Taking a video is as easy as pointing your smartphone at your friends and tapping the record button. Uploading that video to the internet for the world to see takes only seconds. Your camera or smartphone may even include some rudimentary editing tools to trim your clips, and your PC almost certainly has some basic editing software as well. A video worth sharing, however, is worth some extra time and effort to trim and splice, to add a soundtrack or subtle transitions or add effects that enhance the visual experience of the footage. That’s where video editing software comes in.
Video editing software brings all your media, not just video, into one place, so you can perform the magic of combining audio, video and images into a coherent story. You can use video editing software to craft a video project with a look and feel that is unique to you, and then share it with the world. Video editing software is superior to in-device editing tools because it offers greater power, precision and work space than the applications you find on your phone or camera.
In our analysis of the best video editing software, we found that Cyberlink PowerDirector, Corel Video Studio Pro and Adobe Premiere Elements are the best choices. They have intuitive workflows, which walk you through the process of importing, organizing, editing, producing and sharing your video creation. They also include tools that allow you to do far more than is possible with a smartphone or camera, such as the chroma key (green screen) and subtitle creation, just to name a couple.
On this site, you’ll also find a library of articles about video editing that will help you understand the art and craft of the medium.
Ease of Use
The video editing software you choose should be able to detect when you’ve connected a device holding video and import the media. Whether you capture your footage on a smartphone, camcorder, DSLR or any other digital camera, importing should be quick and easy, or even automatic if you choose.
Imagining what you want your finished product to look like is the easy part about editing video. The hard part is knowing which tools you need to achieve the look you want. You’ll spend the vast majority of your editing time in the software’s workflow environment. The best video editing software makes the workflow easily accessible to newcomers, with tutorials, and in-app explanations of tools and features to guide users through the process. The layout of the editing tools should be efficient, taking advantage of available screen space without crowding out the video project. The best video editing software makes these tools easy to find and understand, and simplifies their functionality so they’re accessible to users of all skill levels.
The basic tasks common to most video projects are improving video quality, cutting and organizing scenes, and adding audio and visual elements. Video editing software should come with an array of tools to help you achieve the look you desire.
To improve on the quality of the video you take, look for an image stabilizer feature, which helps eliminate the effects of shaky hands.
Cutting and organizing scenes means using media bins (where video, still images and audio clips reside), timelines (where you’ll sync audio and arrange scene transitions) and storyboards (used to arrange scenes in order). The software should also include a large selection of transitions, which visually bridge the gap from one scene to the next.
Audio mixing tools enable you to add sounds and music to your video, beyond the ambient sounds or speech captured while filming. Using title design tools, you can overlay the screen with text.
If you’re sharing your video creation with an audience, you’re probably using the internet – YouTube or Facebook are the most popular destinations for homemade videos – and most video editing software enables you to upload your creations to these services from within the program. The software should also let you export to a file optimized for a DVD, smartphone or tablet, or Blu-ray disc.
Training & Community
Working in isolation can be lonely and frustrating; sometimes it really helps to have someone there to consult and collaborate with. The best video editing software offers free tutorials, online communities and technical support that’s helpful and easy to find.
Transforming raw footage into a finished video that captures and entertains audiences is a time-consuming task that requires patience and great attention to detail. But the rewards are worth the hours it takes to learn the software and create a video that showcases your unique vision.
At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™