one of the pre-configured export profiles.
For example, if you’re planning to store and watch your clip on PC, the suggested output formats are AVI, MPG, MOV, WMV, MKV, RM, SFW or FLV. If the video is intended to be watched on an iPhone or an iPad, the program automatically suggests the M4V format and the profile set-up for Retina HD displays. Finally, if you’re planning to publish the movie on social media, there are dedicated formats for YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Vimeo, and Twitter. That means your video will be saved according to the requirements of each platform.
VSDC interface is somewhat peculiar and will take you some time to get accustomed to – we recommend checking out the company’s YouTube channel for learning all the nuts and bolts. However, given its capabilities and the advantage of being provided for free, it’s definitely worth your attention if you’re looking for a full-featured tool to work on your videos.
If you don’t have free time to learn VSDC in detail, refer to video editing services that are capable of fixing the raw footage as you like, add video effects and transitions, solve sound problems, etc. at affordable price.
VSDC helps you understand the idea of non-linear video editing, boasts a decent choice of easily applied video effects and keeps high footage quality. And if you’re a video editing enthusiast looking for trying new techniques, you should give it a spin.