Novice needs guidance on editing software.

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    • #55634


      So I started this by doing a video for the anniversary of someone who works for me.  It was fun and really well received and next thing you know I was hooked.  I've been doing little projects some for me, some for others.  I have been getting requests to do some work for some charities I work with (including this little bit I did recently for a dog rescue I've adopted from – I'm not great yet but getting better).
      So my question….I went from the free Windows 7 movie maker to trying a couple of other things and settling on Corel Video Studio.  But as you'll hear in this last little video I didn't have the best mic (just the built-in on my Sony handycam) and the truck sound at the end drives me bonkers.  I started looking around and have been playing with a trial of Premier Pro and Audition and wish I'd tried them before this went out.  But to be honest I am struggling to learn the Adobe products.  There are so many components and no 'manual' to speak of that I can find.
      I am sitting here with a couple of short documentary projects brewing in my head and besides a better camera and external mic (I've been reading all of the recommendations here and saving up) I am debating whether I just upgrade my Corel software or bite the budget bullet and subscribe to the Adobe Cloud package.
      Assuming you all say Adobe (I know it can do so much more)…..what's the best way to get training on it?  I usually learn by doing but I really feel like there's so much to all the pieces that I really need some class/webinar/book time.  
    • #206659

      I'm currently using PowerDirector11 but i'm also wondering whats really the best all around video editing package. PowerDirector11 has gotten great reviews, but i feel its more guided towards the amateur, "easy to use" side of things, and I am much more intersted in finding something thats slightly more complex, but delievers a better final product. Sorry im not helping, but im also wondering the same thing as you… so im bumping this thread! Can't wait to hear some answers

    • #206660
      Participant is absolutely wonderful for learning CS6.  Highly recomended.



    • #206661

      Thanks for that tip Brian.  Looks like is a great resource for a lot of things!

    • #206663

      I use both products Premiere Pro 5.5 and Corel X5 (thinking about x6). Mostly I use Premiere Pro because it does offer a lot of flexibility on setup and export.


      When I switched to PPro CS3 from Corel for the bulk of my work I was a little disoriented too. I agree that is an excellent place to learn PPro – you used to get a year free!


      I think the timeline features of PPro represent the major differences for me between the two products. I like stipulating what size of project I'm working in and scale the footage to fit. If X5 did that I'd use it more often. X5 is a good product, PPro is an excellent move up and this forum alawys has folks that can lend a hand with questions about a wide variety of products. BTW, none of them are 'intuitive' they all have their strengths and quirks, and they all require patience!



    • #206664

      So true!  It took me awhile to learn X5 as well as Photoshop and Elements and all those fun tools.  Great point about the timeline.


      Can't thank you all enough for the help!  (Now and in the future I'm sure!)

    • #206666

      Another great site when you move on to After Effects is



    • #206667

      Cool. thanks! BTW…if you guys have constructive feedback on the little video I attached I welcome it.

    • #206675

      I echo what others have said. Lynda is good, VideoCoPilot is also good.  There are tons of resources online that will teach you things.  I really like an online show called Film Riot.  It's funny and educational.  Whenever I have a specific question on how to do something, I often do a YouTube search and find multiple tutorials there.  Nothing beats hands on experience though, so learn from these resources, practice what you learned, play around with the software and see what it's capable of, and keep doing this over and over.  You will only get better.  Learn, Do, Repeat.


      Oh, and your video was pretty good.  I might suggest shooting broll of the dog instead of tilting down from the guy to the dog, you could just do a cut, but that's my preference.  Obviously the audio was not perfect, but we could still hear everything, so it could have been much worse.



    • #206677

      Thanks for the feedback Jon.  Much appreciated!


    • #206682

      I've had luck with Sony Vegas. It's pretty easy to learn on your own. Even though you could do tons of things with Adobe Affter Effects and Premiere – I think Vegas is more user friendler when it comes to video editing. Just my 2 cents πŸ™‚

    • #206694

      While mine may be the exception rather than the norm, I'm gaining all my experience "on the job" and have cameras and my choice of software at my disposal. I chose Adobe Premier Pro as my "weapon of choice" simply because I'm familiar with all Adobe products (as part of my job) and the interface are all similar. I have Premier Pro CS6 and it's amazing. 


      Like you, I'm looking for more experience on my own time. If you have access to adult learning programs in your area, you can usually find classes in how to use Final Cut or Adobe Premier Pro as well as Photoshop which is useful when creating your own content. is another great source for answering any questions you might have and have video tutorials. You Tube, Videomaker, and have all been helpful too. I strongly suggest investing in a class to get the basics. I'm still discovering all the things PP can do.

    • #206698

      I love your video, but as you point out, audio is a problem. Better video editing software won't help that.  I use CyberLink PowerDirector 11 and am pretty happy with it overall for the simple videos I do. See PD 11 has an audio editor as part of the package which can help reduce noise, but there's no substitute for properly miking your talent.

    • #206705

      Thanks G Piggy, LMC and David.  LMC, we have a good community college nearby that I've been told has a lot of good video classes (this is LA after all!) so I wil check for some classes also.  I studied still photography at IFC when I lived in NYC but could really benefit from a videography class no doubt about it.  


      David, even as I'm getting more comfortable with the video and graphics editing I do feel like I am really starting from scratch on audio (other than music which was not too tough to learn how to have a music track)…..I am definitely plunking money into a savings account now for a better camera, mic and lighting….besides being on a budget I don't want to put out too much money now before I learn a lot more and have a better idea what I want.


      That said, I just got called to come video some stuff for the rescue again this weekend (politician visit) and I ran out and bought an inexpensive external mic.  Might not be a lot better given it is not very high end, but hopefully better than the built in.  Wish me luck!

    • #206718

      I used to use Premier Pro back when I shot on MiniDV. I took some time off from video production and recently got back into the game doing HD production. I’m using Premier Elements and have been generally happy with it. I know the pro version would be ideal, but I can’t justify the expense of CS6 right now.

      I’ve heard it said that most editors stick with what they started with so it’s good to do your research before committing. I think Adobe puts out a top notch product and look forward to the day I step up and get and the whole suite. But a lot of folks are happily using Vegas and other editors.

      One thing to consider – if you ever plan to do this professionally you may want to stick to a popular platform (there’s a reason they’re popular.) Used to be that you had to have Avid or Final Cut experience to get work as an editor – but Adobe has made HUGE headway in the pro department. I’m not sure where Vegas sits.

      And forget about the whole “fix it in post” thing. Sure, you can sweeten a few things here and there but there is no substitute for getting good audio and video in the field. Consider spending your money on good production equipment and keep your editing software budget in the $100 range until you’re ready to go big. Editing software might last you 2 years before it’s outdated, a good microphone will last you 10+ years, a good tripod lasts a lifetime.

    • #206722

      I would recommend either Sony Vegas (I think it is called movie studio now) or premiere elements.  I had to download the latest premiere elements for work the other week and I was very surprised how robust it was for green screen / chroma key work. It really had most of the bells and whistles that one would need and is pretty straight forward.  


      Hope that helps a bit!

    • #206727

      That's two for Sony Vegas!  I'll take a look.  And thanks all for the extra input. 


      dellwovideo – that is really helpful.  I was just looking at available classes at the local college and they all referenced Avid.  I got my little external mic today and will try it tomorrow.  As it turned out they left some accessories out of the shipment and Amazon refunded the whole cost so hey….might not be the best mic but now it is FREE so won't complain too much.  


      I did read on this site a good article about borrowing and renting equipment for jobs to save money and to try it out before investing.  Awesome idea. 


      Glad I found this site and forum.  Really getting a lot of good information.

    • #206731



                    Hi! I operate as an 'Independent' doing Natural History/Wildlife documentary-making in the south of New Zealand. Early-on, I downloaded a 'trial', v1.0 in fact of German software which was well-regarded  by a series of disgruntled ex-users of 'Ulead Media Studio Pro 8', after the new owners, 'Corel', pulled the plug on it and withdrew support, instead of the upgrade we had all been looking forward to. Magix 'Video-Pro-X' which came highly recommended at the time, seemed to tick more of most people's boxes, than most other software available, and has developed no-end since then. Moreover, It's easier to pick-up, and draws heavily on intuitiveness, to enable rapid progress to be made learning-wise. Everything which takes place in this software is the logical or 'expected' thing. But then, for non-professional users, along came the consumer-level version retailing for less than US$99 and with a huge raft of features, which is is only exceeded by its professional counterpart, for those working on a 'industrial' scale, This software is not quirky or idiosyncratic, in my case, works flawlessly with 'Cineform', 'Mercalli' and other such software, is stable, (in a 'stable' computer), and 'delivers', as it did in the case of a fifty minute feature I have just completed work on.


       One very useful feature, is that work may be burned to either an image-file or disc direct from the timeline, with a 'simulation' to assure the integrity of the processes in-between. So, although I currently use Video Pro-X 4.0 for the heavy-going, I generally use Movie Edit Pro MX (2013) for the rest of my work; It matters little, which. Both 'deliver' and with all the features one would expect.


       Another aspect is compatibility with other software, since the 'MX' system allows other software to be used, without leaving 'MEP'. Full function is assured by using 'Magix's' own software. For example I go direct to 'Audio Cleaning Lab' instead of an audio-editor, when need be, because, the curse of my existence, working near the coast, is wind-noise, jet-skis, chainsaws, aircraft etc. quad-bikes, helicopters, (you name it), and my audio, even providing it is usable at all, usually needs a lot of reworking. 


       I have been reading items on this forum for a number of years, and, hate to say it Guys, I think there is something of a fixation with American-sourced software. There is also some very good software comes out of Europe these days and two items I use frequently, are from Russia. Since I make my own graphics, (using a 2006 version of Ulead 'PhotoImpact', because I know of none handier), and masks of various kinds are needed, a small item called 'Instant-Mask' from 'Clipping-Art Studios' (from Novogorod, with love), cuts out much of the hard-labour of graphics. Similarly, I have to combine a lot of 'standard definition', (which I usually run in a scaled-down window on-screen), with High Definition. For that I use 'Video Enhancer', also from Europe, since I usually

      up-scale SD to 1280 x 720. For disguising the footage's SD beginnings, 'Neat Video' is very handy, provided a sampling-area of suitable size may be found, (not always easy with Natural History material).


       My point, is that, by using much editing software, if it is any good, you tend to be tied into someone else's system; in fact, even what 'they' think you should have, as opposed to what you feel is necessary. If it is all about prestige, or god-forbid, a huge outlay on editing software to justify what the user charges clients, then go for the most expensive by all means. What is needed, is something which 'delivers', without being full of ideosyncrasies which require a training-course to pick up and gaining knowledge which is not transferrable to any other brand of software. I do not upgrade for every 'mark' of 'Video Pro-X', because the essential features do not change as rapidly as some distributors would have you believe. In any case, those same feature updates are available on Movie Edit Pro MX for a modest outlay. So I only upgrade VPX, when there is a really compelling reason to do so, perhaps every two to three years. I upgrade MEP annually, although I'm reviewing that, now that the emphasis seems to be shifting more to compatibility with 'I-devices' and  social networking sites for much software, than for 'real' grass-roots video-making.


       A video-editor is not a status symbol, it is a 'tool', and irritation quickly develops, as it does with any other 'tool' which fails to deliver. If an item of software 'delivers' for US$99, then, why pay more. One last caution: If you wish to experience many happy and fulfilling hours of editing, forget about the editor for a moment, and cast your eye over your computer's specification. Adopt, as a 'bottom-line' an adequate CPU (eg Intel i7), and other often-overlooked items such as adequate RAM, (in which regard, 16gb of 'Ultra-fast' for heavy-duty is not too much). Retire those USB2.0 devices to archiving and upgrade to the faster USB 3.0. I have known of more dissatisfaction with video editors being due to inadequate computer resources, than I have known, totally incompetent editing software itself. I know, since being retired, running a non-profit-making venture and cash-strapped for most of the time, has given me a keen eye, for such things.


      Ian Smith

      Dunedin, New Zealand


    • #206751

      I've used a number of different video editing softwares over the years. Sony Vegas, Pinnacle (isn't good btw), Final Cut, and Premiere Pro + After Effects + Photoshop and I must say, Adobe is the way to go. I really don't know how I did it before without Premiere Pro. It's the best and I'll never change unless they ruin it – which I doubt Adobe would do to such a great editing suite (in my opinion).

    • #206752

      Thanks VyV….I was shooting some stuff at the rescue with my piddly camera and free external mic and a pro camera crew from USC came by to shoot one a group of USC students and alum who were doing volunteer work.  I drooled all over their equipment (camera was about $20K+ so…..).  But one of the guy asked me what I was using for editing and I said I have used a few but was trying now to learn Adobe PPro and he said it would have been the one he would have recommended so that was interesting.  Every day I learn more!

    • #206768

      I recently signed up with Adobe Creative Cloud service, a month to month or subscription service that gives you access to all of Adobe's products. 


      Although hesitant at first, I now am convinced this is a great way to learn their video products, as well as other products, without having to commit for a full purchase. If you have a kid in high school or college, or maybe you or your spouse is a teacher, you can get educational pricing, but of course, that's not to be used for commercial purposes.




    • #206844

      In this world of video production everyone has there preferences as to which camera to use or editing system to get the results they want.


      When it comes to editing softwares im only familiar with Premiere Pro, Final Cut and Avid and in the end I stuck with Premiere. I find that the application offers more simplicity in terms of getting my editing done and therefore I move much faster. Ive been using it for 13 years now and I really love it.


      The only thing that final cut pro has over premiere for me that sometimes make me wanna use it is the default suite of effects that it comes with, while in premiere you will have to buy those seperatley.


       I train editors on Premiere coz of its simplicity yet your delivering broadcast standard production.

    • #206848

      I'll echo the Premier comments. I'm a relative newbie so for me it was simply a matter of learning resourses. There is no other product that has such a broad based support system. I found it a bit complexed originally then I subscribed to  and used You Tube videos and once I started playing with the effects menu it came much easier.


      The other issue that really bugged me about anything in the $100.00 range was the inability to use the CPU resourses. Everything was single thread and stalled and shuttered. I subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud and now use all their products. I have no idea what is the best but if you don't have a lot of time to dedicate to learning then you need the endless supply of third party knowledge available. 


      Love your video!

    • #206857

      I've used an earlier version of Adobe PP and never liked the workflow much, but the CS6 version is so much better.


      When you consider that Hollywood movies are now being cut on what was once consumer software (Final Cut, etc), albeit high end "prosumers", one can see how the whole movie making process is becoming democratized. The high price barriers are coming down and I think that's a good thing. Have a look at the Blackmagic camera and see the pricing – under $4,000! Lens separate of course. That's in line with the 5D series of cameras.



    • #206858

      I signed up for subscription and have been working through all the modules on Adobe CS6.  I'm working on a small project for the rescue as I do it and learning a lot.

      Thanks everyone for the tips!

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