Selecting Video Editing Software

There are a few good basic applications for editing video which include Adobe Premiere Elements 8, and Corel Video Studio X2 and iMovie (Mac). Several of these have easy to follow wizards which help you get started quickly.

For professional quality editing be sure to check out Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, Avid, Sony Vegas, Adobe After Effects CS4 or Final Cut Pro (Mac). For these high end applications there is a steep learning curve, but the rewards are tremendous.

These allow you to apply color correction tools such as color balance, hue saturation, curves and more to a whole clip, just as you would with a still image. They also enable you to add in a music track and then export the finished production to a DVD or the internet.

The Six Steps to Deciding What to Buy

  1. Plan Your Budget – Both free and commercial video editing software exist. Professionals generally choose commercial software. Home video can be done with freeware. Some camcorders even come with software. As with anything, you get what you pay for.
  1. Select a Wrapper – Like stills images, JPEG, TIFF, PSD, GIF etc., video can also be delivered in several different formats, these are called “wrappers”. A movie file is wrapped in a format that can be read by a player, this can be a MOV file for QuickTime, WMF for Windows Media player, FLV for Flash players etc.

Decide what video formats you want to encode in, and choose software that can open and save in those formats. The output file can be decided after you have finished editing the file and are ready to export it. You will also be offered an endless list of output codecs, these will define how the movie is compressed etc.

  1. The User Interface – Consider how important a simple interface to you is. The more more bells and whistles it offers, usually the more difficult the learning curve is. To me, this is the make or break decision for a lot of projects. If you aren’t willing to put in the time with the manual learning the features, then you may be less inclined to work with it. An alternative may be to check out Find how many training videos are present for the software you are leaning towards purchasing BEFORE you buy it. Seeing tasks done is easier for many people than reading manuals.
  1. Do you want high definition (HD) video supported? – If you are playing back your video on a board room or conference room 60” TV, then HD is critical to making it look it’s best. You may think you don’t need it, but sooner or later you are going to wish you had gone with HD. At that point you have to reinvest the time and money to learn a new software package.
  1. Technical Requirements – Ensure your computer meets the specifications not just in hardware but that the software is supported on your operating system. To find your technical stats on a Windows machine go to Start -Control Panel – System and everything you need will be right there.
  1. Selecting the Software – To narrow down and select a winner, you should first compile a list of video editing software packages to consider. Next Google them individually using the phrase “Reviews for ABC”. Reading a few reviews for each product should give you the insight you need on the pros and cons. Next Google your top two competitors “Best Price for ABC”. This will give you a snapshot of the cost involved.

Below, please notice the links to other installments of our series on Setting Up a Video Studio. Next we will discuss microphones available and how to pick a good one for your needs.  We appreciate you following the series and hope that finding this information useful.

Read Our Previous Installments

Setting Up a Video Studio – Part 2

Using a Digital SLR Camera for Video

Thinking About Adding Video Content?


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    Gerry Nason Written by:

    Gerry Nason is a Senior Content Copywriter for HiP B2B. He also has extensive experience with generating high quality executive leads. Gerry worked for six years as the Producer & Director of a weekly music show, appearing on cable access TV in New England. During those six years, In Tune won 18 awards for video excellence.

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