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[Windows] Best free video editor — VirtualDub vs Avidemux vs Videopad vs Pinnacle vs VSDC

An enormous amount of video is recorded daily for purposes ranging from simply wanting to preserve memories, to providing entertainment and information. Video editors allow for the embellishing of your video content and the enhancing of video in order to remove undesired characteristics such as abrupt camera moving as well as blurry images.

The programs reviewed here today allow for basic functionality such as cutting out sections of video, rotating and cropping of videos. Some of them, however, also offer more advanced functionality such as adding transitions between sections of video, adding various effects, adding sound and music tracks, applying filters and even speeding up and slowing down video.

Quite frankly, when we record video a great deal of it can turn out to be of quite poor quality, which is where video editors play a vital role in helping us to produce the best quality final product possible with sometimes less than desirable original video. It is therefore clear why having a decent video editor is necessary if you engage in the recording of video of any sort.

Now with that being said, here is dotTech’s take on the best free video editor available for Windows.

This review is part of our Best Free Windows Software [1] section. Check out more articles on the best free Windows programs by clicking here [1].

Table of Contents [VSDC Free Video Editor vs Videopad vs VirtualDub vs Pinnacle VideoSpin vs Avidemux]

Best Free Video Editor
VSDC Free Video Editor [8]

Program Name: VSDC Free Video Editor [9]

Developer: Flash-Integro LLC

Download Size: 21MB

Version Reviewed: v1.2.4

Supported OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8

Portable Version Available: Yes

Bloatware/Crapware/Opencandy During Install: Yes




VSDC Free Video Editor is a very capable program with a well designed interface. It provides users with the features they need in order to produce high quality video content.

In the left sidebar of the program, you will find the projects and objects explorers which allow for the perusal of files and projects being manipulated. In the right sidebar of the program, there is the properties and resources windows. The properties windows displays information on files being manipulated within a particular project such as resolution and duration, while the resources window displays the different types of files utilized within a project. In the middle section of the program window you will find a display of the current scene, a timeline and various editing tools.

The video effects available are as follows:

In terms of audio effects, the following options are available under Gain:

In addition to the described video and audio effects, objects such as lines, rectangles, ellipses, text and tooltips can be added. In addition, you can take snapshots with the editor and there is a wizard available which allows for users to set the transitions between video/image files. Also when you are finished with your editing, you can export the finished product in a variety of formats. You can either save it to your hard drive as:

It may take a while for you to get used to VSDC video editor but when you do, you will have a powerful tool at your disposal and will be on your way to producing some high level content.

Runner Up
Videopad [10]

Program Name: Videopad Video Editor [11]

Developer: NCH

Download Size: 4.2MB

Version Reviewed: v3.04

Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8

Portable Version Available: No

Bloatware/Crapware/Opencandy During Install: Yes


Videopad has several features geared towards assisting users in creating top quality video in a relatively short amount of time.

With Videopad you will be able to do the following:

VideoPad’s user interface is relatively well laid out. It is not as simple as the likes of VirtualDub [4] but it isn’t too difficult to get used to the additional options offered by Videopad. The notable aspects of the VideoPad user interface are as follows:

Sequences can be viewed in either Timeline or Storyboard mode. Sequences can be manipulated at the bottom of the program window, below the Clip Preview and Sequence Preview areas. Timeline mode displays all of the ultilized video and audio tracks and all clips on these tracks. The duration of a clip can be altered by dragging either its left or right edge depending on whether you want to lengthen or shorten the clip. The position of a clip can also be changed simply by dragging it. Storyboard mode gives a simplified view and allows for the easy manipulation of clips when creating a new sequence.

Clips can be edited in a variety of ways with Videopad. The following actions can be carried out:

Please note that these descriptions are taken directly from Videopad’s help contents.

The audio effects available are as follows:

Various transitions can be applied in order to smoothly move between video, image, text or blank clips in Videopad. The speed of clips can also be altered as desired. Users also have the option of applying video stabilization which comes in handy for the elimination of shakiness and also makes panning, rotation and zooming appear much smoother.

After you have finished editing a given project you can either burn the movie to a DVD, CD or BLu-ray disc or an ISO file, you can save it to one of the available file formats, you can save it as a series of still images, you can upload the video to YouTube, Flickr or Facebook, or you can save it as a stereoscopic 3D file.

Please note that Videopad is also capable of capturing video from camcorders and other sources.

As you can see Videopad is a very capable video editing application and can be used to carry out some relatively advanced edits. However what really peeves me about this and all other NCH software products is the care that must be taken to not install unwanted components or programs during install of the software that you desire. For this reason I can not honestly give Videopad the title of Best Free Video Editor

Regardless of the persistence of NCH in trying to get you to buy all of their software, they do make some programs which are relatively effective and Videopad is one of them.

Honorable Mention 1
VirtualDub [12]

Program Name: VirtualDub [13]

Developer: Avery Lee

Download Size: 1.8MB

Version Reviewed: v1.10.4

Supported OS: Windows 98/ME/NT4/2000/XP/Vista/7

Portable Version Available: Yes

Bloatware/Crapware/Opencandy During Install: No


It is relatively easy to get up and running with VirtualDub. The VirtualDub interface is a simple one and lends itself to ease of use.

Two rectangular panes occupy most of VirtualDub’s user interface with the left pane displaying the original video content, while the pane on the left shows processed video content. This configuration allows for convenient before and after comparisons of video content after any editing has taken place.

Some important components of the program which allow for the manipulation of video files are as follows:

It should be noted that the author of VideoDub specifies that the program is not a full non-linear editing application. It allows for basic functionality such as the trimming of unwanted portions of video but does not allow for transitions. This lack of transitions means that unless you trim videos cleverly, portions of video before and after trimmed sections will possibly flow quite abruptly.

Another notable feature of VirtualDub, is its ability to capture video from external devices. All that is required to carry out video capturing with VirtualDub is a video capture device as well as an external video source.

The following features are available through the Video drop down menu:

Batch operations can also be executed with Virtual Dub. VirtualDub supports the following file formats:

Although VirtualDub is limited in its file editing capabilities, it is extremely good at the things that it does do and simply by virtue of the two rectangular panes which offer users the capability of observing changes made to an original video file.

If you are looking for a simple video editor with great features, you should definitely give VirtualDub a try.

Honorable Mention 2
Pinnacle VideoSpin [14]

Program Name: Pinnacle VideoSpin [15]

Developer: Pinnacle Systems

Download Size: 148.97MB

Version Reviewed: v1.1.2.542

Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista

Portable Version Available: No

Bloatware/Crapware/Opencandy During Install: Yes


VideoSpin is an extremely well laid out program which is also easy to use. It offers users quite a bit of features and allows for the putting together of relatively high quality content with ease.

The user interface is simply beautiful, and the program window is divided into two main tabs; Edit and Make Movie. Within the Edit tab, all of the editing functions are carried out while within the Make Movie tab, the exporting of the finished project is handled. Within the Edit tab, at the top left of the screen, users have access to six buttons which give them different levels of functionality. The buttons are as follows:

To the right of these buttons, you will find a section of the program window which gives users access to web links, allowing users to view more Pinnacle products as well as to access support for the program. Rightmost is the preview screen, which allows for the preview of videos which are being manipulated. Also, below these 3 sections, you will find the program’s timeline.

In terms of editing video, VideoSPin is only capable of splitting video and of inserting transitions. However, files can either be saved to your PC or uploaded to Yahoo video or to Youtube.

VideoSpin lacks any real special effects but in terms of usability it is unbeaten and is possibly the fastest way to get any simple video editing done. Added to that its user interface is simply beautiful. For your simple video editing tasks, VideoSpin is unbeaten.

Honorable Mention 3
avidemux [16]

Program Name: Avidemux [17]

Developer: Avidemux

Download Size: 17.0MB

Version Reviewed: v2.6.6

Supported OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7

Portable Version Available: Yes

Bloatware/Crapware/Opencandy During Install: No


Avidemux is a video editing program which allows for users to carry out basic video editing tasks with ease.

The video which you choose to work on will be able to be played back in the center of the Avidemux program window. The usual playback controls are located at the bottom of the program window;play, stop, frame by frame advancing/rewinding, setting of markers, skip to beginning skip to end. You will also find an area under the playback controls which displays the time elapsed.

Users will also have access to various decoder and post processing options. The filters available for use are categorized as follows:

These filters can be used to carry out a great deal of alterations to the video.

Although Avidemux is not a full featured video editor, it gets simple tasks such as cutting and splitting of videos into two parts done with ease and it is a great tool to have for carrying out the simpler video editing tasks which you will regularly need to carry out.

Other Alternatives