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Best laptop for college Why trust us? We have been reviewing video editing software since Top Ten Reviews launched in We have watched these programs grow from simple timeline editing to include tools that were only dreamed about for programs at the consumer level.
Every year, we gather all the best software and use each program to create dozens of videos. The reviewers who evaluate video editing software all have a background in media production, particularly video.
How we found the best video editing software We used each program to create a test project, using identical elements for each one. We also looked for and evaluated a list of basic and advanced tools to get a baseline of their usefulness. Export and production options were also considered.
Ease of use grade We considered things like how easily you can important and organize the elements of your project like video, audio and images. We also looked at how easy it is to perform basic tasks like placing elements on the timeline, splitting clips and arranging media. We also considered how easily editing tools are accessed and used. If a tool is difficult to find, awkwardly implemented or counterintuitive, it can slow down your edits. We quickly discovered that the more accessible everything is, the better the editing experience will be.
We gave each program an A to F grade based on this evaluation. Quality grade We created, exported and reviewed all of the results. We watched every video we made, looking for imperfections in the video and audio. Flaws such as pixelation, compression artifact, motion blur and more were present in most of the videos we examined, but they varied greatly depending on which program we used.
Each program was given an A to F quality grade based on this evaluation. Robust video tool sets The best video editing applications are simple to use and offer robust video tool sets. As you search for the right software for your projects, think about the basic and advanced tools each program offers, its export and production options, and the help and support the company provides. Basic tools All the video editing programs we reviewed can help you blend your footage, audio clips and images to create new and unique videos.
They also all offer basic nonlinear video editing tools. Timelines, storyboards, transitions, titles and audio editing are all common fare for the products we reviewed. These applications also have video effect libraries.
The number of available effects varies from program to program; however, a library with more than effects is usually sufficient for any non-professional project. Simple video editor programs have an easy or basic mode for beginners. This is distinct from the familiar timeline and storyboard modes and often reduces editing to its most basic concepts and tools.
Some applications make the process even easier by scanning your media and creating a video with it automatically. The best video editing programs let you manipulate the automatically generated video after it has been compiled. Easy-to-use applications also come with basic themes and templates you can use for both simple and advanced projects. You can add your footage to these templates and customize them with themes that are appropriate for a child's birthday party, a vacation highlight reel or even a mock movie trailer starring you, your family and your friends.
The best editing software is compatible with all the latest video and audio technology on the market today. For example, they can import, edit and export at ultra-high-definition 4K resolution.
Another advanced tool worth noting is a multi-cam editor, which combines videos of the same event taken at multiple angles on different cameras. It even automatically syncs them so you can smoothly switch angles.
These tools are generally as good as or better than the ones in the software that comes bundled with the cameras themselves. You can use them to stabilize shaky video, correct fish-eye distortion, enhance color, and pan and zoom around your footage. They can even slow down and reverse the video. Even though degree video is in its infancy, there are a few consumer-level cameras that can capture video in this advanced format.
The best video editing software helps you build a compelling story out of your degree footage that makes your audience feel like they are standing in the middle of it all. Normally, the software has presets for each format. Some programs we reviewed allow you to export into less common formats. While this is useful in some cases, the most popular formats will usually meet your needs.
In addition, all the video creation software we tested can optimize your videos to share on sites like YouTube and Facebook. However, the best applications let you upload your finished videos to social media directly from their export menus. Since people now watch, store and share videos on tablets and smartphones, it's important for video editing programs to be able to export to these devices. Nearly all the products we reviewed can do so to some degree, but the best ones have companion mobile apps you can sync with their desktop counterparts, which makes transferring faster and more secure.
Disc authoring tools are another essential feature to consider if you intend to distribute DVDs or Blu-ray discs of your videos.
Authoring options can be quite extensive; for example, you may be able to insert chapter markers, build disc menus and include extra features, just like in Hollywood-produced movies. The best video editor programs have a lot of authoring tools. There may be times when you need help, especially if you have limited experience. This help can come in the form contacting the software developer by online chat, reading FAQs and knowledgebase articles on its website, or watching free tutorials.
The most useful tool a manufacturer can provide is a community dedicated to video editing. These are places where editors can share, learn and collaborate. The value of these online communities is significant, especially for editors refining their skills. How much does the best video editing software cost?
Free vs paid video editing software There are some free video editing solutions out there. Nearly every program we tested has a free trial that lasts anywhere from 15 to 30 days. Best video editing software for iPhone Every new iPhone comes with the iMovie app preinstalled. This is a great option for most Apple users because it complements the software's desktop version very well. The workflow is almost identical, and it allows you to sync your projects via iCloud, meaning you can start a project on your computer and continue it on your phone later with all your changes intact.
The iMovie app is the best for those who live entirely within the Apple ecosystem. Outside of iMovie, there are a few other video editors you can download from the Apple App Store. Options include the mobile version of Adobe Premiere Rush , which has many of the same advantages as iMovie but with the benefit of being compatible Windows computers and Android devices.
You can also download a handy app called Splice. This program includes the familiar array of features, including those for trimming, cropping and adding simple effects.
However, it also has some unique features — for example, it can sync a video to a musical beat automatically. In addition, unlike Adobe Rush and iMovie, it has a more traditional timeline that allows you to work with multiple tracks, making it a bit more versatile. Best video editing software for Chromebook Our top choice for Windows video editing software, PowerDirector , has an Chromebook-compatible app. Probably the biggest hurdle is adjusting to using a mobile app on a laptop.
The app is free to download and use, so there are ads and in-app purchase offers. The app's multitrack timeline is done well, considering it is meant to be used on a smartphone or tablet. The program also includes more than 50 effects and transitions and customizable titles as well as tools that adjust picture values like contrast, saturation and brightness.
As an added convenience, you can post your videos to YouTube and Facebook directly from within the app. So, if you take a lot of video with your phone that syncs to the cloud, it will be ready to go on your Chromebook without having to manually import it — a huge convenience. Best video editing software for GoPros If you have a GoPro or another action cam, you know that it takes special software to handle the large, highly detailed footage they capture.
Action cam creators usually have their own software, like Quick, which is made by GoPro. These are fine programs that allow you to import, edit and enhance your action cam footage. Our top choice for this category, PowerDirector , has an integrated action cam module. It allows you to import footage from your action cam, apply lens correction, stabilize footage and adjust white balance and color.
There are also some action cam effects like timeshift and freeze frame which are very useful. Other video editing software developers offer programs exclusively devoted to action cams. This allows you to streamline projects made primarily with action cam footage. Fastcut has some great features, like templates for quick projects and a beat detector to help you line up your footage with audio to help enhance your action cam project.
Advice from the pros We also reached out to professionals who use video editing software on a regular basis and asked what aspects are most important to look for in consumer-level programs. Drew Tyler, instructor of digital media at Weber State University, told us there are two primary questions to answer: