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8 Adobe After Effects alternatives for online course creators

On the hunt for Adobe After Effects alternatives? Then this article is for you. Here are 8 video editing alternatives that are easier and cheaper to use for online course creators.

April 13, 2020 by Taylor Barbieri

Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro have a lot to love for creators trying to sell online courses.

They're both highly recommended, celebrated by users across the world, and if there were programs that could scream professional, After Effects and Premiere Pro would be the poster children.

Unfortunately, it’s also crazy expensive, and its learning curve has a slope that would make Jack Skellington double-down on leg day.

Is it worth it? It can be. If you have the time and funds to go in on After Effects or Premiere Pro, then we can’t argue that you shouldn’t.

But if you don’t have either -- or maybe just don’t want to sink them into the steep learning curve that comes with both programs -- it’s hardly the only game in town.

There are easier, cheaper, and more creator-friendly video editing programs out there, and today, we’ll show you them with eight alternatives to Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro for online course creators.

Let’s get right into it.

Alternative #1: Camtasia 

Camtasia is worth signing up for if you often record tutorials, product demos, and other educational content on your computer screen or with a webcam. 

To start, creators can record their screens using Camtasia. Once the video is complete, you can then spice it up with special effects within the program. 

Camtasia’s special effects don’t disappoint. Aside from titles, annotations, and transitions, creators can also add quizzes, pre-made animations, and royalty-free music and sound effects from Camtasia’s library. 

Once your video is finished, you can upload it to Screencast, Vimeo, YouTube, or your online course platform. (Looking for a platform still? This online course buyer’s guide may help.)

Lastly, Camtasia is available for both Windows and Mac so you can create engaging online courses regardless of which operating system you prefer. 

Features:

  • Screen and webcam recording
  • Premade animations
  • Royalty-free music and sound effects
  • Transitions, annotations, and callouts
  • Zoom and pan animations
  • The ability to create quizzes
  • The ability to import or record PowerPoint presentations in Camtasia

Who it’s best for: 

  • Creators  who often create videos from screen recordings
  • Creators looking for a video editing program that caters towards those creating educational videos

Free trial: 

  • Camtasia offers a 30-day free trial

Pricing

  • Camtasia is $249 for lifetime access for one user 

Alternative #2: Wondershare Filmora9 

In 2018, 69% of marketers made more videos in-house than they did in 2017. 

Despite that, many marketers said that it took too long to create videos. They also felt that video design programs were too complicated and that video marketing was out of their budget. 

Perhaps those marketers had never heard of Wondershare Filmora9

Filmora9 comes with enough features that even time-strapped creators can design gorgeous videos without having to hire a virtual assistant, but not so many that they’ll be overwhelmed.

For instance, makers can add up to 100 media layers -- such as videos and music -- to create more intricate videos. 

Filmora9 users can also use green screen effects to layer clips, background noise removal for smoother video audio, and filters and special effects to jazz up their videos. 

Features:

  • Video editing
  • 100 media layers
  • Clip layering using green screen effects
  • Keyframing
  • Background noise removal 
  • Special effects like slow motion and reverse
  • Filters and 3D look-up-tables (LUTs)

Who it’s best for: 

  • Creators who are new to video editing or who don’t want to spend too much time editing their videos
  • Creators who want an intuitive video editor with simple but helpful features
  • Creators who are planning to lightly edit and enhance their videos 

Free trial:  

  • Wondershare Filmora9 has an unlimited free trial

Pricing:

  • The lowest-paid business plan starts at $155.88 per year
  • The highest-paid business plan starts at $695.88 per year

Alternative#3: Wondershare FilmoraPro

FilmoraPro is worth considering if you like Filmora9’s beginner-friendly design but want more advanced features. 

With FilmoraPro, you can add an unlimited number of tracks to your video. Motion tracking, animations, and preset transitions can add extra visual flair, too, and audio compression and audio transitions can smooth your videos’ sound.  

Though FilmoraPro is a fantastic choice for any creator, it can especially be helpful for creatives who often shoot outside of a controlled setting. 

This is because the program comes with features like automatic stabilization to level shaky video footage and audio noise reduction to minimize background noise. 

Features:

  • Customizable animations
  • Motion tracking
  • Customizable text
  • Various lighting effects
  • Video color auto-correction
  • Automatic audio syncing 
  • Audio compression 
  • Audio noise reduction
  • Audio transitions
  • Built-in screen recorder
  • Automatic video stabilization 

Who it’s best for:

  • Creators who shoot many of their videos outside of their home
  • Creators who want to pay a one-time payment for lifetime access  

Free trial: No, but Wondershare FilmoraPro offers a free plan.

Pricing: 

  • The lowest-paid plan starts at $89.99 per year
  • There is a lifetime plan available for a one-time fee of $149.99

Alternative #4: Movavi

If you’re among the 8% of businesses that spend less than $1,000 on marketing activities or one of the 47% of small business owners who use personal savings to buy things for your business, Movavi could be a savvy investment. 

Movavi is like a Swiss army knife of media editing. 

Creatives can edit videos, audio, and photos with Movavi, in addition to recording their screens, converting their media into over 180 formats, and utilizing features like transitions and callouts. 

Movavi also offers hours of course content about video and photo editing so you can up your video editing chops in your free time. 

The best part is that you can get all of this -- the video and audio editing, screen recording, special features, and online education -- for a reasonable price. 

Features:

  • Video, audio, and photo editing
  • Screen recording
  • Convert media files into over 180 formats, including MP4 and 4K Ultra HD
  • Multiple special effects like titles and transitions
  • Copyright-free media files and video effects
  • Online courses about video and photo editing

Who it’s best for: 

  • Creators looking for an all-in-one video, photo, and audio editing program
  • Creators who want a lot of supplementary learning material packed into their video editing software

Free trial: 

  • Movavi offers a 7-day free trial

Pricing:

  • The video suite standalone is $149.85 for a one-year subscription for one computer
  • The video suite and photo editor bundle is $194.80 for a lifetime subscription for one computer
  • Movavi Unlimited, which includes every possible bell and whistle, is $1,110.50 for a one-year subscription for one computer

Alternative #5: iMovie

So, you’re an Apple user who wants a sophisticated video effects program?

Allow us to introduce you to iMovie. 

iMovie can be used on both Mac and iOS mobile devices so you can edit your videos wherever, whenever. 

iMovie also comes with a nice mix of beginner- and expert-level effects. 

Beginners can add some pizzazz to their videos with animated titles and credits, filters, and over 80 soundtracks that will fit the length of your video. 

More seasoned video makers may appreciate the ability to add green screen effects or picture-in-picture and split-screen effects. 

Plus, iMovie doesn’t just have your back when it comes to spicing up your videos -- it can help you get them in front of the right people, too, with easy uploading capability to Instagram, Youtube, or SMS. 

Features:

  • Video editing
  • Animated titles and credits 
  • Special effects like picture-in-picture and split-screen
  • 10 video filters
  • 80 smart soundtracks that adjust to your video’s length
  • Green screen effects

Who it’s best for: 

  • Creators who use Apple products and want to edit on multiple devices
  • Creators looking for a video editing program that comes with a solid library of effects and capabilities 

Free trial: 

  • No, iMovie is free for Apple users

Pricing:

  • Free forever

Alternative #6: Descript

Not all businesses want -- or need -- special effects, transitions, annotations, or soundtracks for their videos, or the more cluttered dashboards that come with the programs that offer these features. 

If you’re in that camp, you’ll enjoy Descript

Descript is a video and audio editing program with a twist: Creators can edit their videos by editing a written transcript of their video instead of trimming the video footage directly. 

In terms of features, Descript keeps things simple yet functional. Users can add music and sound effects to their videos by simply dropping them into the editing dashboard, and use the timeline editor to refine each second. 

Descript also supports multi-user editing and commenting so you and your team can collaborate on editing a video together. 

If you want to add effects that Descript doesn’t offer, you can export your video to Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere for extra polishing. 

Features:

  • Video editing
  • The ability to combine multiple transcripts into one
  • The ability to edit multiple tracks, such as audio and music 
  • Fades and crossfades for introducing sounds
  • Volume editing
  • Multi-user editing and commenting
  • Can export videos to Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere 

Who it’s best for: 

  • Creators who would prefer to edit a transcript version of their video
  • Creators who are looking for a quick and clean way to edit their videos 

Free trial: 

  • No, but Descript offers a limited free plan

Pricing:

  • The lowest-paid plan starts at $120 per year or $14 per month
  • The highest-paid plan starts at $180 per year per user or $18 per month per user

Alternative #7: WeVideo

WeVideo is one of the best bang-for-your-buck video editing options. 

Creators can access over 1 million royalty-free stock images, videos, and music tracks, including over 460,000 videos and over 415,000 images. 

Makers can also use a green screen, premium features, and other effects to give their content a visual boost, and style it using different formats to fit with different online platforms. 

For instance, WeVideo allows you to share vertical videos that could work well for Facebook and Instagram Stories. 

Once your video is finished, you can upload it instantly to Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, among other channels. 

Features:

  • Access to over 1 million stock images, videos, and music tracks
  • Green screen 
  • Premium editing features 
  • Screencasting
  • Publish your videos to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media channels 
  • Videos are editable on any device 
  • Creators can have between 1GB to unlimited cloud storage 

Who it’s best for: 

  • Creators who are producing videos for multiple platforms
  • Creators looking for access to royalty-free media for their videos 

Free trial: 

  • No, WeVideo offers a free plan 

Pricing

  • The lowest-paid plan starts at $59.88 per year of $9.99 per month 
  • The highest-paid plan starts at $359.88 per year or $59.99 per month 

Alternative #8: Blender

Blender is a free, open-source bundle of digital media creation tools that were designed by creatives worldwide. 

Makers can create digital sculptures, draw in 2D and 3D, and of course, edit videos. 

Aside from helping creators to trim their video, Blender supports up to 32 slots for videos, images, and effects. Top your video offers with the right transitions and filters in Blender for the most high-impact finishing touches. 

Whether you want to create a simple product demo or a more sophisticated marketing video, Blender’s mix of features can help you achieve your video production goals -- for free. 

Features:

  • Video editing
  • 32 slots for videos, images, effects, and more
  • Audio mixing and syncing 
  • Features and special effects like transitions, filters, and speed control 

Who it’s best for: 

  • Creators who prefer using a free video editing program and don’t dig iMovie, or are Windows and Linux users
  • Creators looking for an editor that gives them access to a whole host of visual creation tools outside of video

Free trial: No, Blender is free for everyone.

Pricing: Zero. Zilch. 

Edit your videos to perfection with these Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro alternatives

Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro are fabulous video editing and visual effects programs, but they're not for everyone. 

There are plenty of less intimidating but equally effective programs creators can use to produce their videos. 

As an added bonus, each of these programs is relatively affordable. In the order they were introduced, those programs are:

  • Camtasia, which can be a good fit if you want a program in which you can both record your screen and edit those recordings
  • Wondershare Filmora9, which could work well for creators who are new to video editing
  • Wondershare FilmoraPro, a feature-rich video editor that is simple enough for novices to use
  • Movavi, which allows creators to edit videos, audio, and images
  • iMovie, which is a good fit if you’re an Apple user looking for a free, high-grade video editing program 
  • Descript, which best suits creators who want a sleek editing dashboard to trim their videos 
  • WeVideo, a simple editing program that doesn’t skimp on features or video elements
  • Blender, which could work well for creators who want to access a rich media creation suite for free and use Windows, Linux, or just don’t enjoy iMovie.

Look, regardless of your video editing skill level, there’s a program out there for you that won’t cost as much as After Effects and Premiere Pro combined, or take as long to learn. 

But ultimately, the only way to find it is to take your options out for a spin, and since every program on this list has a free trial or free plan, there’s nothing to lose by rounding up your top picks and seeing how they perform.

Good luck and happy editing.

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