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Best Overall: Adobe Premiere Pro at Amazon
"The cross-platform, uber-popular timeline-based video editor that’s long set the standard for video editing software."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Nero Platinum 2019 at Amazon
"An essential multitasking tool that's perfect for beginners or aspiring filmmakers."
Best for Macs: Apple Final Cut Pro at apple.com
"Treads the line between a consumer product and one for professionals who need powerful editing tools."
Best for Windows: Movavi Video Editor 15 at Amazon
"Built specifically with beginners in mind, offering special features that make it a breeze to create."
Best Value: Pinnacle Studio 21 Ultimate at Best Buy
"Offers a host of post effects that put this thing way out of its price class."
Best for YouTube: Corel VideoStudio Pro X10 at Amazon
"With over 1,500 customizable effects, transitions, and titles, there’s something for everyone."
Best for Vloggers: Sony Movie Studio 13 at Amazon
"Can directly upload to Facebook or other social media for fast sharing."
Best for Beginners: Corel VideoStudio at Amazon
"Includes storyboard mode, which helps users draft the exact vision they have in mind."
The granddaddy of video editing, Adobe Premiere Pro is the cross-platform, uber-popular timeline based video editor that’s long set the standard for video editing software. Capable of tackling nearly any type of video format, Adobe’s software is ready to produce video for any type of professional production, including film, television and the Web. Premiere Pro offers enough horsepower to handle 360-degree virtual reality video to 8K footage all in native format. It can even import and export footage from competitive software such as Final Cut Pro.
While most professional-grade software can handle multi-cam editing, Premiere Pro goes one step beyond, handling as many sources as necessary with as many angles as required. The inclusion of the bundled Lumetri Color Panel allows advanced color adjustments to be handled with ease. Additionally, Adobe’s integration with After Effects and Photoshop adds even more reason for professional grade editors to choose Premiere Pro.
Nero is a trusted name when it comes to diverse and easy-to-use multimedia suites, and Nero Platinum 2020 is no different. The latest version of its flagship product allows you to burn media, create your own, edit creations, organize your collection, stream the media you've already got, and much more. It's an essential multitasking tool that's perfect for beginners or aspiring filmmakers, with everything you need to author, burn, and store the best possible content you can make.
The latest version includes several new choices for movie design, disc menu, and vertical smartphone video designs in addition to the new Nero Start application, 1-Click Video Story, and DriveSpan app for making stored creations even simpler. Whether you need to edit that great new film you shot with friends or want to organize your files, Nero Platinum 2020 is an excellent choice.
Courtesy of the Mac App Store
Apple’s Final Cut Pro X software falls into what we call the “prosumer” category because it treads the line between a product for consumers who want to up their video-editing game and one for professionals who need powerful editing tools. It lacks a traditional timeline-track interface, which is enough to scare some users off, but the software is intuitive and powerful nonetheless.
It has great organizational tools like libraries, ratings, tagging, auto analysis for faces and scenes, and automatic color coding for track-specific clips, useful keyboard short-cuts, and drag-and-drop media importing give Adobe’s Premiere Elements a run for its money. Unfortunately, you can't directly open projects from Final Cut Pro 7 or earlier, but there are many third-party plug-ins that will help you out there.
The latest version of Movavi Video Editor is built specifically with beginners in mind, offering special features that make it a breeze to create. Its drag-and-drop interface is especially useful, as it allows you to trim, cut, and otherwise tinker with your clips to piece them together in a way that makes it easy to debut your very own masterpiece. It also includes a wide variety of transitions, titles, and special effects to jazz up your final version, with picture-in-picture support, callouts to annotate certain sections, stickers to place on your clips, and more.
Have older, subpar quality videos you wish you could clean up a bit? Use Magic Enhance. Need some extra footage? You can use Movavi Video Editor to record new clips from within the application as well. With all these tools in mind, Movavi offers powerful ways to package and share your footage, whether you're an old auteur or fledgling director.
Corel’s Pinnacle Studio 21 Ultimate gives you everything you’ll get with the standard copy of Pinnacle Studio 21, plus a host of upgraded features. It does everything the lower version will do: giving you a seamless editing interface, the ability to work in full HD, as well as a great set of features for laying out a perfect story with video. But, it will also offer you a host of post effects that put this thing way out of its price class.
For starters, they’ve added in some crazy seamless morph transitions to help you blend together all the parts of your visual story. They’ve thrown in a pretty unique paintbrush filter effect that will work in tandem with already-shot video, letting you transform raw, live footage into living animations. Not only does Studio 21 Ultimate offer support for uploading 360-degree video but they’ve included a surprisingly intuitive set of trim, edit and control features for 360 video that will let you ensure your viewer gets the exact immersive experience you want.
Finally, rounding out their set of flagship additions, they give you the ability to include a motion-tracked image-blurring filter over the top of any element on the screen, meaning you can protect the identity of someone’s face, their license plate or anything else you’d prefer not to be in your final product.
When it comes to video editing for YouTube, almost every app does it well, but Corel VideoStudio Pro X10 does it better. With nearly every feature and tool that you need at your disposal (including transitions, effects, titles, templates and more), Pro X10 brings with it an outstanding fleet of tools.
Support for 360-degree VR, 4K, Ultra HD and 3D media help round out the export opportunities available with Pro X10 and, while they may not all be supported by YouTube now, it’s good to know you have the capability for when they are. The user interface isn’t for beginners, but within a short amount of time, you’ll be a master at capturing, editing and sharing.
Added features such as time remapping for including slow motion, high-speed effects or freeze action are complemented by easily grouping or ungrouping clips on a timeline to edit in bulk or one at a time. With over 1,500 customizable effects, transitions and titles, there’s something for everyone. Even as the video itself is the focus, custom fitting your project with a soundtrack is handled well with custom-fit audio allowing your movies to both look and sound good.
Sony Movie Studio 13 was made with the digital filmmaker in mind – once you’ve edited your video to your satisfaction, you can directly upload it to Facebook or other social media for fast sharing. Create video in beautiful 4K (ultra HD) XAVCS, or AVCHD to give your vlogs a high-production, professional feel.
Movie Studio 13 Platinum is touch-enabled, too, so you can create and edit movies even faster using your PC’s touchscreen. With large, easy-to-use buttons, fewer menus and the popular Simple Edit Mode, Sony Movie Studio 13 makes video editing fast and easy, so you can keep up with the Internet’s viral pace. The software also comes with ACID Music Studio 10 and Sound Forge Audio Studio 10 to take your online media up a notch.
Corel’s Windows-only VideoStudio offers an equally robust set of features comparative to Adobe or CyberLink’s product line. Right off the bat, it’s easy to see why VideoStudio is a great option: It offers support for 4K, 360-degree VR, multi-cam editing, as well as a large library of royalty-free music. Beginners will quickly learn to appreciate features such as "checkmarks," which can either let you know which clips you’ve already used or can apply effects to all the clips currently in your timeline at once. Additionally, voice detection helps you match subtitles to speech in your video clips.
Purchasing the full version of VideoStudio Ultimate X10 adds a whole extra set of options that beginners will quickly love, including multi-monitor support, easier title creation, and even stop-motion animation. Corel supports almost every output format imaginable, so it's ideal for sharing socially or for hosting online for the world to see. Another highlight for beginners is the inclusion of storyboard mode, which will help draft the exact vision they have in mind for a finished product without wasting hours and days on edits that may never see the light of day.
Platform - If you’re looking for a new video editing software package, you’ll want to look into whether if it is available for your platform before continuing to dig into it any further. If you have a Windows PC or a Mac, check the software manufacturer's website to see if a version is available for your device.
Experience - Are you brand new to video editing or a seasoned professional? Some video editing software packages can feel extremely intimidating with an endless number of settings and dials. If you are new to the game, consider picking out a started solution from companies like Corel and Nero.
Price - Professional video editing software packages and cause hundreds if not thousands of dollars. If you are looking to edit videos of your family events, you most likely won’t need the features in the professional suites. If you’re keeping it simple, don’t spend over $100 on your software of choice.