The 11 Best Video Editing Software to Buy in 2018

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.

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 »

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.

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.​ 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.

For a piece of consumer software, Pinnacle Studio 21 has an impressive number of features. You can import video from a broad range of sources and it even supports stop-motion video capture from any connected camera, 3D, 360 video and multi-camera editing. You’ll bask in its wide variety of filters and transitions, which help in the storytelling process. Previous Pinnacle users who were unsatisfied with the interface will be happy to know it’s gotten an upgrade, and is now one of the best-looking and most intuitive Windows editors out there, granting you quick access to your favorite tools. It’s also gotten a big boost when it comes to reliability, and users no longer report buggy crashes.​

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.

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 offers an outstanding array of production level value.

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.

Premiere Clip is your iOS/Android connection to Adobe’s most powerful editing programs: Premiere Pro and Premiere Elements. It’s part of the Creative Cloud ecosystem, which means you’ll need an Adobe ID to access it, but both the app and an account are free for all.

Premiere Clip is perfect for creatives whose videos are bound for social media channels like YouTube and Instagram. You can easily import video clips from places like your phone, Lightroom, Creative Cloud and Dropbox, and then use the app’s Freeform editor to trim or split clips, adjust exposure and highlights, add audio and more. And, of course, you can add filters, which is a given in today’s social media sphere. More »

Magix Software ANR005972ESD Magix Movie Edit Pro Plus ESD
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Magix is a bit of a sleeper as far as movie editors go, and honestly it does fall short in some of the higher level features that you’ll find in the big dogs like Final Cut and Adobe Premiere. But let’s start with the basics of what makes it great for a beginner, and that’s the fact that, well, it handles the basics really well. First off, it’ll run on most modern Windows machines, up through Windows 10, which is great for beginners because those people most likely won’t have the budget or desire to shell out for a Mac. So it’s software that will work out of the box for your affordable Windows machine. According to their website, the software has been going strong for 15 years, delivering upwards of 93 percent customer satisfaction on its iterations.

It starts with its simplest feature: a storyboard mode that allows you to lay out your narrative on a simpler, at-a-glance screen. That way if you don’t want to drill down to the details, you don’t have to get bogged down with all kinds of extra proprietary controls. But if you do want to drill down to a more detailed approach, you can do so with its Details mode that allows you to mix in 200 multimedia tracks, giving you seemingly endless possibilities for your project.

There are tons of in-program effects such as transitions, titles, credits, captions and even included audio scores, meaning you won’t get held up at any step of your editing process. There are panning and shift capabilities, high-quality post-processing zoom, as well as a plethora of color filtering plugins to give you the look you’ll need, even if the raw footage isn’t quite there. You’ll have the ability to export your movies in up to 4K resolution, and the software even supports 360-degree video projects. It’s a great powerhouse for beginners. More »

If you want something that is aimed more at the professional from a marketing standpoint, it couldn’t hurt to look into the Vegas Pro line. On its 15th iteration, Vegas has introduced a ton of new features, from hardware acceleration harnessing Intel QSV to a picture-in-picture OFX plug-in, all the way to a super intuitive new instant freeze frame option for referencing shots without stopping workflow. If you opt for the premium, upgraded package (which won’t run cheap), you’ll even get an exhaustive package of NewBlueFX fIlters to color your projects like a true Hollywood flick. What’s interesting about Vegas, and what we think gets overlooked, is they’ve attempted to give you an intuitive set of controls that takes the best of Final Cut, Premiere and others and merges them into one. Sure, it might not have the streamlined, Adobe CS-friendliness of Premiere, nor is it even compatible with Macs, but that’s OK. The workflow in this might just give certain users who can’t quite jive with the other guys a place to truly shine.

Pinnacle Studio™ 21 Ultimate - Windows
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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 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. More »

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