He went on to say that your end goal should also play a big part in your decision, advising that if you’ll edit video infrequently, you should get simpler software. “If it’s a one-off project, the fewer whistles the better,” Tyler said. He called out Adobe Premiere Elements and Wondershare Filmora as good choices because they have easy-to-understand workflows for non-editors.
However, simple editing can be done on the cheap if you’re willing to ditch powerful, high-end software such as Final Cut Pro, or Adobe Premiere, in favor of a more modest program. Let’s face it, you’re probably not going to be taking home the Palme d’Or with the film you cut on your laptop, but your home movies and YouTube uploads can take on a whole new shine with a few straightforward tools.
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.
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.
The Edit menu also contains the new Stabilization choice if you're running Windows 8 or 8.1, as well as play speedup and slow-mo (this retains the audio, so you can have fun making you and your friends sound like chipmunks or lions). As in iMovie, all editing is done in the same thumbnail/timeline area—no popup windows for trimming like you find in other video editors like CyberLink PowerDirector.
Other recent features include a basic audio editor, the option to make previews for apps you’ve developed, and the even ability to make your own movie trailers complete with transitions and end credits. It’s not a tour de force in terms of video editing, but it’s perfectly suitable for home videos and minor projects. Consider combining it with free audio recording software!