Whether you’re a professional video editor or an amateur, video is a universal way to enjoy, share and create memories that can last forever. No matter if you’re capturing life’s best (and worst) moments via a smartphone, DSLR or even a point-and-shoot camera, editing video will allow you to highlight and share the footage with the world. Which video editor you use to ship your final product is best determined by your needs, the type of computer you own and, of course, your budget. With those factors in mind, here’s our take on the best video editors available today.
Building a DVD from the ground up can be difficult and time-consuming, and the best DVD creators makes it as easy as possible to use their features and tools. Some programs build tutorials directly into their interfaces, while others have free lessons, guides and forums on their official websites. Additionally, many of the programs we reviewed have free trials, which you can use to determine if the application suits your needs before you pay.
After testing six of the most popular free editing suites, our top choice is HitFilm Express 9 for its lavish cinematic capabilities and high-powered interface. For Mac owners, Apple's iMovie is the no-brainer choice, because of its macOS integration, top-notch output, professional themes and trailers, and support for professional shooting and editing techniques. For YouTube and other social media platforms, the free, cross-platform VideoPad is the best option.
In our tests, we timed how long it took to install each application, import and organize video files, build a test video and menu, burn a disc, and more. We found that programs that take even a few minutes longer than other applications to complete simple tasks can end up adding hours to the total process. The best DVD authoring programs run fast and save that extra time you would otherwise spend babysitting a progress bar.
One of the things I really like about working in Movie Maker is that most of the effects, transitions, and themes preview automatically when you just hover the mouse cursor over their buttons. Another plus is the undo and redo buttons are right up top—video editing is a very trial-and-error process—but I suppose it's too much to ask for a history window in such a simple application.
It gets to be somewhat annoying that after I use the software many times in a row, it becomes really slow. Let me give you an example: if I´ve edited around 10 videos in a row, then when I want to edit video 11, the software starts freezing, and when it finally starts working, it takes centuries for the video to be saved and downloaded successfully. I don´t know why this happens, but it would be great if Microsoft could check this issue.
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Nero Video 2017 is slightly cheaper at $50 than many competing video editing suites, but it offers most of the same features, including Ultra HD 4K support and intelligent curation features for your media library. And with H.265 format support for mobile devices and the handy ability to switch between a basic and advanced editing mode, Nero will please a wide range of users. It’s mostly intended for burning physical media, and doesn’t have good social exporting options. But even if you’re not planning to do DVDs, Nero is worth a look if you want a budget option for video editing software. (Read our full review.)
I decided to upgrade (pay) when the free version only allowed 5 min videos max. So I paid for a gold class and now I am told I can only make 10 min videos - WTF! You would assume once you pay you can make much longer videos! That cost me $42 AUD. I also notice that once the video is "completed" some of the processed video is black and only has sound. Windows Movie Maker (which was actually FREE) never did this, and its controls were much easier to use. The controls are also very hard to use.
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.