6 Best Video Editing PC Software Bets in 2011
There are scores of video editing PC software packages whose vendors are eager to turn you into a desktop filmmaker. All you have to do is import the video files (a snap with a modern digital video camera) fire up the software and start storyboarding while adding all the cinematic bells and whistles your inner Tarantino desires. To get you green-lighted, we'll look at the top six PC packages for less than $100.
Both TopTenReviews and PC Magazine agree that the best of the crop is the $50 PowerDirector 9 Deluxe from CyberLink. Yes, it offers features worthy of a Hollywood studio, including HD processing and a respectable sound editor, but that's not what impressed them. No, they were swayed by the fact that it runs like a house afire. If there's anything that can bring a PC to its knees, it's video editing—every pixel has to be assessed—but PowerDirector 9 acted like it hadn’t gotten that memo.
Next is Corel VideoStudio Pro X3, also for $50. It also offered respectable speed, plus a user interface that was easy to get into, although difficult to get out of—but there is no getting around the fact that video editing using the program is more like preparing your taxes than balancing your checkbook.
Third on the TopTenReviews list is Adobe Premiere Elements 9 for $99. The program seems to be aimed at novices who want to edit and upload their videos to social networking sites without any fuss. Those who press on, however, can become desktop movie moguls , as the Adobe package can do everything the previous two can do—except add subtitles.
Coming in fourth on TopTenReviews’ list is the $99 MAGIX Movie Edit Pro 17 Plus HD, aimed at those who want to break away from humdrum home movies and try their hand at HD and 3-D videos with Dolby Digital sound and seamless A-roll and B-roll editing. But if that's what you want to do, you'll need to invest in top-shelf hardware to assure acceptable performance. As for ease of use—well, if the package's features appeal to you, you won't quibble.
Fifth is the $60 VideoPad 2 from NCH Software, which (refreshingly) appears to have been built around the concept of ease of use. In the process, the designers left out some features that would probably just draw blank stares from most novices, like green screen or 3-D editing. But the absence of Facebook uploading might be troubling.
Last comes the $50 Pinnacle Studio HD 14, which is famous for its automated music editor, which fits the music clip to the length of the video clip. Plus, it boasts an impressive collection of sound effects. Otherwise, the user interface seemed bogged down by the numerous features, and the tutorial was two hours long. Another disadvantage is that it is not currently compatible with Windows 7.
On the whole, the power that any one of these packages can give you can be quite dumbfounding. But don't let that go to your head—Shakespeare, remember, wrote Hamlet with a quill pen.