VSDC review: This free video editor holds back too much

An unfriendly interface and throttled performance make it a dicey choice even at no cost.

Credit: Samuel Axon/IDG

VSDC has a lot of features you won’t find in other free video editors, like picture-in-picture, video stabilization, and the ability to upload multiple YouTube videos at once. If you can deal with its quirks, it’s one of the most powerful options available. But its interface isn’t very user-friendly, it has some major limitations, and the free version essentially throttles the speed at which you can process your videos.

The interface is powerful, but it’s not for the uninitiated. A great deal of information is displayed at any given time--enough to overwhelm newbies. That said, VSDC does come with a drag-and-drop, step-by-step wizard mode that will get very basic videos made even if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. It’s just too bad that the software’s most powerful features are so user-unfriendly.

vsdc preview Samuel Axon/IDG

Clicking play on a video preview in the VSDC editor will open the video in a separate application.

We appreciate the fact that it’s easy to sort your project into multiple scenes, and that a significant number of file formats are supported for both importing and exporting. It’s also nice to see such a customizable editor—you can add and remove elements at your leisure. There are some neat effects, too: TV effects allow you to simulate old-style TV signals, and the Instagram-like filters are well-executed.

This software comes with some serious limitations, though. For example, you cannot preview a video right in the editor. When you click play to preview, it opens the video in Windows Media Player. Furthermore, previewing and exporting is extremely slow with 4K video in the free version. In fact, it’s so slow that it’s not really practical to edit 4K video. This is because the free version does not enable hardware acceleration, the most efficient way to process your video. You’ll have to pay for that.

It’s great to see a free video editor with so many features, but unfortunately some limitations like the inability to preview directly in the editing view make VSDC difficult to recommend. That’s especially true when other free video editing software doesn’t have these same restrictions. Most people would be better off trading the extra features for more efficient basics.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Samuel Axon

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?