Credit: ShutterstockBasic Features: The watchword with free apps is often which one offers the best combination of technically complex software for which you would otherwise have to shell out the big bucks. All video editors should, at the very least, have some combination of familiar features like a viewer or playback window, library, timeline, and access to transitions and effects.
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I've been seeing a lot of attention paid to creating title effects in the applications over the past year. Apple Final Cut Pro X has added 3D title creation, which is pretty spiffy, letting you extrude 2D titles and rotate them on three axes. Corel VideoStudio in its latest version also adds 3D Titling, though not as powerful as Apple's. PowerDirector's Title Designer offers transparency, gradient color, border, blur level, and reflection in titles; Magix has impressive title templates, complete with animations. Premiere Elements offers a nifty title effect in which your video fills the text characters. Look for an application that lets you edit titles in WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) mode, so that you can type, format, and time it right over the video preview.
If you are new to the video editing world, a free video editing software can be the best choice for you. Although most free video editors are feature limited, they are easy to use and can meet almost all of your basic video demands like cutting, trimming, cropping, or rotating. Our top 12 list focuses on the best free video editing software for Windows we could find, and it will give you a overview of what you can expect from each video editor.
The Powershot GX 3 I purchased to backup my EOS 7D Mark II didn't work out because of the steep drop-off in IQ. I decided to give the EOS M6 a try after reading up on mirrorless cameras, and noting that the M6 sports an APS-C sensor. I took it for a shoot at a botanical garden the day after receiving it, and I'm generally pleased with the results. I shot mainly with the EF-M 18-150mm lens, and I made sparing use of the EF-M 11-22. Both lenses produced some decent shots, and they kept the overall size and weight of my gear down. I've humped the 7DMKII with a Sigma 50-150mm lens, and I'm inclined to forgive a small dropoff in IQ in return for a much smaller, lighter kit. The M6 may struggle to backup to the 7DMKII for action shots. The 7DMKII focuses more quickly and rattles off 10 frames in the blink of an eye. That said, the M6 did a creditable job of capturing a macro shot of a flower-hopping Bumble Bee (photo attached). It's going to take time to get used to using the tilt screen instead of a viewfinder for composing shots, but it became more comfortable the more I shot. Bright sunlight is a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. The tilt screen also helped in framing close to the ground shots without having to dig my knees in the dirt. Time will tell, but first impressions of the M6 are quite positive.
Tech support and documentation: One of the big distinctions between paid and free software is the level of documentation and tech support; paid software has more-explicit and -detailed documentation and guides than the free versions. That said, many software packages post instructional videos of the most popular features to YouTube, and more-complex free packages may offer extensive documentation.
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Despite being the cheapest option on this list, Corel Video Studio Pro X6 is simple to use without sacrificing power. Features such as motion tracking for moving effects, even better stop motion controls, an enhanced screen capture utility and a subtitle editor with voice detection make this a low-risk purchase for amateur videographers who still want quality.
However, simple editing can be done on the cheap if you’re willing to ditch powerful, high-end software such as Final Cut Pro, or Adobe Premiere, in favor of a more modest program. Let’s face it, you’re probably not going to be taking home the Palme d’Or with the film you cut on your laptop, but your home movies and YouTube uploads can take on a whole new shine with a few straightforward tools.
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.