Businesses, families and individuals are using video more and more to advertise, document, and connect. As such, there are an increasing number of video editing software programs available. Which software you use greatly depends on whether you are at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level. Once you have decided your skill level, you will be able to narrow down your best options.
As a beginner, you haven’t had experience with video editing software and possibly not much experience with other graphic design software. Beginners often want to put together slide shows with photographs, make family videos or edit videos for YouTube. You will probably be satisfied with a simple, easy-to-navigate interface without a lot of features. Since you are just beginning to experiment with this hobby, you shouldn’t spend a large amount of money on software. You will also most likely need good technical support with help documentation, FAQs, support forums and tutorials.
There are many options for video editing software that fit beginners’ needs. Start out with the free software that may come standard with your operating system such as iMovie for Mac OS or Windows Movie Maker for Windows. They are usually simple, intuitive and easy to use. They don’t have a large variety of features, but there are enough design options that they will likely do the job that you need them to. They also offer a good amount of tech support since they are used by many consumers and come standard with your operating system. If your free operating system software doesn’t quite meet your needs, but you still aren’t sure you want to buy software, there are a lot of free downloads such as Blender, Avid Free DV, and Wax, but they may not offer as much tech support as you’d like. Once you decide you want a little more control and are willing to spend a comparatively small amount of money, consider buying Corel Video Maker or Pinnacle Studio. These options come with a good amount of tech support.
If you have some experience with video editing software (perhaps the software listed in the beginner section), you are at an intermediate level. If you haven’t had a lot of experience with video editing software, but you have experience with other graphic editing software or can generally figure out software on your own pretty easily, you should try out intermediate software. As an intermediate-level editor, you’d probably like to have more design features, creative power and possibly even audio and photo editing options within the software as well. However, you probably still want the software to be intuitive and relatively simple. Since you have already invested a considerable amount of time developing your skills and know that you will continue to use the software, you are likely willing to spend a little more money on higher-end software than you would as a beginner. You will still probably need some tech support, but that won’t be quite as important in your decision-making process.
A large variety of software options are available for intermediate editors. Some of the most popular programs for this level are Final Cut Express, Sony Vegas Studio and Adobe Premiere Elements. These are less feature-rich versions of the developers’ high-end software, and are much less expensive. If you want software with more features at your level and are willing to pay a higher-end price, try Adobe Premiere Pro. They have quite a good tech support system as well. Pinnacle Studio, Corel Video Studio and Avid Free DV are also relatively low in price and have many of the features perfect for an intermediate-level editor.
As an advanced video editor, you have a considerable amount of video editing and other graphic editing software experience. You need the capability to design anything that your heart desires. You want software that will give you complete creative power and has an endless amount of features and options. You want to be able to edit audio, video and photos within the software, as well as add video overlays and build your own transition and effects. You are willing to pay high-end prices because you are likely a professional with a video editing business. Because you are familiar with editing software, you probably don’t need to worry much about technical support.
Only high-end, feature-rich video editing software will suffice for the professional. Some of the best and most popular high-end software available today are Final Cut Studio, Sony Vegas, or Avid Media Composer. These will give you all the features you desire, but you definitely pay for those features.
No matter the skill level, you need to make sure your operating system and hardware are compatible with the software you choose. You may also need to upgrade your video card, processor or hard drive so the software has enough power to run effectively.