So you want to start a gaming YouTube channel or Twitch stream and share your playthroughs, tips and tricks, eSports highlights, and commentary with the world? That‘s awesome! But raw gameplay footage alone usually doesn‘t cut it these days. To really engage viewers and stand out, you‘ll want to edit and polish your videos with graphics, effects, cuts and more.
But with so many editing options out there, how do you pick the right one? As a passionate gamer myself, I‘ve tested all the top contenders to find the best match for beginners through experts. In this detailed guide, I‘ll compare the 5 top video editors for creative gaming content based on first-hand experience. I‘ll also share advice to help you choose the right one for your skills, platform, budget and more.
Let‘s dive in!
Why Video Editing Matters for Modern Gaming Content
Before we get to the tools, it‘s important to understand why editing is so crucial for today‘s gaming content.
Gaming videos are massively popular online. Over 201 billion gaming videos were watched on YouTube alone in 2019 [source]. And that number keeps growing every year.
With this huge audience, competition is fierce. Uploading raw, unedited footage just doesn‘t cut it anymore. Based on my experience running a gaming channel with over 100k subscribers, these are the biggest benefits of editing your videos:
- Highlight exciting moments – Cut and stitch together the best parts of your gameplay. Trim the slow or dull sections.
- Enhance engagement – Zooming, camera angles, graphics, audio effects and humor keep viewers glued to the screen.
- Elevate production value – Effects, animations and transitions make videos feel slick and professional.
- Show off your skills – Careful editing can make advanced gameplay shine.
- Brand consistency – Intros, logos and overlays give a consistent feel across videos.
- Monetization – Many platforms require a certain level of editing and effort to enable monetization.
The bottom line is editing transforms raw gameplay from something your little cousin might enjoy into engaging content worthy of thousands of viewers. It takes more effort, but the payoff is worth it.
Next let‘s look at the key factors to evaluate when choosing a video editor for your gaming content and channel.
How to Choose the Right Gaming Video Editor
There are tons of video editing apps and software out there, from free mobile apps to advanced professional platforms. So how do you determine which one is best for your needs? Here are the most important criteria to consider:
Power and capabilities – Look for an editor with robust features to transform raw footage into compelling videos with effects, graphics, cuts and more. But it still needs to be easy enough to learn based on your current skill level.
Platform and system requirements – Make sure the editor works on your operating system and meets the minimum RAM, processor and hard drive requirements for smooth performance.
Importing and exporting – The editor needs to be able to import raw footage from your gaming platform and export to YouTube, Twitch and other hosting platforms in the proper formats and resolutions.
Pricing – Video editing platforms range from free to monthly subscriptions above $50/month. Factor in your budget and monetization plans if you‘ll recoup the costs.
Learning resources – Intuitive software with built-in tutorials, guides and community support will make ramping up easier.
Special gaming features – Built-in screen recording, meme generators, stock assets and integrations with gaming platforms streamline the workflow.
User experience – The interface should fit your preferences for timeline vs template-based editing and have customization options.
By keeping these factors in mind, you can zero in on the best video editor for your unique needs and channel goals. Let‘s break down the top options.
The 5 Best Gaming Video Editors Compared
1. InVideo – Best for Beginners
If you‘re just getting started with editing gaming videos, InVideo is my top recommendation with an intuitive interface, massive template library and great special features.
I was really impressed with InVideo‘s 1500+ templates tailored specifically for gaming content, including intros, outros, meme formats, and effects that deliver professional polish in minutes. Just drag and drop your clips onto a template timeline to create amazing edits with zero experience required.
The template-based editing made it super simple to customize and brand my videos. But InVideo also has more advanced timeline editing capabilities to review clips and stitch segments together while adding voiceovers, text overlays and audio tracks.
My favorite features are the gaming-centric meme generator, screen recorder, and templates with popular gaming jokes and themes. This is a virtual video production studio specialized for gaming.
And the direct exporting to YouTube takes care of rendering and compression so your final edits are optimized for uploading in HD.
With both free and paid tiers, InVideo is extremely budget-friendly. It‘s the ideal choice for gamers starting their first channel.
"As a beginner, InVideo gave me the tools to instantly take my content to the next level without learning complex interfaces. The gaming templates are a secret weapon!"
Kristen, gaming YouTuber
2. Adobe Premiere Pro – Most Powerful
For professional creators ready to dive deep into editing, Adobe Premiere Pro is an industry leader used by top gaming YouTubers and streamers.
The timeline-based workflow mirrors professional video editing studios for full control over cuts, audio mixing, color grading, effects and more. While the learning curve is steep, the customization options are limitless.
Think cinematic camera angles, multi-layered graphics, chroma keying, slo-mo, and seamless transitions between clips only limited by your creativity.
Top gamers love Premiere Pro‘s robust integration with Photoshop, After Effects and Audition to craft professional streams and videos. For example, you can edit together gameplay clips in Premiere then polish visuals further in After Effects.
The subscription plan also includes access to Adobe Stock for overlays, backgrounds, and assets to take productions to the next level.
For professional creators ready to invest in mastering the best tools of the trade, Premiere Pro is the gold standard, albeit at a steeper price point. Expect a learning curve, but the long-term payoff is immense.
"Premiere Pro has a massive toolset for truly next-level videos. I can constantly refine flows, audio, graphics and more in ways other platforms can‘t touch."
Alex, professional eSports video creator
3. DaVinci Resolve – Best Free Option
If you‘re on a budget, DaVinci Resolve packs professional-grade tools into a free editing software. This makes for the best free option for gaming videos.
The editing capabilities rival Premiere Pro with multi-track timelines, context-sensitive trimming, and hundreds of transitions and effects. For basic editing without watermarks, it can‘t be beat.
DaVinci truly shines in its color correction and audio tuning capabilities. You can fine-tune the look of each clip and mix sound with precision.
There are also excellent workflow integrations with DaVinci‘s other products for tasks like color grading footage from Blackmagic cameras.
While designed for pros, aspiring creators can get started on a powerful platform and upgrade to the paid Studio version to access more GPU/performance optimizations and collaboration tools.
For gamers seeking advanced capabilities like audio interfaces, vectorscopes and 3D effects without a subscription, DaVinci Resolve is an unrivaled value.
"I was blown away by the quality of DaVinci‘s free version. Even pros would be impressed. The learning curve was manageable with the right tutorials."
Simone, part-time gaming YouTuber
4. Filmora – Best for Easy Learning
For gaming creators seeking a balanced and affordable editor, Filmora is a great blend of ease of use and solid feature set.
The timeline-based workflow has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface yet all the key video and audio editing tools you need. Stylized filters, preset animations, transitions and title effects help videos stand out.
Handy design tools like the gamer mode screen recorder make it easy to capture and import footage. And the instant cutter simplifies slicing clips.
While not as advanced as Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve, Filmora still produces professional-grade results. I‘d recommend it for gaming creators looking to learn their first editor with room to grow.
And at just $7.99/month, it‘s very budget-friendly on an annual plan. For creators outgrowing beginner tools but not yet ready for steeper learning curves, Filmora hits the sweet spot.
"I found Filmora‘s interface much easier to grasp than ultra-advanced platforms as a beginner. My videos still looked fantastic and helped me learn."
Lee, gaming streamer
5. HitFilm Express – Best Free Editor
For gaming creators seeking a completely free editor option without sacrificing features, HitFilm Express fits the bill.
Despite being free, HitFilm packs a serious punch with 840+ effects and presets. The composite shot-based workflow mirrors expensive commercial software.
Echoing costlier video editors, you get a full timeline video editor, color correction tools, 2D and 3D compositing, and support for unlimited tracks and transitions.
There‘s also a built-in LMS (level monitoring system) for audio to ensure consistent volume across videos.
While designed for professionals, HitFilm Express has an active user community creating video tutorials to help beginners learn. And for $299/year, you can upgrade to HitFilm Pro for additional features as your skills progress.
For uncompromising features without the subscription costs, HitFilm Express lets gamers fully customize pro-level videos. Expect some learning time, but the value can‘t be overstated.
"No other free editor comes close to the VFX capabilities of HitFilm. With some effort learning, I crafted cinematic game intros that viewers loved."
Lucas, hobbyist gaming YouTuber
Final Recommendations Based on Your Experience Level
With the top options laid out, here are my picks based on your current video editing experience:
For gaming creators totally new to editing, InVideo and Filmora are your best bets for easy learning. Intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces, templates and effects accelerate the editing process so you can create great content sooner.
If you have the basics down but want to level up, Filmora and DaVinci Resolve give you more advanced tools as your skills improve. Their mix of usability and features will support a growing channel.
For maximum creative control, Adobe Premiere Pro is unmatched. Industry experts use it for a reason – no other platform enables such precision editing and polish. But only choose it if you‘re ready to invest time mastering it.
Both HitFilm Express and DaVinci Resolve have excellent free versions packed with capabilities. For little or no cost, these provide immense value. Just be ready for steeper learning curves.
Start Editing Your Gaming Greatness
Hopefully this detailed guide gives you clarity for choosing the best video editor tailored to your specific gaming channel and situation.
At the end of the day, the "best" software simply lets you share your unique passion and perspective as a gamer through creative videos that resonate with audiences.
So pick whichever of these top-rated options fits your current skills and budget, then start editing and producing amazing gaming content! The community is ready and waiting to see it.
What gaming videos will you create first with your new editor? Let me know in the comments!