Not an expert? Don’t know how to edit videos, have a video studio, or have a bona fide video specialist to shoot and cut your features? That’s alright! The goal of today’s blog is to show you that with the right video editing software, you too can churn out sleek, professional video content—regardless of experience—and keep your content strategy ahead of the curve.
That’s assuming you’re just exporting files. You may want to burn a DVD or Blu-ray disc, or upload your videos directly to YouTube or Facebook. Each of these comes with its own set of necessary features that some apps have and others don’t. For disc burning, you need not only support for the right formats, but DVD menu authoring tools so viewers can navigate what you’re presenting. On the social side, it’s much easier if the application syncs up directly with your account online and allows you to enter metadata like a description, tags, and privacy settings.
This video editor gives you tons of control and editing power, but you'll have to know how to use it. The program could use a manual to help novice users comb through all of the features. Without that, VSDC Free Video Editor will take a lot of experimenting or previous editing know-how to figure out. It's worth spending plenty of time with, though.
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.
If I had to choose something I dislike about Windows Movie Maker, it would have to be the limit it has in output files. Unlike Avid Media Composer or Adobe Premiere, it seems as though Windows Movie Maker is more limited in the type of files you can export. Also, there isn't much more advanced filters and effects you can customize from. If you're looking to customize your own effects, then maybe Windows Movie Maker isn't right for your project.
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We include Premiere Elements on the list mostly because it’s been an industry leader in the video editing game for some time. And $79.99 is not egregious, but we’re here to say that at that price, you’re mostly paying for the name. In the time since Premiere Elements’ inception, too many other products have surpassed it in speed and capability for us to place it among the cream of the crop. That’s to take nothing away from Premiere Elements’ usability, though—specifically for beginners.
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.
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.
Both DaVinci and VSDC mix paid features in their basic programs, but they do not explicitly mark these features as such. However, if you try to use them, you'll get an error message and an ad. We can't fault the software companies for trying to get users on board with paid versions, but just be warned that such annoyances are the hidden cost of otherwise-free video apps.
You may want to expand into specialty and high-end features like stop-motion video, multi-camera editing, 3D 360 VR, and support for the official Ultra HD 4K format used by most Blu-ray players. You’ll generally find that the most expensive consumer video editors support these features well, and the cheaper ones either don’t support them or produce lackluster results.
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.
Apple’s iMovie, which competes only with cross-platform free apps and Adobe Elements, is the obvious choice for the best Mac video editing software, thanks to its outstanding output, themes and trailers, macOS integration, and features that encourage good moviemaking skills. For the best free software, HitFilm Express 9 gets the nod for its abundant cinematic capabilities and stylish interface. If you often share your videos on YouTube and other social media platforms, the free, cross-platform VideoPad is your best option.

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. 

When it comes to user-friendliness, sophisticated features and ways to output your video, nothing beats the cross-platform Adobe Premiere Elements. With genuinely inspiring but practical features, Elements’ new video collage, audio remix, enhanced face detection, haze removal and adjustment layers focus on what consumers need every day. Its companion Organizer app keeps assets organized and searchable, and the touch-friendly interface works quite well in Windows 10.
Camera works great. Takes amazing video and photos. You have to be very careful with that screen on the back though. I already shattered it by knocking over my tripod and it landed against a padded backpack hanging against my closet door. I have no idea how it shattered?? But lesson learned, be very careful with this one. I have since bought a neoprene case to put on it when not in use. I love the camera still. It is a great size and light weight, but a very solid and durable body. This combo is a great deal as well, saving you around $65-70. Would definitely recommend this camera to anyone.

If you have the budget, the 70D would be my pick of the litter. Keep in mind, if you own an iPhone and are simply publishing basic vlogs to YouTube, you might not need anything more. If you’re aiming to achieve “filmic” results, and want to interchange lenses (so you can capture close-ups and wide angles for instance) then definitely give these DSLR cameras consideration.

Another great advanced tool found in PowerDirector Ultra is the multi-cam module. This allows you to import footage of an event taken from multiple sources, sync them up and then switch between angles easily. The result is a seamless single video that has the look and feel of a professionally produced piece. This is especially useful for events that have been recorded on several smartphones.
Video SEO and optimizing videos for search results is not as difficult or magical as it might sound. There's a few tips and principles to follow that can help your videos start getting more views very quickly by increasing watch time and session watch time on your videos, as well as writing good titles, descriptions, tags, and other metadata about your videos.

Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine's lead analyst for software and web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine's coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of web services for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine's S... See Full Bio

We include Premiere Elements on the list mostly because it’s been an industry leader in the video editing game for some time. And $79.99 is not egregious, but we’re here to say that at that price, you’re mostly paying for the name. In the time since Premiere Elements’ inception, too many other products have surpassed it in speed and capability for us to place it among the cream of the crop. That’s to take nothing away from Premiere Elements’ usability, though—specifically for beginners.


Avidemux is the Instagram of video editing software — quick, dirty, and impressively capable. The software is designed for quick trimming, filtering, encoding, and a slew of other basic features. The cross-platform software also remains open-source — with a resourceful wiki page to boot — and tasks can be automated using assorted projects, job queues, and custom scripting capabilities that push it beyond barebones functionality.
Even though Windows Movie Maker has a wide variety of special effects, some of them look a little tacky when implemented. Especially if you use a lot of them within a short span of one video. Also, a great feature of Windows Movie Maker is that you can add subtitles to your video. The problem is that this can become a little tedious when you have to manually put them in.
Cyberlink is often the first to roll out new and innovative tools and features. For example, it pioneered multi-cam functionality for consumer-level software. That technology was previously only found in professional programs like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. Cyberlink’s basics are also top-notch. This program has a 99-track timeline, which gives nearly unlimited versatility. You can make simple videos quickly but also delve deeply into complex projects. You may never edit a feature film with this software, but it is more than capable of that task. In our ease-of-use tests, PowerDirector earned an A. Our reviewers noted that the interface is intuitive, the tools are accessible, and even the most advanced features are simple to learn. You can unlock the fullest potential of the program easily if you learn how to use the tools properly.
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