Wondershare’s Filmora offers the standard trimming, transitions, and overlays, along with effects we’ve come to expect in enthusiast-level video editing software. The company continues to add advanced and modern features like those you find in more established competitors—for example, motion tracking, keyframing, and speech-to-text. Filmora can get the job done, and its interface is clear and pleasing, but you’ll have to do without some of the fine control you get with other video editing apps.

With the latest update, Filmora gets an even slicker interface with new layout options, as well as new AI-powered tools like Smart Cutout tool for Photoshop-like masking, audio stretch, audio denoise, adjustment layers, more powerful keyframing, mask drawing, and loads more stock content. It all adds up to an excellent app, but one that still lags behind our favorite enthusiast-level video editing software, Editors’ Choice winners PowerDirector and VideoStudio for the PC, and Final Cut Pro on the Mac.

How Much Does Filmora Cost?

Filmora sells as a subscription for macOS or Windows ($49.99 per year) or as a permanent license ($79.99). For $59.99 per year, you can get a cross-platform option that includes macOS use and mobile apps. New effect collections are added every month for subscription-paying customers. Licensing the software requires creating an online account, and you activate and deactivate computers through your web Account Center.

The price is less than you pay for market-leading Adobe Premiere Elements ($99.99) or CyberLink PowerDirector Ultimate ($139.99; or $69.99 per year). If Filmora meets your needs, the price is attractive.

You can get a free trial download of Filmora, which lets you export footage only 10 times and puts a Filmora logo on your exported projects. The trial has other limitations. For example, you need a paid license to get a bunch of effects for your video projects and 24/7 technical support.

Can My PC Run Filmora?

The software, which is strong on support for older operating systems, can run on Windows 7 through 11, or macOS 10.7 to 11. You need at least a 2GHz Intel i3 CPU, 8GB RAM, and at minimum an Intel HD Graphics 5000 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 700. Support for Apple Silicon processors is now native. Filmora takes up 1GB on my test PC, which is in the middle range for this type of software. Adobe Premiere Pro takes up 3.3GB, while Movavi Video Editor Plus needs only 285MB.

Filmora’s Pleasing Interface

Filmora opens with a panel that lets you start a new project or open one you’ve previously worked on.

Wondershare Filmora startup screen

The Full Editor view resembles that of most video editing applications, with a three-panel layout for source content, video preview, and timeline across the bottom. You can now switch the layout using a button in the top-right control group, with choices for Default, Organize, Timeline, Short Video, and Classic. No matter which layout you choose, the program has a clean, simple, and dark interface, with intuitive icons. You can switch between black and light gray window borders, and the program respects your system’s dark or light mode setting. You can full-screen the video preview and adjust the relative sizes of the panels.

When you start a project, you have a choice of Widescreen, Instagram (1×1), Portrait, Standard, or Cinema aspect ratios. From File > Project Settings, you can set a custom size if you like, as well as choose the frame rate.

Important source-switching buttons are always at the top left of the interface: Media, Audio, Titles, Transitions, Effects, Elements (graphics), and Split Screen. At the top right are buttons leading to tutorials, help, your account, the Export feature (clearly set apart in blue-green), the app’s message center, and the ability to download more content—effects, videos, photos, and audio—from Wondershare FilmStock.

Controls above timeline in Wondershare Filmora

You can easily shrink and expand the timeline with Ctrl-mouse wheel or move back and forth with Alt-mouse wheel. Alternatively, you can fit it to the panel or use buttons to zoom in or out. There’s a search bar for anything you have in the source panel, and clear Undo and Redo arrows. Toolbar buttons above the timeline (which you can reorder and remove to taste) offer Undo, Redo, Delete, Split, Audio Stretch (new), Quick Split mode, Crop, Text, Speed, AI Matting (new), Duration, Motion Tracking, Keyframing, and Speech-to-Text—just for starters. You can customize this toolbar with 20 possible tools, shown below.

The number of tracks looks limited at first, but whenever you add another video clip below your main one, another track is added so you can keep overlaying. As with the Connected Clips in Final Cut Pro, these added clips in new tracks move in sync with the main track above them. It’s a great way to keep your effect overlays where you want them. PiP (picture-in-picture) works easily, with WYSIWYG resizing handles in the preview.

The program lets you use a magnetic timeline approach (which you can turn off with a button over the timeline). Whenever you drag a clip onto the timeline, it snaps right to the previous clip, so there’s never any empty space in the movie. Auto-Ripple is also on by default to keep your movie gap-free, but you can turn this behavior off, too. Trim from the start or end of a clip, and the current-position line shows scissors, letting easily split the current clip. The Quick Split mode mentioned above turns the vertical edit line into a dotted line, which you can click anywhere to split the timeline. There’s no trimming in the source tray, however, so professionally trained editors may not feel at home. Also missing are advanced editing modes like slip, slide, and roll—but for amateurs, that’s probably for the best.

A plus sign on each clip lets you easily add it to the timeline at the insertion point. In addition to the timeline view, there’s a Storyboard view that simply shows clip thumbnails, with spots for transitions in between. Helpfully, tracks on the timeline show audio waveforms.

Instant Cutter in Wondershare Filmora

Instant Cutter is a tool you can use during clip import and is intended for use with large high-resolution content. It’s very simple, with but one purpose, as its name implies. You can drag multiple clips onto its window, but only if you’ve selected its Merge sub-mode. The Trim mode is just for trimming the ends of a single clip, and its interface doesn’t even show more than one clip in the right-side source tray. You can Add Segments, which means creating a new clip based on your trimmed original, but you can’t explicitly split a clip. For some test clips, the tool produced an error saying they weren’t supported, however.

Transitions in Filmora

Filmora offers more than 100 transitions, which are downloaded as you choose them. The first time after installation, none showed up for me until I searched for them. Search suggestions let you get to fade, warp, zoom, flash, and more styles easily. You can search for them by name as you can in PowerDirector and Adobe Premiere Elements, and it never failed to present me with the transition type I was looking for (though crossfade/cross dissolve is simply called dissolve). The generous selection is divided into 12 categories along the left panel, including Vertical, Fade & Dissolve, Warp, Speed Blur, Slideshow, Zoom, Glitch, Lens Flare, Brush, Smoke, Light, and Filmstock—Wondershare’s online source of content. You can designate those you use often as Favorites, for easy access. Filmora uses unusual schematic diagrams and images to show what the transitions do, while most other programs simply show a sample A to B animation.

Adding transitions is blissfully free of tinkering with overlaps or worrying about where to position them. Drag one onto a seam and it’s usually placed right where you want it, with content from the first and second clip automatically selected to create the desired transition effect. You can also add transitions with the plus sign on the right side of its thumbnail. Drag the transition’s timeline entry with the mouse to change where it occurs. You can also edit the amount of time a transition spans by dragging its edge. Double-clicking a transition entry opens a panel where you can decide whether the transition is overlapped, prefixed, or postfixed to the clips.

Special Effects and Color Editing in Filmora

As mentioned earlier, creating PiP effects is easier than before, and you can move and resize PiP windows right in the video preview by clicking on the appropriate timeline clip and dragging the crosshairs in the middle of the edges and corners. Chroma Key (aka green screen) worked very well and automatically for my test footage even with frizzy hair, which can often be difficult to mask.

The Effects panel now encompasses overlays, filters, LUTs, Audio Effects, and third-party tools from Boris and NewBlue. Its Video Effects section includes categories from AI Portrait to Shake to Night Life to Instagram-Like, which uses familiar names like Amaro, Brannon, and Hefe. These can add drama to your video just as they do to still photos. Distortions like mirror and water ripple, as well as a set of light leak and film style overlays are also included. Nearly 30 LUT (lookup table) effects are included, many named after the movies and shows whose colors they emulate—Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and so on. Those who pay for the subscription version of Filmora get more effects and objects, including movie templates, and color filters.

Smart Cutout in Wondershare Filmora

Smart Cutout is similar to a feature found in photo software like Photoshop. It can autocratically remove the background to create a cutout effect. You get to it from the AI Matting Tools button above the timeline (which also accesses the chroma keying and AI Portrait tools). It opens a dedicated dialog box that features a Smart Brush tool, which you use to draw over the person or object you want to cut out. You needn’t be exact—that’s why it’s Smart!

You can just scribble on it and the whole object is selected. You then click the Smart Cutout button, which runs through the video, basically doing motion tracking with the object selected and the background removed. As is typical with these tools, you can erase or invert the auto-generated mask. You can also adjust the brush size, edge thickness, and feather. The Advanced mode just lets you control the tracking direction. In my test, the hair wasn’t perfectly selected, but that’s standard for any of these tools, even those from Adobe, and if you overlay it over a video background, the result looks pretty good. I appreciate that you can go back and edit the mask and tracking after the fact.

Related is the new Draw Mask function, which simply lets you place vertices around the video image to create a mask, as shown below.

Draw Mask in Wondershare Filmora

The Motion Tracking tool works simply and fairly well. There aren’t a whole lot of settings in it, but that’s actually a refreshing change from the overstuffed collections of options the competition often includes. You draw a box around the object you want to track, hit Start Tracking, and then choose what you want to follow the track—a file of your own or a selection of mosaic blurs. Filmora does a good job tracking objects and people, and even displays a message saying the object you’re tracking must be visible the entire time. The mosaics aren’t placed on top of the track automatically, and it would be nice to be able to use text or graphics as well as the mosaic blurs.

The advanced Color options button above the timeline can open up either Color Correction or Color Match. The first offers presets (such as Warm, Vignette, Walking Dead) as well as adjustments like Exposure, Brightness, Contrast, Vibrance, and Saturation—all while displaying a live histogram. The control is impressive, though you don’t get the color wheels that more advanced editors now have. Color Match was slightly counterintuitive, but I finally figured out that the Reference image’s color would be applied to the Current frame (along with its entire selected clip); the tool performed this operation convincingly.

Color Match in Wondershare Filmora

I don’t love the stabilization tool’s stretchy rubber band-looking results, though it does show you how much of the edges of your content will be cropped out—the more severe the crop, the more stabilization. Filmora’s tool works, but products like PowerDirector, Adobe Premiere Pro, Movavi, and Final Cut Pro X have more advanced and effective stabilization tools.

The Speed adjustment tool, once again, is simple and effective. I’m pleased to see that it also offers a Freeze Frame option. You simply tap its button above the timeline, choose Slow, Fast, Normal, or Reverse, and then the fraction for slow and a percent for fast. The time change is conveniently and clearly written at the top of the clip in the timeline. You can even combine reverse with a speedup. The freeze frame simply adds a two-second still clip of the current frame.

When Keyframing appeared in an earlier version, you could only use it with position, rotation, scale, and opacity. As of the latest update, like Pinnacle Studio, it lets you time pretty much any effect or transformation with keyframes. It’s easy to add keyframe markers from a timeline toolbar button, and you can drag them around in the timeline after placing them on it.

You also get Adjustment Layers, a very Photoshop-sounding concept. In video editing, it means you can create a set of adjustments that you can apply to multiple clips, not unlike the nodes in DaVinci Resolve.

The Smart Denoise tool could come in handy for very noisy shots, but it tended to blur more than I’d like in testing. It does offer sliders to adjust Threshold (basically strength) and Radius (size of particles), but it’s not at the level of photo denoisers.

Text and Titles in Filmora

Text Titles in Wondershare Filmora

Adding titles and text is a snap, and Filmora includes more than 200 well-designed text and title templates, some with cool animations. Even the highly designed title templates are editable right in the video preview window. If you want even more customization, the Advanced Text Edit dialog lets you change the animation, font, and color fill for your text.

One frill missing is PowerDirector’s and Premiere Elements’ ability to use video fill in your text characters, but you can use a photo, which is pretty cool. In addition to text, you can choose from a good selection of objects and shapes to overlay onto your movie. A good many of the title styles require an extra effects subscription. You can get everything for an additional $20.99 per month, but I wish the standard annual subscription included them. That said, there’s a generous selection of title styles included with the standard account.

Music and Audio in Filmora

Wondershare has greatly enhanced the program’s audio capabilities, with new AI noise reduction tools and a music stretching feature to fit your video. Filmora’s Music section includes hundreds of background tracks, which you can augment by adding your own music files or by downloading more from the Filmstock-only library. Be aware that you can’t use some of these tracks for commercial purposes. Included music is organized into categories like Young & Bright and Tender & Sentimental. There’s also a good selection of sound effects including wooshes, beeps, monsters, and even specific things like iron shreds dropping and crow calls.

An audio mixer lets you adjust each track’s volume and panning. Dragging the timeline’s audio waveforms up and down makes it easy to duck audio. You do get automatic audio ducking, but you don’t get acoustic effects that simulate concert halls and other environments like those in PowerDirector.

The Silence Detection tool can identify parts of a clip with no audio and cut them out to create sub-clips of just areas with audio. Good for a presentation where you want to get rid of dead parts of a presentation or speech.

The Denoise section gives you just what you’d want: AI Speech Enhancement, Wind Removal, standard denoise, Dereverb, hum removal, and hiss removal. Unfortunately, the wind removal didn’t do much with one test clip, though AI Speech Enhance was impressive. But even that occasionally left a blip where there was strong background noise.

A final handy sound tool is the microphone button right below the video preview window, which lets you easily record a voiceover. And you get 30 minutes of speech-to-text transcription for automatic captions, which was accurate in a quick test I performed. Going the other way, the program also offers a text-to-speech tool with 10 voice types for use with caption files. You get 5,000 characters with your program license.

Filmora Sharing and Output

Filmora offers most of the output options you could want, including AVI, FLV, HEVC, MKV, MOV, MP4, and WMV. There’s even an animated GIF choice. When outputting to one of the many supported file formats, you can choose quality settings of Best, Better, and Good. There are also buttons for creating and uploading Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo movies, as well as DVD burning. You don’t, however, get DVD menu screens and chapters as you do with some other video editors. Output options include 4K and the efficient H.265 codec.

Filmora Performance

Filmora generally feels snappy to start up, load projects, and perform edits. It no longer stops responding on export as it had done in previous testing.

But the software really shines in render speed. For render speed testing, I have each program join seven clips of various resolutions ranging from 720p all the way up to 8K. I then apply cross-dissolve transitions between them. I note the time it takes to render the project to 1080p30 with H.264 and 192Kbps audio at a bitrate of 16Mbps. The output movie is just over five minutes in length. I run this test on a Windows 11 PC sporting a 3.60GHz Intel Core i7-12700K, 16GB RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, and a 512GB Samsung PM9A1 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD.

For rendering the test movie, Filmora turned in an impressive time of 30 seconds to lead the pack of all video editing software I’ve tested, with longtime leader CyberLink PowerDirector now behind at 76 seconds and Adobe’s Premiere Pro close at just 37 seconds. Several programs took plenty longer, with most taking twice as long or more.

Filmora Mobile Apps

Filmora mobile

Filmora now offers Android and iOS apps that include a remarkable number of editing features in a decent interface. Even hot new features like AI Smart Cutout are available in the apps, along with video editing standbys like trimming, overlays, and transitions. You can purchase the mobile app separately for $34.99 per year or $59.99 permanently.

Wondershare Filmora on the Mac

The macOS edition of Filmora is feature-identical to the Windows software, including new features like AI Smart Cutout and audio stretch. Importantly, it now boasts native support for Apple Silicon CPUs like the M1 and M2. On a MacBook Air with M1 processor, the test project for my performance evaluation takes 89 seconds, far better than the more-than-four minutes in my earlier test before the Apple Silicon support. That said, iMovie renders the project in 50 seconds on the same laptop.

Filmora or More?

Wondershare Filmora has an eye-soothing interface and offers a lot of nifty effects, text tools, and filters along with basic video cutting and good output options. In addition, its rendering speed is the fastest we’ve tested on Windows. Many video editors will find plenty to like with Filmora. Those who really dig into various effects like multicam, image denoise, and stabilization, however, will likely want to spend a bit more for more advanced software, such as PowerDirector and VideoStudio for PCs, and Final Cut Pro for Macs.