Which Video Editing Software Is Right For You?
Video Editing Software Buyer's Guide:
- Video Editing Hardware: What You’ll Need To Get Started
- A Guide To Free Video Editing Software
- A Guide To Inexpensive Video Editing Software
- A Guide To Professional Video Editing Software
Topics of conversation not appropriate for polite society or the office include sex, politics, religion and the best video editing software. They're all passion points, not amenable to logic alone.
I am a biased reviewer. When it comes to non-linear video editing packages (NLEs), I have my favorites, prejudices, neuroses and pet peeves. What follows is, therefore, an admittedly opinionated rant. I will be happy to entertain your reactions, contributions, support, derision, flame or outright invective in the comments section below. I may even respond. Bring it on.
The best news is that video editing software is part of a mature ecosystem. We find several quality competing titles at each level of capability, most of them at not-unreasonable (nor unreachable) price points. Each flagship in this color-war tows a flotilla of companion programs, add-ons, plug-ins, peripheral hardware and third-party hacks in its wake. The very existence of clusters of competing digital carving tools accelerates the democratization of video production, a truly rising-tide lifting all boats but slowly sinking the price of entry.
It is now technically possible—although just barely—for a solo filmmaker to shoot, cut, score, title and mix a feature film capable of theatrical projection. Or spawn her own network of social media-subscribed feeds.
From now on, it’s all about your talent…
There Is No Best
Humans like to keep score. But we’re not going to rank video editors here. Instead, I want to help you pick the perfect tool to fit your hand. And your hand is likely unlike my hand.
Are you shooting with a camcorder? DSLR? Mirror-less? Selfie-cam? GoPro? Tablet/Phone? Will you be making short films for YouTube? Documentaries for TV? Animations? Events (OK, yeah, wedding videos) for DVD or Blu-ray? Music videos? Let’s get you the right implement for your specific task.
The culinary analogy: a master chef may find a barebones Wolf industrial stove ($3000) far more practical than an expensive La Cornue Grand Palais kitchen range ($47,000). But sometimes, only the right melon baller will do.
A comprehensive review of each video editing software product would take a flurry of dedicated articles, each perhaps as long as this one. But I’ll highlight the key differentiators that might draw you toward one choice or another. And I’ll try to give you the flavor of each.
One sour note before we get going: customer service seems to be universally poor across the product population. There is only bad and worse, which is unfortunate but not hard to understand. Within a corporate business structure, spending resources on a commodity after it ships is a difficult case to make in front of the CFO.