Whether you’re an amateur editor or a professional, having the right video editing software is imperative to performing your job at the highest level possible. We give you the lowdown on the 10 most popular platforms out there.
Pinnacle Studio 16 Ultimate
Attractive interface design. Tons of video effects. 3D import, editing and output. Direct upload to Facebook, Box, YouTube, and Vimeo. Disc authoring with lots of menu templates. Decent audio correction and content. Fast rendering performance.
Multi-track preview is sluggish on AMD graphics hardware. Some interface procedures less intuitive than in other apps. No 4K UHD support.
Corel takes the look of Avid Studio and underpins it with faster code in this full-featured, fast-performing nonlinear video editing program.
Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Effective new motion-tracking masking feature. Master clips speeds workflow. Quick access to type changes in After Effects features
Can’t update anything other than text in After Effects features, and must enable it in After Effects. TypeKit fonts integration not as integrated as it is in Dreamweaver. Motion-tracking masking can be slow
Adobe provides even more tweaks and features to its video editor — all of which make for a better program.
Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3
64-bit and multicore-CPU support for speedier performance. Friendlier interface. Compound clips. Auditions for alternative clips. Magnetic trackless timeline. Background processing. Good organization tools—ratings, tagging, auto analysis for faces, scenes, and stabilization. Powerful new multicam support. Powerful keying features. Supports Thunderbolt and studio-monitor output.
Can’t import projects from previous Final Cut versions natively (though a third-party plugin can). Custom export settings require separate Compressor app.
Apple has built a completely new, faster, cleaner, and more intuitive digital video editing package. While some professionals are still kicking and screaming about the changes it brings, we predict they’ll eventually be won over by Final Cut Pro X’s significant speed and usability advances. Meanwhile, prosumer video enthusiasts get a less daunting upgrade path to a pro-level Mac editor.
Corel VideoStudio Pro X6
Corel VideoStudio Pro X7 simplifies the video editing process into three simple steps: capture, edit and share.
The effects and transition libraries are not as extensive as those of some other video editing applications we reviewed.
Corel VideoStudio Pro X7 is brimming with editing tools and capabilities. With this movie editing software, you’ll be able to create professional-looking movies.
Avid Media Composer 7
Media Composer 7 brings forth the next phase in the Avid Media Access (AMA) workflow. AMA is Avid’s answer to the ability of other packages to read media in their native formats. Other packages allow video producers to import the footage and read the root files while editing. Then, in order to view the video in real-time, you often need to render the clips in your timeline. Traditionally, Avid editors have assistant editors that transcode the footage upon ingest. (This can save studios considerable dollars, as AEs have a lower pay rate per hour than editors.) This generation of AMA not only allows editors to reference clips in their original format, but also transcode in the background. Avid has also introduced a memory-resident transcoder that will enable queued transcoding to happen with Media Composer closed. The theory is that this will allow one person to do everything seamlessly. The theory is sound. The practice is still a bit clunky and buggy.
As you read in the “pros” section … AMA is still not ready for primetime. It’s not very reliable and is mostly useful for roughing out your ideas. We understand the need to address the concerns from video producers in Avid’s traditional workflow, but the solution here is not a completely viable answer in practice.
Avid is still the industry-standard in video editing in the upper echelons of the trade. With solutions such as Unity ISIS and Symphony, and workflows including Pro Tools, Avid isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Although AMA is still not quite there, the new features hold the promise of easier ingestion and even quicker workflows.
Sony Vegas Pro 13 Edit
Professional features. Collaborative app. Affordable compared to other Windows based pro-level editors. Useful plugins
Not a lot of enhancements to make it worthwhile as an upgrade for the average user
Sony Vegas Pro 13 is a powerful, affordable editing program. If you don’t already have an editor or are currently using a less sophisticated program and would like to up your game, you can download the trial and take it for a spin. If you are a non-professional user and are already using Vegas Pro 12, then you may want to wait for the next update to come around. Except for the new pro features in version 13, not a lot has changed. If, on the other hand you are a professional user then check out the pro features and see what you think.
Edius Pro 7
Company: Grass Valley
This has to be the easiest software we’ve ever gotten running. On a system using an Intel Core i7 Processor, NVIDIA GTX 560 graphics, 12GB RAM and a 10TB RAID 5 eSATA, with an Intensity Pro I/O box, EDIUS Pro 7 was up and running instantly. There was no troubleshooting, no hardware, nor software workarounds necessary. So far, the slogan “Edit Anything, Anywhere” holds true for EDIUS Pro 7.
We tested EDIUS Pro 7 with eight camera angles of screen capture at 2560×1440 in proxy mode with a 1080i project. Instead of the software automatically adjusting and skipping frames in the preview monitor(s), all clips and the program slowed down to three frames per second, playing every frame (the result was about 30 seconds to make it through five seconds of our sequence). We had to manually tell the software to skip every 10 frames. These settings also affected the program monitor. This made editing a multicam sequence extremely difficult and slow.
EDIUS Pro 7 is easy to use and set up. With a middle-of-the-road cost at$700, EDIUS Pro 7 will be good for any short-format editor who doesn’t want to futz around getting their system off the ground.
Free or subscription versions (sub includes large range of codecs and a titles utility). Supports video editing at a professional level. Cross-platform on Windows and Linux, with OS X promised. Resolution independent. User interface designed and tested by professional editors
No FireWire capture support for Linux yet. Minimal effects available for audio
With this full release of 11.5 for Linux and Windows, and with an alpha version of 11.1 demonstrated running on OS X in April 2013, EditShare is finally starting to make good on its promise to deliver Lightworks as a cross-platform, professional-level, video editor.
Magix Video Pro X6
Up to 99 tracks for video and audio. Supports AVCHD Progressive. Easy to use interface. Range of templates and transitions
Some complicated features
Already a fast and effective performer, MAGIX has developed still further with its new version MAGIX Movie Edit Pro 2014 Plus. If you are looking for a good level of control and creativity over your video projects then MAGIX gives you a highly workable product. Benefits include a host of useful editing tools and improved functionality.
HitFilm 2 Ultimate
The Particle Simulator remains HitFilm’s best feature, and enhancements mean that it’s now better than ever. Each particle is essentially a bitmap, and it’s now possible to pluck these bitmaps from frames in a hidden layer, creating particles with complex evolutions or randomness.
Our attempts at using mocha met with mixed success. It tracked two scenes pretty accurately, but in a couple of others it struggled to make sense of the planes we’d defined. In another it reported accurate tracking but delivered strange results back to HitFilm. It’s fair to say that it still takes skill and experience to achieve consistently usable results.
HitFilm 2 Ultimate costs a third the price of After Effects, however, and while its scope is more limited, its particle effects are far superior. Anyone who wants to add some high-octane drama to their video productions shouldn’t hesitate to invest.