Always start with what’s free


Always start with what’s free – Windows Movie Maker is far from amazing, but it is fairly intuitive and will do 90% of the stuff you listed. You will run into problems with larger/longer projects due to your computer’s specs, so you may have to cut projects down into smaller chunks to work on them. If you are new to editing, I would suggest starting here.

Next, if you have some experience with editing or would like to learn something new, DaVinci Resolve 12.5 is free and includes decently powerful editing capabilities, plus you can throw on some simple color grading and wow your friends. Output is limited to 1080p. I find the interface very pleasant to work in. The only real downside is that you need a piece of hardware that costs $137 (plus a second monitor or TV) to output full screen previews while you’re working. So if you don’t spring for that, you’re stuck editing on the small screen.

Finally, my main workhorse software for editing is Adobe Premiere CC (and I typically roundtrip to Resolve for color grading). Fairly expensive and a very non-intuitive interface (for me, at least), but very powerful. This is the only option that has stabilization that is quite good, and of course offers all the other fancy stuff you mentioned. One reasonable option for Premiere is to buy it one month at a time for $30, and only buy it when you have a project that requires it. Have your friends kick you a few bucks each time and it won’t be too expensive. You might also be able to find an older non-cloud version of Premiere that fits your budget (but may not have Warp Stabilizer).

I used a mix of these three for years, and I think that model could work well for you too – Windows Movie Maker for the stupid simple projects, Resolve for fancier projects, and Premiere once in a while if you need video stabilization or other high end features.

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