Inside the category “professional video editing”, belong video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro, which are the standard from professional film and video production houses and among advanced video-makers. Once only a task for professionals, editing raw footage is now possible for everyone, and with so many video editing applications to choose from, it is important to do your homework on the various types of software available before you make a purchase. Different types of editing software fill different needs and expect different amounts of expertise and experience, so read on for a guide to 10 video editing software available today, broken down into three groups for Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced users.
Introductory (Free – $100)
Developed by Microsoft, the Windows Live Movie Maker comes as a part of the Windows Live Essentials suite, and is an excellent full-featured option for beginners to video editing. Users will be able to edit videos, audio, add transition effects and more. There’s also an interesting tool called the AutoMovie theme that lets users choose photos and videos for which it will then automatically create a movie out of those selected. Being a Windows software, the Windows Live Movie Maker usually comes bundled with PCs running Windows XP or later.
Apple’s movie making software, iMovie, comes bundled with the iLife suite for all Macintosh desktops and laptops. A simple video editing software, it has an impressive array of features. With an easy drag-and-drop functionality that makes cropping and adding music a breeze, and real-time previewing available, iMovie packs all of the basics in an easy-to-master interface.
Being the only available option on this list for creating HTML5 interactive web movies, as well as having support for 4K Ultra HD video, the Corel Video Studio Pro X6 is simple to use without sacrificing power. A low-risk purchase for beginner videographers, features include motion tracking for motion effects, an enhanced screen capture utility and a subtle editor with voice detection.
Users of the Adobe Suite will instantly recognize this familiar setup. Considered the “light” version of Adobe Premiere Pro, Premiere Elements takes the best features of the full-featured Premiere Pro and makes them simplified and user friendly. Along with the basic tools of editing and trimming controls, Premiere Elements also boast new features of slow and fast-motion speed effects, color adjustment for correcting bad color balance; and users also have the ability to share edited videos on social video websites such as Vimeo.
Intermediate ($100 – $500)
For its price, CyberLink PowerDirector has one of the most impressive arsenals of tools, and it is easy to use. Boasting a recently revamped intuitive interface and added support for 4K video content, features are “content aware”, meaning that they analyze raw footage for things such as shakiness, lighting and faces to create a better final cut.
Under the wing of Avid Technology, Pinnacle Studio 16 Ultimate has long been a favorite for video editing. With an attractive interface, a multitude of video effects, fixes for shaky video footage, and the ability the upload videos directly to several social media sites, this top of the line product is a pleaser for those who aren’t slackers in the video editing department.
A terrific program with great functionality, Final Cut Pro X boasts speedier performance, a friendlier intuitive interface, auditions for alternate clips, good organization tools, powerful new multicam support and 4K Ultra HD support. There are also features such as background rendering and color correction capabilities, chroma-key and real-time HD editing and an automatic fixing of typical audio issues. Final Cut Pro X also has a partner program called Motion 5, that creates motion graphics that can be used immediately in FCP X upon creation.
Advanced ($500 and greater)
A PC-only software, Sony Vegas Pro is another top of the line product for those advanced in video editing, having most of the same features as Final Cut and Premiere Pro. Being a very consumer-centric software, Sony Vegas Pro is updated every year to meet users’ every demand. Vegas Pro also offers a multitude of features, from basic ones like custom templates, 16:9 support and real-time video editing; to more advanced options like multi-cam editing support and enhanced color correction. There is also a free 30-day trial available for users before purchase.
Price: $600 for download version, $680 for packaged version
As the industry leader in video editing, Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 is arguably the best video editing software available for users without the need to buy specialized software. As Adobe has a feature called dynamic linking between its softwares, this means that effects or graphics created in other Adobe software, whether it’s Illustrator, After Effects or Photoshop, can be dynamically linked back to Premiere Pro. For example, you can place a Photoshop file on the timeline in Premiere Pro as a dynamic link, edit the file in Photoshop, and after saving it, the file on the timeline in Premiere Pro will automatically be changed. Along with a redesigned timeline, Premiere Pro CS6 also comes with Paste Effects, which allows users to copy and paste effects from one clip to another, making editing faster and more efficient.
As the editing software of choice for Hollywood summer blockbusters, Avid Media Composer 7 can handle any editing challenges with ease. Other than standard features like chroma-key, real-time HD editing, large support of video formats and codecs etc., Media Composer 7 also allows users to manage multiple cameras and integrate workflow inside the AVID Unity media networks to allow multiple users access and play the same files and capture media simultaneously and in real time. There is also a free 30-day trial available for users before purchase.
So there you have it, 10 different video editing software with varied functionalities that should suit video editors of all backgrounds, from absolute beginners all the way up to seasoned professionals.