Avid Media Composer First is free; why not try it out? Although its learning curve can be steep, Media Composer First lets you learn without risk.
Avid Media Composer First(link is external) offers all of the power of the full version of Media Composerfor free, with a few notable limits. Unlike many free versions of larger editors, Media Composer First will allow you to do most everything its big brother can. You’re limited to four video tracks, six audio tracks and up to five bins. You are able to import footage in resolutions higher than HD, but output options are limited; you can export SD and HD video, but not 4K.
Unlike most other free programs, Media Composer First is a great training tool. Media Composer First is a great way to learn the Media Composer workflow for free. The full version of Media Composer is a powerful program but can be tricky to learn because it works a bit differently from other editors. Since Media Composer First is based on the flagship program, there will be a learning curve for new editors or new Avid users.
The best part of trying out a free program is that, if it doesn’t work for you, it was free and you can move on. In this case, here are a few others you should try so you can evaluate what works best for your needs and desires.
Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 14 is another robust video editor with professional tools. Edit and export up to UHD 4K, plus get the professional color correction tools Resolve is known for. Though Resolve started as a tool primarily for color correction, in recent versions, the editing tools are robust, too. As with Media Composer First, if you like the free version, there is an upgraded version with additional features. DaVinci Resolve Studio goes for 300 dollars.
Next up is Lightworks, which is also available as both free and paid versions. Lightworks runs on any operating system and offers all of the same editing tools you would expect from a professional editor, with the only limitation being output format. If you simply wish to export 720 HD files for YouTube or Vimeo, Lightworks is worth looking into. Like the others, if you don’t like it, no worries, it was free. And if you do like it, you can upgrade to the Pro subscription for 25 dollars per month or own Lightworks outright for around 440 bucks.
Last up is Media 100, a name from the past. More than a decade ago, Media 100 was one of the top editors in the industry. However, it didn’t keep up with the times. The newest version of Media 100 is free and has no limitations on input or output. It’s an intuitive no-frills editor and has many features that would be educational and useful for a new user.