Most video editing software for consumers and mainstream users is best used for one or another of these specific functions, but there are a few generalists out there, too. We look at the full spectrum: Free video editing software; paid consumer video editing programs that cost $80 or less; and "prosumer" versions that offer deeper feature sets, though usually for high purchase prices.
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Magix is a bit of a sleeper as far as movie editors go, and honestly it does fall short in some of the higher level features that you’ll find in the big dogs like Final Cut and Adobe Premiere. But let’s start with the basics of what makes it great for a beginner, and that’s the fact that, well, it handles the basics really well. First off, it’ll run on most modern Windows machines, up through Windows 10, which is great for beginners because those people most likely won’t have the budget or desire to shell out for a Mac. So it’s software that will work out of the box for your affordable Windows machine. According to their website, the software has been going strong for 15 years, delivering upwards of 93 percent customer satisfaction on its iterations.
Even though Windows Movie Maker has a wide variety of special effects, some of them look a little tacky when implemented. Especially if you use a lot of them within a short span of one video. Also, a great feature of Windows Movie Maker is that you can add subtitles to your video. The problem is that this can become a little tedious when you have to manually put them in.
Shooting movies is also great now with the servo AF feature. My T3i required that I manually focused while shooting movies. With the servo AF, the camera will actually follow the moving subject adjusting the focus on the fly. I mean, your cell phone can do it and so could my point-and-shoot Canon camera, but their old DSLRs actually didn't have that feature, but now (well, since like the T5i I think) they do and it's very useful. Speaking of movie mode, I very much like that they added another step in the power switch for movie mode instead of requiring you to turn the knob all the way to the very end to get to movie mode. Now you simply flip the switch to it.
If you want something that is aimed more at the professional from a marketing standpoint, it couldn’t hurt to look into the Vegas Pro line. On its 15th iteration, Vegas has introduced a ton of new features, from hardware acceleration harnessing Intel QSV to a picture-in-picture OFX plug-in, all the way to a super intuitive new instant freeze frame option for referencing shots without stopping workflow. If you opt for the premium, upgraded package (which won’t run cheap), you’ll even get an exhaustive package of NewBlueFX fIlters to color your projects like a true Hollywood flick. What’s interesting about Vegas, and what we think gets overlooked, is they’ve attempted to give you an intuitive set of controls that takes the best of Final Cut, Premiere and others and merges them into one. Sure, it might not have the streamlined, Adobe CS-friendliness of Premiere, nor is it even compatible with Macs, but that’s OK. The workflow in this might just give certain users who can’t quite jive with the other guys a place to truly shine.
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There are tons of in-program effects such as transitions, titles, credits, captions and even included audio scores, meaning you won’t get held up at any step of your editing process. There are panning and shift capabilities, high-quality post-processing zoom, as well as a plethora of color filtering plugins to give you the look you’ll need, even if the raw footage isn’t quite there. You’ll have the ability to export your movies in up to 4K resolution, and the software even supports 360-degree video projects. It’s a great powerhouse for beginners.