Another impressive effect that has made its way into consumer-level video editing software is motion tracking, which lets you attach an object or effect to something moving in your video. You might use it to put a blur over the face of someone you don't want to show up in your video. You specify the target face, and the app takes care of the rest, tracking the face and moving the effect to follow it. This used to be the sole province of special effects software such as Adobe After Effects. Corel VideoStudio was the first of the consumer products to include motion tracking, and it still leads the pack in the depth and usability of its motion-tracking tool, though several others now include the capability.
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.
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Melissa Stoneburner of Examiner.com calls this app a "gateway" into the full Adobe Premiere Pro video editor for desktop, and we can see this for ourselves. Similar to Magisto (the first video editor on our list), Adobe Clip automatically sets your video to the music of your choice (using Premiere Clip's library or your own), and offers a Freeform editor that allows you to customize your edits further after this initial audio sync.
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?”
If you are new to video editing and have used only the built-in windows movie maker for some basic video editing before, then Avidemux is another good choice for you. Avidemux is an open source video editing software which means it is free to use. The user interface is not so fancy but there are some preset filters, subtitles hidden in the menus. Avidemux doesn’t feature the ability to share your edited footage to the social media directly, so you may need to save it to your devices first.
Interface design: While the layout of the interface is clear and functional, the color scheme definitely leaves something to be desired. A lot of the text is in gray or brown lettering on a black background, and some menus are even light gray on dark gray, making them almost impossible to read. There are several skins available for this program as well, and they all have the same issues in at least some parts of the interface.
Avid Media Composer's latest version comes with a wealth of new and improved features, such as accelerated high-res-to-HD workflows and automated media management to handle background media tasks while you focus on your creative vision. The $999 price tag is steep for amateurs, but worth it if you're looking for a professional-grade software. As the editing software of choice for summer blockbusters like Star Trek and The Great Gatsby, Avid Media Composer 7 can handle any editing challenge with ease.
Shooting movies is also great now with the servo AF feature. My T3i required that I manually focused while shooting movies. With the servo AF, the camera will actually follow the moving subject adjusting the focus on the fly. I mean, your cell phone can do it and so could my point-and-shoot Canon camera, but their old DSLRs actually didn't have that feature, but now (well, since like the T5i I think) they do and it's very useful. Speaking of movie mode, I very much like that they added another step in the power switch for movie mode instead of requiring you to turn the knob all the way to the very end to get to movie mode. Now you simply flip the switch to it.
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 best video editing applications have tools that allow you to capture, edit and produce videos recorded by action cams like GoPros and Drift Innovation’s Ghost-S. These tools are generally as good as or better than the ones in the software that comes bundled with the cameras themselves. You can use them to stabilize shaky video, correct fish-eye distortion, enhance color, and pan and zoom around your footage. They can even slow down and reverse the video.
The second big draw is communication. The app creates a unified inbox for comments on Facebook and Instagram and messages from Messenger, so that you don’t have to bounce between different apps in order to respond to people. The app doesn’t seem to cover every possible messaging vector inside of Facebook’s services, but it sounds like a handy start.
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.
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. /injects>
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.