video media program

What do professional video editors use?

Video content is one of the best ways to get visibility for your business or project. In fact, 54% of consumers who participated in a 2017 content trends survey by Hubspot indicated they want video content from brands they support. But if you've ever watched a poor quality video, you know the damage it can do to brand reputation. So, whether the purpose of your video is entertainment, business, sports, news, or personal, you want professional quality. Looking for the ultimate Wedding Reception Venue in Melbourne? Look no further, Vogue Ballroom is here.

Do some research among the professional video editors in your industry. If the professionals in your industry are overwhelmingly using a specific video editing program, start your testing there. Most professional video editing software programs offer a free trial, so you can try before you buy. 

professional editors

Adobe Premiere Pro

Another NLE, Adobe Premiere Pro, now rivals Avid in popularity within the industry. A couple of Hollywood films edited with premiere include "Gone Girl" and "Hail Caesar." Adobe offers an integrated product suite capable of handling video, audio, graphics, titles, color correction and more. Sensei, Adobe's AI, helps with tasks such as detecting and balancing light around faces. It starts at $239.88 a year, comparable to Avid. Also, for a little over $600 a year ($52.99 a month), you can access the entire Adobe Creative Cloud. If you're already familiar with Adobe, Premiere could be a good option.

Adobe Premiere Pro is no doubt the best video editing software overall. Most professional video editors can agree on that fact. And yet, not every professional video editor uses Adobe Premiere Pro. How can this be? 

Part of the reason is that "best" is somewhat subjective. The technology of video editing has advanced quickly, especially since switching from linear to non-linear editing (NLE). This means many professional video editing programs all have similar basic editing features such as:

  • Media Management
  • User Interface
  • File Import Formats
  • File Export/Production
  • Special Effects

The most notable differences in video editing programs are in advanced capabilities. This contributes to the confusion surrounding the comparison of video editing software. 

The best video editing software for you may be different than the best video editing software for someone else. It depends on what you need for your project and what your skill level with video editing is. Not only now, but as your projects evolve. 

Keep in mind that with today's dependence on mobile devices, watching a video without sound is common. The ability to add captions and subtitles to video quickly and easily means your viewers retain more of your messaging.

Pros 

  • Multi-cam angles are limitless
  • Stellar stabilization
  • Supports importing of up to 8K resolutions
  • Can import raw file format from cameras, smartphones, and DSLRs

Cons

  • Audio not as good
  • No media keyword tagging

Adobe After Effects

There's so much you can do with this program. I'm obsessed with it, honestly.

Marketers will get the most out of this program if they're looking to do advanced/custom motion graphics, a lot of motion tracking (for example, personalized videos for Vidyard), or animated explainer videos.

Like premiere, it updates with new features every so often, the support community is amazing, and the tutorials are seemingly limitless. It also integrates with C4D, another 3D editing software, which comes with it for free.

There are also tons of amazing paid and free third-party plugins. I mostly use it for motion graphics but have been known to use the occasional green screen or even turn someone's eyes into demon eyes for Halloween.

Avid Media Composer

For decades, Avid Media Composer was the Hollywood standard for professional video editing software. It was the first major non-linear editing (NLE) program. Like all NLEs, it features timelines, media bins and editing tools to help keep you organized. In the past, Avid was the most expensive option. However, prices have dropped to as low as $239 a year. "Mission Impossible: Fallout" and "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" are two recent films edited with Avid which show its ability to handle special effects and complicated edits. If you want to make movies in — or like you're in — Hollywood, Avid is a safe bet.

The gold standard for editing blockbuster films and award-winning television shows. If you're going Hollywood, take Avid along for the ride.

Pros

  • Natively edit HD media and high-resolution footage
  • Script Integration
  • Dynamic media folders
  • Multi-camera editing
  • Edit HDR 
  • Multi-user collaboration in real-time

Cons

  • A higher learning curve, especially for beginners
  • Not a finishing tool-need separate software

This is the most sophisticated video editing software you'll get for free.

It has a lot of high-end tools like speed control, colour correction, and footage stabilization that can take your footage from looking merely amateur to pro pretty quickly.

If you're looking for really technical controls to add some polish to your videos, but you don't want to pay for it, try Avid.

It does have a steep learning curve, and the free version doesn't support 4K or a lot of image formats.

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Blender

I love me some 3D animation, and this software lets you do it!

You can get some truly amazing stuff out of this program, and there are tons of websites like Turbosquid to lend a hand in free and paid objects for you.

Whether it's realistic 3D renders of under-construction real estate or animated characters for an explainer video, there's not much you can't do with 3D animation.

Blender can help you add a little variety to your videos, and possibly add a lot of value if you get someone who becomes a pro. There's also a ton of tutorials and online support, which you'll need to get going since it's a little quirky.

Corel VideoStudio

Corel VideoStudio has all the characteristics of the other top-of-the-line products on this list, including 360-degree VR and 4k support. Still, it also has the distinction of being the first piece of consumer video editing software to offer motion tracking—which, if you're not already familiar, is a feature that allows you to track specific objects throughout your cut (if you wanted, say, to point an arrow at one of your characters, blur out his face, or bestow him with a funny hat). Most of the products on this list come equipped with motion tracking, but VideoStudio still boasts one of the best motion tracking systems around.

One of the knocks on VideoStudio is its speed, which lags notably behind some of the faster systems on this list, like CyberLink PowerDirector and Pinnacle Studio.

CyberLink PowerDirector

So—we stretched the meaning of "software" a bit earlier; now, we're going to stretch the definition of "beginner." We included CyberLink PowerDirector on this list because its interface is, at the end of the day, pretty straightforward. There is within the interface, however, an embarrassment of options and effects. If you're not willing to invest the time in learning all of them, it can get a bit overwhelming. 

In terms of rendering, PowerDirector is regarded as one of the fastest video editing systems around. It also operates consistently in the sphere of the innovative and cutting edge. PowerDirector led the charge in the switch to 4k, and today, it's one of the first systems to support 360-degree virtual reality footage.   

Pros

  • Lightening speed rendering
  • Very extensive effects package
  • Easy to learn interface
  • Available by subscription or a one-time purchase
  • Project Nesting for intros and outros

Cons

  • Taiwan product
  • Trimming unavailable in the source panel
  • Number of editing options can be overwhelming for beginners

DaVinci Resolve Studio 16

Used by large collaborative teams for post-production and finishing in the Entertainment industry. Davinci Resolve Studio is designed to allow live collaboration by multiple users at the same time.  

Pros

  • Full 3D workspace with over 250 tools
  • 32-bit float processing
  • Multicam editing for up to 16 cameras
  • Legendary colour tools
  • High Dynamic Range Grading
  • Stereoscopic 3D Grading
  • Fairlight audio for 3D audio
  • Collaborative workflow
  • DaVinci Neural Engine for speed warp, facial recognition, and more
  • Amazing post-production and finishing tools

Cons

  • Resource intensive computer requirements

Edius Pro 8 

The favourite video editing software pick for those in the news industry or event videography. It's ideal for basic editing and great for everyday video projects.

Pros

  • Compatible with all import formats
  • Edits and renders faster than leading competitors
  • Multi-camera support
  • Easy to use clean, customizable interface

Cons

  • Higher learning curve
  • Lower video processing (10 bit)
  • Slow image sequence support
  • Not ideal for large productions
  • Windows users only

Filmora from Wondershare

When it comes to free video editing software, Filmora is about as multi-faceted as they come. Filmora is Wondershare's standard, simple, high-quality video editing offering; but Wondershare also offers FilmoraGo (for mobile editing) and Filmora Scrn (for screen recording and editing). The design is intuitive and easy to use and comes replete with filters, overlays, motion elements, transitions, and a small selection of royalty-free music. Find the perfect wedding video company to help capture those special moments here. 

4k and gif support are boilerplate features for most video editing products today, but one thing Filmora does particularly well is titles. Title tools are trending in video software, and while Filmora's doesn't have the functionality of say, an Apple Final Cut Pro X, which can superimpose 3D titles over your videos and rotate them on three axes, it nonetheless has some snazzy titling features for the money you're spending.

Another Filmora feature beginners to video editing will find attractive is "Easy Mode," which allows you to create fun, polished edits by merely dragging and dropping clips, choosing a theme, and selecting music.

programs professionals use

Final Cut Pro X

Yet one more NLE used in Hollywood is Final Cut Pro X. Final Cut was the video editor for films like "No Country for Old Men" and "300." For those raised on Macs, Final Cut X's film editing tools may seem more intuitive. This version supports 2D and 3D animated titles, audio, graphics, and more. It costs $299.99, but you own the program outright. This makes it a smart investment for years to come.

The majority of Mac users still swear by Final Cut Pro X, though some loyal users switched programs due to a less than perfect workflow revamp.

Pros

  • User-friendly
  • Top-rated editing and media management

Cons

  • Mac users only
  • The recent change to the trackless timeline wasn't popular
  • Only 64 camera angle

Final Cut Pro X may be the new kid on the block, but by most accounts, it's beginning to grow up. I've played with FCPX only briefly, but it was enough to convince me that Apple didn't just build Final Cut from the ground up; rather, it set out to revolutionize the entirety of the editing process.

Gone is the traditional track-based paradigm. Gone is the terminology of a bin-based organization. Instead, among other innovations, FCPX offers a trackless, "magnetic" timeline intended to help editors work more quickly "without having to worry about creating tracks, assigning destination tracks, and moving clips between tracks." Personally, I found this frustrating – in part because I'm used to the manual control that track-based editing affords – but I can see the potential. It's a classic instance of Apple's "trust the software" approach to design.

Equally revolutionary is FCPX's approach to the media organization. The equivalent of FCP7's "bins" are "events" and "keyword collections"; subclips are "range-based keywords"; and markers with duration are "favourites and "ranges". The organizational power, here, is truly impressive. For example, in FCPX's paradigm, a single clip can exist in multiple keyword collections at the same time. This means it's not necessary to duplicate a clip and locate it in a second bin if you want it to appear in two places at once – something I've done on many occasions with Premiere Pro while managing Broll and interview selects. Keywords keep a project clean and searchable, laying the groundwork for a manageable edit.

Because FCPX got off to a rocky start and is only now beginning to find its feet, it's less commonly used by indie filmmakers and production companies today. There's no denying that FCPX's ranks are growing, however, bolstered especially by newcomers to the field who have yet to "buy-in" to an editing ecosystem. I, for one, will be keeping an eye on FCPX's development, as I feel that Apple is blazing a bold trail. It should come as no surprise that FCPX is a Mac exclusive.

HitFilm 4 Pro

Ideal for those who want a compositor and editing in one program. Similar to what you'd get if Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects were combined. If your project involves combining elements from different sources seamlessly into a single image, consider HitFilm 4 Pro.

Pros

  • Easy to learn and use even for beginners
  • Low cost
  • All-in-One Color grading
  • Particle engine enables 2D simulations and full 3D effects including gunfire effects and cool hyperdrive effect
  • Apply animation directly from the editor
  • Built-in tools for rigging and animation

Cons

  • Limited file format compatibility
  • The annual fee for updates 
  • Somewhat limited text editor

Lightworks 

Has been around for more than two decades and has been used to edit major films including The Wolf of Wall Street and Pulp Fiction. It's used by professional video editors wanting advanced capabilities for film editing and ease of uploading to social sites. 

Pros

  • Compatible with most popular formats and files
  • Preset profiles for export formats make video sharing easy
  • All tools accessed via timeline
  • Runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows

Cons

  • Atypical workflow takes getting used to
  • Lacks a smart content analyzer
  • Maximum output resolution 720p MP4 format

MEDIA COMPOSER

Media composer is the longtime industry standard. It is a rock-solid, cross-platform NLE relied upon by many, especially in the feature film and television worlds. It just delivers, with very little fuss and very few hiccups. When it comes to collaborative workflow, Media Composer has no equal; it can enable every editor on a team to look at the exact same project. When changes are made and saved by a user, they ripple to everyone else's view.

Like FCP 7 and Premiere Pro, Media Composer assumes a bin-oriented/track-based paradigm, but some differences can be confusing for those familiar with Apple's and Adobe's offerings. At the beginning of the NLE era, Avid was an offline editing system designed to deliver the creative cut to the negative cutter. In other words, a digital-to-film workflow was built into its DNA, as was the input of professional editors over many years. This has informed Avid's approach to everything from metadata management, to how the program facilitates the different phases of the editing process (in different "modes" of operation), to the keyboard layout. One could argue that Media Composer prioritizes logic and efficiency over accessibility and presentation, two areas where Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro shine more brightly. With so many Wedding Videographers out there it can be confusing to choose the right one.  Check out our top picks here. 

Some editors choose to climb Media Composer's steep learning curve in order to take advantage of its powerful trim mode, the design of which is informed by its historical proximity to film. When it comes to precision work outside of Final Cut Pro's and Premiere Pro's default, contextual timeline editing approach, Media Composer is king.

Finally, the program's Avid Media Access, or AMA, the architecture allows a user to link directly to native camera formats without conversion. Although I have not experimented with AMA linking myself, some editors report that performance suffers; unlike Premiere Pro, Media Composer is designed to play with DNxHD, Avid's mezzanine codec. Even so, AMA linking provides editors with a way to get up and running with Media Composer's power and stability very quickly.

Nero Video

One of the cheaper options around ($49.99), Nero Video holds its own on this list. In essence, it comes well-stocked with a lot of the tricks and effects you'll find among other products vying for video editing supremacy, and as far as software for beginners, you can certainly do worse. If you're going to spend money learning how to edit videos, however, you might want to steer clear. Nero just doesn't have the speed and functionality of some of the other products listed here, and if it's value proposition is its price, $50 is still not all that cheap.  

editing software for editors

Pinnacle Studio 23 Ultimate

A great choice for anyone who wants total creative control and for the special effects and filter junkie. You'll find over 2000 effects and filters as well as enhanced colour grading tools.

Pros

  • Enhanced colour grading tools with more than 30 LUTS
  • Overhauled video masking, including shape and panel masks, now integrated with the timeline
  • Export video clips with transparent backgrounds
  • All the pro features including fast rendering, 360-degree VR editing, and Multicam support
  • Batch processing without the need for extra software

Cons

  • Motion tracking can be unreliable
  • Implementation of 360-degree VR uneven
  • Occasional crashing reported

PREMIERE PRO

Premiere Pro is a relatively straightforward transition for FCP7 editors, so much so that some Final Cut refugees refer to it as "FCP8". Like FCP7, Premiere assumes a bin-oriented/track-based paradigm in which editors "layer" media in timelines. It took me roughly three days to get up and running with Premiere when I made the switch from FCP7 back in 2012; there's even an FCP7 keyboard preset built into the program.

Of course, the premiere has its quirks and differences. Still, the time you spend learning them is rewarded by features such as seamless integration with Adobe's creative tools, including After Effects. Adobe continues to expand the premiere's functionality, and user feedback is considered seriously.

Finally, while both Avid and FCPX support editing with native media, the premiere is designed around it. Adobe has not developed its mezzanine, or intermediate, codec; while you can transcode media to, say, Apple's ProRes or Avid's DNxHD, it's not necessary. The premiere is used by many indie filmmakers and small production companies today. It is cross-platform.

Red Giant

If you have a serious budget and a serious will to learn, you can have a lot of fun with Red Giant's plugins.

I got to play around with their trapcode suite, and things you can do with it are incredible. You can create volumetric light, smoke, snow, rain, or almost any other VFX you can imagine.

These plugins range in complexity. There are almost Hollywood level VFX you can achieve, but there are also motion graphics packages if you want to make your intro cards and lower thirds really stand out.

It's compatible with a fair amount of programs too, but probably best used on Adobe. There's also a lot of support and tutorials for it so that you won't be alone in your investment.

Sony Vegas Pro 

A great option if you're in the gaming or sports industries, or editing reaction videos. It's useful for those who need a video editor that is easy to learn or one which works well on any PC or laptop.

Pros 

  • Best timeline
  • Drag & drop files directly
  • Easy to learn
  • Ideal for audio editing

Cons

  • Windows users only
  • Picture in picture and motion tracking can be difficult

Sony Vegas Pro is on the pricier side for sure. Still, you get the pro-editor features like motion tracking, HDR support, 360 footage support, video stabilization, speed control, masking, and good presets for colour correction.

This is for a marketer who knows what they're doing and wants a professional finished product but also has the budget. If you're going to spend the money, I suggest you already know how to use the best features of this program (or have someone on staff who does).

Video Copilot

I love their tutorials, and their plugins look amazing. They have an elements package that gives you a huge range of sound effects, motion graphics, and 3D elements like fluids and particles.

If you want to channel your inner JJ Abrams, they have a package of optical flares you can buy, starting from around $125, or, if you're a Michael Bay fan, maybe go for their Action Essentials package, starting at around $100.

This is an add-on for a marketer on a budget who just needs a little extra flair to their videos.

It's also compatible with After Effects, Final Cut Studio, Premiere, and other.

Whether you're just starting out, or into the weeds with editing, these are some helpful tools to get the most out of your footage.

This isn't the dawn of film. Audiences can spot a bad edit, even if they don't know technically why it's bad.

Having these valuable tools can make or break your video marketing strategy because what you create, and how well you're able to create it will tell the world exactly what value you have to offer.