The granddaddy of video editing, Adobe Premiere Pro is the cross-platform, uber-popular timeline based video editor that’s long set the standard for video editing software. Capable of tackling nearly any type of video format, Adobe’s software is ready to produce video for any type of professional production, including film, television and the Web. Premiere Pro offers enough horsepower to handle 360-degree virtual reality video to 8K footage all in native format. It can even import and export footage from competitive software such as Final Cut Pro.
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
This software gives me the ability to combine existing mini films, and merge them in unique and pleasant way so that I can create new engaging video material, and it´s really easy: all I have to do is open the software, then drag all of the videos I want to merge into Windows Movie Maker right box, then choose a couple of effects from the upper panel, then use the cropping tool to refine my new material, and that is all, I have a new video ready to be shared: I think that Windows Movie Maker is the easiest video editing tool you´ll ever find.
Since 2008, Top Ten Reviews has reviewed, tested and ranked the best DVD authoring software. In that decade, we’ve clocked hundreds of hours editing video, building discs and watching the end results. At the end of our most recent evaluation, PowerDirector was our top choice – this wasn’t a surprise since it has been our favorite since we started reviewing this type of software. The program offers great tools for both beginners and veteran users. It’s important to understand that this application is primarily a video editor, but it’s disc authoring tools are as good as or better than those found in programs exclusively designed for burning DVDs.
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.
Next getting the software to work was another challange. despite having a fast machine with a lot of RAM, I found the Movie Star program to be very unstable. I was able to capture up to 60 minutes of video and save it to the MPEG format, but everytime I tried to edit or export the video as Windows Media or Real, it crashed the machine. I downloaded a copy of Ulead's Video Studio, but couldn't figure out how to import MPEG files. I finally bit the bullet and wound up downloading a free 30-day trial of Adobe Premier. I found Premier to be a very stable and easy to use program. I just wish it didn't cost [so much!] /injects>
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.
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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.