Background I bought a couple of Handycams 6 months ago, and have since then been making videos and editing them and publishing them:

Sathyaish Chakravarthy

Over the period, I have downloaded and toyed with plenty of video editors that are available free of charge. However, I cannot find a single editor that fulfills all my requirements. As a result, I am not able to make the quality of videos I wish to. Also, it takes up a lot of my time.

I am a sole proprietor of a start-up and time is the only asset I have, so being short of time and money, I cannot afford to spend too much of either of them on non-core activities, video editing being one (it's a marketing activity for me, my core activities being learning/studying for the corporate training programs I offer, preparing for them, conducting them, making sales calls, calling into people, etc.)

Until now, I have tried the following software:
1) Jahshaka
2) Windows Movie Maker
3) Avidemux
4) Free Video Cutter
5) Free Video Dub
6) AVI Edit
7) Blaze Media Pro
8) AVI Trimmer
9) t@b ZS4 Video Editor
10) Video Spin
11) Virtual Dub
12) Wax

My Requirements I require a non-linear video editing software that is either available for free or at a nominal charge (under $100) and allows me to do the following:

a) Use chroma key to change the background. Wax does it but I lose the audio in the output video file. I see it is a problem that many people have reported.

b) Edit the audio in the video file independent of the visual. For example, I may want to mute the audio for a couple of seconds, or replace the audio during a certain 4-second clip with a different audio file (mp3/wav/raw PCM in the audio editor).

c) Mix, append, insert at any point, another video from a different video file into the source video file.

d) Mix, append, insert at any point, only the visual from another video file into the source video file while having the audio of the source video file play for the duration.

e) Insert audio effects -- echo, reverb, generated sounds like bullet shots, etc. into the video.

f) Chop a frame of the video and split it into two vertical copies, one of which is transposed horizontally to create a lateral mirroring effect, and be able to edit each of the copies independently.

To explain point (f), please consider this.

I have a video of me sitting on a chair facing slightly towards my left. I want to take the frames from this video and flip them horizontally so that I now face towards my right instead. Then, I might want to slice each original frame into two vertical images -- the left one being the original image in the frame, and the right one being the laterally inverted/horizontally flipped image. Also, I want that one of the images, say, the laterally inverted image, be black & white instead of color.

Question Is there a non-linear video editing tool that is available either for free or for less than $100 to do all of these things?

Update: I forgot to mention that I am a Windows user.

6 Answers 6


Both kdenlive and cinelerra should do all you need. If you can't make them so, try the consumer version of Sony Vegas, it's also still in your price range.

  • Thank you, leftaroundabout. I'll try these and report back to give you a green checkie for your help. :-)
    – Sathyaish
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 10:43
  • I forgot to mention that I am a Windows user. Apparently, the first two names you mentioned are not supported on Windows. I'll give Vegas a try.
    – Sathyaish
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 10:47
  • 1
    Indeed, however both run on Linux which to install costs you nothing but some time – a good investment if you ask me. But you don't have to, of course. Incidentally, I do most AV stuff on Windows, too, but only because the hardware drivers of my audio stuff don't support Linux. Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 13:00
  • You might want to looked at Windows Alternatives to Cinelerra and see if there is anything there.
    – jwernerny
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 14:47
  • @jwernery -- I've tried almost all of them already. :-)
    – Sathyaish
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 17:42

As a Windows user, you can download a live CD of Kdenlive. Burn it to a CD, and then it will boot up into a Linux system for you. Or, you could install Virtual Box on Windows (again, free software) and then install the live CD to that. This would allow you to simultaneously use Kdenlive and your Windows system and share file systems between then.


How about Lightworks? Its free and does the job.


  • +1 - Lightworks is a great tool, I've come to like it more than FCP. It does have a slightly steep learning curve though.
    – evilsoup
    Commented Mar 30, 2013 at 12:23
  • Thank you. I saw its website and testimonials. I am waiting to download and try the free version this weekend.
    – Sathyaish
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 14:47
  • Mind, Lightworks isn't free, in particular not free, though they say they're moving towards open-source. But offering a gratis release isn't the same thing. Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 12:04
  • @leftaroundabout I don't think FOSS free, but free in the sense that you can use it without any cost to you.
    – user3849
    Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 1:32

The solution that I currently use is a group of software. First, I do all my keying and complicated visual effects in Blackmagic Fusion. Then I do all my editing, mixing, color correction and very simple effects in Davinci Resolve. Both Fusion and Resolve are from Blackmagic. Resolve doesn't do audio effects on it's own, but supports plugins. You can find said plugins for doing just about anything you can think of at Splice.


You might want to try HitFilm Express (free). It supports all the features that you want.

  • This post is 9 years old. A lot of things has changed since then.
    – Rafael
    Commented May 9, 2020 at 14:50
  • @Rafael I still suggested it just for the case that someone now finds this question
    – jng224
    Commented May 9, 2020 at 16:40
  • Yeap. Davinci Resolve, since the other answer was posted has now a built in audio editor.
    – Rafael
    Commented May 9, 2020 at 16:56

Have you looked into Adobe Premiere Elements 10? I got it bundled with Photoshop Elements for approx. €55 ($73). I did get a student discount and they had a special deal going on at the time.

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