Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Editing › Software I should be using? › The software is merely a tool
The software is merely a tool. The different software packages allow you to do pretty much the same thing no matter which one you choose, it just depends which one you're most comfortable with. To help you choose, here are the major talking points about each one.
Avid: Used to completely dominate the movie industry as the first true NLE, but in the early days you had to buy not only the software, but their hardware as well, and that was prohibitively expensive for most people. Now you can just get the software, although they still have hardware they recommend. You can either buy the software straight out or do a monthly subscription, which makes it extremely easy to afford. (I'll get more into the advantages of SAAS later). Avid also has the best media management available, which comes in handy.
Final Cut Pro: Took quite a bit of business away from Avid… until FCPX, when Apple decided that their engineers knew better than the video editing community and dumbed it down to appeal to the masses. Some people love it, but a lot more hate it (IMHO). It's purchase only (no SAAS) and it only runs on Mac, so if you're building a PC, it's not a consideration.
Sony Vegas Pro: A lot of people really like it. I tried it when it first came out and absolutely hated it, as it was Sony's first foray into video instead of just audio. However, they've had a few versions come out since then so apparently it's much improved. Purchase only as far as I know.
Sony CI: This is another option. It's web based, which gives you a lot of options as far as working from different locations/computers.
Adobe Premiere Pro: OK, I'm going to show my bias here. I LOVE PP, and the whole Creative Cloud concept. A lot of other people do, too, as it's quickly becoming Avid's primary rival in the film industry. That's because not only did Adobe make massive improvements and rewrite it completely, but they actually listen to the video editing community and incorporate the suggestions into new updates. It's also due to the tight integration between PP and After Effects (AE) and collaboration features (the latter of which you won't really need if you're working on your own). When you have PP and AE running side by side, your changes in AE are automatically updated in PP. It's such a huge timesaver! Also, with the Creative Cloud, not only do I have EVERY program I need to do professional video production (editing, effects, 3D, color grading, audio, image creation/manipulation), I also have every program I need to run the entire creative side of my business (print materials such as flyers, etc, web design, web animation, etc.). It's just a massive value. This is literally just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the advantages of the Creative Cloud and the features Adobe has made.
Now, let's get into the advantages of SAAS/subscription. The video industry is changing, and changing fast. Sure, you can buy a license once and not have to pay again, but only if you never want new features. Then you'll have to shell out another few hundred bucks for an upgrade. With SAAS you just pay a monthly fee and you're covered for all updates. Also, SAAS allows you to learn new software withouth shelling out thousands of dollars. I want to learn Avid in case someone has an Avid project they need help on. However, it's a couple thousand dollars for the suite. With a subscription, I can have it on my machine and learn it for a month or two and pay less than $100. Then, when that project comes along, I can just reactivate my subscription. Perfect!
All of that said, like I said in the beginning, whichever software you get, it's actually you that makes your productions shine. Pick out whichever one works best for you.