The Best Video Editing Software Compared

The Best Video Editing Software Compared

Montage of the best video editing software packages.

These are my current choices for the best video editing software solutions at the consumer or home user level through to prosumer.

A more comprehensive review for each one can be found by following the links next to each one or just look to the menu on the right of the page for a link.

The order in which they are presented is based on my own experience in both using and reviewing each one on a standard “run of the mill” Win 10 computer that I also use for other things.

In other words, not a single purpose computer used for editing or testing software but more likely a computer that looks a lot like yours… although I hope for your sake it is not as messy!

I have also included lower on the page, my recommendations for easiest to use video editing software.

If you are looking for best prosumer product at a reasonable price then Magix Video Pro X is my choice and you can read about it here: Magix Video Pro X review.

Finally if you are looking for a great editor for Mac then take a look at these pages: ScreenFlow Review or Filmora Review

Obviously there are many other brands of video editing software out there and maybe the one you are looking at is not here.

It is not my goal to complicate the selection process for you any more than it already is so I have only included those ones I feel very confident in recommending.

What I do know is that within the software on this page you can get an excellent video editor to suit your needs and the differences between all of them are quite small.

I don’t mean to go on and on about it (OK, I do mean to go on and on) but please… use the free trials.

#1 CyberLink PowerDirector 15

powerdirector15-ulimate-boxCyberlink PowerDirector 15 was recently released and has continued to build on the success of the previous versions.

It remains the fastest kid on the block when to comes to rendering time and it’s ability to scrub through the timeline even when dealing with new highly compressed high definition video formats

It’s overall speed and computer resource management abilities remain unmatched.

This year they added an automated motion tracking feature which is a godsend for people trying to get objects or effects to track along with the motion of the video.

On top of that it now boasts the ability to deal with 360 degree footage “end-to-end.”

They also added a separate and advanced Adorage work spaces to deal with and remove unwanted shaky footage or camera shake, a vital tool in these high definition times!

Of all the mainstream software producers Cyberlink have continually set themselves apart from the rest by not only keeping pace with the changes in the files and file types they have to deal with, but in many cases being one step ahead.

This program has been my first choice for users at the consumer level of editing for a number of years now and although this year the competition has closed the gap to some degree PowerDirector still offers the biggest bang for your buck.

It boasts a huge feature set, can do anything that the others can do and more, offers a relatively pain free introduction to the world of editing and is backed by a great online support community.

CyberLink PowerDirector 15 Review

Click Here to See Cyberlink PowerDirector 15

#2 Corel VideoStudio Pro X10 / Ultimate X10

VideoStudio X10 BoxThe latest version of Corel Video Studio Pro X10 has added some great new features and they have built on their already excellent user interface making it fully customizable even across two monitors.

Time and effort has been well spent on improving the software’s performance and utilization of available computer resources resulting in a faster, smoother editing experience.

The easy to use Wizards for the beginner or the “not that interested” have been retained and tweaked as well as many powerful features being added for those of you who wish to expand your creativity and technical prowess.

If you are considering a purchase of video editing software you certainly would be well served by VideoStudio Pro X10.

Corel VideoStudio Pro X10 Review

Click here to take a look at Corel VideoStudio Pro X10

#3 Magix Movie Edit Pro

magix-movie-edit-pro-boxMagix have impressed with further consolidation of their already feature rich editor, Movie Edit Pro.

Movie Edit Pro is not another version where they have added a multitude of new features to the software, and that’s a good thing!

The already impressive feature set represents just about everything the home user would ever need so endlessly adding new half baked tricks for the sake of marketing is pointless.

With this latest version they have worked hard on stability and user friendliness that was perhaps lacking in some earlier versions.

To achieve this they have completely redesigned the user interface to make it easier to use and far more intuitive as well as completely rewriting the code of the program based on 64 Bit architecture.

With this release they can’t really go to town listing all the new features because as far as new stuff goes there aren’t that many.

However it is vital to note that many of the so called “new features” the competition are touting have been present in the Magix product for years.

With this latest release Magix Movie Edit Pro could very well become the new darling of the Windows based video editing software world.

They have increased the size, range and customizability (OK! I KNOW that’s not a word!) for their existing video transitions, video effects, audio control and photo editing and have added some new features that have me very seriously considering jumping ship from my current video editor.

Magix Movie Edit Pro full review

Click Here to Take a Look at Magix Movie Edit Pro

#4 Pinnacle Studio 20

Pinnacle Studio 20 box shotThis is the first time I have included Pinnacle Studio as a recommended software for editing.

This is one of the original editing software packages that came to light when digital video at a consumer level was first becoming a reality.

The software has had over the years, times of being very good and times of being… well not so good!

Fortunately Corel bought the software back in 2012 and have finally tamed its little idiosyncrasies and gotten in onto a firm and stable footing.

Feature for feature it is probably the most powerful piece of software on this page in terms of what it can do and the level of control it offers.

It only sits down at number 4 because  this site is aimed more at the beginner so let’s not fool ourselves here, Pinnacle is a complex program that requires some effort to learn.

Of course once learned it will reward you for the pain, but still, you have to go through that learning curve!

Pinnacle Studio 20 Review

Click Here to Take a Look at Pinnacle Studio 20

Best Easy to Learn and Use Video Editing Software

#1 Wondershare Filmora

Wondershare Fimora BoxIn Filmora, Wondershare have really put together a package that I would wholeheartedly recommend to absolute beginners or those who want to just do some editing and be done with it.

The program offers everything you will need to put together video without the complications of the larger programs.

To be honest, although people say they want all the bells and whistles, they rarely use them!

Filmora handles everything from import to export and it all happens via an interface that is simple, elegant and extremely intuitive.

Click Here to See the Full Filmora Review

Click Here to See Filmora for Yourself

#2 muvee Reveal Finale

muvee Reveal Finale box shotMuvee Reveal Finale is not really a fully fledged video editing software program.

It is a specialized home movie making program that almost totally automates the production of your video project. It does what it does very well but is not for the enthusiast.

If you are not interested in too much editing then this one is well worth a look.

Based on proprietary technology the program can take a collection of videos, images and audio files and using that technology arrange them all into a pretty decent final video project.

It does offer the ability to intervene at any point so you can fine tune, but it’s strength lies in the auto features.

Click here to read the full muvee Finale review

Click here to take a look at muvee Reveal Finale

The Best Video Editing Software Compared was last modified: February 21st, 2017 by Lance Carr

108 comments to The Best Video Editing Software Compared

  • Keith

    Thank you for the robust reviews and comparisons on these products. The part I’m stuck on: Pinnacle 20U and Corel VS x10U are similar on paper in almost every way, and are both Corel owned, so what are the major differences? (It’s even harder to judge as there seems to be no official trial)
    Thank you Lance!

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Keith,
      Thanks for the kind words!

      OK, so unlike most you have stumbled upon the ultimate video editing software “dirty little secret!

      It’s not just VideoStudio and Pinnacle that are pretty much identical… it’s all of them!

      In fact I have had to create over one hundred pages on this site dedicated solely to the task of making it appear there is a difference! Doh!

      OK, so the real difference between Pinnacle and VideoStudio is not WHAT they can do, but HOW they do it.

      Pinnacle evolved from the early days of video editing so has a layout and access system more akin to what a professional editor would be familiar with.

      VideoStudio came later and is firmly ensconced in the point and click, drag and drop, system of most modern computer software.

      The result is that Pinnacle offers finer control over certain functions whereas VideoStudio concentrates more on easy access and auto-controls.

      In one sentence it comes down to this: They can basically do the same things, Video studio has an easier interface to learn.

  • Andrzej

    Hi again,

    as far as Power Director 15 is noncerned, the advantage Ultimate Suite ver over Ultimate is: ColorDirector, AudioDirector & € 1,000 of effects.

    Could you please tell me what actually it is? (ColorDirector, AudioDirector & € 1,000 of effects), and when is worth to pay for it.


    • Lance Carr

      Hi Andrzej,
      OK, so just about all video editing software comes with at least some kind of color correction, color grading and audio editing capability.

      In the case of audio this is usually the weakest module no matter what software you are looking at.

      The core PowerDirector program has reasonable audio abilities which are probably all the average user will ever need.

      However for people who want more control over their audio and greater capabilities CyberLink have created Audio Director.

      You can actually buy this as a stand alone piece of software to edit complex audio projects.

      As you have seen, in the Ultimate Suite version you get Audio Director thrown in and it integrates with PowerDirector so you can either use it alone or directly export audio to be further edited or enhanced then have it automatically pulled back in to PowerDirector.

      Similarly PowerDirector has pretty good color correction and color enhancing tools built into the program.

      For those who want more control and more features they created ColorDirector which can handle advanced actions like color grading or using LUTs.

      Again, ColorDirector is a standalone program that integrates with PowerDirector so you can export directly to ColorDirector, do your work then have the footage pulled back into PowerDirector.

      In both cases the reason there are separate modules is because not everyone wants or even needs the advanced features they offer.

      If CyberLink tried to include all those features into the core PowerDirector program it would probably take an hour to load and use up all your RAM before you even started working!

      The other effects I have no idea about and are usually extra effects from other suppliers like NewBlue or ProDad.

      Ignore them, they are marketing tools to make it all seem attractive.

      My advice is that if you think at some time you will need advanced Color manipulation software and advanced audio editing software and the price is good then get the Ultimate Suite.

      If not just get the Ultimate version.

      • Andrzej

        … I just showed my wife your reply… She said: what a crazy guy? 🙂 Of course 100% in positive meaning 🙂 You are really great!
        It was really short question and very comprehensive answer! Many thanks!

        Taking into account that I am still in the begining of my editing way, I believe I do not need “suite” ver. Could you tell when is this particularly useful? (especially ColorDirector)

        Is there a noticeable difference in this area (color and audio editing) between PowerDirector 15 and VideoStudio Ultimate X10? (I mean built-in solution)

        • Lance Carr

          Hi Andrzej,
          OK, to be fair, your wife is probably right because my wife says the same thing… a lot!

          Here’s the the thing.

          If you need to ask what a big separate module does then the chances are you don’t need it!

          Possibly in a year or so you may be doing projects that are quite advanced and you think to yourself, “Hmmm… I need to be able to do blah!”
          And that will be when you need it!

          As far as VideoStudio goes…. DROP IT NOW!

          You see what happens?

          The marketing gets to you and you start to feel you are missing something or missing out on something and your decision starts to go out the window!

          You have found PowerDirector and that’s a good thing so do this.

          DO NOT get the Suite version yet.

          Just get the Ultimate version and learn to use it. In about 9 to 12 months there will be an update to version 16 as certain as night follows day.

          At that time, when you have gained some experience and knowledge AND if you feel the need, you can take advantage of the discounted upgrade path (because you are already an owner) and go up a level.

          • Andrzej

            You are totally right! This is something I suffer from.
            Suite version was just an extra nail in the coffin 🙂 Because my main choice is still between Cyberlink and Corel.

            VideoStudio seems to be easier to use (because I have some experience in using it). PowerDirector in turn seems to be more advanced and that’s why I desire it 🙂

            You mentioned that the only real advantage PowerDirector has over VideoStudio is that it is slightly faster when rendering.

            Do not get me wrong I’m asking 🙂 but does this mean that VideoStudio does have all the same features as PowerDirector and I will not suffer from lack of any important option?

            My regards to your wife!

          • Lance Carr

            Hi Andrzej,
            When it comes to actual features it would be very difficult to find something that PowerDirector does that VideoStudio does not.
            As I said the real difference is that PD seems to run faster on most computers but you have to remember that we are only talking about render times anyway so that not really a big difference.

            The reason PD and VS look different is that many of the features in PD are displayed as buttons or controls on the interface for direct access.

            This is because those features are part of the main program.

            On the other hand VS implements those equivalent features by using plugins form 3rd party developers like NewBlue and Prodad.

            To access them you have drag the relevant filter on to a clip, select properties and suddenly a whole new module opens up.

            There is no right or wrong with either of these implementations however in the case of VS, it provides a simpler, less daunting looking interface.

            In all reality you can’t go wrong with either of these programs, so you could just toss a coin at this stage and look like a genius!

            VS has the advantage of your being already familiar with it, CyberLink has the advantage that perhaps into the future you may want to add the more professional features like the audio, image and color modules.

  • Lance,

    I’m looking at several video editors now and am an intermediate user. I did not see you mention any of the purely free video editors but as I’m sure your fully aware that many now are quite good. I just started working with Hitfilm4 express and 2 others in the past that are good are davinci resolve 12.5 and shotcut. Any comments on those. some of firends swear by camtasia but i personally have not used it. I do see that cyberlink gets good marks in various places but not sure I have the cycles to test that many…lol thanks for all u do !

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Bruce,
      So here’s the deal.
      Most people search around for video editing software until they reach a point where their brains have turned to mush and they remain seated in front of their computers staring fixedly at the screen.

      Once that state becomes unbearable they do one of tow things.

      They either point and click to choose the one that is in front of them because they can’t stand it anymore or they walk away with the feeling that it is all too hard!

      So the ultimate goal of this site is to point out the obvious… most video editing software is exactly the same but there are a few minor points upon which you can separate them to make a choice.

      You on the other hand are in your own words “an intermediate user” and as welcome as you are I am not going to complicate it all for the others by going into a long dissertation on the pro’s and cons of those programs.

      No I don’t include those ones because I am trying to simplify things, not complicate them.

      Of the two you suggest and ONLY for you, either will be fine once you learn them although DaVinci offers more at the free level.

      As far as Camtasia goes I am probably going to drop it from the site sometime soon as it has become irrelevant except for someone wanting to make demonstration videos commercially.

      Most of the good programs have screen recording now so Camtasia has nothing compelling about it anymore. Unless they do a complete overhaul of the editing and output modules and cut the price at least in half you can do far better.

  • Mike Martina

    Lance, great reviews. Are any of the video editors optimized for touch screens? Not a requirement but would be nice. Thanks in advance.


    • Lance Carr

      Hi Mike,
      You know I had a look around on that point but couldn’t really find anything that would indicate that any of them can.

  • Dom

    Hi Lance,

    Looking to get back into video editing after getting into drone videography and currently trying to decide on which way to go. Just wondering if you knew if there were any limitations on the video bitrates of rendered projects at all? The DJI Phantom 4 Pro records H.264/H.265 4k video at upto 100Mbps and I read in a forum somewhere that some of these entry level NLE apps have maximum export bitrates of 50~60Mbps. I cannot seem to find anything official to either confirm or rebut this for any of them.

    Have you come across anything like this at all? Or do you think that my requirement for finer control of export bitrate/quality might bump me up into the prosumer category?

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Dom,
      You know I sometimes wonder where that stuff comes from!

      I think it just people getting confused when the software tells them there is a maximum bitrate or resolution for the file they are trying to create and so they think it applies to ALL files.

      If I tell the software I want to make a DVD compliant MPEG2 file at a gaziliion Mbs I would hopw that it informs me that it is not such a good idea!

      The only restrictions you will see in any software is when you are trying to output to a particular industry standard.

      If you want to import a 4K video at 100mbs or more in and render it out to a 4K video at 100mbs or more then of course you can, after all it just file copying.

      • Dom

        Hi Lance,

        Thanks for the clarification. Seemed bizarre to me. Why would a developer go to the effort of supporting 4k and new codecs such as H.265 and then impose a bitrate limit that could well introduce compression artifacts on scenes with lots of complex fine detail movement.

        Anyway, I was half way set to getting VEGAS Movie Studio 14, however see that it did not even get on your list. Might see if I can check out PowerDirector first and see what it is like.

        • Lance Carr

          Hi Dom,
          Yeah those weird kind of rumours just keep floating around!

          By the way if you were settled on Vegas Movie Studio you may want to save yourself the pain of sinking into complete confusion and trying another.. and then another… ant then another!

          The only reason Vegas Movie Studio is not on this list is because I haven’t gotten around to updating the page… I keep meaning to!

          Bear in mind that this website has over 300 pages dedicated to the task of creating the illusion that there is a difference between the offerings of all the major players!

          Truth be told, there is very little difference between any of them and those differences are miniscule.

          If you felt OK to go for Vegas, go for it.

          If you are not sure then give PowerDirector a go, maybe you can get a better deal!

          Bottom line is you are safe with either.

          • Dom

            Yeah, don’t really want to try out each of the editors, however I know if I don’t the “what if” question will always be at the back of my mind. Seems PowerDirector and MAGIX have some discounts on at the moment, may sway my decision.

            I know it probably shouldn’t, but one thing putting me off Cyberlink is that inconsistent pricing (looking at Director Suite 5) . On the main PowerDirector page it is listed as (all prices AUD) $399.93 discounted to $169.99. On one of their March sale pages it is listed as $729.93 discounted to $169.99. Finally, when I added it to my cart it was listed as $299.99 discounted to $169.99. I went ahead and purchased anyway, then I’m presented with a download page with my newly purchased product split into 14 different downloads (including Director in a 6 part RAR archive) I have to sort through and determine which ones I need to download. Not intuitive or user friendly in the slightest, hope the software is a good deal better.

            I’ve also managed to try out MAGIX Movie Edit Pro which started off ok, however when trying to import my 4k MOV files from my drone it just crashed. Will give it another go in the morning as I suspect it is trying to create my proxy files and something is going wrong, not looking great though. With Corel VideoStudio Pro it just refused to import my files saying that I needed to have Apple Quicktime installed. Quicktime has not been supported by Apple on Windows for over a year.

            Finally, I installed Movie Studio Platinum Pro. Bit of a clunky install process, but way better than the Cyberlink experience. Had not used it before tonight and I am finding it really intuitive. Imported media, created proxy files and am playing with applying filters/effects inside 10 minutes.

          • Lance Carr

            Bear in mind with Director Suite that you are downloading four fully fledged standalone programs there!
            Power Director Ultimate, Color Director, Audio Director and Photo Director PLUS a mountain of filters, samples, effects and if you look carefully I think there is a kitchen sink in there somewhere!

            Quicktime is still required by most editing software built for Windows if you are handling .mov files. There is a good chance you are going to need it at some point!

            There was a lot of blah, blah a while back about Quicktime vulnerabilities but it was much ado about nothing, check here for the info:

          • Dom

            Hi Lance,

            Managed to spend a few hours with Cyberlink Director Suite 5 today. All I can say is wow! After the initial not so good impressions going through the purchasing/downloading process, the installation turned out to be pretty smooth and easy.

            More importantly, having spent only a few hours with PowerDirector / ColorDirector I was producing (or attempting to) cinematic style aerial compilations which I like to do such as this (link below) from one drone outing last weekend.


            Not that complex as far as filters or effects go, but the exported video is very close to the way I visualized in my head. I think that is the important thing. There does actually appear to be a limit to the bitrate of exported 4k video, however it is 200Mbps rather than the 50Mbps I had read.

          • Lance Carr

            Hi Dom,
            Glad to hear you managed to stumble through the installation and come out the other side still breathing!

            Good to see your working your way through and the footage looks great.

            Don’t forget that ColorDirector allows you to use LUTs as well.

  • Tavon

    I am currently working on an Asus VivoBook E403SA-US21 Full HD Laptop and I have had trouble with both Filmora and Corel VideoStudio Pro x10. Could my operating system be the problem? Although I am constatntly learning, I am not what you would call a beginner. I just don’t want to spend money on something that constantly freezes and closes unexpectedly.

    I just downloaded the Cyberlink Free Trial.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Tavon,
      The bottom line here is that you have a seriously underpowered laptop that will always struggle with video, especially high definition video.

      It has a bottom of the line processor, only 4GB RAM that is soldered in and can’t be added to.

      The real sign for you is that Filmora has to be one of the smallest and most efficient programs around so if it can’t run that you are always going to have trouble.

  • Andrzej

    Hi Lance,
    I went through all comments and get the impression that Corel VideoStudio is not much popular software – despite you indicate it as a choice # 2. Isnt’ it? What could be the reason?

    Somewhen I used Corel for few years but I ended on ver. 5 I guess. Now I want to come back and choose best solution. Based on my experience I would decide on Corel but on the other hand – based on your suggestion above – I am considering also Power Director.

    So my choice is between:
    – VideoStudio Ultimate X10
    – PowerDirector 15 Ultimate

    What would be your advice in this case and potentialy what will I lose if I choose Corel?

    Thanks in advance for your support.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Andrzej,
      I have no idea why you think there have been comments that make VideoStudio seem less than popular.

      Did you read them on this site or somewhere else?

      Personally I have used VideoStudio for many, many years long before Corel bought it and I really like it!

      The only real advantage PowerDirector has over VideoStudio is that it is slightly faster when rendering and that you can add other modules like Color Director or Audio Director to extend its capabilities.

      Most people think they want all the advanced stuff but never actually use it!

      • Andrzej Zdanowski

        Hi again,
        thanks for your repaly.

        If the only advantage PowerDirector over VideoStudio is that it is slightly faster when rendering, I think I will go with Corel which is cheaper and what is also important I am a little bit familiar with it.

  • Dave


    Thanks for the great response! So I’d jump on the Power Director 15 Suite in a heart beat if only it had the equivalent of Filmora’s FastCutter as well. FastCutter sounds awesome just thinking about it. I sure do remember the clunky effort of constantly reloading a clip to break out small 5-20 sec segments for rending as new clips for “final” editing. You would think Corel and Cyberlink would be all over this given the memory hogging nature of these new ultra high resolution formats (hint, hint). In the mean time it looks like Power Director will still be the best option for now.

    FWIW, I just got a new Mavic Pro drone from DJI to add to my GoPro, and while not a pro level drone camera it is an amazing little contraption. I film a lot of water sports including kiteboarding, surfing, windsurfing, sailing, etc. Lots of footage required to get just a handful of worthy clips….

    Cheers, Dave

  • Dave

    Hi Lance,

    Great reviews and very helpfull, especially the comment/question section. I still have my old copy of VisualStudio ProX3 that I really liked due to the easy learning curve. Now getting into using a drone for covering water action sports. Ultimate X10 seems like a no brainer keep-it-simple upgrade for me. Have two questions

    1. Color grading/correction. I see that shooting in Dlog is popular followed by a greater level of color post processing to get just the effect you are looking for. Would you say that Ultimate X10 has enough color post processing to make Dlog work well?

    2. Way back when, I never went above 1080 and even then mostly 720. Now my drone camera will shoot 2.7k and 4k decently at 24fps (4k probably overkill for me). Does/can the software use a smart proxy for lowering the cached resolution for editing purposes? I have this fear of the system locking up/crashing in edit mode at these resolutions. I have a Dell with an I5 with 8 gig of ram running Windows 10.

    3. For every 15 minutes of footage, I probably have 5 to 10 decent 20-second clips worth keeping for an edit. The rest I want to throw away to preserve storage space. Is this something X10 can handle easily or would I be better off using something else to cull out the clips worth saving? In my 720-1080 days I just edited off the full 15 min capture

    Thanks in advance!


    • Lance Carr

      Hi Dave,
      Thanks for the nice comments!

      OK, so lets take a look at your questions.

      1. I doubt very much whether VideoStudio is going to really offer you much if you are going to shoot in D-log.

      Sure it has perfectly workable color correction tools but remember the program is designed for the home user and even if you were using something like the Vitascene plugin that comes with it you would still be struggling.

      It doesn’t take LUTs at all and I think on this point it would be unsuitable.

      You would be far better served by something like CyberLink Power Director that can offer a full color correction and grading module like ColorDirector for D-log footage.

      2. Yes, VideoStudio still has the smart proxy feature so you can edit everything in low res until the final output.

      As a side note your computer is similar to mine as far as resources go and provided you don’t go rushing around all over the place on the timeline and are not trying to preview clips with 20 filters all loaded at once you will probably be OK with original files anyway.

      3. There is only one program at the moment that offers the exact thing you want here and that one is Filmora.

      They call the feature “Fast Cutter” and it is awesome!

      You just load a clip, select the part you want and it instantly renders to a new clip of that section at the exact parameters of the original.

      When that’s done you can move to the next section of that original clip and select again.

      In every other program you have to load the clip on to the timeline, select the part you want on the timeline and isolate it by making cuts at the start and finish, delete from the timeline all the bits you don’t want and THEN render to a new clip for editing.

      THEN… you have to reload the original clip onto the timeline, select the next bit you want, isolate it with cuts at the start and finish…. on and on.

      It’s pretty much the same process but the Filmora module is much faster to work with however it is part of the whole package, not a standalone piece of software.

      Has this reduced or added to the confusion?


  • Kari

    Hi Lance!

    First off, thank you for all of your work on this site putting together all of these great reviews!

    Personally, I have used Adobe Premiere for almost all of my personal editing projects for years now. Currently though, I am in the process of helping a small business put together some videos. They don’t have the budget for Premiere Pro sub, so I am looking for an alternate that they can purchase since I won’t be able to use Premiere.

    My first thought was to have them get Adobe Premiere Elements but it seems like it might be related to the pro version in name only. I’m worried I won’t have nearly the ammount of control I am used to. So looking for an alternative I’ve found a lot of good recommendations for Pinnacle Studio 20, and it is currently on sale. Then I came here and saw your write ups and found you recommend Power Director 15.

    It seems though, a lot of the recommendations are aimed at new users.
    Out of these three, which would you recommend for someone who is a long time Adobe Premiere user? Elements 15? Pinnacle 20? Power Director 15?

    Thank you for your time!

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Kari,

      Let’s be honest here, there are 250 pages on this site all trying to create the illusion that any of these software programs are in some way different!

      Bottom line is that those differences are generally only cosmetic… I totally suck at marketing right?

      Pinnacle will probably give you the interface features that will seem more familiar and if it is on sale then why the hell not!

      All the brands you are considering are good but from your perspective I wouldn’t go with Elements.

      Adobe have an interest in keeping it at a certain level of user so it will never give you access to features and controls you may be looking for.

      Pinnacle and PowerDirector want to throw everything and the kitchen sink in because they have no interest in upgrading you to a higher product… they don’t have one!

      • Kari

        Hey Lance,

        Thanks for your swift reply yesterday! I went ahead and tried out the trial from Power Director 15 last night, and WOW the interface much cleaner/smoother than Pinnacle’s. To be honest I’ve only ever known Cyberlink as the company who provides DVD and burning software for laptop companies. What in the world would they know about video editing?

        Well a whole lot it seems. After only 20 minutes of use, I went ahead and purchased the full PowerDirector 15 Ultimate version along with their Audio software in a bundle of the Valentines Day sale for 59.99.

        Big selling points over Pinnacle for me are the much smoother interface, the ability to support more formats, and having blu-ray authoring included. I was surprised that Pinnacle still has blu-ray authoring as an extra cost.

        Thanks again for your help, and for definitively confirming that Elements was only related to Premiere Pro by name.

  • Amber Petrik

    After reading all these questions and responses, I can’t wait to get feedback from you. I want to create my first video that will include digital photos and lots of video clips. For the photos, I’d like to have a good selection of “transitions/backgrounds”, able to add a caption. For the videos…I have taken some videos from my point and shoot camera and lots from my GoPro hero 5 in 4k. For the videos, I would like to take sections of the videos vs. the whole video. I’m expecting this to be between 1-2 hours long when finished…I hope closer to 1 hour. I would like to turn down the video audio while playing music (and pipe up the audio from time to time throughout the video clips.

    So, with that said should I select CyberLink PowerDirector 15 or Pinnacle Studio 20. Or, something else?

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Amber,
      What you are describing there is pretty much what every video editor on the planet can do.

      Those ARE the basic functions of a video editor.

      I would normally recommend something more basic than PowerDirector or Pinnacle to begin with but because you are using 4K video mixed with other resolution video you are in the right neighbourhood.

      Given that this is your first editor I would go with PowerDirector as it is easier to get up and running with.

      • Amber Petrik

        THANK YOU! I just went all out and purchased Cyberlink Director Suite 5 because it has all of the great features and was at an amazing discount! $159.99 I can’t wait to create a lasting memory of my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary/cruise. I have 8.5 months to do it in b4 Christmas…surely, I can make that happen. 🙂

        Where do I find/subscribe to your newsletter that was mentioned in some of these posts.

        Thanks again!

        • Lance Carr

          Hi Amber,
          Wow! You went the whole hog then?
          Actually that is a pretty awesome price for Director Suite so well done on snapping up that bargain!

          I don’t have a newsletter as such but I publish a weekly roundup of tips and and stuff from around the web every Friday.

          You can subscribe to get notification of that here: Subscribe

          Also I do have a mailing list you can join to get the free editing guide which hopefully should help you out.

          You can get that one HERE

          In return for that email address you get the editing guide PLUS I get to mercilessly send you marketing emails full of offers for nose hair removal techniques!

          OK, that’s not really true.

          Sometimes I get contacted by software companies or other people with offers not usually extended to the general public.

          If I think they are worthwhile I send an email clearly I am too lazy to engage in email marketing in any meaningful way… just ask my wife!

  • Sean

    I have just purchased Power Director 15 Ultra a week ago and I can’t wait to install it and start using it. I will be importing video from a Galaxy S6, iPod Touch 6th Gen (great camera and video), SONY ActionCam and my Yuneec Q500 drone (only capturing at 1080p). I am running an INTEL NUC Skull Canyon maxed @ 32GB Ram and 2 Samsung 500GB SSDs and using the Intel 580 IRIS Pro on-board graphics. I have space constraints which is why I am using the Skull Canyon. Is this a decent enough setup to edit video and does Power Director 15 Ultra have a huge learning curve for someone whose never editing before. Thanks for your great insight.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Sean,
      Well looking at the specs of your computer I think you will be fine so I don’t see any problem there!

      The only real source of danger for you is that you are intending to use footage from a number of different sources.

      My advice would be at the first possible opportunity to work out all the various default file formats you are dealing with and try to get all the devices recording in the same format and at the same resolution, frame rates etc.

      This may not actually be possible but bear in mind the more widely varying assets you have on the timeline the more difficult it is for any software to handle it effectively.

      If you are still forced into the situation of having to use files with wide variation then decide on a “common” set of parameters and convert the non-compliant ones before you use them in a project.

      Finally, go to the learning center on the CyberLink website and go through the videos a few times each.

      Then just get into it and practice doing things and before very long it will all make sense…. well maybe it won’t make sense but you will be bale to use the software!

      Check back here if you have any questions and I’ll always try to help out if I can.

  • Kurt Hayden

    I am considering the purchase of PowerDirector 15. I recently read an online discussion that stated that starting with the initial release of PD 15, Cyberlink hardwired the preview cache folder to the C: drive. Is this true? I have a small SSD for my C: drive and I want the ability to choose the location of any cache and scratch folders the application uses. Thanks for your time.



  • Rhonda Marquis

    Hi, I’ve been using Windows Movie Maker for a couple of years and it works great…until it doesn’t. I’m using a 3 yr old laptop, Lenovo Yoga 2 w/i5 processor, with a solid state hard drive that doesn’t have enough memory to run the huge project file that I’ve created with MM. So far the 1 hour file has over 500 items in it, i.e., photos, video clips, narrations & captions. I’m currently running the project file from a 2T external hard drive in order to keep it from crashing.
    I feel confident I can learn to use any of the editor programs you’ve discussed, so my question is. Which one(s) can handle very large complicated files? I’m wanting to enlarge my ‘movie’ to be at least 1.5 hours long and feel that MM will not be able to handle it. I’d also like to be able to export the file in HD instead of a lesser quality made for computer viewing.
    Maybe there are improvements I can have made to my laptop to better handle larger files? Oh ya, I’m using Windows 10 and I know MM is not supported for that.
    Thank you for any help / advice you can give me.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Rhonda,
      Boy! If I had a dollar for every one of these I’d have… OK… maybe a hundred bucks or so bit anyway…

      The ONLY real problem you have with Movie Maker is that it can’t output the final file in the larger format that you want.

      Just about all software including Movie Maker can handle any size file you throw at it.

      Sure, some can handle things a little more elegantly than others but the software is not the core problem here.

      Your real problem is a lack of computer resources to be able to deal with the project you are working on.

      An i5 CPU on a laptop will get you by as long as you don’t go rushing around and give it time to keep up.

      Your SSD hard drive should be able to keep up OK and your external drive’s ability to help in the whole thing will depend on how it is connected to your laptop.

      If it is USB 3 you should be OK, if it is USB 2 you will struggle, either way it is only just buying you time.

      And finally we come to the big one, RAM.

      Your laptop is trying to hold all that data and all those editing choices plus the operating system itself in the RAM so you can keep working.

      I don’t know how much you have but clearly it is not enough.

      Your first priority would be to work out if you can add more useful RAM to the laptop.

      If it is running on 32 Bit Win 10 you will be limited to 4Gb in this and by the way, 32bit systems are another source of “reasons” why my computer can’t keep up.

      If you have a 64 bit system then the RAM is unlimited so check all that out first.

      Finally you would probably benefit from better editing software in that it should have a small footprint on the computer and can utilize your resources a little better.

      I would recommend WonderShare Filmora (review in the sidebar menu) but remember the resources (RAM) are the key to what’s happening.

  • ankit g


    i am a begineer and wants to make some health related videos using slides/images with voice on youtube.
    can you please suggest me which is best among 1-Camstudio and 2-Filmora ?

    my PC Specifications are-
    RAM 3GB
    hard disk- 320 gb
    processor- intel i3 .

    please reply .


  • John

    Thanks for this review, very helpful. I’m looking for linear editing software for youth basketball games to create highlight videos of each player. More specifically; instead of clipping and removing unwanted segments from the entire game video, I’m looking to clip and save or export specific segments to various folders in mp4 to be used later. Ideally in as few steps as possible, for example clip, clip, right click save as or export to a desktop folder setup for individual players. I currently use Adobe premiere elements; however, it requires way too many steps to accomplish this and with 10 players on a team there are a lot of individual segments to clip and export. Can you recommend a software package that can accomplish this?

    • Lance Carr

      Hi John,
      OK first up I don’t really think you want linear editing software!

      Most likely you want non-linear editing software unless you intend to spend your days in a darkened room cutting and splicing miles of video tape!

      So, there is no clip, clip right click save thingy going to happen at anytime in all of this regardless of the software you are using.

      The system that you are having to follow is the system that all software like this is going to follow so you don’t need another brand of software or form of software.

      If you feel this is long, slow, tedious and repetitive… congratulations and welcome to the word of video editing!

      The only way you can reduce the pain here is to try to develop a logical sequence of actions to achieve the result you are looking for and then follow it every time.

      • Yes, meant non-linear, thanks for the correction. I was hoping Power Director provided this functionality as I’ve heard good things about it.

        The logical sequence I use is straight forward. Start at the beginning of the content and clip and export specific segments to a various desktop folders (by player) one at a time sequentially for what I want to include in various highlights videos later on.

        I can do this today with premiere elements (clip, clip, adjust work area bar on either side of the clipped segment, then export to whatever format I want). It’s the adjusting the work area bar for each segment I want to export that becomes tedious. I was hoping another program would simply enable me to export by right clicking on the clipped segment and exporting in place of setting the work area bars each time.

        There are a lot of other things that can be done with a segment by right clicking on it after its clipped, so adding the feature to export from there seems obvious. I was hoping another software developer had already considered this and had this functionality.

        I guess I’ll just have to wait and hope developers see value in this and eventually add this capability. I can’t imagine I’m the only one that uses video editing software this way.

        Thanks for your feedback.

        • Lance Carr

          Hi John,
          So just to be sure I have checked CyberLink PowerDirector, Corel VideoStudio, Pinnacle Studio, Vegas Movie Edit Pro, Magix Movie Edit Pro and Filmora.

          None of them will allow you to simply isolate a portion of a clip then offer a “right click” or anything else to go directly to a render (export) of that portion.

          Welcome to video editing hell!

          • Lance Carr

            Just as an update to this thread, the latest version of Filmora has added a totally separate module called Instant Cutter.

            You can just load a clip, isolate the section you want and then automatically output that section to a new clip at the exact same parameters of the clip it came from.

            Awesome time saver!

  • Brian


    Love the touch you bring to the reviews, it feels like you are just talking like a normal guy instead of trying to sell something!

    I’m looking for a Video Editor that I can get in and learn and stick with it for the long haul. The two I’ve been looking at (one you covered) are

    *Pinnacle Studio 20 Ultimate
    *Sony Movie Studio 13 Suite

    I like the motion tracking capabilities of Pinnacle better but the Sony product is a full fledged suite with other programs like Sound Forge. Between the two (learning curve is no issue) which do you prefer?

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Brian,
      Thanks for the kind words!

      OK, so both of them have a bit of a learning curve associated so there is no separating them there!

      Vegas has a great built in learning system that I really like but on the other hand Pinnacle gives you three weeks access to the Studio Backlot lesson for free so we are still neck and neck.

      Vegas Movie Studio does have the separate audio module which if you feel that is important does put it ahead.

      Otherwise all in all they are pretty much equal.

      One other point to keep in mind is that with Pinnacle what you see is what you get, you can’t “trade up” at any point because you are as “up” as you can get.

      With Vegas… by the way it is not Sony anymore, it and all the other video / audio software previously under the Sony banner was bought by Magix a few months back… anyway…

      With Vegas, if you are looking long term it offers an upgrade path to Vegas Pro should that ever become a possibility… just sayin’.

      The real deal here is that you can’t go wrong with either, so if the audio point is the only point that you can separate them on then so be it! Go for Vegas Movie Studio.

      My review is here:

  • Carolyn

    I am trying to decide between Corel, Pinnacle and PowerDirector. I’ve had all 3 in the past but haven’t done anything with them in years but want to get back into it again. I have a camera mounted on my motorcycle and want to create travel & trip videos as well as record events attended.

    The choices are all about the same price. I do have an i7 PC with 16 Gb of RAM and happy to upgrade my RAM and my video card if required. They each tend to list their bonus features or special effects as what sets them apart from prior versions or other software, but I can’t find details of which each software includes and how it might differ from other software or they have the same special effects and bonus features as the other.

    So, feature for feature, which of the 3 would be the most feature rich choice.

    Thank you for your recommendation.


    • Lance Carr

      Hi Carolyn, OK, so your computer as is should be good to go regardless of what software you choose.

      I tested all three using HD videos on my own computer that is only running an i5 processor with 8gig ram and they were fine.

      To put it simply:

      CyberLink is the most feature rich of the three.

      Corel slightly less features (not by much!) with an easier interface to use and understand.

      Pinnacle about the same as CyberLink as far as features goes, offers more fine control over the editing process, difficult interface to learn to use properly.

      Did that help?

      • Carolyn

        Yes, that does help. Pinnacle was the most recent one I had but now I’m going with the Cyberlink. Thinking my past experience will help with any learning curve and give me the most tools to work with. They also seem to have a rich video tutorial library as well.

        Thanks very much for your timely response. I bought the Ultimate and the PhotoDirector, AudioDirector, Holiday Pack, and Travel Pack as part of their New Year’s Sale and got all with extras for under $100

  • Milind Gavkar

    Dear Sir,

    I wish to start video editing of Indian Weddings. At the most, I will be editing Full HD (avchd or xavc-s). I am confused on the selection of software to edit videos. I shortlisted following softwares –
    (1) Cyberlink PowerDirector 15 Suite
    (2) MAGIX Movie Edit Pro Premium
    (3) VEGAS Movie Studio 13 Suite
    (4) VEGAS Pro

    My system will be:
    AMD FX 8320e
    16 GB DDR3 1866 Mhz RAM
    Sapphire RX 470 4GB VRAM
    Samsung 250GB 750 EVO SSD
    2TB Seagate HDD

    Please help me in choosing right software for the purpose.

    Thanks in advance!

    Milind Gavkar

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Milind,
      Of the one you have chosen out of 1, 2, or 3 I would choose the CyberLink product because it offers more professional features.

      If number 4 is an option then I would go for Magix Video Pro X which you haven’t listed as dollar for dollar it is a better offer than Vegas Pro.

  • Kerri Turgeon

    Hi John,

    This is a great site! Do you have any experience with Mac? I have been using iMovie for years and it keeps crashing. Are Corel VideoStudio or CyberLink more stable choices? I’ve spent hours with Apple Support and just don’t have the time to waste on this any more.


    • Lance Carr

      Hi Kerri,
      hmmm… not sure who John is but what the heck! I’ll be John if that’s what you want!

      My experience with Macs is limited but not completely non-existent.

      Both the Corel and CyberLink products are Windows only but there are many people who use them on a Mac by doing the whole Windows emulator thingy.

      They seems to do fine with it but for me the idea of setting up the computer to boot into Windows or Mac as well as having to get a copy of Windows seems a bit tedious to me!

      My absolute fav at the moment for a straightforward video editor that isn’t bogged down in a bunch of features you will never use is Filmora.

      They make it in a Mac version and for you it would be a step up from iMovie in terms of features and functionality.

      There is a link to the review in the menu so take a look at that and definitely take the free trial version for a spin to see what you think.

      Lance (John)

  • BusinessMath

    Hi Jeff, I am humbled seeing your reply to each and every comment made in this post.I’m sure you are a really nice person.

    I am also starting out with video editing and I was looking for adobe pro. But looking at your replies above, it is not recommended for starters, surely. I have used Power Director 14 (cracked version, honestly) to test our first before buying. In my desktop, it worked fine but in my laptop, it crashed a lot. So I was reconsidering the purchase. I liked Power Director, learning time was quick but it crashed a lot. I am also considering if I should buy the Director Suite.

    I am not quite sure and i’m confused. The goal for me right now is to create videos like NowThis, Huffington Post and so on.

    I will sure subscribe to your newsletter and will be hoping for your reply soon for your recommendation.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi, BusinessMath!

      Nice name!

      So first up Adobe Premiere Pro these days is really going for an overkill on the situation.

      From your description it seems to me that your average consumer level program is going to suit you very well for quite a while without you “out growing” it.

      My main concern for you right now is that you are editing on a laptop and it may very well be the laptop that is causing the crashes, not the program you are using.

      Editing HD footage really throws a ton of strain on any system.

      It is all very well for the software to tell the computer to do something but another matter entirely for it to DO it.

      PowerDirector or Director Suite will suit you just fine but I would tend to go with just a PowerDirector version first then later if you feel you need the added stuff upgrade at a time they are offering a discount.

      The first thing you really should do with any of these products is to check the system requirement and make sure you have MORE than what is recommended in terms of RAM, hard drive space and processing power.

  • alif syahmi

    Hello. I just start learning adobe after effect and i want a video editor to work with it. I can consider premier but i have a doubt about it. I want an easy but a professional editor. I am still new but willing to learn. I have check powerdirector and i kinda like its feature. But there are many other editor out there that may compete with it. So, which one should i choose.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Alif,
      Because you have After Effects you have just about everything you would need for effects etc so you really don’t need much in the way of an editor in that sense.

      Of course After Effects doesn’t do everything so your choice of PowerDirector looks pretty sound to me.

      However PowerDirector does come with a lot of features that you already have in After Effects so it may be a little overkill.

      Corel VideoStudio pretty much matches PowerDirector but has a simpler interface.

      We could discuss this forever but why don’t you just read the reviews, choose three that seem OK to you.

      Then download the trials and see how you like them>

  • Hello, sir.
    I stumbled upon your article as I venture into using PD 15. I had PD 12 on an older machine and was very satisfied.

    My question is: I have a brand new PC (i7 quad core processor with a NVIDIA 1060 graphics card) but have not yet loaded PD 15 on the machine. I am doing some video editing for a documentary that I am shooting with a couple of DSLR’s. Am I heading in the right direction, or is there an alternative option that I should consider? I am nowhere near a professional, but would like to appear to be more than a noob…
    Would be grateful for your opinion.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Steve,
      It sounds to me like you are right on track there!

      You have a shiny new computer that is probably well up to the task of handling the files that will come off a DSLR.

      You are already familiar with the program so it seems to me you are good to go!

      By the way, stop thinking “there may be something else…”

      Every time you do that the evil marketing departments across the world win and you lose.

  • steve

    Hi, I really am interested in video editing BUT I am new. I don’t have any experience, I play around with windows media player. and i edit pictures with paint.
    For VIDEO editing, where do i start from and which PROFESSIONAL software will you recommend because I am creative and willing to learn.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Steve,
      OK, so the first thing you need to realize is that when you ask for a professional program you are immediately referring to programs like Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Vegas and Avid.

      These are highly sophisticated pieces of software for PROFESSIONAL use by professionals.

      They are very expensive and completely unsuited to someone just starting out.

      What you really need is software that will combine (comparative) ease of use with advanced features so that you can get you feet wet and begin to learn the basics of video and video editing.

      My advice to you would be to get Filmora.

      It is a great introduction to the subject, will give you lots of features to learn as well as getting you basics down pat.

      On top of that it is cheap!

      Once you have used that for about a year and feel you have exhausted ALL the possibilities it offers then you will be experienced enough to make a call on which higher level software you may want to go to.

  • Jeff

    I’ve really learned a lot from reading your comparisons. It appears that most of these packages have something for someone, even Adobe Essentials.

    My long time editing program was ULead MediaStudio 7, and it worked only on my XP. I couldn’t load it to my Win7 or above. So, I kept an XP laptop around for editing, but it’s time to move on. Corel bought the company and it appears the program did not live on.

    I’m looking at PD15 as a replacement, but perhaps one of the Corel owned programs might be better if they held on to any of the old GUI’s of MediaStudio.

    I also need batch rendering. I make videos of our students giving presentations, and usually 15-30 students at a time. Once the individual short 10 minute video is complete, I also put it out on DVD (yes, DVD) for each student.

    (old timer that is hesitant to learn new tricks)

    • Lance Carr

      Ah, Ulead Media Studio… brought a little tear to my eye! Those were the days!

      OK, so the timeline was that Intervideo bought Ulead which was basically VideoStudio and Media Studio.

      They did nothing with it because all they actually has were some (fast becoming redundant) codecs.

      They were setting themselves up as an acquisition target.

      Along came pre-reorganization Corel barbecue there is one born every minute!

      They cancelled development on Media Studio and decided to only proceed with VideoStudio.

      They did so with rather lackluster results, nothing too good, nothing too bad. Sort of carrying on the great Corel tradition of taking great software and making it ordinary.

      Finally the major shareholder (a venture capital group) had enough and made an offer to buy back all existing shares.

      This was successful so Corel was no longer publicly traded.

      The venture capital guys re-organized the whole operation, totally revamped how the company did business and interacted with their user base and have not really put a foot wrong since.

      Most of the features you have seen in Media Studio are now in VideoStudio.

      My advice would be to check out the free trials of both PowerDirector and VideoStudio and while you are at it maybe Pinnacle Studio Pro!

      Yes! You read that right! Pinnacle Studio! Corel bought that as well and have actually gotten it functioning very smoothly.

  • Brent

    Lance, I need a video editor to resize the video and only use a portion of what was recorded. They are sports video shot over a large field of view and I want to just pick a couple of the individuals and have the video only of them. I wasn’t able to find anything to do this easily in the past and gave up but am wondering if you have any suggestions. I have access to both Windows and Mac if there’s an option for one over the other.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi brent,
      Well there is good news and bad news on this one.

      The good news is that most modern editor can achieve this pretty easily and my top choices like PowerDirector have built-in automatic modules to assist with it.

      Basically it is a matter of selecting an area of the screen and then having that area “move” along as the video moves.

      Let’s say you isolate little Johnny running down the field of play.

      Once he starts running, within about a second of video he has run out of you selection so you have to stop, re-position the selection, play forward, stop, re-postion on and on until you have gone insane.

      These days you can create a “Motion Path” and that selection will follow the object or area you want easily.

      Now for the bad news.

      If you take that isolated selection and try to blow it up to the full size of the screen you will suffer image degradation.

      How much it degrades will depend on how big it has to be expanded and the quality of the original footage.

  • Edgar

    Hello! I need to buy a good quality video editor in order to create instructional videos. I will be needing to mix video screen capture, videos taking from an iPhone and pictures and pdf files. Audio is also important, so a good audio quality/mixing would be nice to have. I have a laptop Intel core i7, 12gb ram.

    After a lot of research, I am looking at the following 4 software:
    Cyberlink Power Director 14 Ultra (although reviews are not that great on users).
    VideoStudio Ultimate X9
    Adobe Photoshop elements & Premiere Elements 14 Teacher Edition (you get an AMAZING discount if you are a teacher)
    Movavi Video Editor 11 Personal Edition – this has the best reviews of users of them all.
    Thank you!

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Edgar,
      Ok, before we go any further probably the first thing you need to clear up is using reviews as a guide to choosing software.

      Reviews can be very useful or completely useless and the key is understanding what you are reading and why it has been posted somewhere in the first place.

      For example PowerDirector 14 you say got bad reviews. I am not sure where you saw those reviews because the word on their forum and as far as my personal experience goes it was an excellent release.

      VideoStudio X9 is another good piece of software comparable to PowerDirector with probably a simpler user interface but feature for feature much the same.

      I don’t particularly like Adobe products. Not because they are bad but because at the consumer end of their market they are kind of lazy.

      By the way, most software makers in this field offer discounts for teachers.

      Movavi is largely a piece of rubbish. It is lazily coded and maintained. Review of Movavi generally fall into two categories.

      People doing almost nothing with the software and having a good experience, people trying to actually use the features offered and having a disastrous experience.

      For you I would still go for PowerDirector 15 or VideoStudio, both have internal screen recorders.

      If audio is important then PowerDirector also comes with an integrated but separate audio mixing module.

  • Lizzi Michaels

    I am used to making simple youtube videos on movie maker, but it keeps crashing on me. I thought it was about time to upgrade as i’m more confident at editing. I did a trial of photoshop premiere but its not that user friendly, but its okay. I’ve narrowed it down to photoshop and cyberlink powerdirector 14 which you have reviewed. I genuinely can’t decide between the two. Do you know which one is closest to windows moviemaker in being VERY easy to work with? Help!

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Lizzie,

      OK, first up I am assuming you are talking about Adobe Premiere Elements and not Photoshop.

      Let me cut directly to the chase… unusual for me as I tend to ramble… oops, I am rambling.

      I personally do not like Adobe in any form. The software is OK but they put little effort into actually making Premiere Elements as good as it can be given their vast resources.

      Rathar than go into a rant, let’s just leave it at that.

      PowerDirector is easily better, more fully featured and is developed by a company that is at least interested in the market it is targeting.

      However I don’t want to put a spanner in the works but for the purpose you are describing I would say that both of them are overkill… by a long way!

      Do me a favor and check the side menu on this site and look for Filmora.

      Check my review, download the free trial and give it a run.

      It is easy to use, probably has all (and more) of the features you need, inexpensive, uncomplicated and most likely is what you are looking for.

      Any more questions just come back here and post or feel free to use the “Contact” link to kick me out a direct email, I always answer as best I can.

  • Jen

    Hello! I have a teenage daughter that has become very interested in video editing over the past year or so. She has mastered the iMovie and is wanting something more. She primarily does youtube videos for the most part. She keeps asking for the Final Cut Pro but that is more than I want to spend for her at this point. Is there one of these editing software that would fall somewhere in between?? I would like to purchase one for her birthday later this month.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Jen,
      Yikes! So she wants to just march up to Final Cut Pro eh?

      I am assuming we are talking about a Mac operating environment and not Windows?

      If we are then going up the food chain of video editing software is not quite so smooth but can be done.

      The logical next step as far as extending the features available to her is Filmora.

      There is a version for Mac and not too expensive at around $40 from memory.

      It introduces a bunch of special effects and filters, a wider range of import and export file compatibility and advanced features like green screen.

      Unfortunately going up from there is a bit of a problem.

      The one that actually sits correctly in the gradient is Adobe Premiere Elements 14 which has a Mac version. It is a good video editor and very full featured. I think that is around the $80.00 mark depending on which version you get.

      Another full featured one is Pinnacle Studio but I haven’t done a review on that for years now because of it being buggy. However over the past three or four years Corel have bought it and have been working on it very hard to get it right.

      I will be getting my hands on a pre-release copy soon but I don’t really know if it will be in time.

      Bear in mind that it is easy for you daughter to say, “I want Final Cut Pro!” Hell! Even I can say that!

      The question you need to ask her is why. EXACTLY what is it that Final Cut Pro can do that she needs it for. My guess is you will get a blank stare on that one!

  • John

    What are your views on Resolve 12 and Videoredo? Any plans to review?


    • Lance Carr

      Hi John, thanks for dropping by!

      DaVinci Resolve 12 is a fully fledged professional color grading and color correction program designed to come in at around the “Hollywood Blockbuster” end of the market.

      They have added editing tools to the mix to try to make it a start to finish alternative to Final Cut Pro, Vegas, Avid or Premiere Pro.

      It has no place on this site given that it comes at at just under U.S. $1000!

      VideoRedo is just another of a large bunch of programs that were spawned in the age of DVD.

      At that time manipulating MPEG2’s off DVDs (ripping) and getting them on to DVD’s (burning) were considered to be rather advanced procedures!

      However all that has changed and the files being used have changed.

      Programs like that have tried to stay relevant by adding editing capabilities to try to turn themselves into editors rather than decrepit throwbacks to the past.

      I doubt very much whether I will be including either of these on this site in the near future… for the purposes of this site neither are relevant.

      • Ben

        Hi Lance,
        DaVinci Resolve 12.5 is free as long as you don’t need 4K editing capability. The free version can even handle 60 fps @ 1080p with ease. It works best with RAW but barely broke a sweat with my Nikon’s 60fps 1080 ppi .MOV files. I fear my memory fails me & I can’t remember if I worked in 2560 x 1440 ppi but it may support it (great for game footage). Sadly it requires the installation of Apple’s abandoned and hole ridden Qucktime for Windows. I was so happy to find a free alternative to Adobe Premier Pro when I discovered Davinci Resolve but when they released the 12.5 update & I saw it was still dependent on Quicktime I dumped it like a clingy girlfriend. You could still use Davinci Resolve by purchasing a seperate SDD, unplugging your current SDD, installing your purchased copy of windows and free Davinci Resolve then never connecting that drive to the internet. Render to your HDD, shut down, then unplug the SDD with Resolve on it & plug in your other SDD that doesn’t have the vulnerable Quicktime on it. More work than I’m willing to do but it is an option.
        I’m looking for an affordable Windows friendly Quicktime free NLE with exposure/hue-saturation/noise reduction & speed manipulation abilities with FLAC/WAV support until Davinci drops the mandatory Quicktime installation. Beginners may find Davinci’s nodes helpful in visualizing & correcting their workflow & isn’t as complex as Autodesk’s Maya’s nodes per-say. A fifteen minute youtube instructional video & you’re off to the races.

        Scroll down to the bottom & you will see the free version to the left of the 4K pay-for version. You will be asked to fill out some info but I’ve never gotten any spam from them nor have I received the Bowers & Wilkins speakers shown in the background pic… which made me a little sad.

        • Lance Carr

          Hi Ben,
          Yes I have often revisited DaVinci Resolve but really for the average person it is an organizational nightmare for anyone other than someone familiar with a professional editing layout and workflow.

          The average person unfamiliar with editing would sink like a stone not only on the interface but the terminology being used to describe what goes where and what does what.

          As far as the Quicktime dependency goes that is much ado about nothing.

          Install Quicktime and disable the browser function.

          The reported vulnerability (which has had zero reports of actually being exploited) is then eradicated.

  • Talha Iftikhar Raja

    I am Photoshop expert and now jumping into video editing field too . My specs of laptop and PC are restricting me to use adobe premiere in proper way .
    I have HP PAVILION notebook having 4 GB Ram and main problem of screen resolution (1366*768).
    So i will upgrade it almost after three months due to low budget right now . Which software i should use from these ones which will help me to edit 720p videos . Full HD movies will not be able to edit due to screen resolution or i should buy HD monitor and should use it with laptop.
    Any recommendation Sir.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Talha,
      Sorry this took so long. I amaway from my home base at the moment so I haven’t been checking the site very often.

      OK, so first up, your ability to EDIT in HD DOES NOT dpeend on your screen resolution. Got it?

      Your ability to DISPLAY HD depends on that and your ability to review your editing work also depends on that.

      So my choice for the biggest bang for your buck, fastest rendering software is still PowerDirector.

  • Rick

    Good stuff and it’s nice to have confirmation from an experienced source. I have used both Cyberlink PD and Corel VS on separate machines for years now, while upgrading each as newer versions are released for a while to work out the new bugs. I video record and edit mostly sports related action stuff for ski/snowboard schools & competitions, skate shops, athletic events and an occasional wedding here and there for close friends/family or referrals. I use a variety of prosumer level equipment as well as full framed DSLR’s. I suppose that since Cyberlink’s base software was pre-installed on my new Windows laptops (last couple ones anyway), I just kept using PD for mobile editing and have Corel VideoStudio Pro X9 Ultimate on my desktop built specifically for editing video and stills. I can’t accurately compare the two programs as my i5 laptop is pretty tame compared to my i7 desktop running 4 monitors, a much higher quality video card (2gb vs 4gb memory) and more computer memory (8gb to 32gb). However interesting and somewhat surprising to me are the pretty quick rendering times experienced using Cyberlink’s PD 13 on the much less adept laptop working with equivalent file types as on my desktop. PD holds it’s own and I’ve been pretty satisfied with it’s rendering times. I do experience an occasional but still rare hiccup (hang up) at times with Corel’s VS compared to Cyberlink’s PD, but it could be something with my installation on the desktop…I’m no help in deciding which software might have a slight edge and I use both about equally; however, if I had to choose one to purchase, I’d lean towards the Corel VS Pro X9 Ultimate…unless Cyberlink’s PowerDirector 14 Ultimate was already pre-installed.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Rick and thanks for the comment!

      Sorry I held this in moderation for so long but I am currently “on the road” and every time I try to mentally confront doing any sort of “real” work on this stupid, stupid tablet thingy I just give up before I start.

      Normally I don’t publish comments containing opinions of one software over another becuase generally they defeat the purpose of this site which is to try and simplifiy things.

      However in your case I am happy to publish because strangely you have simply stated your observations and explained your conclusions.

      Seriously! What planet are you from? Here on earth we tend to just spout whatever opinion we can pull out of our asses, give it a polish and deliver it as “THE TRUTH.”


  • Hi Lance, thanks for the lovely article. I have a Core I5 Samsung Ultrabook running Windows 10. I need to capture a screen video and insert the same into a short movie I am making. I have tried the in-built tools of PowerDirector 14 and Movavi Video Suite, but both are giving a common problem. The screen capture video clip — when played in preview mode — looks perfect; however, it becomes blurred the moment I import it into the video editor timeline. Their helpdesk asked me to check my Intel Graphics and NVIDIA adpaters. I have got latest versions of these drivers. I spoke with a friend (a Macbook fan) and he joked, “this is the price you pay for using a Windows laptop”. It’s disheartening. Can you please help me fix this? Thanks in advance!

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Sandeep,
      Boy, some Mac users can be really unhelpful at times!

      The only thing I can think of here is that you have the software setup to either convert the captured files automatically to a lower resolution when they get imported into the editor… OR… PD has been set up to always use proxy files for editing.

      What that means is that the original high quality files (because of their size and the strain they put on the computer) are copied by the program to create a set of lower resolution files for editing.

      Those low res files are used to make all the changes etc you want without stressing out the computer.

      When you decide to create the final video the program reverts back to the high quality files for the final output.

      Any of this ringing any bells?

  • Michael R

    I’ve worked a little with Premiere Elements (12) and found it’s rendering time very slow. I liked all of the features, but found myself googling or YouTubing to figure out how to use each.

    My videos include various parts of trimmed videos, still photos, and gifs, often with one clip overlayed upon another.

    I have a Win 7 laptop, but also now a Win 10 laptop. Is PD14 worth converting to, would it help rendering times, and are there any features or output formats that I’ll knock my hand to my head saying “darn, I didn’t realize it can’t do that?”

    Thanks for any input

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Michael,

      Bottom line is that feature for feature PowerDirector will dump on Premiere Elements any day of the week.

      If you can find something in Elements that PD does NOT offer then I will eat my hat. (Understand that is a pretty hollow wager given that I don’t own a hat.)

      As far as rendering goes PD poops on Elements from a great height but always keep in mind that rendering comes down to computing power. It is simple number crunching and file copying so if your computer is underpowered in the first place nothing will help that.

      What I do know is that at the moment, PD is the best in class for identifying and marshalling everything available on your computer to throw at the act of rendering.

  • DaveB

    Hi, I’ve just bought PD but am having to upgrade laptop, I’m wondering whether to make jump to MacBook Pro/final cut pro X or get a really high spec laptop and stick with PD? Any thoughts on what I should be considering?

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Dave,
      Nice timing! I was just doing something on the site when you commented.

      Here’s my thoughts on it strictly from and editing perspective and aside from any other considerations regarding Macs and PCs.

      For a long time there was a perception that Macs were better for graphics and video than Windows based computers.

      The reason for this was pretty simple… they were!

      However by the time we got to XP the gap was closing, then by Win 7 the gap had almost disappeared.

      Then Microsoft created Win 8 and all that hard earned gain was wiped out overnight!

      So as it stands now with Win 10 we are all back on track and in reality when people tell me a Mac is better for editing than a PC I know I am really listening to an emotional, brand loyalty kind of response.

      By going to a Mac you are just going to another good system for editing.

      The real deal as far as editing these days goes is not which software or which operating system.

      The real question is how much sheer space and computing power can you get for your buck.

      I have blogged a few times about this but the bottom line is that current and future compression methods for video have developed in a way that forces all the hard work on the device being used.

      Before it was “real” compression. By that I mean they attempted to take the same information and squash it into a smaller space.

      Now, compression means to literally throw huge amounts of information away and just leave a note saying what was thrown away.

      That shifts all the problems over to the computing device to try to reconstitute the video itself.

      So, bottom line for you. Just go for the biggest bang for your buck you can get!

  • Herbert Gonzales

    Ok please help im using Correl Video Studio 8x and halfway through my project its crashing and shutting down what do you recommend to allow my videos to be clear with no crashing. Do they need to be converter or what? This is driving me crazy im using a windows 10 64 bit computer.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Herbert,
      Generally speaking the cause of crashing, lagging etc is that the computer is failing to keep up with what you are asking it to do.

      Editing video is very resource intensive and while it is easy for you and the software to ask that things be done, it’s not so easy for the computer to GET them done!

      What are the file properties of the videos your are editing? (Just right click on one and select Properties.

      Are you trying to mix different types of video files in the one project?

      Try to let me know exactly what you are doing because I can’t really “see” what’s going on.

  • Brian

    Hi Lance,

    I plan to produce short films from a DSLR in RAW at 24fps (hopefully to be shown at film festivals) as well as YouTube videos at 30fps. Is Powerdirector 14 well suited for either of these jobs? I am interested in a fairly user-friendly interface and I welcome any suggestions you may have.

    Thank you.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Brian,
      Yes and no!
      The main problem you will face is the conversion to 30fps.

      If you are shooting in 24fps RAW in order to get that film look and feel then PowerDirector can handle that no problem as long as you are rendering to 24fps.

      In fact most of the software on this page can handle it no problem.

      Your problem (and it is not just confined to PD) is that you then want to upload to YouTube at 30fps.

      The question you have to ask yourself is, “Where exactly does any software get the extra 6 frames from for each second of video?”

      You are literally asking it to pull 6 frames per second out of its butt to make up the difference.

      So, the good news is that PD and the others can do it but it really slows the rendering time down… sometimes a lot!

      • Brian

        Lance, I appreciate your quick response.

        If I understand you correctly, video shot at 24fps for the film look should be rendered at 24fps for best results. YouTube videos should be both shot at and rendered at 30fps for best results. And avoid conversion from 24fps to 30fps. And you are recommending Powerdirector 14 as a video editing program to handle either of these projects.

        Thank you.

        • Lance Carr

          Absolutely! Digital files always suffer at least some degradation in the process of any kind of conversion so if you can maintain the exact same parameters from start to finish you preserve quality

          Yes, PowerDirector is my current best choice and can handle what you want to do.

  • JILL

    Thanks for the quick response. Maybe I’m over thinking this! My client wants to produce simple informational videos. I envision creating a beginning and an ending and then placing the new video in the middle each time (with new title pages of course). Does the program allow for or have templates that don’t have all the crazy transitions? I need something business-like and professional. The three I’ve been considering are the Muvee Reeal II, Sony Movie Studio 13 platium and the CyberLike Power Director 14. I don’t think I need the Suite. I’m leaning toward the power director 14 because it seems fast. It’s hard to pick when you don’t know enough about a program like this and you don’t have someone to personally take to about it! Appreciate your blog.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Jill,

      OK, maybe we went a little over the top there!

      Of the three you have narrowed it down to I would go for a simple version of PowerDirector like the Ultra version.

      That way you have more than enough tools to create a template scenario that can be slightly adjusted each time the client gives you a new video to deal with.

      Muvee may prove to be a little too simple and you may find yourself fighting against its automatic features. It’s not really designed for your purposes.

      Sony is fine but their interface is really hard to learn although once you learn it you can do what you want no problems.

      I still think that PowerDirector is a better choice especially given the range of tutorials they have now on the “learning” section of their site.

    • JILL

      Thanks! PowerDirector is the one I’ll go with!

      • Lance Carr

        Yeah settle down there tiger.

        Download the trial , follow some tutorials and see if everyone wants to play nice first!

  • JILL

    Stumbled upon your site when I was looking for information on how to choose video software. I need a program that is easy enough for a beginner but professional enough for business use. What’s the best bang for my money for under $200?

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Jill,
      For me this one’s a no brainer.
      Go for CyberLink PowerDirector Ultimate Suite (under $200).
      The Director Suite version add an image editing program on top of everything else but maybe that’s going too far!

      It has the core Powerdirector editor with all the bells and whistles, a separate integrated color correction and grading module, a separate and integrated audio module and just about everything you will need.

      On the other hand when you open PowerDirector you can go into the full editing suite or you can choose to go into a super simple mode when you are finding your feet.

      They have a bunch of online video and text tutorials at their site as well as an active and helpful forum.

  • Katie B

    I have a computer savvy 8 year old who enjoys making “powtoons”, slide shows, etc. I’m looking for a movie editor to get him for Christmas that would help him to make simple, fun movies, incorporate still pictures and gain more computer skills for the future – do you have any recommendations? Thank you!!

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Katie,

      I think the best solution for this is Filmora which is listed at the top of this page:

      So here’s my thinking on it.

      The program offers a lot more functionality than the free programs that come with the average Mac or Windows PC so your son will probably pick it all up pretty fast.

      In support of that it was designed with simplicity in mind so the interface is not overwhelming.

      For a commercial program it is pretty cheap at around the $50 mark.

      Because it is simple to use yet feature rich, if your son starts down the road of “I need this new shiny thing that does X process otherwise I am going to die!”

      You can safely answer that the program actually does that but he needs to work out how himself. (In the meantime get back to me and I’ll save you.)

  • John Rodgers

    Well there is good news regarding my above mentioned problem regarding the compatibility of Magix Movie Editor and Windows 10.
    It turns out that the problem is not just one for Magix to solve, because Magix is not the only editor that uses Windows Media Player to support mp3 encoding.
    But as I said, I contacted Magix, and have posted their response below, so at least viewers can see that Magix are actively working on these issues, which should be of great encouragement to anyone looking into buying a Video Editor.
    I would also like to point out, that my reason for bringing this issue to light was because of how good a product this is, and how awful it would be for people to invest in it without knowing whether or not Magix were addressing the impending Windows 10 challenges, I have tried a lot of video editors, Magix is the best in this group, and the one I will be buying.
    I hope this helps.


    MAGIX Support wrote ..
    > Dear Mr. Rodgers,
    > Thank you for your message.
    > During the past few month, people in our development and QA department have
    > already been investing time into testing our current products with the
    > pre-release version of Windows 10 available to us. From what I understand,
    > this has actually been working pretty well for the most part. Naturally, the
    > operating system hasn’t been officially released yet and is still subject to
    > constant change. If we come across issues, we will endeavor to address them.
    > Whether or not there will be a problem resulting from the removal of WMP with
    > regard to specific program functionality (e.g. MP3 export) and whether this is
    > already known and being addressed, I cannot tell you for sure. I’ve raised
    > this question with our testers at QA and am standing by for their feedback.
    > Please note that this has little to do with the software not “standing on its
    > own two feet”. WMP and the related libraries were an integral part of the
    > Windows operating system whose functionality developers on this platform were
    > open and encouraged to use, just like any other component, library and API in
    > the operating system. If you’re trying to imply application developers
    > couldn’t or shouldn’t do such a thing, you’d need to provide your own
    > operating system with every application by that logic. The truth is that
    > operating systems can change, rendering older products incompatible. It has
    > happened before, and will happen again with every new Windows generation. As
    > discussed, we will try to address such issues for our current software.
    > I hope this information helps.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi John,
      Sorry I didn’t get to this sooner but you know… life!

      I am glad you received a reply from Magix on this and I have to tell you it is about the best one I have seen so far!

      I have been trying to get some kind of answer from a number of software producers on this topic to no avail so you have succeeded where I have totally failed!

      The real problem here is that Microsoft are only leaking bits and pieces of information to the software makers at the moment.

      I am sure they are testing like crazy when they do get a hold of something but until they are provided with a final release build their hands are tied.

      What worries me the most is that fact that Microsoft has sent push notifications to all Windows 7 and 8 users offering a free upgrade to Windows 10.

      The way it works is that if you agree then they will just automatically update your computer to Win 10 when it’s ready.

      Although that all sounds nice my concern is what will happen when a computer with all it’s software installed under a Win 7 or 8 environment, suddenly wakes up to find it has automatically been updated to 10!

      I see trouble ahead!

  • John Rodgers

    I have just discovered a potential problem regarding the usability of Magix Movie Editor Pro Plus, and am wondering What are the current and future users of Magix Movie Editor Pro Plus going to do about the fact this product requires Windows Media player to support certain codecs.

    I ask as media player is not being supported or will it be included with Windows 10, this is a serious issue for anyone who buys this product. I am currently awaiting a response from Magix, but am not holding my breath.

    I am new and only trying out the editor, and am absolutely blown away by its power, ease of use, and stability, but I just can’t see any point in investing time in learning this product or spending money on it, if Magix are not going to support current versions, for those of us who wish to upgrade or install Windows 10, Magix need to make it clear whether or not they are going to leave current and potential users without support.

    Regards, john

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