Wondershare Filmora is a really easy to use video-editing application that works on both PC and Mac (reviewed here). What makes the software stand out is its fuss-free interface and essential range of tools that make creating a good-looking video easy. There are way more powerful video-editing applications on the market, but these are more expensive and take a lot more time to master. Think of Filmora as the next step up from iMovie and Windows Movie Maker.
Video Editing Simplified
The biggest advantage of Filmora is its intuitive design that makes it easy for anyone to become a good video editor. Beautifully presented with a simplified interface, the Mac version of the software I tested is the best looking video editing application I have ever used. Normally intimidated by an overburdened interface that takes the kitchen sink approach, I found working my way around Filmora a pleasure rather than a chore.
The three-panel layout for source content, video preview and timeline along the bottom is similar to other video editors, and there’s also an ‘add’ sign on each clip that lets you easily add it to the timeline. A Storyboard view keeps it really simple if you prefer, showing just clip thumbnails with spots for transitions in between. Whichever approach you take, dragging and dropping a video clip into your project snaps right into place next to the previous clip, so there’s never any empty space in the movie. When clips do need trimming, the best approach is to use the scissor tool that lets you split a clip, should you want to remove something from its middle. Sadly there’s no trimming option in the source tray.
Filmora has some really great creative features that can help you to make your video more interesting. There’s not a massive range of tools and effects, but those that are included are practical and look great. And there’s always the option to buy more effects (transitions, lower thirds, titles, overlays etc) from the Wondershare web store as you expand your creativity.
The simplified interface makes it easy to apply filters and overlays, audio (lots of background music tracks and sound effects supplied), text (openers, titles, lower thirds, subtitles, end credits), transitions, filters, overlays and elements (drag and drop moving graphics into your video). What I really, really like is that all features are just one-click away, and when you do purchase additional effects they are clearly labelled in their own category sub-sections so they don’t get lost in your ever-growing library of add-ons.
One advanced feature that Filmora offers is an action cam module. This tool focuses on high-resolution footage captured by cameras such as the GoPro. This is great because it gives you the ability to import, edit and export fast-moving and high-definition footage. Few other programs have a tool such as this.
Moving on from the basics, Filmora opens up creative possibilities without ever complicating the process. Those with the latest smartphones and cameras can edit and export their videos at resolutions up to 4K, noise removal is pretty good at taking away unwanted background noise (such as wind and traffic), and there’s the facility to add panning and zooming movement to still footage.
I also really appreciated the frame-by-frame preview that allowed me to jump through my audio and video tracks one frame at a time for precise editing, the reverse tool that let me flip my clips and play them backwards, as well as the ability to make my video clips up to 100 times faster or slower (perfect for time lapses).
Some other really neat features that came in handy included a colour tuning tool that let me adjust the white balance and dynamic range of my clips, as well as the ability to edit videos with aspect ratios of 1:1 (square) or 9:16 (portrait) with no black frame (great for Instagram!). Like any self-respecting video editor, you can import, edit, and export GIF files, as well as import photos and clips directly from Facebook or other social media platforms.
Getting Really, Really Fancy
After you’ve created a few videos you’ll want to explore Filmora in more depth and get your creative juices flowing. When that time comes you can edit the colour, size, font, and even animation of text and titles, layer multiple video clips using the Picture-in-Picture track (like YouTubers do with ‘Reaction’ videos), as well as change your video background and create special effects using the chroma key (green screen) tool.
Split screen functionality lets you play two or more clips simultaneously, there’s an audio mixer and equaliser to adjust the audio of each individual track on your timeline, and a tilt-shift tool lets you draw focus to one part of a clip by strategically blurring the rest. Bloggers and educators should also make good use of the screen recording tool that lets you record the screen of your computer and web camera.
Filmora offers most of the output options you could want, including AVI, FLV, MKV, MOV, MP4, and WMV. There’s even an animated GIF choice. You also have the option to upload your project directly to video sharing sites like YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo, which is a great time saver for regularly posting your videos on social media. It also gives you the option to burn your project to a DVD, but there are no menu-creation tools.
What Features Are Lacking?
I’ve already mentioned that Filmora is aimed at consumers relatively inexperienced at video editing – and hence its simplified tools and workflow – but it should be noted that it lacks many advanced features found in more established competitors such as motion tracking, multi-camera support, as well as support for 360-degree videos.
Some other features I missed are the lack of any themes and templates, mouse-wheel zooming in the timeline, and the auto-fitting of audio. It might be a bit harsh to mention the lack of other various effects like denoise and stabilisation, as well as closed captions for the hearing impaired and a surround sound configurator, but you should be aware.
Should You Buy Filmora?
If Filmora meets your needs, it offers a wonderfully intuitive editing environment at a good price. Its interface is wonderful (at least on the Mac) and it offers a range of practical yet creative range tools and filters for those wanting to do more than basic cutting and editing. I also love the fact there’s an equally intuitive mobile version available for producing on the go. But as your experience grows, you may find yourself looking for a more powerful alternative such as CyberLink PowerDirector, Adobe Premiere Elements, or Corel VideoStudio. Or maybe not…