Sunday, May 25, 2014

Shopping Video Editing Software [reviews]

Been dabbling in video editing as you can tell from my posts. I am one to research a decision like a software purchase as if my life depended on it so I decided to share my thoughts and if you have experiences with any of these programs feel free to leave a comment.

Premiere 2.0: good but outdated, no HD video, new version is too expensive
VideoPad trial ($40 to buy): I liked it but feel it’s expensive for what it is. There is a free version that perhaps has a few more features than MSMM.
MSMM Microsoft Movie Maker ($free): Simple to use, intuitive, not compatible with 3gp files (my phone). Basically this works if all you want to do is string video clips or photos together with no audio or visual tweaks.
Corel Video Studio Pro X7 ($65): Beautiful modern interface, very intuitive, loads of extras (transitions, effects, etc). Auto correct settings for light levels, colors, etc.; the default settings aren't always ideal but it is easier to get them close with auto correct and tweak them than start from scratch each time like Sony. For whatever reason, Corel defaults to not asking if you want to match the project settings to the source and this initially caused some audio editing issues but after turning the setting to on the problems went away. [edit: the following bug is fixed in an update] One aggravating issue is that Corel will crash when importing certain file types like MP4 and 3GP unless you rename them with a MOV extension. It's a really stupid issue that someone in QC should have caught. 3GP I can understand as it's less common but MP4? That's just inexcusable. Both file types import fine once you rename them. There is an Ultimate version which is only a few extra bucks and has a few more effects. [edit: I bought the Ultimate version for the same price as Pro. Keep an eye on Amazon as the price of Ultimate can fluctuate by up to $30 daily]
Sony Movie Studio 13 ($30): Interface is bland and Win98-ish, bare bones editing software. A very minor step up from MSMM. Might was well use the free version of VideoPad.
Sony Movie Studio 13 Platinum ($80): Same as above but with a few more features and extras. Compared to Corel the interface is slightly clumsy but easy enough to use. Lacks auto correct functions for audio and visuals which can be tedious. Fewer extras than Corel, which may not seem like a big deal until you spend an hour making a frame, intro, etc. Buttons are childishly large even in the advanced setting and color scheme choices are white (terrible) and a medium grey. Blandness McBlandybland. However it is rock stable. Sony's best feature is that you can edit on the fly without stopping the video and there is no lag between pressing play and the video starting.
Cyberlink Power Director 12 ($62): Kind of a middle ground, good interface, powerful, very resource hungry. Uses 2X the memory of Sony MS even with no project open and uses 30% of CPU most of the time. Only one of the bunch that slows my computer. The interface is like a slightly improved version of Sony MSP. Unfortunately it was very crash prone. I would like to have tested this more but it's resource requirements and instability make it very frustrating.
Pinnacle Studio 17 ($83): Decided not to install it. Recent reviews talk of a lengthy and very difficult installation process that takes hours; and reviews of the newer versions were not very favorable.

Jahshaka (open source), Blender (open source); both way above my paygrade.