There are two different licenses you can choose from with Lightworks: "Free" and "Pro." (The latter of which, as you might have guessed, requires that you cough up some cash.) The main difference between the two licenses is that the Pro version offers more features, including stereoscopic output and advanced project sharing. But the free version is still quite powerful, providing 100+ effects and supporting multicam editing.
I make videos and brochures for a living, and one of the tolos I frequently use is Windows Movie Maker. There are two things I like about this software: first and foremost, is really easy to use: you can find all of the features easily on the user panel and add them with only one click, which is a pretty cool feature. The other thing I like is that adding music, credits, black and white effects, and many more additions to make your video creation more beautiful is also a piece of cake.
When it comes to user-friendliness, sophisticated features and ways to output your video, nothing beats the cross-platform Adobe Premiere Elements. With genuinely inspiring but practical features, Elements’ new video collage, audio remix, enhanced face detection, haze removal and adjustment layers focus on what consumers need every day. Its companion Organizer app keeps assets organized and searchable, and the touch-friendly interface works quite well in Windows 10.
VideoPad is a comprehensive cross-platform software package for the YouTube social media crowd. While this app lacks the flashy, whiz-bang appeal of some commercial apps, it’s still a rock-solid choice for simple video editing. From the main menu, you can choose which social network you want to upload to. The app offers a number of YouTube choices ranging from 480p to 4K, as well as Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox and Google Drive, and is free for non-commercial use.
Pinnacle offers an intuitive software program that can be relied on by professionals, but has a simplicity to be navigated by beginners. This program supports a plethora of file formats that has a timeline that makes it extremely easy to edit your video without experiencing any difficulties. However, program has not been updated since 2009 which means there are some compatibility and sustainability issues.
If I had it to do over I would purchase a Firewire card with capture software (for a little less then I paid for this device) and edit the clips with additional software. Such software is expensive ($300 - $2000) but likely has better support. I'm thinking of purchasing the Adobe program. The DVC is adequate to capture clips as MPEG and adjust their quality.
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Particularly intensive is the process of rendering your finished product into a standard video file that will by playable on the target device of choice, be that an HDTV, a laptop, or a smartphone. Most of the software can take advantage of your computer's graphics processor to speed this up. Be sure to check the performance section in each review linked here to see how speedy or slow the application is. In rendering speed testing, CyberLink and Pinnacle have been my perennial champs. /injects>
You can only install Movie Maker as the Essentials bundle, a free set of lifestyle and utility apps for Windows 7 and Windows 8 that also includes Windows Photo Gallery. The single installer for all the Essentials apps offers an initial option of installing everything or letting you choose which to install. Since you may not need the Family Safety program, for example, I recommend the latter installation option. Movie Maker installs as a desktop application in Windows 8, and unfortunately, is not available for Windows RT tablets (though they do have alternatives like ArcSoft ShowBiz).
Export options: Another area where free meets inconvenience may be at the tail end of the project, when you want to export your video, only to discover that the free version will not output to your desired format. Before you start using a free package, make sure that it will save your video to the platform and resolution you need, whether your video will eventually wind up on YouTube or on a Blu-ray disc.
Though Mac users don't have the sheer number of software choices available for PCs, Apple fans interested in editing video are well served, by four products in particular. At the entry level, the surprisingly capable and enjoyable-to-use iMovie comes free with every Mac sold since at least 2011. iMovie only offers two video tracks, but does good job with chroma-keying, and its Trailers feature makes it easy to produce slick, Hollywood-style productions.
This editing software offers three main ways to create your video projects. You can use the Full Feature Editor, which is the familiar timeline, or storyboard, layout used by industry professionals since time immemorial. But in case you're not ready to jump into that quite yet, there's also a simplified editor that automatically creates a video for you in just minutes. Additionally, you can use the Express Project module that allows you to fill in preprogrammed templates with your own content, which teaches you how to use the Full Feature Editor to its fullest potential.
Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine's lead analyst for software and web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine's coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of web services for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine's S... See Full Bio
Direct publishing: When you think you have all of your clips, images, and other files in place, you can preview your movie right from the app's main interface. And if you're happy with what you see, all you have to do is click the button for Publish to YouTube to get your video online. Alternately, you can save the finished product to your computer to upload or distribute later on.
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