How to Choose the Best Video Editing Software

If you’re just starting out in digital video, or even if you’re a season videographer, you may be confused by the vast range of video editing products in the market today. Some software packages cost $500 or more while others are below $100. How do you decide which package to choose? That’s the aim of this article – it’ll help you understand what factors to consider when choosing that video editing package and how to get the best deal.

1. Your Budget

First and foremost on my list of factors to consider when purchasing a video editing package – your budget. If you’re a beginner, I recommend you go for cheaper software like Roxio VideoWave or Pinnacle Studio Plus. I know many people swear by the powerful editing suites like Adobe Premiere Pro, but for the average user, it is complete overkill. The cheaper packages save you money and will fulfill most of your video editing needs. You can always upgrade to better software when you’re more experienced.

2. Video File Import and Export

Second factor I’d always consider is the ability to import and export various formats of video files. If you want to import Quicktime movie files or RealMedia video and edit them, check the package to ensure you can import those video formats. Same thing for exporting video files – if you want your finished product to be a Windows Media file, ensure the package supports that feature.

3. Special Effects

Third point – the special effects included in the video editing software. Cheaper software like Roxio VideoWave or Ulead VideoStudio will have more ‘stock’ special effects that do not allow customization. Packages like Adobe Premiere will allow you more flexibility in special effects. This factor is important if you foresee yourself playing with screen transitions and tilting a lot.

4. Bundled Software (Audio/Music/DVD)

Another point is to see what bundled software comes with the video editing package. Very often, you’ll have things like VCD/DVD authoring packages thrown in (e.g. Ulead DVD MovieFactory). Some products bundle in music creation packages like Sony Acid Pro. These products can be really good deals as the bundled software can cost hundreds of dollars if sold separately.

5. Recommended Software

OK, now let’s see what are the video editing products I recommend based on the type of user you are – beginner, intermediate and professional.

  • For the Beginner – For those starting out in video editing, my best recommendation is … Roxio VideoWave. This is an excellent package built around an automated approach to video movie creation. VideoWave will help you save hours of video editing time and easily turn your home videos into movies on DVD or CD.
  • For the Intermediate Level User – If you’re more experienced in video editing, a good choice will be Ulead VideoStudio. This package is twice the price of Roxio VideoWave – but the additional money is well spent. One of the best mid-range video editing programs, Video Studio provides features that will suit both beginners and intermediate videographers.
  • For the Advanced User – If you’re a professional video editor, you will most likely have used Adobe Premiere. This product is the industry standard for video editing. Lots of features, plug-ins as well as excellent product support. I strongly recommend this for advanced users who want to tweak and customize their videos to their heart’s content.

Conclusion

All in all, there is a huge range of video editing software in the market. My basic advice is to start simple. Go buy a product like Roxio VideoWave and try out its features. Learn the ins and outs, get comfortable with the software. Once you progress and learn more about video editing in general, you can then consider upgrading to better products like A or even B.

Music Recording Software Made Easy

Music recording software has evolved so rapidly that anybody can record music that is on par with major recording studios. Regardless of how powerful the music recording software has become, you still need the experience and knowledge to get the most value from it. It’s important to determine your musical goals, find software that can help you achieve them and hopefully not break the bank doing so!

Music recording software packages

ProTools (PC or Mac). You can’t go wrong with this software; this is become a measuring stick for all other software packages. Great for multi track recording, mixing and mastering your music.

Logic Audio (Mac) The single most complete music software available on the market today.

Cakewalk Sonar (PC) I use the software when I first got into the music business and found it relatively easy to use compared to ProTools, and would recommend that any beginner start with Cakewalk.

Digital Performer (Mac) Clean interface and professional sound. Certainly a strong performer.

Cubase (PC/Mac). Along with ProTools, Cubase makes multitracking incredible simple to handle, though it’s not as intuitive as some of these other packages..

Music Recording Software for Loops: Make Music In Minutes

For any aspiring beatmakers and hip-hop producers you can obtain cheap music recording software that will help you produce music quickly and professionally. The learning curve for the software is not as steep as those for the overall packages.

Acid Pro (PC) Created by Sony, this is the premiere leader in the industry.

Fruity Loops (PC and Mac) this is my personal choice for beat making software.

Music Recording Software For Free: Great for beginners.

Music production can be an expensive hobby, and it only gets worse with time. Unfortunately, many beginners purchase high a recording software for hundreds if not thousands of dollars only to become frustrated with the steep learning curve that comes with all the bells and whistles. I recommend anyone who is interested making music should start out with free software before moving onto an expensive package like the ones listed above.

I recommend to recording software to start with: Audacity and Kristal Audio Engine. Both of these software allow you to record, edit and makes your music using a very simple recording interface.

The two software packages are Kristal Audio Engine and Audacity. Both offer multitrack recording, editing and mixing capabilities. There are loads more free software packages, but these two offer the novice all the functionalities they need to get started without the confusing added features like those on ProTools. Whether it’s country, rock, blues or hip hop, these software packages provide a low barrier of entry into what may become a lifelong passion of making music.

Video Editing Software Programs – What Should I Use?

“Video Editing Software Programs?” Whoa, back up! What do people mean when they say video editing anyway? Let’s say you have a business on the internet and you know you need to use video in your marketing efforts. You may even be thinking: should I not be able to just go out, shoot some great video with my camera, come home, and then just upload it to the web? Well, yes, you could do that. Today’s technology makes it physically possible. But unless you’re talking about a quick video of your cat doing something cute, or a family member’s dance recital, sports performance, etc. that you plan to upload to a social site to share with friends and family, then you are going to need to edit the video. Why? Because while raw footage is great for social reasons, it just won’t do the job if what you really want is a polished, put-together product whose goal is to promote your business in some way.

So back to the question: what is video editing? And what software should I use to do it? Basically editing is the process that allows you to cut, copy and/or paste your raw video footage to build something that is focused and professional. You can cut out extra video where nothing interesting is happening, or bad takes, etc. You can also edit the audio at the same time. Maybe there were some sounds captured on the shoot that you don’t need or want on the final product. Heck, you can even replace the sound completely with new audio. Maybe you want to add studio quality narration and perhaps some background music. You can also add other video bits, or even still images, to the new video for variety, comparison, montages etc. Most video editing software programs allow you to add effects to your videos as well, such as zooming, lighting tricks, visual filters, adding text over the video, etc.

Video editing software programs come in a variety of prices and capabilities. There are hundreds of programs out there to choose from. For beginners, you’ll want to start out with a program that is powerful yet easy to use. If you are really just looking to slice and dice your video, maybe adding text or music, and organizing clips quickly, Windows Movie Maker does an excellent job. And quite conveniently, it’s almost certainly already on your computer if you’re running windows.

If you want a little more capability, a few more bells and whistles, look into a program that has proven itself as reliable and capable called Final Cut Pro. Another is Vegas Movie Studio. Final Cut Pro is what many aspiring professional use, but this program only runs on Macs. Vegas Movie Studio is arguably the PC-alternative to Final Cut.

Both of these video editing programs allow you to take average video shot with a digital camcorder, add filters and effects, and create a web video that looks like it was made by Hollywood film makers. Final Cut Pro actually won an Emmy award for its additions to the film making world.

So does that help answer your question about video editing? Yes, it is still true that a good deal of your video quality will depend on the camera you use, the lighting conditions when you shoot, and a few other factors associated with the actual video recording process, a lot also depends on the video editing process. The software you use, combined with some basic editing knowledge, will also factor hugely into the quality of your final video production. My advice is just to try one of the programs I mentioned here, learn a little bit about how to use them (forums have been a great source for me, as well as tutorials found at sites like Home Brew Video), and just get started. The more you use these editing programs, the better your productions will be.

Good luck!

Ken