At first glance, getting the best video editing software is not an easy task. There are many options, all with brilliant functionality and innovative add-ons. But the option that will suit a professional video editor may not be the best for the enthusiastic hobbyist.
This is where this Ditching guide to choosing the best video editing software comes in. We used all the best (and worst) editors and distilled them to an easy-to-digest list of our favorites.
The most impressive programs make your daily tasks like cutting, cropping, combining and applying filters to clips as simple as possible. Buying a lower option will only lead to frustration and a less polished finished product. The tools we have selected for you in this guide are the best in their class.
If you’re on a particularly tight budget or just need a basic tool for quick cropping and cropping, also check out our guide to the best free video editors.
- Need equipment too? Discover the best laptops for video editing
Image credit: Adobe
1. Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Take time to master Premiere Pro and reap the rewards
Platform: Windows / Mac | Free try: 7 days | Download directly on YouTube: Yes | 8K support: Yes | 360 support: Yes | Type of purchase: Subscription
Premiere Pro CC Single App $ 20.99 / monthPremiere Pro CC All apps $ 49.94 / monthVisit Adobe SiteatSupports 360-degree video and VR Large assortment of filters Customizable interfaceSubscription model will not be for everyone
Adobe Premiere Pro is a standard video editor and getting the most out of it will require an investment of time and money, but if you’re serious about video, it’s worth it.
There is a wide range of stackable audio and video filters, support for 360-degree video and VR, native support for a large number of raw file formats, and the ability to work with other. You can even start editing your videos before they finish importing.
This type of power isn’t cheap and monthly or yearly subscription fees add up, but the lack of significant upfront expenses makes Premiere Pro surprisingly affordable. It’s worth downloading a trial from other video editors here before making a decision, but Premiere Pro is extremely versatile, and the cloud-based model means you won’t have to pay for upgrades as you go. as they are published.
Read our full review: Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Adobe Premiere Pro | From $ 20.99 (£ 19.97) per month
Like all Adobe single application plans, Premier Pro costs around $ 20 / £ 20 per month when you sign up for a year. It’s great value for such impressive software.
See the offer
Image Credit: Apple
2. Apple Final Cut Pro X
A premium editor for Mac owners, with a unique interface
Platform: Mac | Free try: 30 days | Download directly on YouTube: Yes | 8K support: Yes | 360 support: Yes | Type of purchase: Retail
$ 3.98 View on Amazon $ 8.94 View on Amazon $ 34.99 View on AmazonSee all prices (5 found) Smart “no track” timeline Excellent file format supportPrice includes major updatesInitial cost Student
It is a video editor for the professional end of the market, but Apple Final Cut Pro X is not unnecessarily complicated. Its interface is a bit different from most, and is built around a “no-track” timeline that encourages you to organize items into specific “roles”, such as voice-over, music, and titles.
If you’re looking for a video editor to pair with your drone, Final Cut Pro is a great choice. It supports raw video from all major brands and models and is regularly updated with additional profiles. It also supports 360-degree video editing (quickly becoming mandatory for high-end video editing software) and HDR, with advanced color grading.
Rather than adopting a subscription model like Adobe, Apple has chosen to make Final Cut Pro available for a single lump sum. It is relatively expensive, but includes all major updates and will work out cheaper than Premiere Pro if you continue to use it for a few years. If you have a Mac and you are shared between Apple and Adobe, we recommend that you try both for free before you decide.
Image credit: CyberLink
3. CyberLink PowerDirector
A video editor that puts premium tools within the reach of newcomers
Platform: Windows | Free try: 30 days | Download directly on YouTube: Yes | 8K support: Yes | 360 support: Yes | Type of purchase: Retail
PowerDirector Ultra $ 79.99 Visit Siteat CyberLinkWizard optimizes videos in seconds Beginner and advanced interfaces Fewer controls than some
If Adobe Premiere Elements and Apple Final Cut Pro X are overkill for your video editing projects, take a look at CyberLink PowerDirector.
Although PowerDirector is a premium and feature-rich video editor, it is also very forgiving and offers a gentle introduction to post-production that will not bewilder beginners. The Magic Movie Wizard is the ultimate example, allowing you to combine and optimize videos with just a few clicks. You will get better results by spending some time in the Timeline Editor, but for anyone who just wants to quickly put something together to post on Facebook, this is ideal.
That’s not to say CyberLink PowerDirector is stunned, however; far from there. The software also offers a standard post-production interface based on control panels and a timeline. Sometimes it takes a little time to explore the finer controls, but each filter and option is extremely flexible once you start exploring. Perhaps the most impressive of all, CyberLink PowerDirector makes video editing fun.
Image credit: FXhome Ltd
4. HitFilm Pro
If you are interested in special effects, HitFilm is the editor for you
Platform: Windows | Free try: No time limit, but cannot export | Download directly on YouTube: Yes | 8K support: Yes | 360 support: Yes | Type of purchase: Retail
Intuitive interface Superb for special effects Overkill for beginners
HitFilm Pro is a premium video editor that is a favorite of fanfilm makers – and with good reason. It’s packed with tools to create great special effects, but is accessible enough for home users.
One of the main selling points of HitFilm Pro is the ability to handle just about every aspect of video post-production within the editor. Animations, titles, audio editing, and color grading are all accessible with a few clicks, but the interface is intuitively designed and never feels cluttered.
Unlike other video editors in this roundup, HitFilm Pro supports importing and animating custom 3D models, with simulated 3D cameras, custom shadows, and dynamic lighting. There are also impressive particle effects and superb chroma keying to minimize annoying spills.
Image credit: Adobe
5. Adobe Premiere Elements
A user-friendly introduction to video editing for complete beginners
Platform: Windows / Mac | Free try: 30 days | Download directly on YouTube: Yes | 8K support: No | 360 support: No | Type of purchase: Retail
$ 76 See at Tiger Direct $ 84.18 See at Tiger Direct $ 99.99 See on AmazonSee all prices (7 found) Excellent tutorials for new usersAutomated tools for everyday tasksSimple step-by-step assistantsYou can soon surpass it
Of all the premium video editors on this roundup, Adobe Premiere Elements is the most beginner-oriented. It is designed to make video editing as simple as possible, and even its Expert interface is extremely simple.
Unlike Adobe’s premium software (like Premiere Pro), Premiere Elements is only available as a one-time purchase, so you’re not required to pay monthly fees to continue using it. It is also one of the most affordable video editors, which is impressive for a huge name like Adobe.
Some video editors assume a certain degree of familiarity before they start, but Premiere Elements is ideal even for beginners. Its interface has large buttons, clearly labeled. There are also some great tutorials included to help bridge the gap between creating a video using assistants and using the more traditional multitrack timeline.
Video editing software faqs
How to choose video editing software?
There are several key factors, and the price is not necessarily the most important: if it was, every Hollywood film would be made in Apple’s free iMovie!
Let’s start at the end. What type of video do you plan to make and where is it going? There’s a world of difference between fast editing personal videos that you’ll watch on TV and editing something for Netflix or cinema distribution.
You will need to determine in what formats the software should export, what level of quality it should produce (HD? 4K? 8K?) And whether it can provide the type of visual effects you want to use. If you collaborate, your application should also be compatible with the applications of others.
There is also you to consider. Are you experienced or would a simpler application that guides you step by step through the process be more useful? Do you want to have complete control over each pixel, or would you rather let the computer do most of the work? How scalable do you need your application to be?
And then there is the price. Most but not all inexpensive or free applications are very limited; most, but not all, high-end publishers are terribly expensive. It is possible to pay too much and end up with an application that is exaggerated, or to pay too little and end up inventing new colorful swear words when the application refuses to do what you need.
Also remember that the more you can do, the more you will want to. Can your chosen application grow with your imagination?
Why should I care about video editing software?
Video is the new rock’n’roll: where kids dreamed of being rock stars, now they dream of being YouTube vloggers. Meanwhile, video has become the lingua franca of the Internet, viral clips and video responses to independent films and brilliant corporate presentations.
The one thing they almost all have in common is publishing. It could be a simple cut to cut a clip in the appropriate place, or it could involve mixing several clips together, changing the soundtrack and adding a bunch of special effects. To do these things, you will need a video editing application.
What features of video editing software should I look for?
It depends on the type of editing you want to do. For example, you may not need a lot of visual effects if you just splice clips from Uncle George’s 90th birthday party. But there are a few key things to consider.
First, what formats and resolutions does the application support? Can it use the images from your camera without converting them? Can it export to the places where you want to share your finished images?
Do you need features like a green screen or picture-in-picture (if you’re a YouTuber, the answers to these questions are probably yes)? Can you share directly with social media, if that’s your thing?
How many tracks can you use? Can you extract sequences and sound from multiple files, swapping them as needed, or will you need to do pre-production first because the app can only handle a few tracks at a time?
Does the app have smart features to make everyday editing easier, such as smart clip cutting or simple editing modes? Is it easy to add titles, transitions between scenes or adjust colors?
If it’s a mobile app, can you upload your project to continue editing in a desktop equivalent of the app?
What does 8K support for video editing mean?
8K is a screen resolution: that is, it tells you how many pixels (dots) make up the image.
Here is a list of resolutions for TV and movie formats in recent years.
VHS 335 x 480
DVD 720 x 480
HD 1280 x 720
Full HD 1.920 x 1.080
Then there was 4K. 4K can mean many different things, but the version you’ll get on a 4K TV is called 4K Ultra HD and offers 3840 x 2160 pixels. Take these numbers, double them and boom! 8K!
Do you need it? Certainly not. Chances are you don’t know a soul with an 8K TV or monitor, and you don’t and can’t afford a camera capable of recording in this quality.
What is 360 support for video editing?
Traditional cameras can only point in one direction, but 360 video uses smart cameras and / or smart processing combining the input of multiple lenses to get a full 360-degree video recording. You’ve probably seen it on Facebook or in a VR app: if you move up or down or left or right, the video will move accordingly as if you were there.
In fact, editing 360 videos is not much more difficult than editing 2D videos, but exporting is more complicated and many applications simply cannot cope with 360 degrees video in the first place. . Vimeo video sharing site highly recommends using Adobe Premiere Pro CC (yes, our recommended video editing software) if you are serious about 360-degree video editing.
What video editing software do most YouTubers use?
iMovie remains massively popular among YouTubers because it is really easy and it is free on their MacBooks, iPhones or iPads. For direct-to-camera videos, you don’t really need anything more complicated: iMovie has all the cutting, titling, and transition effects you’ll likely need, and it supports green screens / blue when you want to put something like gameplay pictures. On PC, Microsoft Photos is an underrated gem. Adobe Premiere Pro CC, the entry-level version of Adobe Premiere Pro, is also very popular.
Generally speaking, YouTubers tend to opt for simple, efficient and affordable applications. One of the best free apps is Lightworks, which you can get for Windows, Mac, and Linux devices. It has integrated YouTube export and a bunch of really impressive real-time effects. It looks absolutely terrifying compared to something like Microsoft Photos but it doesn’t take long to learn and it’s a great editing app.
There are also many other good options. HitFilm Pro has a free version but also offers a powerful professional version. The free DaVinci Resolve app is very good, especially on color correction, and although VSDC Free Video Editor lacks the hardware acceleration of paid editing apps, it’s not really a problem if you don’t are not in a busy work environment.
What video editing software do professionals use?
It depends on how you define professionals and what industry or sector you’re thinking of. Go to Hollywood or a big TV studio and the editing is almost certainly done in Avid Media Composer Ultimate. In ad agencies, independent film studios, and companies that make YouTube movies, you are more likely to see Adobe Premiere Pro CC or Apple Final Cut Pro X and related applications such as Adobe After Effects, an application for graphic and visual effects animation – see above for how we rate them. These are very, very good tools designed to run on very, very good computers.