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The Best Video Editing Software 2020

Answering the question as to which is the best video editing software is a difficult task given that everyone will have different requirements as to what they want that software to do.

So at a bare minimum here’s how I see the answer to that question.

What is the Best Video Editing Software?

  1. Imports files from a wide range of devices and sources into a flexible library system for effective file organization.
  2. An intuitive user interface that matches the user’s skill set providing easy access to all features.
  3. Efficient editing and compatibility with a wide range of digital file types.
  4. Effects, transitions and correction tools depending on user requirements.
  5. Renders to all common video files types for distribution or playback.

So with that in mind, these are my current (2020) 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 although there are some other choices for easy video editing software here.

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 video 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 the best video editor 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.
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#1 CyberLink PowerDirector 18

Cyberlink PowerDirector 18 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 have 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 have also added 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 18 Review

Click Here to See Cyberlink PowerDirector 18

#2 Corel VideoStudio 2020 Pro and Ultimate

The latest version of Corel Video Studio Pro 2020 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 in editing” 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 2020.

Corel VideoStudio Pro 2020 Review

Click here to take a look at Corel VideoStudio Pro 2020

#3 Pinnacle Studio 23

It is only in the past few years that I have begun adding 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 3 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 23 Review

Click Here to Take a Look at Pinnacle Studio 23

#4 Magix Movie Edit Pro

Magix 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

Best Easy to Learn and Use Video Editing Software

#1 Wondershare Filmora

In 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.

The pr0gram is being very actively developed and despite its simplicity it still provides the user with an impressive array of features.

Click Here to See the Full Filmora Review

Click Here to See Filmora for Yourself

#2 muvee Reveal Encore

Muvee Reveal Encore is not really a fully fledged video editing software program when compared to the others on this page BUT!

It is a specialized home movie making solution 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 by 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.

To really understand and appreciate the program it is best to check out the review linked below before you go any further with it.

Click here to read the full muvee Finale review

Click here to take a look at muvee Reveal Finale

View Comments (83)

  • Hi Lance,

    I have been using Video studio by Corel for years for my kids for their school and college work. It has served them well and they have learned how to use all the bells and whistles. My question is this. They have built a new computer Ryzen 7 2700X with 16 gig of ram, SSD, and GTX 1080 8gigg ddr5 windows 10 64-bit PC. The Video studio x8pro we have just doesn’t use the hardware acceleration this pc offers. In fact the software is so slow at rendering the final video it is crazy. Corel told me that even VS 2018 Ultimate works only with intel cpu for acceleration. Which video software would be better to utilize the hardware we have to speed up video rendering?

    • Hi Tim,
      At the moment (note that disclaimer right there!) and for the past few years the top of the heap as far as utilising all available resources on any computer has been CyberLink PowerDirector.

      They were one of the first to harness the processing power of the GPU and still are leaders in that field with regards to sheer speed.

      Having said that remember that when it comes to computers... shit happens. (Not too technical there for you I hope.)

      So I would recommend downloading the free trial of both PowerDirector AND the latest Corel VideoStudio 2018 and putting them both under a bit of stress with some nasty HD footage to see how they perform.

      I suspect PowerDirector will come out on top but I would not be betting the farm on it!

  • Its so confusing to choose between the Video Editors. I normally use the video editor that comes with my screen recorder app. Now i am planning to choose an alternative to adobe premiere. Mostly for creating good looking video tutorials for my students. You think PowerDirector will suit my needs?

    Robin.

    • Hi Robin,
      Depending on what your tutorials will look like Premiere may be a bit of an overkill.

      With PD you also get a free screen recorder thrown in so for explainer videos it is more than enough.

  • Hi Lance,

    Love your site. I'm looking to buy a film editor to start creating VLOGS. We have a site & our viewers are now asking for VLOGS. Many ears ago, I used to use Pinnacle Studios and loved the background Music Library that was included & the features. I'm looking for something similar, but mainstream - what I mean is solid training support on the web. When we go to on-line training sites, we see tons of classes for CAMTASIA, but very little on Powerdirector, or Pinnacle. What do you suggest?

    • Hi Eddie,
      OK, I can see your point with regards to Pinnacle.

      Since Corel bought it back in the day they have been prioritising getting the thing stable and moving forward on a steady development path.

      In the meantime yes, the provision of an online presence as far as training goes still leaves a lot to be desired.

      To somewhat counter that they include a free 30 day (I think!) access to a professional course in the software provided by a company whose name I just can't quite recall at the moment!

      CyberLink have an excellent training area perhaps you have not discovered because in reality, almost no-one has!
      You can find that one here: https://www.cyberlink.com/learning

      If you are solely interested in creating "vlog" type projects you may also want to take a look at Filmora. Very simple to use, does the job, no unnecessary bells and whistles with a good video training area.

      Get back to me.
      Lance

  • Hi Lance,
    I've been shooting and editing stills for years with a DSLR that also shoots video but is rarely used for video. After purchasing a GoPro and a Phantom Drone this year I have really started to enjoy shooting more video. I am currently using an older version of Adobe Premiere Elements (Elements 9) so my question is, where does the latest Adobe Premiere Elements fit into the above reviews? I need to upgrade and not sure if I should continue with Premiere Elements go a different route. Thanks.

    • Hi Doug,
      I guess the answer to that question really involved just how far you want to take your editing.
      The current version of Elements as opposed to the one you have could probably be best described as a more modern take on what you are already familiar with.
      It has a few more bells and whistles thrown in and has been restructured in the back end to deal with HD footage more efficiently.
      One of the biggest hurdles in dealing with any video editing software is overcoming the learning curve so because of that I tend to recommend staying with the brand you have... better the devil you know!
      The other thing you may want to do is to download and play with a few of the programs I have recommended to see if there is anything you like better BUT!
      The most important thing is to have a clear idea of what you want to be able to do with your footage and stick to those features in choosing.
      Let me know what you think and we can continue the conversation... there's plenty of time and those programs aren't going anywhere!

  • Hi Lance,
    I noticed that you really do take a lot of trouble in answering queries and you're very prompt too. Thanks for all the help in advance.
    Now... I am an Absolute Beginner to video editing. Of course around 3 years ago I used Windows Movie Maker to do simple basic editing. I managed to learn almost all of its features in a few days and make a few videos with basic editing... After that project I did not touch the software till date (7/12/17) because I did'nt feel the need to as I was busy with other things.
    So if you ask me now, I kind of have forgotten everything I learnt about Windows Movie Maker.
    Now my problem is this: I'm looking for a Video Editing Software that is EASY to LEARN and MASTER and at the same time has a FEW advanced features.
    Basically my projects would include making simple videos for summer clubs, church feasts, guitar covers, religious song videos with subtitles...
    I did a lot of research but to no effect. I have Corel Video Studio X7, but I gave up after a few tries as I found it too complicated...
    So basically Im looking for something SIMPLE and EASY to MASTER within a few days and at the same it should have at least INTERMEDIATE LEVEL editing features. First I was thinking of Cyberlink Power Director.. then I read somewhere that it is at the same complexity level as Corel Video Studio...How good is Wondershare Filmora?
    Please advise as soon as possible
    (Pardon the length of the question)

    • Hi Nigel,

      So let's work our way through this!

      First of all the idea that CyberLink PowerDirector is as complicated as Corel VideoStudio is simply not true.

      It is WAY more complicated!

      So here are some things you can safely rely on.

      Any software I mention favorable on this site is good software. The difference with all of them is if it is good for you or not.

      So in that sense and given your requirement both VideoStudio and PowerDirector are not good... for you.

      To cut a long story short the one you need is Filmora.

      It has a learning curve that is probably less steep than Movie Maker because there are lots of videos on their site that show you how to use it.

      I doubt very much whether it lacks any feature that you will actually use and feel pretty confident that it will tick all the boxes for you.

      Most importantly it offers a fully featured free trial you can download and use to see if it can do what you want.

      Give it a go and if you are still unsure get back to me and we can continue the conversation.

      • Thanks so much Sir for your prompt reply and sound advise... So I guess I'll try and work with Filmora and let you know about the results.. Thanks a lot...

  • Hey!

    I am interested in getting some affordable editing software that I can use to have text & logos with different animations or effects incorporated on the video. I have heard that Adobe Premiere and Final Cut both have similar purchasable effects and titles, but was wondering to get a better opinion! Thanks

    • Hi Alec,
      The reality is that the ability to add titles and have them to some degree animated is a very stock standard feature on just about every video editing software program.

      In other words it is nothing special, they all do it.

      You mention Preiere and Final Cut so I am assuming you are working on a Mac.

      The simplest video editor on this site that has a version for Mac is called Filmora Review Here

      And as simple as it is it has an entire module dedicated to creating titles, designing them, animating them as well as using all sorts of shapes and designs.

      So unless there is some other professional feature you are looking for there is no need to go that far up the food chain (I mean price chain!) to get what you want.

  • Hi I do a lot of gaming videos and have been using filmora for pc. Now I'm looking for something with a little more advanced features. Director looks good. Which one do you suggest?

    • Hi Shannon,
      To me the logical step up from Filmora would be to PowerDirector.
      Like Filmora it also has an integrated Screen Recording module so you can record and go directly into the editor and also offers far more of the advanced stuff you are looking for.

    • Hi Brett,
      The freebie is "ok" but crippled pretty badly and the paid versions are aimed at pro users who are not really the people I service here.

  • Hi! I have been using iMovie for years to edit my videos, extract stills to add to the videos, and add transitions and titles throughout. Then I export it to Garageband to add chapter markers. Then I export it to iDVD to make the DVD. This year I upgraded my Mac and making the DVD was more than difficult! I was not able to extrat stills which is very important and adding music to the menu sections of the DVD made the file too big for iDVD.
    I think I would like to go to something different but it needs to be able to take numerous clips from the original video, allow me to extract and use stills from the original video, add transitions and titles different places, add music, and then be able to put in chapters and produce a DVD. It doesn't need to be for the Mac, as I can use my Windows computer as well.
    I have read a lot of your advice to others and would love your input on my situation.
    Thank you!
    Janice

    • Hi Janice,
      Everything you have described is pretty much covered internally by most of the software I recommend on this site... BUT!

      My initial choice for you would be Filmora as it has all the editing capabilities you need and more, and comes in a MAC flavor.

      Unfortunately the world of video software is never that easy! Doh!

      Filmora only offers very rudimentary DVD burning capability with no features for chapters, complex menus, background music etc so that one is out.

      The only other MAC choices are specialist screen recorders like Camtasia (stupid expensive) and ScreenFlow 6 which are designed more for a different kind of project.

      So... perhaps it may be better for you to come to the dark side! I mean Windows.

      I think the first two you should take a look at are Corel VideoStudio and CyberLink PowerDirector.

      They both offer everything you need within the one package, provide free trials and for you would be a complete end to end solution.

      Of the two I would possibly tend towards the Corel product as it has a simpler user interface that won't send you catatonic at the first sighting of it.

      With regards to the version most suitable you don't need to go for the fancy schmancy high end ones.

      The most basic version of either will cover you needs perfectly well.

      Get back to me here if you have any more questions.

      • Thank you for you ideas! I make a DVD of a dance recital each year. I import 4 different versions of each dance (2 views from the Sat performance and 2 views from the Sun performance). From those I choose the best one to put on the DVD. On iMovie it was easy to bounce between all four input videos. Will I still be able to do this? Also, do I just go to the sites for the specific program to find the trial? I think that will be very helpful to me! I am so glad I found someone to ask that is unbiased! Thanks!

        • Hi Janice,
          Both the products I mentioned, Corel VideoStudio and CyberLink PowerDirector have a particular feature for what you want to do.
          The feature is called multi-cam editing and in both of them, it opens as a separate module.
          Essentially what it is a way of loading multiple clips of the same event only taken at different times or by a different camera.
          Once you have all the footage loaded then you choose one video as the kind of "master" video and synchronize all the rest to that one master clip.
          Then you can begin to play or step through the footage and switch from camera angle to camera angle or source to source as you go along.
          Once you have done all that you save it and all the choices you made are applied.
          It is very similar in operation to live sports broadcasts in theory.
          In those, all the cameras are shooting continuously and the director is switching from one to the other and all the viewer sees is one camera at a time.
          Check out this video to get the idea:
          This is the one in Corel and the CyberLink one is similar.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q6x3A43nuo

          To get the free trials:
          Click HERE for Corel VideoStudio, the link is at the top of the page.

          Click HERE for CyberLink PowerDirector just scroll to the bottom of the page to find the download link.

  • I currently have PowerDirector Cyberlink. I've made one video with it that was in short, torture. I also have Movavi, which is simpler and works well, but I make book trailers for authors, and I needed the special effects I get in PowerDirector. Is VideoStudio UltimateX10 easier to use than PowerDirector or should I just save the cash and work harder at dealing with all the bells and whistles of PowerDirector. And yes, I did research prior, but can't for the life of me remember why I went in the direction I did

    • Hi Monica,
      The truth is that if you want the advanced special effects it doesn't really matter which program you choose.

      They all claim they are awesomely simple to use but the truth is there is a learning curve whatever way you go.

      Sure, you can open up VideoStudio and "think" it looks simpler but as soon as you start going into the advanced stuff, your newfound calmness soon washes away!

      The trick here is to really take advantage of the tutorial videos on the CyberLink site.

      Start with the basics until your are comfortable and then delve into special effects.

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