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I downloaded the software and realized, after it recognized certain drivers needed updating, that it was not going to do it for free. After this, I put off updating until I couldn't stand it any longer. Once I had registered the key I tried updating my drivers and of course it did not work. Now I actually think this may have occurred on purpose to get me to contact them for support.
For example, multicam editing, which lets you switch among camera angles of the same scene shot with multiple video cameras, used to be a feature relegated to pro-level software. Now this and many other advanced effects are available in programs designed for use by nonprofessional enthusiasts.
Another impressive effect that has made its way into consumer-level video editing software is motion tracking, which lets you attach an object or effect to something moving in your video.
You might use it to place a blur over the face of someone you don't want revealed in your video, or to display a text box next to a moving object. You mark the object you want to track, specify the effect or text, and the app takes care of the rest, following the marked object. This used to be the sole province of special-effects software such as Adobe After Effects.
Corel VideoStudio was the first of the consumer products to include motion tracking, and it still leads the pack in the depth and usability of its motion-tracking tool, though several others now include the capability. The 4K Video Factor Support for 4K video source content has become pretty standard in video editing software, and pro software already supports up to 8K, which isn't useful unless you have a full-size movie theater. The support for 4K formats varies among the consumer products.
The same holds true for the H. Most of the applications here now can import and export HEVC, though there are still a few holdouts. Video Editing Of course, none of the extras matter if an app can't do the most basic editing tasks. At this point, however, all of the products included here do a good job of letting you join, trim, and split video clips.
They also let you make use of special effects such as animated transitions, picture-in-picture PiP , chroma-key the technique that lets you place a subject against any background, often known as green screening , and filters that enhance colors or apply creative effects and distortions.
With most of them you can add a multitude of timeline tracks that can accommodate video clips, effects, audio, and text overlays. A recent tool for some of the video editing applications is support for seamless transitions.
Picture a scene showing people at a beach, and suddenly the sky zooms in and your in Rome or Paris, but it looks like you're in the same place because the transition glued the two scenes together using the sky. There are plenty of other examples of seamless transition; this magnificent video shows a good selection of them, and is partly responsible for starting the trend. Color wheels, curves, and histograms give editors control over the intensity of every shade. This staple of pro-level software lets you quickly change the look of a video to give it a specific mood.
For example, think of the dark blue look of thriller movies like The Revenant. You can download LUTs for free from several sites or use those included with video software to give your video a specific look. One well-known LUT type is the kind that can make a daytime scene look like it was shot at night.
For example, several offer automated freeze-frame along with speedup, slowdown, and reverse time effects. CyberLink PowerDirector's Action Camera Center pulls together freeze frame with stabilization, slo-mo, and fish-eye correction, and color correction for underwater footage.
And Wondershare Filmora lets you subscribe to new effect packs on an ongoing basis. Titles That Zing I've been seeing a lot of attention paid to creating title effects in the applications over the past year.
Apple Final Cut Pro X has added 3D title creation, which is pretty spiffy, letting you extrude 2D titles and rotate them on three axes. PowerDirector's Title Designer offers transparency, gradient color, border, blur level, and reflection in titles; Magix has impressive title templates, complete with animations.
Premiere Elements offers a nifty title effect in which your video fills the text characters, and Corel followed suit with a similar tool in VideoStudio. Look for an application that lets you edit titles in WYSIWYG what you see is what you get mode, so that you can type, format, and time it right over the video preview. Gathering Speed Video editing is one of the most computing-intensive activities around, so you'll want the best laptop or desktop you can afford if you're serious about cutting your own movies.
Most applications help speed up the editing process by creating a proxy file of lower resolution, so that normal editing and previewing aren't slowed down by the huge full-resolution files.
Particularly intensive is the process of rendering your finished product into a standard video file that will by playable on the target device of choice, be that an HDTV, a laptop, or a smartphone. Most of the software can take advantage of your computer's graphics processor to speed this up. Be sure to check the performance section in each review linked here to see how speedy or slow the application is. In rendering speed testing, CyberLink and Pinnacle have been my perennial champs.
Other measures of performance include startup time and simple stability. Again, video editing is a taxing activity for any computer, involving many components. In the past, video editing programs took longer than most other apps to start up, and unexpected shutdowns were unfortunately common, even in top apps from top developers such as Adobe and Apple.
The stability situation has greatly improved, but the complexity of the process, which increases as more powerful effects are added, means crashes will likely never be fully eliminated, and they often raise their ugly heads after a feature update.
Free Video Editing Software If you don't want to invest a lot of money and effort into your video editing exploits, there are a few free options. Of course, if you use a Mac, the excellent iMovie comes with it. For PC users, Windows 10 's Photos app as of the Fall Creators Update lets you join, trim, and even add background music, 3D animated effects, and titles to video.
Some of these are quite basic, but most include with clip joining, transitions, and effects, in a very touch-friendly interface. Free video editing software often comes with legal and technical limitations, however. Some widely used codecs require licensing fees on the part of the software maker, meaning they can't offer free software that can handle these standard file formats.
That said, the impressive open-source Shotcut does a lot of the same things that the paid applications in this roundup do, including things like chroma-keying and picture-in-picture.
Shotcut is completely open-source and free, while another free option, Lightworks has paid options that remove a p output resolution limit. As is often the case, our Editors' Choice, CyberLink PowerDirector was the first product in this group to offer support for this new kind of video media.
Support varies, with some apps including compatible titles, stabilization, and motion tracking. PowerDirector is notable for including those last two. Final Cut offers a useful tool that removes the camera and tripod from the image, often an issue with degree footage. What About Apple?
Though Mac users don't have the sheer number of software choices available for PCs, Apple fans interested in editing video are well served, by four products in particular.
At the entry level, the surprisingly capable and enjoyable-to-use iMovie comes free with every Mac sold since at least In the midrange, there's Adobe Premiere Elements, which is cross-platform between Macs and PCs, and offers a lot more features and lots of help with creating effects.
Final Cut is a deceptively simple application that resembles iMovie in its interface and ease of use, but it offers massively deep capabilities, and many third-party apps integrate with it for even more power. Premiere Pro uses a more-traditional timeline and adds a large ecosystem of companion apps and plug-ins. It also excels in collaboration features, and of course plays well with Ancillary Adobe software such as After Effects and Photoshop.
Audio Editing We still live in the days of talkies, so you want to be able to edit the audio in your digital moves as well as the images. Most of the products included here offer canned background music, and many, such as Pinnacle Studio, can even tailor the soundtrack to the exact length of your movie.
All of these programs can separate audio and video tracks, and most can clean up background noise and add environmental audio effects such as concert hall reverb. A couple of the products have an auto-ducking feature, which lowers background music during dialog—a definite pro-level plus. What's Not Here There are more video editing software applications than we can fit into this roundup of the best options, which includes only software rated three stars and higher. Sony's product used a very cluttered interface that more resembled high-end professional video editing software from the early days of the craft.
Magix has made some progress in simplifying it and bringing it up to par with the competition, but more work is needed for it to be included here. Another program, VSDC Video Editor Pro , had a terribly outdated interface when we tested it, but its developer has recently done a major update, so look for an updated review soon. Longtime pro video editors will note the absence of Avid Media Composer, which is simply too unwieldy for PCMag's primarily consumer audience.
The Finish Line The video editing application you choose depends on your budget, the equipment you're using, and how serious you are. Fortunately, you're spoiled for choice with the products available. Peruse our in-depth reviews of enthusiast-level video editing software reviews linked below to see which is the right one for you.
One final note about the features table at the top of this story: Check marks represent differentiating, above-the-call-of-duty features, rather than essential ones. So, just because Nero Video and Wondershare Filmora don't have any checks, it doesn't mean they're not good choices. In fact, both offer decent basic editing on a budget.