Saturday, March 18, 2006

Comparing Budget Video Editing Software (Pinnacle, Adobe, Ulead, Microsoft)

Trying to figure out the best software with which to edit your videos? Here's a handy list of some of the best products out there, in my rank order. All hyperlinks take you to PCMag's thorough review of the tools. sums up video editing software here. And here's a PCMag buyer's guide if want to read more about the paths you can take.

Ever since I got my Mac, I've been using iLife to edit my videos. But before I "switched," I was using a few different PC Based Video applications (mostly Pinnacle and Microsoft Movie Maker). iLife's iMovie works pretty well for me, and is well integrated with the other applications like GarageBand, iTunes, iPhoto and the CD Burning tools. But iMovie's transitions and titles are extremely limited. I have a pet peeve for cheesy transitions (nothing screams amateur like a canned transition- the movie equivalent of clip art). And the title options are so limited, I usually create my own in Adobe Photoshop and import them to iLife as JPEGs.

I'm curious what Revver users are finding the best. Please comment.

So here are my picks for good video editing:

Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0
This is the one I'd pick if I hadn't moved to iLife (partially because it got PCMag's "editor's choice" award. What I love about Adobe is that they're generous to basic users in their low-priced versions. For example, Adobe's basic photo editing software gives many of the features of advanced versions at an accessible price.

Pinnacle Studio Plus 10
This would be the second-best pick after Adobe Premiere. Pinnacle is focused on digital editing, so you can't ignore it as an option. I've used Pinnacle before because it was bundled with some hardware I needed (analog-to-video converter) to get my arcane non-digital video camera footage into my computer.

Microsoft Windows Movie Maker 2.0
If you're brand spanking new to video editing, start with this one. It's free, and it's extremely simple. You might outgrow it quickly, but it will serve basic editing needs.

Ulead VideoStudio 9
Ulead comes bundled with other analog-to-video converters. Pretty decent tool I hear from others, but I haven't used it.

Now here are the fancier ones...

Adobe Production Studio
If your Paypal account is overflowing with Revver payments (or your day job is lucrative) you can afford this one. But it's out of the reach of most of us amateurs.

Adobe Creative Suite 2 Premium Edition
I'm not sure why this one would be worth the price. Fancy features, but Premier is good enough for most of us.

Again- please post your thoughts (what you use and what you like/don't).


At 3/18/2006 5:32 PM, Anonymous AquaDad said...

I started off using Microsoft's Movie Maker, which, wonder of wonders, comes FREE with Windows XP. It's great for a starter and you can do lots of basic stuff.

Next I was briefly using a "copy" of Pinnacle, which is what my video friends use to great effect. I just couldn't get it, I couldn't figure it out, but mostly it was because I wanted my "copy" off my system because of feelings of guilt.

Finally, I've settled on Sony's Vegas Movie Studio. It has so many features and it costs under $100. You can have multiple video tracks (see Ghost Boy on Revver for an example). It has some tutorials. Multiple audio (though I use Sony's Acid Music Studio to beef up the audio and make my own music). I really like Sony Vegas. It's not too complicated for a person with limited patience (me) and not too expensive.

If I ever get enough money from Revver, I would probably want to check out Ulead and Adobe, but then, being used to Sony, maybe I would just stick to their pro version.

At 3/19/2006 4:24 AM, Anonymous James Jarvis said...

iMovie/Garageband/ -more often
QuickTime Pro/-always

All of my final editing is done in QuickTime Pro anyway, so why not build it in QuickTime? I tried Macromedia Flash 8 and Final Cut Pro 3 but they were too complicated for me. I felt like I was trying to bake a cake in a nuclear particle accelerator or an industrial oven.

At 3/19/2006 6:54 AM, Blogger Nalts said...

I was wondering how The Marqui achieved those haunting echos and sureal music. Are those defauly GarageBand loops or did you find some special Acid collection?

I have Quicktime Pro, but I didn't even know I could edit in it. I can't even remember why I upgraded to Pro, but there must have been a reason.

At 3/19/2006 6:28 PM, Anonymous James Jarvis said...

Well, I can create soundtracks in QuickTime using its audio record; speed them up, slow them down, overlap 10 or 12 of them, adjust volume to each track, cut out or paste-in audio tracks and do the same with video tracks. Remember my video Fat 9 Tac Toe ( Nine different videos running concurrently on one screen. I wouldn't know how to do that in anything but QuickTime Pro (it wasn't a 'filter', just some math). Other software has better text titling, but QuickTime Pro seems to give me better control of the final ... uh, 'product.'

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