Video Editing Software Buyer's Guide

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Categorizing the NLEs

BillPryor's picture

A well written and interesting article. However, I find it curious that you came up with a "semi-professional" classification for Edius and Lightworks. The thousands of TV station news editors would probably object to being thought of as semi-professional, as would the feature film editors using Lightworks. I know you said take it with a grain, but why do it? Why not list by price, or professional features such as color grading, audio sweetening capabilities, ease of trimming and all the other edit functions, etc.? 

I grew up on Avid, switched to FCP in the early 2000s, then to Premiere Pro. Now I'm using Edius on a PC at home and looking at Lightworks. So far, I haven't found anything that Lightworks or Edius won't do as well as the big three.  The only one that I tried out that didn't work out that well was Sony Vegas.


I'm not saying that any one system is better than any of the others, except maybe Avid. I still think it's the overall best and most intuitive, but all have their good and bad points. If I had to rank them as "professional," ie., with features pros need, I would say Avid, Premiere Pro, the old pre-X FCP, Edius, Lightworks, and DaVinci Resolve. Vegas, FCPX and the others I would put on a different level, but all, in my opinion, are fully professional, full featured systems.

Hi Bill,

PZunitch's picture

Hi Bill,

Your argument is a valid one. Indeed I personally am floored by the capability of Lightworks (though I personally am not the biggest fan of its project interface). I might just be missing it but I don't happen to see the reference chart in the online article that was provided with the print version. In that chart you will indeed see that I've listed Lightworks, Edius Pro, Davinci and a few others as being geared toward the professional market.


Of course I'm not privy to any secret market analytics, but In the body of the article I separted out Avid, FCP and Premiere Pro not because they are the only professional systems out there but because these three still rather dominate the professional market at the moment by a hefty margin. Of course this is changing, which is definitely for the best (competition is great for the consumer). Indeed it was a tough call and pained me to lump those other programs in the semi-pro category in the body of the article, as these programs were totally capable of professional and broadcast editing (as noted). However I felt the need to call out that if you were to jump into the world of freelance editing with "Avid" on your resume, many employees would think something that they might not if the same person had "Lightworks" alone. The big 3 carry a name with them that I don't think the others have UNIVERSALLY gained yet.


In the end though you are correct, although they are the "big 3", they are not the ONLY professional edit systems in use today. I will check in with the powers that be and see if I can get them to include the chart with the online article. that should help clarify the issue.

Premier Elements

bsprague's picture

In the chart at the end of the article it says that Premier Elements does not support 4K.  That is wrong.  I have version 13.  It has both project presets and output presets for 4K using XAVC-S.  I'm using it without issue for 4K footage out of a Panasonic LX100.


It seems true that Adobe marketing forgot to put it in the marketing and advertising pages, but 4K capability is built in.

Good catch! Indeed Premiere

PZunitch's picture

Good catch! Indeed Premiere Elements supports the XAVC S codec for 4K (although according to Toms Hardware, you need a Core i7 chip for this)....and yes, for some reason they don't note it in their marketing. Posters on Adobe's own forums have noted this as well, so no doubt they are aware of this oversight.