Ultimate Guide: How to Make a Sports Highlight Video for Free

Awe Video's Top Three Free Video Editor Makers article banner, about the recommendations for the best three software video editor/makers on the market.
Make your own sports highlight video for free with one of the Top Three Free Video Editor/Makers on our list.

Hey, you want to save some money and make your own sports highlight video for free instead of paying a sports video editing service to make it for you?

Then you’re in luck!

Because in this article, we’re going to introduce three of the best video editor/maker software applications that you can use to make your own sports highlight video for free.

Furthermore, we’ll share the pros and cons of each application as well as provide the links to their YouTube beginner-level video tutorials, along with each one’s software download link.

Note: These are all legitimate free software applications that have been downloaded and personally tested by this author.

We’re sharing all of this information so that by the end of this article, the reader can make a well-informed decision regarding the efficacy of attempting to save money by making his or her own highlight video vs. spending some cash to have their highlight video project completed by a reasonably-priced professional sports video editing service.

Of course, the ability to make your highlight video for free implies that you already have access to a PC or Mac equipped with the required minimum CPU speed and memory and hard drive storage capacity to run the free video editing software. In addition, you will also need access to high-speed Internet so that you can download and update the free software.

You can already begin to see that the word “free” being used here is a relative term. Because nothing is truly free. That’s even more the case when we apply to this discussion the old adage.

“Time is Money.”

Benjamin Franklin

The time it takes you to learn how to use any of these free video editing software programs, plus the time you will spend actually making your own highlight video, should be factored into your decision on whether or not to use a sports video editing service.

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What value do you place on your time? Since—as you will soon discover—it will take the beginner a lot of time to complete a successful sports highlight video project vs. paying a sports video editing service to do it for them.

Awe Video’s Top Three Free Video Editor/Makers

Outside of being a solid product that is available on all major platforms, the main criterion we use to rate a free video editing software application is whether or not it allows the user to produce a finished product free from any company watermarks. I mean, why would you want to create a video project with some software company’s watermark embossed on every frame of the video? But this is exactly what many video editing software companies will do when offering their so-called free and/or free trial versions. In other words, you must not buy their paid version to see the dreaded watermark. Luckily for you, none of the ones that make Awe Video’s Top Three list engage in this type of tomfoolery.

Note: Windows Movie Maker formerly held the top spot on our free video editing software applications list. Sadly, Microsoft killed Windows Movie Maker with the introduction of Windows 10. As a result, Microsoft stopped providing support for Windows Movie Maker as of January 10, 2017. Therefore, we cannot recommend the use of this product nor place it on Awe Video’s Top Three list.

Even though it’s no longer supported by Microsoft, Windows Movie Maker is still available for download on the Internet by third parties. Except be wary, the Microsoft website says this about Windows Movie Maker downloads: 

“Any websites offering free downloads of Windows Movie Maker are not offering sanctioned Microsoft products. Be cautious as these products may contain viruses or hidden costs.”

OK, now that we got all that out of the way, let’s take a look at Awe Video’s  Top Three Free Video Editor/Makes that you can use to make your sports highlight video.

1.  Shotcut

Shotcut is a free, open-source video editing software application that doesn’t even bother to mess around with offering an upgraded paid version.  Now, that’s a dedication to the term “free.” And it’s largely why we’ve given it our no. 1 rating.

Shotcut Download is available for all three major platforms: Windows 7 through Windows 10 (both 32- and 64-bit), Mac, and Linux. Click the following link to download Shortcut.

Minimum system requirements: Your CPU should be 2GHz, with four cores for 4K video, and you need 4GB RAM for SD video, 8GB for HD video, and 16GB for 4K video. In addition, your GPU must support OpenGL 2.0 or DirectX 9 or 11.

Pros: Most users will be more than satisfied with Shotcut’s basic video editing capabilities that feature multiple video tracks and a straightforward user interface. However, Shotcut’s strongest asset is its abundant video output options, including Apple ProRes, HDV, DVD, Flash, H.264, GIF animation, OGG Vorbis, WebM, and WMV. That’s pretty darn good for free software!

Cons: Limited number of transition effects and other effect amenities compared to what you would get by stepping up to a paid commercial product like Cyberlink PowerDirector ($79.00) or VideoStudio Pro ($69.00). Both of these products also offer much slicker and more friendly user interfaces.

Learning curve: This con applies to all video editor/video maker software applications. It takes time to learn how to use a video editor/ maker.  More importantly, you cannot complete a good sports highlight video project by only using a video editor/maker. Because there are other software applications that you will need access to to properly finish the project (more on this subject later).

To get an example of the learning curve involved with even a simple video editor, take a look at the YouTube Beginner’s Tutorial video for Shotcut that appears below:

2. Davinci Resolve 18

Davinci Resolve 18 is a free video editor/maker offering the closest thing on the market to the amenities found in a professional Hollywood-level video editor/video maker. Unlike Shotcut, Davinci Resolve 15 also offers a paid version for $299. 00. But if you need to collaborate with others, do work in 3D, or desire a near-limitless supply of added special effects, why bother paying for it?

Davinci Resolve 18 Download is available for all 3 major platforms: Windows 7 through Windows 10 (both 32- and 64-bit), Mac, and Linux. Click the following link to download Davinci Resolve 18.

Minimum system requirements: Windows 8.1 Pro-64-bit, 16 GB of system memory is recommended, and 8 GB is the minimum supported; Blackmagic Design Desktop Video version 10.4.1 or later; NVIDIA/AMD/Intel GPU Driver version – As required by your GPU; RED Rocket-X Driver and Firmware or later; RED Rocket Driver and Firmware or later.

Mac Users:

  • macOS 11 Big Sur or later
  • 8 GB of system memory (16 GB for intense graphics work)
  • M1 Apple Silicon CPU (or Intel core i7 on older Macs)
  • Integrated GPU or discrete GPU with at least 2GB of VRAM and supports Metal or OpenCL 1.2
  • A fast Solid State Hard Drive (SSD)

Windows Users:

  • Windows 10 or later
  • 16 GB of system memory (32 GB for intense graphics work)
  • intel core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 CPU
  • Integrated or discrete GPU with at least 2GB of VRAM and supports OpenCL 1.2 or CUDA 11 and the Latest driver, Blackmagic Design Desktop Video 10.4.1 or later
  • A fast Solid State Hard Drive (SSD)

Linux Users:  

  • CentOS 7.3
  • 32 GB of system memory
  • Intel core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 CPU
  • Discrete GPU with at least 2GB of VRAM that supports OpenCL 1.2 or CUDA 11 as well as the latest driver, Blackmagic Design Desktop Video 10.4.1 or later
  • A fast Solid State Hard Drive (SSD)

Pros: It simply doesn’t get any better than this! A slick pro-level user interface and a complete array of the most commonly used transitions and special effects at your disposal make this puppy a joy to work with. Unfortunately, what makes Davinci Resolve 18 so great is the only reason we can’t rate this as our first choice for a beginner.

Cons: The learning curve for this baby is steep. But if you want a free video editor/maker that can compete heads-up with costly professional stalwarts like Adobe Premiere Pro ($275.88 per year plus tax) or Apple’s Final Cut Pro ($299 plus tax).  Please note that even with a professional-grade video editor/video maker like Davinci Resolve 18, you will need access to other software applications to successfully complete your sports highlight video project.

Below is a YouTube beginner’s tutorial on Davinci Resolve 18:

3. OpenShot

This award-winning open-source video editor/maker is similar to Shotcut; however, unlike Shotcut, OpenShot does not support 4k video. But don’t let that stop you because you shouldn’t be producing your sports highlight videos in 4K anyway. HD quality is more than enough. The minimal improvement in video quality of 4K over HD is no justification for its enormous file size or the fact there is still only a small percentage of people who own 4K desktop, laptop, and/or tablet monitors, or even 4K capable phone screens for that matter.

The OpenShot download is available for all three major platforms: Windows 7 through Windows 10 (both 32- and 64-bit), Mac, and Linux. Click the following link to download OpenShot.

Minimum system requirements: 64-bit Operating System (Linux, OS X, Windows 7/8/10); Multi-core processor with 64-bit support.; 4GB of RAM (16GB recommended); 500 MB of hard-disk space for installation; Optional: Solid-state drive (SSD), if utilizing disk-caching (and an additional 10GB of hard-disk space)

Pros:  Adequate quantity of transition and other effects and supports a strong variety of video output formats. Moreover, OpenShot has the simplest user interface out of my Top Three Free Video Editor/ Video Maker Software Applications.

Cons: No 4K support. And, of course—despite its unpretentious user interface—the learning curve remains high. As always, you will need access to other software applications to complete your sports highlight video project successfully.

Below is a YouTube beginner’s tutorial video on OpenShot:

Honorable Mention Top Free Video Editor/Makers 

Making a good highlight video is not all about the video editor/maker application.

As I mentioned throughout the introduction of our Top Three Free Video Editor/Makers, it takes more than just the video editor/maker software application to complete a good highlight video project successfully. For example, listed below are the software programs I typically access at Awe Video to complete a simple sports highlight video project.

Awe Video Digital Media’s List of Software Applications Used to Complete a Typical Highlight Video Project

Adobe Premier Pro

Nero Platinum

Adobe After Effects

Smart Sound

Adobe Photoshop

SureThing Disc Labeler 7 ( only applicable if DVD discs are requested.)

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Encoder


Now add to a beginner’s learning curve him or her trying to figure out the answers to basic things like “How do I make the arrows in a highlight video?” Or “What video resolution format do I use to make my video look the best?” And you can bet—it’s all going to take a lot of time to learn.

To better understand the procedures a professional sports video editing service goes through to produce a highlight video, take a look at Awe Video’s step-by-step highlight video production process.

Also, please check out our sports highlight video editing packages and pricing and learn about some of the additional benefits our clients receive when they purchase a Highlight Video Package from us.

Long odds are at stake, so be wise

The odds of a high school senior receiving a full student athletic scholarship to play football is less than 2%, and the long odds are similar in the other few NCAA sports that are allowed to hand out full scholarships.

So, at this point, considering the average student/athletic full scholarship is worth somewhere between $9,000-$12,000 per year (depending on whose data you use), I ask,

“Do you really want to be tripping over dollar bills to pick up some pennies?”

There is no right or wrong answer to the above-mentioned question. I’m just laying it all out there for your thoughtful consideration when it comes to your personal decision regarding whether or not to make your own sports highlight video.

If you’re looking for the sweet spot

We suggest that you take advantage of Awe Video’s Re-edit Highlight Video Package. So, download one of the free video editor/makers and use it to edit the clips you want to cut out and use from your raw video footage. Then send your edited clips to Awe Video and let us complete your video project—the right way.

It’s our least expensive Highlight Video Package, but it still comes with a free WordPress Website and our 100% commitment to your success.

In conclusion, digest what you have learned here and estimate the value of your time making your highlight video. Plus, add to your decision what you give up by striking out on your own—namely, not having another person and/or source in your corner.

Consider all of this, and you are truly making a well-informed decision on whether or not to make your own highlight video.

Related Links

Sports Recruiting Highlight Video Packages

NCAA Football Recruiting Calendars 2002-2023