Free video editing software for Windows: MiniTool MovieMaker

MiniTool MovieMaker is a free video editor for Windows that I have been using recently and it turns out to be pretty good. It won’t scare pro editors, but it is a good starter tool.

Some people only want the best and for them there is Adobe Premiere Pro, Cyberlink PowerDirector, Corel Video Studio Ultimate and many more great packages. However, these are too big, too powerful, have too many features and functions and take too long to learn when the task simply requires you to pull together some videos and photos of a family event to show off to your relatives and friends.

If you do not need pro features and a basic video editor is all you want, MiniTool MovieMaker Free is well worth downloading and adding to your Windows PC. It is a big download and is even bigger when unpacked and installed, over 800 MB of software, but it won’t take long with a good internet connection.

Fairly modern hardware is needed to run the video editor and an Intel Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM, and Intel HD Graphics 5000, Nvidia GeForce GTX 700 or AMD Radeon R5 graphics or better. Those are not high specifications, but they do cut out some older budget PCs. Even some new budget PCs only have 4 GB of RAM and they will struggle.

MiniTool MovieMaker free video editor

Get MiniTool MovieMaker Free up and running and there are dark and light themes for the interface. There is no menu bar, just a toolbar with a few icons. There is actually a menu, a hamburger style menu that you often see on mobile apps and some websites. It does not have much on it apart from opening and saving projects. Most of the time you only need the four icons in the program’s toolbar.

Use movie templates

MiniTool MovieMaker Free templates for creating movies from video clips

A collection of movie templates is the first thing you see when MiniTool MovieMaker is started and it is a great feature. They enable you to create great looking movies from video clips and photographs taken on your phone and transferred to the PC. You just add the media to the template and replace the text with your own.

There are nine movie templates in four categories, which is not enough. There are two travel templates for example, and while they are good, it would be tiresome to use the same two templates for every travel video you make. Hopefully, MinitTool will make some more available.

The templates work very well and are easy to use. Select a template, select some videos and photos, and they are imported and dropped into place. The clips and photos can be dragged and dropped to rearrange the order in which they appear and the default text used by the template is easily replaced. Video clips can be trimmed.

The whole process of creating a professional looking movie takes just a few minutes and it is very easy to produce something that will entertain your family or friends, or can be shared online on social media. More templates are needed though.

Create your own movie

Templates are fun, but you will not want to use them all the time and movies can be built from scratch. Dismiss the templates on startup and the movie making features can be accessed.

The first task is to add videos and photos, which is straightforward enough. Let the mouse hover over an item in the media collection and a preview pops up and you can watch the video clip.

MiniTool MovieMaker timeline for building mobies from video clips and photos

Videos and photos are added to a simple timeline at the bottom of the window by dragging them or clicking the plus button on the thumbnail image. The playing order can be changed by dragging clips on the timeline and the start and end points of a clip is set by dragging the left or right edge in the timeline.

Fix video problems

Edit a video and fix problems with MiniTool MovieMaker

Videos can be rotated if they are not correctly oriented and they can even be flipped horizontally or vertically. The contrast, brightness and saturation can be adjusted using simple slider controls.

A control called 3D LUT is basically a collection of filters that can be used for colour correction or simply for fun. They certainly have some fun names like Harry Potter, 007, Batman, and House of Cards, alongside some more traditional ones like B&W – black and white.

MiniTool MovieMaker effects for videos

More filters are available by clicking Effects in the toolbar and there are items like Cold, Dream, Film Grain, Old Film, Romantic and others. They add filters and lighting effects that can sometimes be interesting, depending on the movie you are producing.

Movie titles, transitions and music

MiniTool MovieMaker transitions for movies

Between each media item in the timeline, video or photo, is a placeholder where a transition can be inserted. If you like scenes to slide in and out, use Venetian blinds effects, checkerboard patterns, blur, wipe, burn and so on, there are plenty to choose from. Letting the mouse hover over a transition shows a preview, so you can try them before you apply them.

There is also a collection of titles, some of which are static, but others move onto or around the screen in various ways. There is certainly a lot of choice. They are added to the Text track in the timeline where you can position them, move them and change the duration. Then you just replace the text with your own.

There is a music track in the movie and some sample music is provided with the templates. You can browse the 10 or so pieces of music and choose the one you want. If you use the editor, your own music can be loaded along with videos and photos, and added to the music track in the timeline.

Export edited videos

After editing a video, it can be saved to disk and there is a good range of output options. For example, there are 12 file formats and the one you choose will depend on the video project.

MP4 is the obvious file format for normal videos, but among the options is GIF and MP3, so you can turn short videos into animated GIFs or extract the audio from a video. You can also choose to target a particular device, such as an iPhone, Sony TV, iPad, Xbox One and others.

Let’s say you choose MP4, there are Best, Better and Good video quality options and these choose presented output settings, but you can also manually select the encoder, resolution and bit rate if you know how these work. There range of options is plenty good enough for most people, although pro video editors offer more of course.

Final thoughts

MiniTool MovieMaker Free is a video editor for Windows that enables you to create your own movies using photos, videos, titles and music. The tools and functions are basic, but are good enough to create entertaining movies for sharing online or on your TV, tablet, phone or computer with family and friends.

This is a fun app and not a pro tool. Download it and have fun!