Video editing usually requires specialist software, but there are some excellent online tools around that are just as powerful – if you know where to look. We've scoured the web for online editors that will have your videos looking and sounding great, without the need to download a thing. Best of all, they're free to use.
The quality of browser-based tools varies greatly, so here we've picked out the best online editors available today. Selecting the right tool will often be a case of seeing which closest meets your needs, so we've included a mixture of very basic and more advanced options.
Looking for a more powerful movie-making tool that you can use offline? Take a look at our guide to the best free video editing software.
An amazingly flexible online video editor, with royalty-free media to supplement your own movie clips, audio files and images
First, a word of warning: Movie Maker Online is funded by ads that you might find distracting, and you'll have to deactivate any ad-blocking plugins you have installed before you can use it.
That said, Movie Maker Online is an excellent tool, and it's only fair that its developers are reimbursed for their work. Movie Maker Online lets you upload video, images and music, and combine them into a project by dragging and dropping them onto a timeline. The page layout is a little strange, so you'll need to scroll down a little way to find it.
You can crop uploaded videos, and there are numerous filters available to give them a new look. Movie Maker Online provides fade options for both audio and video too, as well as text overlays, transitions and more.
There's even a selection of royalty-free images and music files that you can use to help complete your project.
It just might take you a while to find your way around the system of menus and you can only export your finished projects in MP4 format, but this is a minor complaint. Movie Maker Online is the best video editor for your browser.
The free version of this online video editor lacks some advanced features, but it's easy to use and is a good choice for simple movie-making tasks
ClipChamp strikes a good balance between power and usability, and might be just the tool for you if Movie Maker Online (above) offers more options and settings than you're likely to need.
ClipChamp has premium tiers starting at US$7 per month (about £5, AU$9), but a free account still gives you plenty of editing tools a few limitations. You can create more than five videos a month, a maximum resolution of 1080p, and videos can be no longer than five minutes. That might sound quite restrictive, but if you only want to tweak one or two files, it's no hardship.
You can either upload a video you've already recorded or use your webcam to capture new footage. Either method works well, and once your footage is in ClipChamp, you'll have ready access to tools including trimming, cropping, flipping, rotating and brightness/contrast adjustment.
Processing is fast, and you can share the results online or download the video to use in other projects. Simple, but it gets the job done.
A free online video editor with echoes of Windows Movie Maker
If you're familiar with desktop video editing software, WeVideo will look instantly familiar. It stores uploaded images, music and videos in a cache at the top of the page, ready to be dragged and dropped into a multi-track timeline.
You can upload content, transfer it from a cloud storage service, or record video and audio directly from your webcam and microphone - a feature you won't find in any other online video editor. You won't be left drumming your fingers if you're uploading a large video file; it will continue processing in the background while you get to work.
There's a great selection of themes that bring your creations to live with automatic transitions and effects, and you get 1GB cloud storage.
WeVideo is powerful, easy to use, and produces great results, though the free version has some limitations. Each account is restricted to publishing five minutes of video per minute, at a maximum resolution of 480p. Your videos will also be watermarked.
If some of the tools above look confusing, check out Online Video Cutter. It's simple to use, and is available as a handy Chrome extension
Despite the name, Online Video Cutter is about more than just cutting up videos. The site lets you upload files up to 500MB in size, or work with clips stored on Google Drive or other online service.
You can then opt to trim away unwanted footage, and crop in if you have taken too wide a shot. There's a rotate function for footage accidentally shot with your phone on its side, and there's even a Chrome extension available so you can access the editing tools more easily.
When you're happy with the edits you've made, you can take your pick from a variety of popular video formats and choose lower a quality setting if you need to minimize file size.
There may not be many video editing on offer here, but the site is beautifully set out and everything is nicely streamlined, making it a joy to use.
Make fun videos and slideshows ready to share on Twitter and Facebook
Kizoa is designed for making fun slideshow-style videos to share on social media rather than crafting a cinematic masterpiece, but it's very good at what it does.
Although you can use it to rotate and trim video clips, paste several pieces of video together and add titles, in our experience Kizoa works best as a way to turn a set of still photos into something more exciting.
You can tag your finished creations with keywords, then save them to your desktop or share them immediately via email or social media. Kizoa also provides a shareable link, which is a nice touch.
You'll need to sign up for a free account to get started, but this doesn't take long. Free users get 1GB storage for their videos, which will be watermarked.
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