I made my first college video project on the good old Windows Movie Maker and instantly fell in love with the simplicity of the software. Microsoft, however, killed the movie maker in 2017 and now we are in shortage of a good Windows Movie Maker alternatives or rather a free video editor.
While there is no shortage of good video editing apps for Windows, an ideal Windows Movie Maker alternative needs to be free, simple and most importantly export videos without any watermark. The support for native transitions, music and animated titles would be an added bonus. Since the Windows Movie Maker is more of a bare-bone simple editing software, we won’t be including free-complex professional editing tools like DaVinci Resolve, Filmhit Express Pro, etc. With that out of the way, here is my list of best Windows Movie Maker alternatives.
Best Windows Movie Maker Alternatives
1. Windows Movie Maker
What better alternative would be to the Windows Movie Maker than the app itself. While Windows Movie Maker is no longer available for download on official Microsoft website, luckily, few websites have maintained the applications in Microsoft Windows Live Essentials 2012 such as the Photo Gallery, Messenger, Movie Maker, etc. You can download the Movie Maker from archive.org or MiniTool.
This version of Windows Movie Maker is exactly similar to the previous version with no changes in the UI or the internal code. The installation process is similar to any other software installation in Windows. However, the caveat is it might affect the functioning of the native Photos and Videos app that you get in Windows 10. There are chances that this application might break and cease to function as soon as you update Windows.
Download Windows Movie Maker
2. Microsoft Photos
In case, your editing requirements are pretty basic and you don’t want to install additional applications, try the native Microsoft Photos. Yes, while the Photos app is not our favorite photo viewer, you can, however, use it as a video editor.
To access the editor, open a video in the Photos app. Once you have the video playing, move the cursor to the top and you will see a dropdown link called “Edit & Create”. Click on it and you will be presented with precisely four editing tools –
- Trim – to remove a section from a video
- Slo-mo – to change the video playback speed
- Save Photos – to save a frame from a video as a photo
- Draw to draw using the ballpoint pen, pencil, and add text to the video
Since the Photo app is not essentially a video editor, it’s might be difficult to use it as such. Thankfully, Microsoft has a fun video tutorial that will give you some basic idea on how to use the photo apps to edit videos.
- Simple to use and minimal UI
- Ability to trim and adjust the speed of the video
- Inability to add music
- No inbuilt transitions
- Cannot edit multiple videos together
Download Microsoft Photos
Avidemux is a simple video editor where you can get started without any tutorial. The same reason why Windows Movie Maker had a huge appeal. The app has a clean white interface that doesn’t scream video editor in your face. You can proceed by dropping your video and scrub over the playhead at the bottom to overview it. It lets you set A and B points in the video which act as start and endpoints of your video.
When you change the Video Output option from copy to MPEG2 or something else, you will have the Filters button enabled. Click on it and you will see a whole dialogue box of transitions pop up. There are several transitions, color effect, and other filters in this menu which can be dragged and dropped on your clip.
Avidemux being a typical open-source software has horrendous UI. The UI element placement is terrible. On top of that, it’s really hard to distinguish between multiple files on the timeline.
- Ability to handle multiple video files
- Transitions, Color filters, etc.
- Audio Editor
- Unintuitive UI
- Playhead looks confusing when
- Inability to separate audio and video
ShotCut has gained a lot of traction these days as it’s not only free and easy to use but also cross-platform.
While the interface isn’t even close to Windows Movie Maker, it does brings all the Windows Movie Maker features to the table. You have the same old timeline at the bottom wherein you can cut, join or detach audio from the clips.
Shotcut could be an ideal alternative for the Windows Movie Maker but it has a steep learning curve. For example, the software features quite a bit of transition but they are hard to find. Coming from the Windows Movie Maker, you would have a hard time figuring out the tools and transitions. Just in case if you give ShotCut a shot, here is a detailed video tutorial for beginners.
- Ability to cut, trim, adjust the speed
- Transition Effects
- Audio Editor and Waveform adjustment
- Supports mobile 4k video files
- Hard to find transform and editing tools
- No native titles or intro sequences
OpenShot as the name sounds is quite similar vocally to ShotCut. The UI has a close resemblance to ShotCut with the windows and elements arranged in the same order. For instance, you have the timeline at the bottom, video player to the top-right and video files on the top-left. However, I found it much more intuitive than ShotCut.
To begin with, to import a video file you can drag and drop it either on the timeline or on the Project Window. Whereas in ShotCut, it has to be imported in the Project Window first. Introducing a transition is as convenient as right-clicking on the timeline and selecting your animation. Alternatively, you can go to the Transitions tab and drag & drop any effect on the video file. Similar to the Windows Movie Maker, you have some built-in color effects like negative, pixelate, etc.
OpenShot is an ideal video editing app with only one drawback. The inability to directly upload your file on social media sites like YouTube, Twitter, etc which was a popular option in the Windows Movie Maker.
- Ability to cut, trim, adjust speed and seperate audio
- Built-in Transitions and color Effects
- Multiple video and audio tracks
- Supports mobile 4k video files
- Inbuilt Animated titles.
- Inability to export to YouTube, Twitter, etc.
Lightworks may not be the ideal alternative for Windows Movie Maker. It is more of a stepping stone from the Windows Movie Maker. If you are serious about editing, Lightworks offers a plethora of video and audio editing tools. The app has an intense amount of tools ranging from VFX, Audio and video which are neatly stacked at the top in the form of a tab.
On the Edit tab, you have the project files and the timeline. On the VFX tab, you get the real color-correction tools, transformations, and build-in transitions, etc. You also get custom audio presets like wind noise removal, bass enhancer, equalizer, etc.
- Editing tools like cut, trim, splice, etc.
- Inbuilt Transition effects like fade, crossfade, push, etc.
- Inbuilt Noise and Animation Presets.
- Well categorized UI
- Free version limits export to 720p
For one-time editing or mediocre stuff, you can try the native Microsoft Photos or the original Windows Movie Maker. For a thorough alternative, I would really recommend OpenShot. In case you are serious about editing or do it as part of content creation, Lightworks is a good starting point.
For any queries or issues regarding the editing tools or video production, do let me know in the comments below.