Lightweight in terms of technical requirements, MiniTool MovieMaker is a great free video editor for bloggers, YouTube content creators, etc.
Update Sep 2022: Since writing this review in Mar 2021, quite a fair bit has changed with MiniTool MovieMaker. For a start, there are now different payment plans.
The free plan still allows you to export three videos without time limitations, after which you’re restricted to only videos shorter than two minutes. If you wish to work without such time limitations, you’d have to opt for the paid plans. The higher-end paid plans also comes with “lifetime” free upgrades.
Homemade movies have long been the big thing in today’s digital world. Even if you’re not creating content for YouTube and the likes of, you probably would have encountered the need to stitch together a video for Facebook, Instagram, etc, or to do up one for work purposes.
The great news in turn is, there’s an abundance of free-to-use online software for such movie-making needs, one of which is MiniTool MovieMaker, a Microsoft Partner.
Before I proceed with this review, allow me to highlight that MiniTool MovieMaker has been around for a while; it’s currently in version 5.1. (Updated 2022) It’s also a download rather than an online platform. In other words, you need to install the software on your workstation to use it.
Depending on your work practices or preferences, this may or may not be an advantage.
MiniTool MovieMaker Technical Requirements and Features (Updated for Version 5.1)
According to the official page, this free-to-use works best with the following tech specs.
- OS: Windows 7, 8.1, and 10.
- CPU: Intel i5 or better, with 2GHz+. (Intel 6th Gen or newer recommended for optimum performance).
- RAM: 8 GB
- GPU: Intel HD Graphics 5000 or later; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 700 or later; AMD Radeon R5 or later.
- Disk Space: 10 GB.
Key features include:
- Streamlined timelines for easy workflow.
- A sizable library of transitions, text effects, and video effects to pick from.
- Ability to apply effects and transitions to multiple clips with one click.
- A variety of filter effects, including 3D LUTs, for a professional finish.
- An animated zoom tool to create easy photo animations.
- Video speed controller. For example, you could speed up or slow down a video clip.
- Ability to import a variety of video formats for editing.
- Templates for you to work with if you’re clueless about how to proceed.
Creating/Editing Videos Using MiniTool MovieMaker
As I have not shot any new videos of late, I began my experimentation by editing some existing Electone Youtube videos of mine. Incidentally, the software installation was a breeze and took but a few minutes.
Step 1: Importing
The importing process was easy and fast, very much like those for other movie-editing/making software . After importing, I merely had to drag the video into the timeline for editing.
Importing audio goes by the same procedure.
Step 2: The Actual Editing Work
With the video (to be edited) in the timeline, it’s then a matter of what you wish to do to it, or what you wish to add. After a couple of minutes of testing, I’d say:
- Splitting and trimming functions are intuitive. You just need to move the marker to where you want to do a split, and click on the scissors icon that’s shown.
- Transitions are really easy to add. Different video clips are separated by a space in between. Just drag a preset transition into this space, and it’s done.
- Transitions can be customised. All one needs to do is to click on one in the timeline.
- Visual effects are likewise a matter of pick and drop; as in, dropped into the video clip to be enhanced. Of note, the presets cannot be customised. However, when I clicked on any video clip, an “attributes” panel is shown. This allows me to customise three attributes of the clip. (Contrast, Saturation, and Brightness) It also allows me to choose from a variety of 3D LUT effects.
- Text goes by a slightly different process. You can’t directly drop presets into video clips. However, you can drop one into the text timeline, or click the + sign that appears with each preset. After which, it’s a simple matter of clicking the text-boxes in the preview windows, and typing what you need. (Fonts and sizes can be changed, and you need to first click on the text element in the timeline)
- Motion effects (panning and zooming) can be applied to any video clip. These are also pick-and-drop but they require some experimenting to get the hang of. I’d also highlight that most such effects tend to be very subtle when it comes to long videos. Patience is necessary to “see” the effect.
- Audios can likewise be trimmed and edited. However, the options for editing are limited to volume and fadings.
Step 3: Exporting
This is straightforward. A matter of clicking the Export button at the top right corner.
There are reasonable options too. The only downside here, IMO, being videos cannot be exported beyond 1920 x 1080 size. (I.E. no 4K resolution)
MiniTool Movie Maker Review Summary
In a nutshell, I think this free movie-making software is convenient for basic to intermediate-level video making/editing.
- Relatively easy on the workstation. As in, you don’t need a powerhouse of a laptop or desktop to use.
- Ability to import all common video and audio formats.
- A variety of templates for you to base your work on.
- A good variety of presets.
- Ability to customise transitions.
- “Professional” in use and appearance, without being too complicated.
- Improved stability in the export process in the latest version.
- Naturally, that it’s free-to-download and use is a huge strength. After experimenting with the software for over an hour, I also encountered no function that requires payment.
- Very few audio effects. In fact, there are no audio enhancement abilities at all.
- Limited video customisation abilities. Restricted to contrast, saturation, and brightness.
- Inability to export videos beyond 1920 x 1080 i.e. FHD 1080p size.
- I have a relatively powerful desktop, with a higher-end graphic card. However, timeline previews still take a while to load. Preview playbacks also stutter now and then.
I Would Recommend This Software For:
Bloggers, social media influencers, corporate executives needing more complex functionalities with their projects, but without things getting too “technical.”
Youtube content creators, etc, looking for easy edits or enhancements to existing videos.
Read my other software reviews.