The 8 Best Video Editing Software to Buy in 2017

Whether you’re a professional video editor or an amateur, video is a universal way to enjoy, share and create memories that can last forever. No matter if you’re capturing life’s best (and worst) moments via a smartphone, DSLR or even a point-and-shoot camera, editing video will allow you to highlight and share the footage with the world. Which video editor you use to ship your final product is best determined by your use case, the type of computer you own and, of course, your budget. With those choices in mind, here’s our take on the best video editors available today.

Often considered a pared-down version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro, Premiere Elements 15 is still an excellent video editor. Buoyed by its user-friendliness, the cross-platform (Mac and Windows 10) Premiere Elements 15 is full of features and options that can be enjoyed by both amateurs and professionals. Once you import media, the workflow is standard with organizing video clips into a timeline, applying any post-effects and then previewing/publishing the final product. Basic additions such as creating video collages, enhancing audio, de-hazing landscapes and stabilizing video are all present to help create the best possible product. Adobe even adds some smart features such as turning frowns upside down or adding a motion blur for creating a dramatic look at sports or action scenes. The built-in companion organizer will help keep previous assets sorted and organized for quickly locating after upload, so it's easy to re-discover previously finished and draft products.

Specifically made for Apple devices, Final Cut Pro boasts an impressive Hollywood resume and its outstanding feature set makes it a standout choice. The excellent and intuitive user-interface adds a timeline feature that helps video editors make the most of post-production without skipping a beat. Automatic color coding for track-specific clips, useful keyboard shortcuts and drag-and-drop media importing all allow Final Cut Pro to answer to Adobe Premiere Pro.

Expert level options are the highlight with Final Cut Pro, but rest assured that beginners and prosumers are welcomed into the Final Cut Pro world with a wide variety of templates, effects, and video transitions. Eliminating unwanted gaps in a timeline or syncing problems between audio and video are handled with ease, thanks to Magnetic Timeline 2. Final Cut Pro offers a large ecosystem of add-ons that can be added to the software, so you can customize it to your exact requirements. More »

Windows users have an affordable and powerful video editing software in Cyberlink PowerDirector 15 Ultimate. This easy-to-use tool sports an intuitive interface that new users can pick up with the help of video tutorials. But the product really distinguishes itself from the competition with a number of premium features, including end-to-end 360-degree video editing, which gives you unparalleled control over every detail in the scene. Numerous modes such as the Extreme Toolkit for sports footage, as well as wedding and traveling packs, make this a versatile tool suitable for a number of directors. TrueTheater color adds dramatic depth by dynamically adjusting color saturation to look like true HDR footage. Finally, the unique Vertical Video Mode blends all of CyberLink’s tech into the 9:16 format used by most streaming media sites, eliminating any headache of transferring your content to the big screen.

On the market since 1989, Avid Media's Composer software has long been a staple in the film and TV industries. Responsible for assisting in big name titles like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Martian, it’s safe to say that Avid Media includes just about everything a video editor could want (and then some). Features such as animatte, time warp, chromakey, keyframing and color correction just scratch the surface of what’s available with Composer. Utilizing numerous keyboard shortcuts, it’s quick and easy to make enhancements, find effects or adjust settings (you only have to select the first letter of whatever effect you want to implement).

If you’re using software like Composer, it’s a near certainty that you are working with many different types of files and media types. Fortunately, Avid offers a way to help automate and organize all your media with a feature called Dynamic Media Folders. This time-saving method can help manage hundreds or even thousands of different audio and video clips that ultimately come together as one. Once you’re done producing your project, Avid offers numerous methods to share it out to the world (however, there's no way to output to a DVD or Blu-ray disc). 

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.

If you don’t need all the pop and sizzle of more professional video editors, VideoPad is an ideal editor for social-friendly production (you can edit video from 480p all the way to 4K quality). The basic program here won’t "wow" you with aesthetics since it’s made for function and lacks more advanced features such as multi-cam editing or motion tracking. While these may sound like negatives, it’s the lack of these add-ons that lets VideoPad shine for YouTube. It has video stabilization, video capture from a webcam and all common video formats, including AVI, WMV, DivX and more.

Drag-and-drop video editing is present, plus you can even import your own music for creating a custom soundtrack or record your own narrations with a single button press. There’s a library of sound effects available as well, so you can add a little extra flair to your final products. Exporting to Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox, and Google Drive allows for easy sharing and backing up. You can even export up to 4K video to YouTube. Add in compatibility for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS and it’s easy to see why VideoPad is popular with the YouTube crowd.

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. More »

Editing a video on your smartphone is never going to be ideal, but apps such as Magisto make it a little easier. Feature-packed, it includes options such as video stabilization, face recognition, video filters and transitions. Magisto’s automatic video maker takes the editing right out of your hands and turns out all-star results that are ready for sharing across social networks. Magisto’s business features add a small cost, but allow for HD movies, commercially licensed music, plus the ability to add your own logo and captions.

Available for both Android and iOS, Magisto’s “Emotion Sense Technology” incorporates machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide the best possible video product. It automatically identifies scenery, humans versus animals, color wheels, and mood and mixes them into a “make-your-movie” moment with pre-set themes. There’s a fun element of surprise when allowing Magisto to whip up its own video creations, but you can also rest comfortably knowing that if you don’t like the result, you can just try again. More »


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