4) As some other reviewers have pointed out, the Dazzle chip is not a HD device. Even though Dazzle Video Creator Plus HD is it's name, it does not record HD video. This is because S-video and component (the two types of ports on the capture card) are not capable of recording in HD quality. What HD refers to is Pinnacle Studio's ability to edit and render HD video.
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.
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.
All the other tools you would expect from consumer-level video editing software are present and work excellently. You can add titles, closed captions and other text to your video project with a few simple clicks. You also get a video stabilizer that smooths out shaky video, as well as a library of over 500 effects and transitions for you to choose from.
PowerDirector Ultra features CyberLink’s True Theater Color technology, which analyzes the color of your footage and enhances aspects like hue, saturation and brightness. It's a great way to get Hollywood-style color treatment on your video project. You get more than enough tools to create a video that looks like it could have been made in a movie studio. You may never edit a full-length feature film with this software, but you could.
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.
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?”
Those looking for a powerful editor with a huge variety of built-in resources and responsive technical support may be better off dropping some cash on a consumer video-editing program, like award winners Adobe Premiere Elements, CyberLink PowerDirector or Corel VideoStudio. However, first consider trying out software such as HitFilm Express 2017, VideoPad, DaVinci Resolve or VSDC, which offer all of the basics for free, and then purchasing additional features à la carte or simply upgrade as your experience and needs grow.
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.
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.