Most video editing software for consumers and mainstream users is best used for one or another of these specific functions, but there are a few generalists out there, too. We look at the full spectrum: Free video editing software; paid consumer video editing programs that cost $80 or less; and "prosumer" versions that offer deeper feature sets, though usually for high purchase prices.
Taking a vacation this summer to the shore, overseas, a theme park, or somewhere exotic, like Cleveland? There's a good chance you're going to want to film some of your trip. But instead of letting it languish on your smartphone, DSLR or compact camera, you'll want to polish it up to share with family and friends. That's where a good video editing program comes in.
Magix is a bit of a sleeper as far as movie editors go, and honestly it does fall short in some of the higher level features that you’ll find in the big dogs like Final Cut and Adobe Premiere. But let’s start with the basics of what makes it great for a beginner, and that’s the fact that, well, it handles the basics really well. First off, it’ll run on most modern Windows machines, up through Windows 10, which is great for beginners because those people most likely won’t have the budget or desire to shell out for a Mac. So it’s software that will work out of the box for your affordable Windows machine. According to their website, the software has been going strong for 15 years, delivering upwards of 93 percent customer satisfaction on its iterations.
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.
The motion tracking tool is great for advanced editors who want to give their videos a special look. It allows you to isolate a moving object, person or other element and then apply effects that will follow them through the video. This is great for situations such as when you want to brighten up the colors on a person but keep the background the way it is, or even change it to black and white.
One of the capabilities that has been making its way into consumer-level video editing software is support for LUTs (lookup tables), also known as CLUTs (color lookup tables). This staple of pro-level software lets you quickly change the look of a video to give it a specific mood. For example, think of the dark blue look of thriller movies like The Revenant. You can download LUTs for free from several sites or use those included with some video software to give your video a specific look. One well-known LUT type is the kind that can make a daytime scene look like it was shot at night.
Windows Video Maker is an easy-to-use solution ideal for beginners. Although the program is offered for free and come standard on virtually every windows PC, it provides all the basic features for a perfect introduction. The software utilizes the most common workflow elements of the professional video editing systems. However, it offers an intuitive interface that is easy to navigate even for the novice editors. The interface provides a simplified version of a standard video editor timeline. The timeline features clips that are characterized by Long thumbnails and ease of use.
Even if you’re an amateur you can feel like a professional filmmaker with Nero Platinum 2018 video editing software. If you're looking for a program that goes beyond just video, Nero Platinum 2018 could be the multi-tasking master in your arsenal. This multi-faceted program allows you to create, edit, burn, convert, organize, stream and play back all kinds of media, including videos, photos and music. This version includes 18 new movie design templates, 18 new disc menu templates and 12 design templates that are made to complement vertically-formatted video from your smartphone. In addition to its great editing features and 4K quality, Nero Platinum 18 also centralizes your media, so you can organize, manage and play all your files in one place.
With ScreenFlow you can record any part of your screen or the entire monitor while also capturing your video camera, iOS device, microphone or multi-channel audio device, and your computer’s audio. The easy-to-use editing interface lets you creatively edit your video. When you are done, use the built-in sharing to publish your video directly to YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, Facebook, Google Drive, Dropbox or to Telestream Cloud for transcoding. Or export an animated .GIF, ProRes file or .MP4 directly to your desktop.
Another hidden "cost" is periodic or even constant in-line advertising or reminders that an upgrade is available. Our favorite program, HitFilm, never pushes an upgrade on you, but it makes you go through a social media and authorizing song and dance to download the product or switch computers. VideoPad (on the Mac) makes you verify at every launch that you are using the free version for noncommercial purposes.
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PowerDirector helps you enhance your footage with Intelligent Color Correction. This allows you to quickly and easily match color settings across your entire project, which unifies the look and feel of your video and eliminates a lot of guesswork. This might seem like a small thing, but it’s a huge leap forward for video editing software at the consumer level.
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.)
Video editing is one of the most computing-intensive activities around, so you'll want the best laptop or desktop you can afford if you're serious about cutting your own movies. Most applications help speed up the editing process by creating a proxy file of lower resolution, so that normal editing and previewing aren't slowed down by the huge full-resolution files.
It has tones of features and you can start for free. There is wide range of filters, overlays, transition effects and color correction abilities. This platform is designed to serve users with smooth editing experience so that even beginners can enjoy creative media projects. Thanks to its wide format support that helps to handle all popular media files with ease.