When it comes to video editing software, one size does not fit all, and price isn’t always the best feature to base a product’s ability. Some very robust products can cost very little, some products aimed at beginners can be a bit too intense. So where do you begin? Research!
It used to be beginner editors only used entry-level editing software and pro users only used advanced editing programs. That's all changed. Today, there are many different choices for video editing applications. Whether you are a PC or Mac user, there's a software program that's right for you. Although there are many to choose from, this buyer’s guide features 11 programs broken down into four groups for beginner, intermediate, advanced, and professional users. We will highlight these video editing applications by group, and give you an overview of what they are like, and which software OS and hardware they require.
- Apple iMovie ‘11 is pre-installed with every new Apple computer. It’s also bundled as part of iLife ‘11 which can be purchased from the Mac App Store, for older Mac computers, OS X v10.6.8 is required. Most beginning video editors prefer going without a significant learning curve, and iMovie ‘11 has a large selection of editing templates to make the job easy.
- Microsoft Windows Movie Maker is a free download from Microsoft and works with PCs running Windows 7 or later. Movie Maker has simple easy-to-follow procedures to edit videos that should please every beginner.
- Adobe Premiere Elements 11 ($100)
- MAGIX Movie Edit Pro 2013 for Windows PC.
- CyberLink PowerDirector 11 Ultimate for Windows PC ($130).
- Pinnacle Studio 16 Ultimate ($130).
- Apple Final Cut Pro X ($300).
- Sony Creative Software Vegas Pro 12 for Windows is $600 for the download version and $680 to get the physical package.
- Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 ($800).
Adobe's Premiere Pro Creative Suite 6 requires Windows 64-bit OS (either Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 or Windows 8). A new GUI workspace, redesigned from CS5, offers larger source and program monitors, as well as great new tools such as Rolling Shutter Repair, which corrects for the rolling shutter issue common in DSLR videos, and Warp Stabilizer which fixes shaky footage. Edit points can also be trimmed with a new option panel, entering a specific number of frames, or dynamically trimmed by using roll edit.
- Avid Media Composer 6.5 is a demanding professional application that uses a 64-bit Windows PC, Core 2 Duo CPU 2.33GHz (or faster), 4GB RAM (or more), and an NVIDIA Quadro FX family graphics card. Mac users will need to run Lion/Mountain Lion OS with similar hardware requirements. There are just way too many features to cover them here, but suffice it to say that Media Composer 6.5 is a standard for professional video editing, whether for broadcast TV, commercials, motion pictures, or other high-end needs such as stereoscopic 3D production.
- Autodesk Smoke 2013 is a high-end editing and finishing application. “Finishing” in professional video, means that even if a video project was edited on one editing system, there might be some unfinished aspect of the edited video that should be completed on a “finishing” system, such as color correction.