Notable features include professional-level color correction, GPU-accelerated real-time effects, video capture, and nearly all-encompassing format support. However, the free version is only capable of exporting MPEG-4 files with a resolution of up to 720p. Thankfully, Lightworks also offers traditional tools for importing, trimming, and seamlessly weaving audio and video together with a few effortless mouse clicks.

The simplest way to create a digital movie in Movie Maker is to add your clips to the timeline and choose one of the seven AutoMovie Themes—Default, Contemporary, Cinematic, Fade, Pan and Zoom (best used with photos), Black and White, and Sepia. It's nowhere near as extensive a set of options you'll see in iMovie, let alone Adobe Premiere Elements, but they're in simple good taste. These are displayed as thumbnails in the center of the Home ribbon. They add an intro title screen, transitions, and credits to the production.


Another program, VSDC Video Editor Pro, simply has too outdated an interface, making common tasks difficult. Longtime pro video editors will note the absence of Avid Media Composer, which is simply too unwieldy for PCMag's primarily consumer audience. There are a couple of more interesting applications—NCH VideoPad and AVS Video Editor among them—that we simply haven't tested yet.
Finally, you'll want to pay attention to sharing capabilities. In the past, you only needed to worry about saving your videos to a DVD or a highly compressed video file, but the rise of Vimeo and YouTube has resulted in new sharing options. If you're looking to share your videos to your social network, make sure that your software is capable of doing so.
The software that it came with is amazing, and works even better if you can use it correctly with Windows Movie Maker (save file as Windows Movie Maker, then import that file on Movie Maker, add effects, save, and import back to the Pinnacle software if you like). Or, if you don't want to use the Pinnacle software, that's fine too... just find on your computer where the file is saved at, and import that to whatever software you use. (As for Mac users, I suppose you could use garage band... I don't own a Mac so it would be difficult for me to say)
The software offer up to seven AutoMovie themes including contemporary, default, fade, cinematic, pan and zoom, sepia, and black & white. Although this collection is nowhere near the one offered by premium options, the themes are presented in simple, good taste. The editing options are quite limited, but its collection of effects is attractive and are applied with a single click.
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.

We combined a text opener with five clips linked by a cross-fade-type transition into a 2.5-minute video shot at 60 frames per second, and rendered the projects to the MPEG-4 format at 720p. We timed rendering at both 60 fps and 30 fps. We adjusted settings to take advantage of hardware acceleration for all tests whenever possible, setting them in either the preferences or the rendering controls for the best speeds. Apple’s iMovie, the lone Mac-only app, is not included in the timed comparisons.
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