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.
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#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
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124 comments to The Best Video Editing Software Compared

  • Alec Kerbox

    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

    • Lance Carr

      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.

  • Shannon

    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?

    • Lance Carr

      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.

  • Brett

    Hi Lamce,
    What are your thoughts on Lightworks?

    • Lance Carr

      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.

  • Janice Schriner

    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

    • Lance Carr

      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.

      • Janice Schriner

        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!

        • Lance Carr

          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

    • Lance Carr

      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.

  • Drake Christensen

    Interesting thoughts on the editors. I tried Pinnacle for a few versions a few years ago. I experienced some stability issues. Tried a few trials of the others and then saw PowerDirector uses the GPU to render. I’m a gamer, so I have a pretty hot machine. It renders about three times faster with the GPU over the CPU. I’ve been fairly happy with PowerDirector since about v12. I’m currently using v14.

    Personally, while the feature sets of the various editors are nearly identical, I would say that interface differences can be important. It’s certainly a personal preference thing. If the developers don’t think like you do, then using their editor can become very frustrating.

    On to my question.

    My projects are very simple amateur sports videos. Most of them hockey helmetcams. Powerdirector is just fine for stitching them together.

    Occasionally, though, a teammate of mine will mount some cameras around the rink. I would like to edit multiple camera angles together. I have found the multi-camera function in Powerdirector to be nearly useless. The preview windows are postage stamps. Sometimes there are more than four cameras. And, the auto-syncing of multiple tracks rarely works (too many extraneous sounds, which defeats it) and the manual syncing is incredibly painful.

    The dream would be if I could resize multiple track windows to whatever I want on my second monitor. And have them all play back in sync. And, if I could manually mark frames on multiple clips and have the program bring them into line, to sync them. And then I envision being able to use an effect when switching angles, to help keep the viewer oriented.

    So, I was wondering if you had any suggestions for alternative software I might try for a multi-camera situation.

    Thanks,
    Drake Christensen

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Drake, ah yes the multicam.

      So here’s the deal. Corel VideoStudio and their Pinnacle product have multicam capability, you know PD has it, Magix in both Movie Edit Pro and Video Pro X have it and I guess the list goes on an on!

      All the multicam functions in most of these programs at the consumer level are about the same so what you are experiencing is what you get!

      Their only real advantage is in the way you can “switch” to edit rather than fiddling about in the timeline… although you always end up fiddling about in the timeline anyway!

      The real problem here is the point of syncing various clip together and as you have discovered, sometime that can be pretty unreliable.

      If you look at the professional level editors they of course have multicam but with ONE big difference.

      They are not delusional about the ability of a piece of software to work out how to sync together various footage from different sources!

      They know that ain’t gonna happen and use timers and markers at the shooting stage.

      I guess you could try some of the others but I really don’t think you are going to get much better (or worse) than PD.

      • Drake Christensen

        Wow. Thanks for the quick reply.

        Yeah, I had looked at the marketing material of a couple of the others. As you said, they seem to be stealing ideas from each other and ending up at pretty much the same place.

        As for timing marks. I can find sticks hitting the pucks during warmup and other sounds, which serve the same function. But, the cameras are situated far enough apart, and are sometimes behind glass. That makes for enough differences in the sounds near the cameras to defeat the automagic syncing.

        If they could just give me some way to drop a mark on each clip, and then hit a button to line up those marks, that’s all I’d need. Seems so simple. I would have to do it for each clip in a track, because some cameras overlap their clips and some don’t. And, sometimes a clip gets corrupted, so I end up with a gap in a track.

        I sent/posted an enhancement request for this functionality, about the time that v15 was about to drop. So, hopefully, they can put someone on it for a few days to add this in a not-too-distant version. Doesn’t seem like a big task. If they could do that, I might be able to muddle through the rest with what they already have.

        As for synced windows showing each track, that would prolly be a bigger job. So, it’ll remain a dream, for now.

        Thanks again for the quick info.

        Drake

  • 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.

    Thanks

    • 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,
            OK!
            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.