The Best Video Editing Software Compared

The Best Video Editing Software Compared

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 16

Cyberlink PowerDirector 16 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 16 Review

Click Here to See Cyberlink PowerDirector 16

#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 Pinnacle Studio 21

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 21 Review

Click Here to Take a Look at Pinnacle Studio 21

#4 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

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.

The prgram 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 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: October 3rd, 2017 by Lance Carr

124 comments to The Best Video Editing Software Compared

  • 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.