Several of the products here (Adobe Premiere Elements is a notable exception) still support 3D video editing if that's your thing, though the this has been replaced by 360-degree VR footage like that shot by the Samsung Gear 360 as the current home-theater fad. As is often the case, our Editors' Choice, CyberLink PowerDirector was the first product in this group to offer support for this new kind of video media.
Every other program has dedicated tracks for each type of media such as video, audio, images, etc. The fact that you can use any media on any track makes this software much more dynamic and provides more control over your project. However, the DVD authoring tools in this program fall short of the best we tested. For example, you don’t get the ability add bonus features or save a disc image to your hard drive. While neither of these things are a deal-breaker, they’re both found in our top pick for this category.
Finally, we used each program to compress a 4K video file into a smaller resolution. We then examined the results looking for imperfections in the picture such as compression artifacts, motion blur, distortion, ghosting and more. PowerDirector’s results were simply outstanding. We could find almost no indication that the video had been compressed, even when viewed on an ultra-high-definition monitor.

Increasingly, new capabilities trickle down from professional-level software to the consumer category. That's a good thing for nonprofessional movie editors, since the more-consumer-oriented software makes formerly difficult procedures a cinch for them. Read on for a survey of the latest trends in video editing software and our top picks in the field.

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.


However, it doesn’t have all the features and tools we look for in DVD makers, though it has enough to fit the needs of a novice. Before you can burn a DVD, you need to transform your raw footage into a compelling narrative. As such, this program’s video editing tools are its main selling points. It has a standard timeline/storyboard workflow – you compose the broad strokes of your video in the storyboard and fine-tune it in the timeline. One of the software’s biggest drawbacks is you only have eight editing tracks to build your project, and only one is dedicated to video. This limits the program’s versatility and hinders its ability to create complex projects. As a beginner, you might only need eight tracks; however, as you gain experience, it may become a frustration. In addition, the included DVD burner can’t add menus or chapter breaks.
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Don't assume that the gold membership is enough, although it did not state that for me on my system at the time. Absolutely ridiculous. I was unhappy but willing to pay some money for this software as it is useful, but to be barraged everytime I open it with a message about Gold and Platinum memberships and then to be told after 4 hours of work that I cannot export my video unless I pay the ridiculous price is horrible.


We also reached out to professionals who use video editing software on a regular basis and asked what aspects are most important to look for in consumer-level programs. Drew Tyler, instructor of digital media at Weber State University, told us there are two primary questions to answer: “Does it fit your eco system?” and “How much do you want to grow into the software?”

Other measures of performance include startup time and simple stability. Again, video editing is a taxing activity for any computer, involving many components. In the past, video editing programs took longer than most other apps to start up, and unexpected shutdowns were unfortunately common, even in top apps from top developers such as Adobe and Apple. The stability situation has greatly improved, but the complexity of the process, which increases as more powerful effects are added, means crashes will likely never be fully eliminated, and they often raise their ugly heads after a program update, as I found with the latest version of Pinnacle Studio.
I have used Movie Maker mostly for small projects, prototypes and home movies. It is a great and simple tool that meets 75% of most users needs. It is not advanced, so not many professional movie maker options are available (like color correction, white balancing, etc.) However, for basic video that you'll probably want to upload to you tube, this is a pretty good tool. Love the simple and easy to use interface.

A lot of people ask what sort of gear we use for the Stark Insider YouTube channel. We don’t do vlogs, but I would suggest this is a highly flexible camera rig for just about every possible scenario. You could use it for weddings (though if you have the budget the Sony a7S is superb in low light and one of my top 5 camera buys), interviews, sporting events, birthdays, documentary work, live concerts… and, on and on.


With Movavi Video Editor, it’s fun and easy to create wonderful videos even for beginners. Simply drop your media files onto the timeline and use the Windows-friendly editing tools to customize. Like most video editors, the Movavi Video Editor allows you to make basic changes to your clips by trimming, cutting and rotating them to any angle. With this software, however, you can also become your own movie producer by using multiple filters, transitions, titles, stickers and special effects. Show multiple videos on one screen with the picture-in-picture tool or freeze the video at any frame for added emphasis. Make video cards to send to family and friends or preserve vacation memories in a format people will actually want to watch. Automatically improve video quality with Magic Enhance, or manually adjust color parameters like brightness, contrast and saturation for better viewability. Movavi Video Editor even helps you minimize annoying motion distortion with the stabilization tool. 

At the higher end of the Corel product line is Pinnacle Studio—which, at $129.95 (the amount you’ll need to pay to edit 360-degree and 4k content with the “Ultimate” version), costs more than twice as much as VideoStudio. What do you get for the extra money? Well, not only does Pinnacle come readily equipped with all the features you’d expect from an upper-echelon product—motion tracking, 360-degree VR support, 4k support, multi-cam, etc.—but you’d be hard-pressed to find a faster product on the market in terms of rendering.
Clinton directs and shoots videos for Stark Insider. Recent projects include BTS short LUZIA with Cirque du Soleil, short film collection WHO IS STARK INSIDER?, and art-doc WRONG'S WHAT I DO BEST shot on location at the San Francisco Art Institute. His Broadway shorts, such as SHREK UNMASKED, have garnered acclaim. He's worked with DreamWorks, Disney on Ice, and "studied under" filmmaker Werner Herzog. He also writes on Stark Insider about the San Francisco arts scene, Napa, Silicon Valley and gadgets including camera gear. More about Clinton Stark: Bio | IMDB | Gear List
The Dazzle Multimedia DM4100 Digital Video Creator is very useful to import video from your TV, VCR or DVD player into your PC for editing and then converting to PC video formats. The device is exceptionally good for making videos for use on the Web or as e-mail attachments. Thanks to its use of USB its very simple to install and can be "hot-swaped" with other USB device without rebooting your computer.
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