As video editing software becomes ever more accessible for the masses, there’s never been a better time to get involved.
And that’s great and all that, but there’s a lot of choice on our website, so how do you choose the one that’s best for you?
It’s a good question, but hopefully though our QuickStart guide to choosing the right video editing software below will help you choose wisely.
The good news for budding video editors is these heady days of the 21st century is that whatever video editing software you install will do one thing really well, and that’s edit video competently.
There’s an awful lot of options out there, and the competition between them is fierce. While this is good because it means there’s a lot of choice, the sheer number of video editors out there can be a bewildering and overwhelming experience.
The endless march of technology: Faster, Stronger, Cheaper
There’s a bit of a stigma around video editing for anyone who existed before the Snap and Instagram generation. Even just 10 years ago, it used to be that good and professional video editing software literally cost an arm to buy, and the computer power needed to run it would set you back a leg, and a small mortgage. But things have changed.
At my own wedding back in 2006, guests were using actual hand-held camcorders that either recorded the event to tape or if they were really hi-tech, straight to DVD. At my baby sister’s wedding that I attended earlier this year, there was only the flash of smartphone cameras and instantly uploaded Snapchat videos.
Basically, what I’m saying is that we’ve come a long way in 12 years. These days there’s even some really good apps for editing video directly on your phone, bypassing the need for computers and PC based video editing software in some cases. That said, editing anything more than a small 10 second to 2-minute film on a 5-inch screen isn’t always a lot of fun.
Edit like a professional, for less than you might think.
But with the right video editing software, it’s actually really easy to produce the type of professional footage that professional professionals in the game were making just a few years ago, regardless of your own personal experience.
All I want is the most basic of video editors, and I want it for nothing, and I want it now!
If you’re in a rush, and you’re just looking for a basic and free video editor that’s really easy to use, you can’t go far wrong with the one that comes with Windows 10.
The current version of the Photos App does all the basics really well, allowing you to create, edit, add music, text, and also apply some basic 3d effects. It’s ok, it does the job, but it’s not great.
The inconvenient truth
And there’s a fact there that can’t really be denied. No matter what bell, whistle, funky user interface, and ‘Wow’ special effects are on offer from any video editor, they almost all do one thing really, really well; and that’s edit video. The competition in this particular market is so intense right now that any video editor that struggles with the actual editing bit, doesn’t last long.
Almost all of them will also be compatible with the smorgasbord range of video file formats, and backwards compatible with outdated formats as well.
But that said, choosing the right video editing software for you, can turn what could be a long, frustrating and confusing time sat in front of your computer into an easy, intuitive, and fun task. Splicing together movies, adding subtitles, menus, effects and augmenting your movie with different audio and music can almost have you feeling like a young Brian de Palma, or a non-annoying Quentin Tarantino.
So how do you choose the best video editor for you?
It depends. There is no one correct answer. But the first thing you should do is ask yourself what it is you want to edit, and figure out what your budget is. To say I could write a novel about all the different options out there for you, would be an understatement.
It would be an oversimplification by me to categorically state that there is actually very little to distinguish one product from another, especially at the lower end of the cost spectrum, but that can sometimes seem to be the case when it comes to video editing software.
Movavi Video Editor, for instance is a brilliant video editor that is simple to use but offers a professional finish that equals some software three times the price.
More for less.
With the exception of the basic and free ones out there, like the free Windows one, almost all video editing software offers features that a few years ago would have only been available at the professional high-end budget range of the market.
Most video editors come preloaded with a whole bunch of features and capabilities these days, which is good news if you want to create some advanced video. The downside to this that it ends up being quite a task for the designers to keep interfaces simple and intuitive at the same time as giving access to advanced settings and controls without scaring the novice away.
A notable exception to this rule is the excellent MAGIX Vegas Pro. While aimed squarely at video professionals, it’s still easily accessible to newcomers.
Lightsabers, CGI, and other special effects
When it comes to special effects and whizz-bang transitions, its best to take such claims with a grain of salt. It’s best to think of these as the shiny go-faster-stripes of the video editing world. Don’t get transfixed with the shiny stuff. At the end of the day, most transitions will be straight cuts, and unless you are trying to shoot a sci-fi film with stability tracking and lightsaber effects, they really are a secondary consideration. There’s also the fact that most effects are added bling that will rarely be used.
What’s the most important thing to consider?
That really depends on you. Generally, asking yourself these five questions will help you to choose the best video editing software for you:
- How intuitive it is to use?
- Is the interface crisp, clear and easy to use?
- Does it do what you need?
- How much does it cost?
Can we do the hard work for you?
If you find that choosing the right video editing software for you is still quite daunting even after all that, then fear not. Our recent article regarding four of the best Windows based video editing software packages should make it even easier. They all come with free trials, which is always a good indication that the designers are proud of their work.
Still on the fence or want more choice? No worries, see all the video editing software FileHippo.com has to offer.
And finally, why not take a look some great video editing software for Mac.