A good video editing suite can run you a cool thousand or more, but if you do some research you can find lots of freeware and open source software that will provide adequate editing capacities for everyone’s favorite price—free.

Of course there are always iMovie and Windows Free Media Editor which come with your new computer purchases. However, these aren’t the best options available if you want professional-looking projects. Following are a few possibilities for freeware to check out.

Mac Users:

  • HyperEngine-AV from Arboretum Systems (http://sourceforge.net/projects/hyperengine/) is award-winning freeware that promises its users can “capture, arrange, edit and process video, audio and text in a free-form, trackless document, to create movies and slide shows.”

PC Users:

  • VirtualDub (http://www.virtualdub.org/) is probably the best-known video capture and processing freeware for the PC platform. However, the editing functions it offers are pretty basic; it wasn’t designed to be a comprehensive editor.
  • Zwei-Stein (http://www.thugsatbay.com/tab/?q=zweistein) offers quite a few more advanced features, for example, you can edit up to 256 video, audio and still-image clips, each with up to 64 serially-chained effects. Automatic key frames allow cropping, panning, and custom effects.

Cross-platform:

  • ZS4 (http://www.zs4.net/) is the latest reincarnation of Zwei-Stein and claims to offer “advanced video editing and compositing software with over 150 built-in video effects.”
  • Cinefx (http://sourceforge.net/projects/cinefx/) is the reinvention of Jahshaka, and touts itself as an “open source, cross-platform media playback, encoding, visual effects and editing digital content creation tool.”