The Definition of Free: There's free and then there's freemium. Some software, like iMovie, is genuinely free. But just as some video-editing packages are sold in tiers — with more-expensive versions offering more and expanded features — a freemium video program may just be the lowest level of a paid version. Or it may be a trial version that hobbles the end product in various ways, like putting a huge watermark on your video or limiting output formats.
At Top Ten Reviews we’ve researched and tested the best video editing software for 14 years. Over the past year, our team of expert reviewers spent more than 155 hours making dozens of videos to evaluate, compare and rate each product. We evaluated, compared and rated each program. In the end, we picked CyberLink PowerDirector as the top choice. Its full array of tools will satisfy both the novice user and the veteran editor. It’s packed with many of the same tools found in professional video editing software. And its 99-track timeline gives you the flexibility to complete complex projects.
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.
One of the program’s benefits is that it’s easy enough for a novice to use but has the features advanced users need. This DVD maker can also act as a very effective training ground before advancing to one of the professional applications widely used in the industry, which have similar tools, workflows and features. Another reason PowerDirector is the best choice for DVD authoring software is it plays nicely with every file format and codec we look for in this type of program. You can capture content from nearly any device and export your final product to a disc or save it as any other file format. Moreover, this application allows up to 100 video- and audio-editing tracks, which is more than you could reasonably use in a consumer-level project. This means you have enough room to work with as many videos, sounds, images, effects and transitions as you want. When you're ready to burn your disc, PowerDirector has plenty of menu templates to choose from. This disc creator also allows you to add extra features and divide your project into chapters. You can burn movies to any type of disc, including single- and dual-layered DVDs and CDs.
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.
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.
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.