The Best Video Editors for macOS When iMovie Won’t Cut It
AppleInsider is supported by its audience and is eligible to earn an Amazon Associate and Affiliate Partner commission on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.
Apple’s main video editing program on macOS is iMovie. That’s good enough for most, but it doesn’t satisfy professional and more advanced editors. Here are the best alternatives to iMovie.
Here are other video editing programs that offer more to creators than iMovie currently doesn’t.
Final Cut Pro
Acquired by Apple in 1998 and becoming part of Final Cut Studios in 2006, Final Cut Pro was aimed at more creative teachers and independent film and television producers. The app covered all aspects of offline and online video editing.
In 2011, Apple made the controversial decision to redesign Final Cut Pro from the ground up and give the application a more “app-like” experience.
Final Cut Pro lets creators dive into more professional and customizable features that iMovie doesn’t. This opens the door to smoother edits.
Many people who use the software appreciate the simplicity the app brings to getting started. Although it’s not considered “entry-level” software, many see how the software’s easy-to-use navigation was inspired by iMovie.
When getting started with Final Cut Pro, the application allows editors to create, edit, and save projects directly and only to an external hard drive. It does not slow down your computer or take up storage space on your device.
Final Cut Pro enables real-time, multi-camera editing of up to 16 channels of audio and video. iMovie allows up to two videos.
Customization is vastly improved in Final Cut Pro over iMovie, allowing creators to choose from more templates for title animations (you can select from the bundled ones or purchase additional ones), keyframes (which allow creators to define animations to be done at certain times (example: zoom in and zoom out from a subject to a certain part of the movie)), and color correction and color grading tools thanks to color loops and color wheels.
Creators can also customize the aspect ratio and frame rate of their projects.
Final Cut Pro is priced at $299, with no app alternatives for iOS or iPadOS. The purchase covers all future updates and allows the software to be installed on up to five devices at the same time.
Adobe Premiere Pro
When it was introduced to the public in 1991, Adobe Premiere Pro was the standard in professional video editing for newscasting and feature films. Since then it has been updated to give editors more functionality through the program with new and improved features.
One area where Premiere Pro beats iMovie would be in its compatibility zone with operating systems that can run it. Premiere Pro can be run on Windows and macOS, while iMovie only works on Apple operating systems.
While the idea of software being touted as “more professional” might give the illusion that it’s hard to navigate, Premiere Pro does the opposite. Although the learning curve from the start can be steep, the app offers a versatile experience by providing a useful experience for both beginners and advanced creators.
Adobe Stocks allows publishers to add visual and audio components to their projects without having to leave the application to find them.
Continuity between other Adobe programs is another area where Premiere Pro shines. The editing software connects to Illustrator and Photoshop to allow creators to create graphics in one application and export them to another seamlessly.
Adobe Typekit also allows creators to use the Essentials Graphics panel, which allows them to customize and create unique title graphics. Typekit lets you choose from thousands of different fonts to use for text in your project.
For audio features, Premiere Pro has a bunch of options to choose from. The essential sound panel can be said to be very useful to creators by fixing audio errors, adjusting volume and adding special effects to sound clips when deemed appropriate.
Visual and color effects are the highlights of the video editing software. You can use color grading and modify colors directly in applications such as lighting, contrast and color tints and adjust an area. Creators can also use the wide range of options offered by the visual effects library to add cinematic filter presets to multiple areas, such as transitions and green screen overlay.
Adobe Premiere Pro can be subscribed for $20.99 per month. Currently, there are no other payment plan options available.
Just like other professional editing software, DaVinci Resolve offers the same level of customization within its application. While offering an intuitive graphical interface, DaVinci provides an easy way to create professional style projects.
Released in 2004, DaVinci offers a wealth of features allowing creators to produce high quality media and movies. The highlighted features of the app would be their automatic color correction, noise reduction, audio restoration and visual effects. With these features, it enables creators to produce high definition video output.
The simplistic interface offered by DaVinci makes it easy for creators to access the features they want the most. Various connections to external devices make it easier for editors to transfer files between devices.
Although DaVinci can mainly be used as a video editing software, it can also allow the creator to edit photos on the platform. The software features adjustable settings, image stabilization tools, color inversion, timeline editing, and a library of lore and effects.
Multiple people can work collaboratively on a project in real time with DaVinci. This is a feature that iMovie currently lacks.
Just like with Adobe Premiere Pro, DaVinci can run on multiple operating systems. The program can run on macOS, Windows and Linux.
There are two versions of DaVinci Resolve: DaVinci Resolve 18 (free version) and DaVinci Resolve Studio 18 (paid version). Studio 18 includes additional features such as stereoscopic 3D tools, high-resolution content export, face refinement, additional Resolve FX filters, Fairlight FX audio plug-ins, and advanced HDR grading and HDR scopes.
DaVinci Resolve can be downloaded for free while DaVinci Resolve Studio can be purchased online for $295.
The verdict with iMovie
iMovie is a good video editing software for people who want to edit short movies, vlogs or compile a bunch of different videos with simple edits and transitions. It is also very clearly aimed at the “average joe” and not the pro.
While the free price is hard to beat and what you get for it isn’t shabby, the limitations of the editing style can push creators towards more advanced video editing software.
iMovie comes pre-installed on Macs and can be downloaded from the App Store for iPhone and iPad owners.