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Buying Video Editing Software

How to choose the best video editing software

If you're looking for video editing software, you have a wide array of choices. The purpose of this article is to help you understand what factors to consider when choosing a video editing software package and how to get the best deal.

If you're just starting out in digital video, or even if you're a seasoned videographer, you may be overwhelmed by the vast range of video editing software products available today.

Some of the higher end video editing software packages cost $500 or more, while others are less than $100. How do you decide which package to choose? Here are a few tips:

  1. Your Budget - The first thing to consider when purchasing a video editing package is your budget. If you're just starting out, I recommend that you go for cheaper software like Roxio VideoWave Movie Creator or Pinnacle Studio.

    I realize that lots of people prefer the powerful video editing software suites like Adobe Premiere, but for the average user, it is really just overkill.

    The cheaper video editing software packages save you money and still easily fulfill most of your video editing needs. You can always upgrade to a better package when you're more experienced.
  2. Video file import and export capabilities - The second factor that you need to consider is the ability to import and export various video file formats.

    If you want to import and edit Quicktime movie files or RealMedia video, check the package to make sure the package can import those video formats.

    The same thing goes for exporting video files. If you want to distribute your finished product as a Windows Media file, make sure you select video editing software that supports that feature.
  3. Special Effects - Another consideration is what (if any) special effects are included with the video editing software.

    Less expensive packages like Roxio VideoWave or VideoStudio come with more "stock" special effects that cannot be customized.

    On the other hand, Adobe Premiere and others in its class will allow you more flexibility with special effects. This capability is important if you wish to utilize screen transitions and tilting. 
  4. Bundled Software - Another point to take into consideration is what bundled software comes with the video editing software package.

    Quite often, you'll have things like VCD/DVD authoring packages thrown in (e.g. DVD MovieFactory 2) or music creation packages like Sonic Foundry Acid Pro.

    These video and audio editing "suites" can be really good deals as the bundled software usually costs hundreds of dollars if sold separately.
Here are my video editing software recommendations based upon your skill level:
  • Beginner - For those just starting out in video editing, I recommend Roxio VideoWave Movie Creator. This is an excellent video editing software package built around an automated approach to video movie creation.

    VideoWave can save you hours of video editing time and easily transform your home videos into movies on DVD or CD.
  • Intermediate Level User - If you have some experience in video editing, a great choice is Ulead VideoStudio. It costs twice as much as Roxio VideoWave, but the extra money is well spent.

    One of the best mid-range video editing programs available, Video Studio provides features that suit both beginners and intermediate videographers.
  • Advanced Users - If you're a video editing professional, you'll most likely have used Adobe Premiere, which is the industry standard for video editing software.

    Adobe Premiere comes with loads of features and plug-ins, and the product support is excellent. I highly recommend this top-tier video editing software for advanced users who want to tweak and customize their videos to their hearts' content.
All in all, there's an enormous range of video editing software on the market today. My advice is to start simple. Purchase a product like Roxio VideoWave and try out its features. Learn the ins and outs and get comfortable using the software.

Once you gain some experience and learn more about video editing in general, you can then consider upgrading to one of the higher priced packages.

Gary Hendricks is a digital video and computer enthusiast. He has several years of experience with digital videography. Visit him at Desktop-Video-Guide.com.

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