What is the difference between consumer video editing software and 'real' NLEs (Non Linear Editing)?
Inexpensive Consumer Video Editing programs like Pinnacle Studio, Adobe Premiere Elements, Sony Vegas Movie Studio, Apple iMovie, Windows MovieMaker are easy and fun to use. In fact, I think they are pretty amazing. While these products can be purchased for less then one hundred dollars they deliver a level of performance and features that would have cost 10 times as much just 5 years ago!
While these products allow you to edit your video, create slideshows, author DVDs and export them to the web, the actual features are limited and if you want to do some serious vide editing, you will find you can outgrow them pretty quickly.
Consumer video editing products have trouble with long format productions. One of the biggest complaints we hear from consumer video editing software is that after 15 or 30 minutes the video editing become sluggish and the software can become erratic. Go even longer and more issues come up - the audio starts to become out of sync; the playback jitters; or worst of all the video and then the app just freezes up.
Advanced NLEs will all deliver perfect playback, regardless of the length and complexity of your production. If you are editing HD footage some formats and settings may require rendering before they will playback in full speed, but you will be able to adjust your playback settings in order to achieve a level of real-time that meets your needs.? Most importantly they are extremely stable and reliable.
If you are running into any playback issues with an advanced NLE it is probably caused by data throughput bottlenecks in your computer. We have several articles on our website which can help you tweak and optimize your computer for NLE. If you take the time to optimize your computer for editing, you will find that you can edit for hours and hours without any crashes or performance issues.
Why do I want to invest in a "real" NLE for Video Editing?
Buying an advanced NLE like Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Sony Vegas, Grass Valley Edius, or Avid Media Composer will not give you better video quality or make editing easier; what they will give you is a far more powerful set of tools that will allow you to be more creative and produce video content that is better and more entertaining to watch. The reason to buy one of these more expensive advanced editing programs is simple: to be able to tell your story better. That's what the heart of video editing is, taking a collection of media, video clips, audio, images and graphics - then putting them together to tell a story. The longer the story you want to tell, the more important it is to use more sophisticated tools to keep your audiences attention.
Once you decide to graduate from point and shoot productions and simple slide shows into storytelling you will want the right tools for the job. In this article we will go into some of the most important tools found in our advanced NLEs and their superior workflow.