You’ll find the familiar timeline/storyboard workflow, along with other basic tools such as titles and credits, effects and transitions, and a chroma-key (green screen). It also has some, but not all, of the advanced tools you need to make an outstanding video. You’ll get a video stabilizer to smooth out shaky footage, 4K compatibility for footage from the newest cameras, 3D editing, motion tracking and more. These are all great tools, and it’s a great bang for your buck. But there are some significant trade-offs. For example, there are no themes or templates. So, you’ll need to build every project from scratch – not very appealing to beginners. It also lacks an automatic video creator and slideshow creator, which are also great for novices. This program lacks multi-cam and 360-degree editing features that you would find on more expensive programs. If you want the newest, greatest effects and tools, this is not the program for you. In addition, the program’s interface is in bad need of a face-lift, and has been for years. It’s kind of hard to get around, and it will require working through a few projects before you can use it effectively.
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The motion tracking tool is great for advanced editors who want to give their videos a special look. It allows you to isolate a moving object, person or other element and then apply effects that will follow them through the video. This is great for situations such as when you want to brighten up the colors on a person but keep the background the way it is, or even change it to black and white.
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.
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.