The Best Video Editing Software for 2019
Download It’s hard to say which is the best video editor of them all because we’re talking about complex tools at a professional level, in which each user ends up specializing in certain ones and their yield depends directly on the control of each user. But when it comes to choosing the three or four best video editors for computers, we’re sure that there’s a name that will appear on all the lists: Final Cut Pro X. Developed by Apple, and only available for Mac, it’s one of the most powerful and versatile video editing programs on the market. A reference for professional video editors Its users appreciate this software due to its speed when it comes to editing and mounting videos, its wide range of tools, the quality of the final result, and the fact that it’s compatible with third-party plug-ins.
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Review Michael Muchmore The Best Video Editing Software for Whether you’re a weekend GoPro shooter or a full-time video professional, you need editing software that’s powerful but easy to use. Here’s how the best video editing software stacks up. That’s why digital video continues to grow in importance online. Couple that trend with the ever-increasing availability of devices capable of high-resolution video recording—smartphones, GoPros, DSLRs—and the case for ever more powerful video editing software becomes clear.
Increasingly, new capabilities trickle down from professional-level software to the consumer category. That’s a good thing for nonprofessional movie editors, since the more consumer-oriented software makes formerly difficult procedures a cinch for them.
Read on for a survey of the latest trends in video editing software along with our top picks in the field. Multicam, Motion Tracking, and Yet More Motion Advanced abilities continue to make their way into accessible, affordable, and consumer-friendly video editing software as each new generation of software is released.
For example, multicam editing, which lets you switch among camera angles of the same scene shot with multiple video cameras, used to be a feature relegated to pro-level software. Now this and many other advanced effects are available in programs designed for use by nonprofessional enthusiasts. Another impressive effect that has made its way into consumer-level video editing software is motion tracking, which lets you attach an object or effect to something moving in your video.
You might use it to put a blur over the face of someone you don’t want to show up in your video. You specify the target face, and the app takes care of the rest, tracking the face and moving the effect to follow it. This used to be the sole province of special effects software such as Adobe After Effects. Corel VideoStudio was the first of the consumer products to include motion tracking, and it still leads the pack in the depth and usability of its motion-tracking tool, though several others now include the capability.
The 4K Factor Support for 4K video source content has become pretty standard in video editing software, but the support varies among the products. The same holds true for the H. Most of the applications here now can import and export HEVC, though there are still a few holdouts. As is often the case, our Editors’ Choice, CyberLink PowerDirector was the first product in this group to offer support for this new kind of video media.
Support varies, with some apps including compatible titles, stabilization, and motion tracking. PowerDirector is notable for including those last two. Final Cut offers a useful tool that removes the camera and tripod from the image, often an issue with degree footage.
Video Editing Of course, none of the extras matter if an app can’t do the most basic editing tasks. At this point, however, all of the products included here do a good job of letting you join, trim, and split video clips.
They also let you make use of special effects such as animated transitions, picture-in-picture PiP , chroma-key the technique that lets you place a subject against any background, often known as green screening , and filters that enhance colors or apply creative effects and distortions.
With most of them you can add a multitude of timeline tracks that can accommodate video clips, effects, audio, and text overlays. A tool coming to the latest versions of video editing applications is support for seamless transitions.
Picture a scene showing people at a beach, and suddenly the sky zooms in and your in Rome or Paris, but it looks like you’re in the same place because the transition glued the two scenes together using the sky. There are plenty of other examples of seamless transition; this magnificent video shows a good selection of them, and is partly responsible for starting the trend.
Color wheels, curves, and histograms give editors control over the intensity of every shade. This staple of pro-level software lets you quickly change the look of a video to give it a specific mood. For example, think of the dark blue look of thriller movies like The Revenant. You can download LUTs for free from several sites or use those included with some video software to give your video a specific look. One well-known LUT type is the kind that can make a daytime scene look like it was shot at night.
For example, several offer automated freeze-frame along with speedup, slowdown, and reverse time effects. CyberLink PowerDirector’s Action Camera Center pulls together freeze frame with stabilization, slo-mo, and fish-eye correction, and color correction for underwater footage. And Wondershare Filmora lets you subscribe to new effect packs on an ongoing basis. Titles That Zing I’ve been seeing a lot of attention paid to creating title effects in the applications over the past year.
Apple Final Cut Pro X has added 3D title creation, which is pretty spiffy, letting you extrude 2D titles and rotate them on three axes. PowerDirector’s Title Designer offers transparency, gradient color, border, blur level, and reflection in titles; Magix has impressive title templates, complete with animations.
Premiere Elements offers a nifty title effect in which your video fills the text characters, and Corel recently followed suit in VideoStudio Look for an application that lets you edit titles in WYSIWYG what you see is what you get mode, so that you can type, format, and time it right over the video preview. Gathering Speed Video editing is one of the most computing-intensive activities around, so you’ll want the best laptop or desktop you can afford if you’re serious about cutting your own movies.
Most applications help speed up the editing process by creating a proxy file of lower resolution, so that normal editing and previewing aren’t slowed down by the huge full-resolution files. 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. Other measures of performance include startup time and simple stability. Again, video editing is a taxing activity for any computer, involving many components.
In the past, video editing programs took longer than most other apps to start up, and unexpected shutdowns were unfortunately common, even in top apps from top developers such as Adobe and Apple. The stability situation has greatly improved, but the complexity of the process, which increases as more powerful effects are added, means crashes will likely never be fully eliminated, and they often raise their ugly heads after a program update, as I found with the latest version of Pinnacle Studio.
Free Video Editing Software If you don’t want to invest a lot of money and effort into your video editing exploits, there are a few free options. Of course, if you use a Mac, the excellent iMovie comes with it. For PC users, Windows 10 ‘s Photos app as of the Fall Creators Update lets you join, trim, and even add background music, 3D animated effects, and titles to video.
Some of these are quite basic, but the Magix app is fairly capable, with clip joining, transitions, and effects, in a very touch-friendly interface. Free video editing software often comes with legal and technical limitations, however. Some widely used codecs require licensing fees on the part of the software maker, meaning they can’t offer free software that can handle these standard file formats.
That said, the impressive open-source Shotcut does a lot of the same things that the paid applications in this roundup do, including things like chroma-keying and picture-in-picture. Shotcut is completely open-source and free, while another free option, Lightworks has paid options that remove a p output resolution limit. What About Apple? Though Mac users don’t have the sheer number of software choices available for PCs, Apple fans interested in editing video are well served, by four products in particular.
At the entry level, the surprisingly capable and enjoyable-to-use iMovie comes free with every Mac sold since at least In the midrange, there’s Adobe Premiere Elements, which is cross-platform between Macs and PCs, and offers a lot more features and lots of help with creating effects.
Final Cut is a deceptively simple application that resembles iMovie in its interface and ease of use, but it offers massively deep capabilities, and many third-party apps integrate with it for even more power. Premiere Pro uses a more traditional timeline and adds a large ecosystem of companion apps and plug-ins.
It also excels in collaboration features. Audio Editing We still live in the days of talkies, so you want to be able to edit the audio in your digital moves as well as the images. Most of the products included here offer canned background music, and many, such as Pinnacle Studio, can even tailor the soundtrack to the exact length of your movie. All of these programs can separate audio and video tracks, and most can clean up background noise and add environmental audio effects such as concert hall reverb.
A couple of the products have an auto-ducking feature, which lowers background music during dialog—a definite pro-level plus. What’s Not Here There are more video editing software applications than we can fit into this roundup of the best options, which includes only software rated three stars and higher. The best known among them is probably Vegas Movie Studio , which was recently acquired by Magix from Sony. Sony’s product used a very cluttered interface that more resembled high-end professional video editing software from the early days of the craft.
Magix has made some progress in simplifying it and bringing it up to par with the competition, but more work is needed for it to be included here. Longtime pro video editors will note the absence of Avid Media Composer, which is simply too unwieldy for PCMag’s primarily consumer audience. The Finish Line The video editing application you choose depends on your budget, the equipment you’re using, and how serious you are.
Fortunately, you’re spoiled for choice with the products available. Peruse our in-depth reviews of enthusiast-level video editing software reviews linked below to see which is the right one for you. One final note about the features table at the top of this story: Check marks represent differentiating, above-the-call-of-duty features, rather than essential ones. So, just because Nero Video and Wondershare Filmora don’t have any checks, it doesn’t mean they’re not good choices.
In fact, both offer decent basic editing on a budget.
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This software bridges the gap between professional consumers who would never give-up on a single element of functionality and the consumers who need powerful yet easy and affordable software. This version is an alternate replacement for the Final Cut Pro which is more robust and used globally in professional editing bays. Mac users from both categories, can enjoy this unusual, innovative and sophisticated software for all their editing needs. Continue reading for instructions on how to use the Final Cut Pro X software to edit a time-lapse video. Windows users would have to look for an alternative as well because this software is exclusive to Mac users. FCP has all the advanced features that are used by professional video editors so if you are new to video editing, then you may take a while before you can handle all the tools. This software is more suited for video editing beginners and intermediate prosumers because of its simple user interface, making it easy for users of all levels to learn and understand.
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