Best Editing Software for a Newbie

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    • #71386

      Hello, I need some help!

      I have a video blog where I shoot instructional videos about horse training. I am not a videographer by any means but I do all my own editing. Right now I am doing everything on movie maker (and you can tell from my videos). I don't need to do anything crazy, but I need the ability to put my logo in the videos, create better intros and closings, and just make my content more visually appealing and professional. I need something that I can learn quickly, because I don't want to spend lots of hours watching tutorials. And I would like to stay in a $100 price range. 

      What do you suggest? Thanks! Callie

    • #209306

      By the way, my blog url is so you can see what I am currently doing. 

    • #209307

      Vegas Movie Studio 11. It's only $50 and you can upgrade to higher end versions if and when you want to at a reduced price. A trial version is available.



    • #209308

      Another option is Corel Videstudio Pro 6, it's what I used to use.  If you are willing to pay extra you could also buy the Ultimate edition but you probably won't need it if you have just been using movie maker.  It is super easy to use and is only $40 if you buy it before the end of tonight (on sale).  Otherwise it is $70 usually.  Link:


      I have not used Vegas Movie Studio so I can't say which is better.  It's completely up to what features you need/want though.  Compare your choices and see what would suit you better.  I am simply just adding another option to your list.

    • #209311

      Give usage and budget I'd go with Mike's suggestion of Sony Vegas Movie Studio.  Well supported and easy (but costly) step up to Vegas Pro if you get bitten by the video bug!

    • #209323

      I second the vote for movie studio, but don't go with 11 spend $10 more and get 12 on amazon with free shipping:


      I do professional work with video and the bulk of it is done in sony. Don't worry about vegas (the pro version) you really aren't missing out on much.


      The other big advantage with sony software is it is really popular so there are tons and tons of guides on youtube so if you get stuck there is plenty of help.


      Good luck,


    • #209333

      Thanks so much for the help and suggestions!

    • #209339

      Check this list of popular video editors for consumers. I recommend you Sony Movie Studio or Magix Movie Edit Pro.


    • #209342

      Plenty of choices to start off with. Then as they get boring and don't do what you want step it up to CS6 if you can and you'll never look back. Happy editing!

    • #209347

      Magix Movie Edit Pro – Highly sophisticated software for under $100.  For the 'newbie' editor, the software is intuitive thus easy to learn. Magix as some realy good audio software and is partnered with XARA have a range of photo and visual design software that compliment each other.


      Sony Movie Studio is equally sophisticated and priced right, but has a steeper learning curve. 

    • #209348

      Have you looked at SERIF movie 7 – not sure what it is in dollars but I paid £55.00 for mine. It allows you to do quite a lot.

    • #209349

      If you are newbie and want to save your money, take a look at AVS video editing suiteIt's a good basic video editor for beginners.


    • #209354

      Sony Movie Studio


      Callie, one thing that no one has yet to mention…  Being a "newbie" means this software is new to you.  The GUI is foreign to you.  The software does have built-in tutorials.  But, you'll also get plenty of help on YouTube.  Just type in "sony movie studio" AND the specific task you want to learn.


      Another site that'll help is   Post a question and you'll get answers quickly.  Best site on the Internet.

    • #209385

      I'm in a similar position to Callie. Just a month or so into it.


      I am becoming aware that alot of people like Sony but chose Adobe Elements for the following reasons:

      1) Got it cheap with my camera. ($50 combined)

      2) We are a 3 person organization. I do all back office and I have to cover alot of breadth. It seemed to me that Adobe offers the broadest selection of quality creative tools out there and that there would be room to develop in a number of different directions and some likely sanity savings if and when I do. Even wondering if Elements alone might not just provide enough tools to handle my videography / photography needs without ever needing to upgrade. But if I decide I do need to, I can. (As with Sony, which I didn't know until reading this thread.)

      3) Depth and quality of training material available. (I'm a member and they have a ton of Adobe stuff plus Adobe has done quite a bit of their own.Tons on the web as well.)

      4) Safe bet. They have been a market leader for so long, I would think that they have put that to good use in terms of improving their product and service. On the other hand, in some cases outdated architecture and approaches and a large complex product offering can hold a company back. I'm not sure which is more true of Adobe, frankly and how Sony compares.

      5) Slight buy American prejudice.


      If I were to choose pro apps down the line, I realize that the price of the Creative Cloud is intimidating as is the time suck rabbit hole required to learn and use the technical tools, but if one were to use a number of applications and try to stay reasonably current, wouldn't the costs even out or maybe even be in the favor of the subscription?


      Obviously, I guess I stress out over this decision. I realize it's potentially a big one with long term consequences. Too bad it's best made at the start when one doesn't know much. I know everyone has to make it though. I would also guess that many of you have gained perspective of having used a number of different programs. What do you think of my thought process? and what's your opinion on Adobe in genreal and Premiere Elements in specific? and why? It kind of freaks me out that noone has even mentioned it.


      thanks for reading!


      As I said, however, I'm pretty green and I'm not sure whether I made the right move or not.

    • #209386

      I haven't tried it but just based upon my shopping research, I see that Cyberlink Power Director seems to get consistently good reviews in this price / performance category. Anyone have any thoughts on that one? Corel has been mentioned above. Lot's of people also seem to like Pinnacle.

    • #209391

      Bill, I've read a lot of good reviews about CyberLink too. No one I know likes Pinnacle. I've switched a few users to Vegas Movie Studio and they have been very happy with it.

      What I highly recommend is to download the trial versions of different programs (one at a time please) and give it a lengthy evaluation. Then and only then can you make an informed decision.



    • #209395

      Bill, unfortunately it is a lot of work 🙁

      As has already been suggested, check out user forums for the software that you're considering.

      Be advised that some manufacturer user forums don't take too kindly to anyone complaining about their software.

      I'm a long time Vegas Pro user and can say that the Sony forums are a good place to go for help and information as Sony does very little moderation.



    • #209396



      *  Does Sony software address only video and audio for film (time based media)? or is there more? i.e. web / print / graphics design? photography?

      *  Is Sony Vegas Pro Suite all that one would want for video and audio or would other offerings from Sony still be relevant?

      *  Do you know where the software is developed? Do you know where most of it's users are? How about it's support operations? i.e. N. America, Asia, Europe? Do you think it makes any difference?

      *  I happen to own Sony DSLR. Do you know if there is any special advantage to using Sony software given my camera brand?

      *  How often does Sony publish upgrades? How often do you think it prudent to purchase them?


      Sony software users sure do seem to like their products. Capable and intuitive / easy to learn and use seems to be the message. Would you agree?


      You haven't commented on Adobe. If I were to read between the lines, I'd say you decided against them for some reason. Could you elaborate?



    • #209397

      The Sony products that I'm familiar with only support audio and video. There's a comparison chart of the different versions (Movie Studio and Pro) at

      The Vegas Pro Suite ($800 list) includes Vegas Pro, DVD Architect Pro for DVD authoring , Sound Forge for audio enhancement/sweetening and HitFilm 2 Ultimate for a expanded range of video FX.

      Details of this package are at

      There are sales from time to time so never pay full price when you can wait a while and get it cheaper (sometimes a lot cheaper!!).

      It doesn't make much difference these days but Vegas is developed in Madison, Wisconsin so you're dealing with local people.

      Sony is a huge company with lots of different divisions who rarely if ever speak to each other about new hardware and how to integrate them into their own software 🙁

      Up until Pro 12 Sony was releasing a new version of Vegas once a year. Pro 12 has been out for over a year now and there are no signs of a new version. Instead, they've chosen to fix bugs and improve the current version which we as users are very happy about. There have been 8 updates since the original release, all free to registered users.


      I would definiitely agree about the ease of use. I work at a local community college and can get students doing basic editing with as little as 1 hour of instruction.


      Nothing against Adobe but the only product of theirs that I've ever used is Photoshop. I started computer editing a "few" years ago with a Commodore Amiga which I loved and hated to see the product die an early death. From there I switched to a company called DPS and their NLE dpsVelocity. During that time I started using Vegas 1.0, an audio-only package for audio sweetening for my tape-based edit suite. Following a job change, I started using Vegas at version 4 and have never looked back. It allows me to do what I have to do and to be as creative as I want to be. I have to admit that I am not as good as some users I know as some of them are amazing. There are a number of add-on programs from various companies that will add to your capabilities.



    • #209400

      I didn't know Sony software had been around that long. It doesn't seem to be that well know amoung novices but more experienced users definitely know of it. I will keep it in consideration.


      Thanks for the info Mike! Nice to meetcha!

    • #209401

      Sony (Vegas Pro Suite) Vs. Adobe (Creative Suite/Cloud):

      More observations from 20,000 feet. Feedback and corrections welcome! (Mike?)


      Video and Audio Features and Capabilities: More study or input needed here but both seem to give accomplished video and audio users what they need.


      Breadth of Offering:  Both offer video and audio. Adobe adds web, photography, and print.


      Ease of Use: Adobe users speak of steep learning curves. Sony of intuitiveness, ease, and quick learning curves. If you are also a web, photography, or print user, I would expect some improvement on the Adobe side vs. Sony plus x and y and z companies but hard to say and everyone's situation is different. (Personally, I'm not sure whether either set is practical for a "generalist" but I have greater concern over Adobe. Anyone, have an opinion? Is this practical or are the programs pretty much limited to specialists?)


      Cost: If your concern is limited to video and audio, Sony is less expensive, even if you keep up to date, especially if you buy on discounted specials. It also offers more flexibility for cash management. i.e. upgrading is up to you. If you also need web, photography, or print, the cost advantage could swing towards Adobe.


      Support / Learning Tools / Community: Not sure. My impression is that either would offer what you need to get and keep going.


      Did I miss any other comparison worth considering?



      Let me know if you agree or not. I'm still trying to navigate my development without becoming intimately familiar with each family of programs. Call me lazy?



    • #209411

      Bill, I agree that Adobe has more offerings but keep in mind that these are separate programs which, as you mentioned, does mean a steeper learning curve. The other issue is Adobe's decision to go cloud based. This has turned off a lot of users I know as they prefer to buy a piece of software and use it for as long as they want, not rent it which is what Adobe has forced you into doing.

      In the end it comes down to personal preference and I prefer to stick with the devil I know rather than the devil I don't know 🙂



    • #209447

      No one NLE can do everything that most editors ask of it which is why Adobe and most other companies offer companion products. I use Vegas Pro, DVD Architect Pro and Sound Forge from Sony but also have and use Photoshop, After Effects, iZotope RX2 (an advanced audio tool for serious repair), Magic Bullet Looks and a few NewBlue products.


      The good thing about Adobe is that all their products seamlessly integrate with each other which makes sending projects from one to another very easy.


      Vegas can do this with 3rd party products but the workflow can be tricky at times.

      Your observation about Vegas being a good choice for a solo producer is an accurate observation. It's a very powerful program but the lack of easy interchange between programs such as Premiere and FCP can be problematic to some users.

      In the end, they're all tools and a good editor uses what they're comfortable with.



    • #209679

      Please consider all media and all operations you will be doing.  Burning DVD's?  Then get a program that includes a good burner.  Multiple cameras?  Will you eventually use more than 1 camera?  Then get a program that is easy to work with multiple cameras.  Changing cameras?  Different cameras use different storage codecs.  I work with 4 cameras, and can mix avi, mpg, mts, and even ProRes files on the same timeline without rendering, edit in real time and render to any codec desired.  I use pro version of Magix Video Pro, but they have versions within your price range. Nice package.  I've heard great things about Cyberlink, and Corel has good programs.  Sony is good and popular, but more modular and can cost $$ for extras and steeper learning curve as many feel it isn't very intuitive but good once you learn it.  I like a NLE that works like Word – Ctrl+X cuts, Ctrl+V pastes, Ctrl+C copies clips, etc.  Also, keyboard shortcuts are critical to cutting editing time.  Don't fret too much.  Most any choice of all the above will be much better than MovieMaker!  Pretty much all NLE's have youtube instruction videos, but you really want one that's intuitive and you don't need support to figure out how to do something.  

    • #210283

      As per my opinion for newbie in video editing Camtasia Studio 7.0 is the right software for beginners.

    • #210293

      I got in on this thread late, but I want to echo what one person said re: Pinnacle software.  I have been using Pinnacle Studio for 12 years and currently use Studio 14, a 32-bit software.  I stick with it only because it is so familiar to me that I make good time when editing.  It does most of what I need it to do since I got a computer fast enough to make it function well.  Had I known when I first started editing, I would have chosen Sony Movie Studio as my first suite.  By now, I could have graduated to Vegas Pro.  I am over 60 years old, and I refuse to start over and learn to navigate through a new software.  I trudge along with Pinnacle and make do.

    • #210313

      I agree with what eyecue138 said. I heard a saying once that people edit on the software they learned with. Meaning: There is a lot of loyalty to software based strongly in part because it’s what’s familiar. I myself am a Premiere guy. I started with 5.1 years ago, then Pro, then dropped out for awhile and picked back up with Premiere Elements (which I successfully used to make money.) Now I’m running the dreaded Adobe Cloud and couldn’t be happier. Everything integrates so well. But yes, there has been a learning curve – and I don’t think that’s exclussive to Adobe.

      Whichever one you choose, I’m sure it will serve your purposes for now. But bear in mind what you may want to go with in the future. I suggest picking a lite version of something you may one day want to use.

      As for Adobe, I think you can still purchase Premiere Elements and Photoshop Elements as a package deal for the ballpark of your budget. They intergrate really well and you not only get very capable video editing software, but also a version of Photoshop that does pretty much anything you’d want to do at this stage.

    • #210439

      Eww pinnacle? Really? I got some "FREE" editing software from pinnacle once with a video converter. I upgraded to the "pro" version (This was in the days when I was learning on windows movie maker on xp looking for something a little more robust) I stopped using it because they kept advertsing upgraded packages and effects and transitions and sound packs and titles and…. No I will never touch another pinnacle product in my life if I'm not forced at gun point; that experience left a bad taste in my mouth.

    • #210446

      I use CyberLink PowerDirector 12 and am still exploring all the things I can do with it. I also do instructional videos. They're about ham radio. I just uploaded one today to YouTube at (or search for iGMDnHnbwzw on YouTube if that URL doesn't come through). I will say, though, that the publishers of VideoMaker are very Adobe-oriented, so you might want to look at Adobe Premiere Elements just to keep in sync with the suggestions in the magazine. I think people shy away from CyberLink because it's a Taiwanese company vs an American one, but I've sure had good results with it. You can make your video as simple or complex as you want. It has great titling capability, comes with some free background music that can be tailored to the length of the shot, and can be used for both simple and convoluted projects. 

    • #210604

      some of the good editing software i have found are final cut pro X, Adobe premiere or sony vegas. 

    • #210629

      If you don't want to spend money and are on a Mac, you might want to start with something like iMovie. Pretty natural transition from there to Final Cut X.

    • #210630

      iMovie comes free with Macs, so there is zero cost.

      Final Cut Pro X, however is totally powerful (haven't found one thing that I can't do with it), but it costs $300.

      Ripple Training provides both free and paid tutorials on FCP (and many other apps).


    • #211061

      +1 for FCP or Adobe Premiere. It has a bit of a learning curve for beginners but I say jump right in if you are serious. Otherwise use iMovie. I learned on Windows Movie Maker – which is terrible.

    • #211069

      Final Cut Pro X is pretty solid and super easy to use once you get used to it. Only downside is it's around $300. Well worth every penny, though.


      Another great tool would be Adobe Premiere Pro Elements. It's priced at right around $100 (If adobe still makes it). And if you're a student, you always get a great discount on most all editing software. 


    • #209392

      I'm afraid you might be right Mike. Sure makes for alot of work though. 😉

    • #209424

      I find myself trying to understand your point about Adobe being all separate programs. Isn't it the same with Sony to some degree?


      Not actually having used either Adobe Creative Cloud or Sony Creative Software as mentioned above, here is my cursory understanding of how these competitors address the different needs of a video editor:



      Video Editing:  Premiere Pro

      Special Effects:  After Effects

      Audio Editing:  Audition

      Encoding:  Media Encoder

      DVD Authoring: Encore

      Video Ingest / Workflow:  Prelude

      Color Grading:  Speedgrade

      Total Programs: 7



      Video Editing: Vegas Pro

      Special Effects: HitFilm

      Audio Editing: Sound Forge

      Titles: Titler

      Encoding: Production Assistant (plugin)

      DVD Authoring: DVD Architect

      Video Ingest / Workflow: Production Assistant

      Color Grading: Vegas Pro

      Total Programs: 6



      So, obviously both companies employ multiple programs to address the gamut of needs. The Adobe suite has 7 pieces and Sony 6. Is Adobe really that much more disjoint than the Sony suite? If so, it is not immediately clear. Can you let me know more about your take on this?


      Reading more of the program promo info, I'm starting to get a sense that Adobe may be more team focused. On the other hand, that would mean that Sony might be a better choice for the solo video producer. Would you agree with this interpretation?






    • #210271

      I completely agree, Magix editing software has a lot more abilities than most beginner software but isn't completely overwhelming to use. Once you've gotten the hang of it using something like FCP later on is certainly possible. Just take your time and memorize the shortcuts, seriously they'll save you so much time!

    • #210320

      I also use the Pro 6 for video editing we edit Pudlic access programs for south east Michigan it is very easy to learn and can do some very neat things has you get to know the systen thats my point Thanks

    • #210436

      My sentiments exactly. I am new to video editing and have free version of Pinnacle studio 14. For me it is still a steep learning curve even though it's supposed to be simple. Not so. It has taken me many hours to learn the basics, but I still struggle with Montage editing and simple cuts. Any advice would be appreciated. Thankyou

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