VSDC Free Video Editor looks and feels just like a professional video editor. In fact, if feels almost identical to Final Cut Pro in a lot of ways. If you want to experience that style of in-depth video editing, this program is an epic way to do it for free. Be warned, though, that there's a steep learning curve unless you already have some experience.
Increasingly, new capabilities trickle down from professional-level software to the consumer category. That's a good thing for nonprofessional movie editors, since the more-consumer-oriented software makes formerly difficult procedures a cinch for them. Read on for a survey of the latest trends in video editing software and our top picks in the field.
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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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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.
Apple’s Final Cut Pro X software falls into what we call the “prosumer” category because it treads the line between a product for consumers who want to up their video-editing game and one for professionals who need powerful editing tools. It lacks a traditional timeline-track interface, which is enough to scare some users off, but the software is intuitive and powerful nonetheless. It has great organizational tools like libraries, ratings, tagging, auto analysis for faces and scenes, and automatic color coding for track-specific clips, useful keyboard short-cuts and drag-and-drop media importing give Adobe’s Premiere Elements a run for its money. Unfortunately, you can't directly open projects from Final Cut Pro 7 or earlier, but there are many third-party plug-ins that will help you out there.
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.
Tyler explained that the software you buy should complement the hardware you use, as well as the type of project you’re working on. “You want to have software that will work well with your phone, digital camera, action cam or whatever you’re shooting on. If you plan on shooting on a lot of different devices, you want a program that’s compatible with a lot of different formats.”
Adding and arranging: When you're ready to make a movie, your first step will be to choose what type of files to add. Options include Video, Audio, Image, Icon, and Lyric. You can add any and all of these to the same project and then move them around on the Timeline until you have them where you want them. And if you're new to this type of program, there's a convenient Movie Wizard to guide you through the process.
Final Cut Pro: Offers speed and power for the new generation of video editors. The latest edition boasts a clean new look and a low-profile interface that increases work space. An interesting feature is the improved Magnetic Timeline 2 feature that offers flexible layouts based on roles and automatic color coding. The latest release is ideal for the new MacBook Pro as it supports wide color workflows and the Touch Bar.
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.