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Video Editing Tools for Remote Teachers

by Miguel Guhlin

Educators have begun screen recording and screencasting with a serious need. Preparing content for instructional purposes can drive one to distraction. When I assembled the Screencasting for Educators course, I decided on no-cost tools, video editing tools that got the job done without all the expense. May I share what I found with you?

Update 12/20: You have to explore RecordCast as a free, browser-based screen recording and video editing tool. Read this blog entry. Combining tools like RecordCast (videos less than 30 minutes) and Shotcut (discussed below) makes video edits painless and cost-free.

Four Amazing Video Editing Tools

Need video editing tools available for free? If you are on Windows 10, it can be challenging. Some entry-level solutions provide you with simple video assembly tools. That is, the ability to trim, split, and join video.

Here are my top four tools that make video editing easy at no cost to you.

Tool #1: RecordCast.com

There are plenty of desktop, browser-based video recorders available to us today. So why would you need one more? What if, instead of a video recorder, you also had a browser-based video editor? And what if I told you it’s easy to add images and audio to it and overlay text on that video? Most people would say, “That’s WeVideo or Screencastify.” But those solutions come with a price.

RecordCast.com offers a free, browser-based solution you can use.

RecordCast brings the functionality of Screencastify and Loom Pro. No browser add-ons or downloads are required. That’s right, RecordCast works its magic without a special browser add-on or extension. That, and its “FREE” label make it an amazing find. But that’s not all.

RecordCast enjoys a thirty-minute time limit for recordings. RecordCast brings the functionality of Screencastify and Loom Pro. No browser add-ons or downloads are required. That’s right, RecordCast works its magic without a special browser add-on or extension. That, and its “FREE” label make it an amazing find. But that’s not all. RecordCast enjoys a thirty-minute time limit for recordings. This makes it a perfect tool for instructional screencasts. It combines the ease of use with two important factors: a timeline that allows you to add audio tracks and overlay text. You can also record your screen, screen plus webcam, or webcam only. Be aware that, in order to use the program, you will need to create an account, as well as verify your email. You will also be limited to seven projects at a time.


Watch this short video overview of RecordCast and read this blog entry that goes into more depth:

Tool #2: Shotcut

Although open source video editors abound, Shotcut makes video editing easy. In fact, I’ve coached my colleague Peggy Reimers on using Shotcut. Her computer of choice is a Mac and the experience has been uniform for both of us, even though I’m on Windows 10. Shotcut’s ease of use allows me to combine various elements, such as images, music clips, and video. It’s an easy matter to add tracks for each, then export the assembled creation as MP4 video. It has a wealth of online tutorials.

Here’s a quick video overview of Shotcut:

Tool #3: MiniTool MovieMaker Free

When Microsoft cut Moviemaker, I mourned with the rest of the world. For a while, I thought that the enhanced Photos app on Microsoft Windows 10 would get the job done. It did not. As a result, I found myself searching for an alternative.

While Shotcut was the first tool I found that worked well, I recently stumbled on a new one. That video editing tool is MiniTool MovieMaker Free. The interface is a welcome break from Shotcut’s busy one, as you can see below. That simplicity comes with a few sacrifices, as I’ll point out in the video walkthrough:

MiniTool MovieMaker Free, as you will see, has a lot to offer. Some of its features include:

  • Creating and editing videos in Windows
  • Smart movie templates
  • Ability to add text and transitions
  • Free (no cost) and no watermarks

In fact, some of its own advertising sells it as an iMovie-style editor. I don’t know if I would go that far, but the interface is simple and powerful for video editing newbies like me.

Here’s a quick video overview of MiniToo MovieMaker Free:

I have to admit that I found it a bit poky and slow on the uptake compared to Shotcut. One additional solution may be worth your time.

Tool #4: OpenShot Video Editor

Looking for an easy to use video editor that won’t cost you a dime? Give Openshot video editor a check. While it’s a bit less feature heavy than Shotcut, it will do the most important things. Watch this short video overview:

After playing with all four tools, I’m going to stick with the free, open source Shotcut. It makes it possible to achieve quick editing. If I need fancier features, I will have to learn them or maybe use OpenShot. OpenShot provides a nice entry point given its easy to use multi-track support, slicing and export features. For Chromebook users, RecordCast.com is a fantastic alternative to the more expensive WeVideo.

Splitting and Joining Videos

Have a long video and need to split it into pieces? Or maybe you have multiple videos that you need to join together? Consider using one of these tools to get the job done. They are available at no cost and will make working with a large video (or a lot of small ones) easier.

Optimal video size is anywhere between six and eight minutes long. Trying to split video into small chunks can be time-consuming. Allow me to share an example.

For example, the 15 videos in this playlist were once joined together. That huge video file was about 1.2 gigabytes in size. Eighteen seconds after putting them into a video splitting tool, I had them ready to upload (put) into YouTube as a playlist.

There are many solutions available to get the job done. Two that you should explore include:

Here’s a quick video overview of MP4Tools (edited with NCH’s VideoPad):

My pick for the best free video editing software? RecordCast for short videos (under 30 minutes), Shotcut for longer videos or videos that require cropping and other special filters. You can’t go wrong with its powerhouse features and, if you give yourself a little time, you’ll soon be a pro at using it for simple video edits. Not quite ready to jump into the deep-end? Try Openshot.

Finally, be sure to read my blog entry on Five Free Video Converters. They will make your life easier when shrinking videos or prepping them for viewing on specific devices.

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Sheri Schoonmaker August 17, 2020 - 5:54 pm

You missed OBS, which is an open-source screen recording tool that is very popular with streamers. In less than 5 minutes after install, I had my Powerpoint presentation displaying as a source in OBS and my webcam showing my face in the bottom right corner. It was extremely simple to use, can handle a variety of sources, define placement on the screen, and save the video in a variety of formats. There are many, many options that make it a powerful tool, but the user experience is very easy and intuitive.

Miguel Guhlin August 18, 2020 - 8:01 am

Sheri, howdy! I love OBS as well, but not as a video editing tool. I often record videos using OBS, then need to make edits using Shotcut or some other video editing solution. I do cover OBS in this blog entry on Video Sharing:

And, OBS features prominently in my Screencasting for Educators online course available through TCEA.org/courses

OBS works for screen recording, as well as screencasting /streaming via YouTube and Facebook Live (to only mention two of the many solutions available). Are you taking advantage of the recording or streaming option?

With appreciation for your comment,
Miguel Guhlin

Donna Norton September 4, 2020 - 4:12 am

Shotcut is free, I guess?

Lori Gracey September 4, 2020 - 8:46 am

Yes, it is free.

Matthew Derrick February 26, 2021 - 10:31 am

KdenLive is a video editor for both Linux, Mac, and Windows that is free and I think is better than Shotcut and Openshot, so I’d add that to your list as well 🙂

Miguel Guhlin March 2, 2021 - 7:59 pm

I will spend some time looking at KDenLive. Thanks for the tip. I had never heard of it! ????

Miguel Guhlin March 9, 2021 - 3:19 pm

Ok, kdenlive is worth checking out. I still prefer Shotcut, but given time and effort, I can see why it would become some people’s favorite video editor. Different strokes for different folks applies here.


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