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The Best Video Editing Software for Every Level and Budget

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The Best Video Editing Software for Every Level and Budget

You’ve filmed your video podcast, YouTube channel content, or movie trailer. The next step: edit the raw footage into a polished product that you’d be proud to share.

The problem for many beginner content creators—and even experienced ones looking for a new tool—is that there’s an overwhelming number of editing software options out there. It can quickly become daunting to try to sift through the various tools and applications to find the best editing software and the one that matches your needs best.

If this problem rings a bell, this article is for you! We’ll walk you through what to look for in video editing software, then give you a list of the best options for every level and budget.

What Is Video Editing Software, and Why Use It?

Video editing software is the tool that lets you make adjustments, additions, and tweaks to your recorded videos and video clips and export or upload them to your distribution channel of choice.

No matter the reason why you make and publish videos—or whether you create content on your phone or are a professional videographer—you need video editing software. Without the editing stage, your video won’t meet consumers’ standards for video content in 2021.

How to Choose the Best Video Editing Software for You

A wide range of video editing software options is available at all different price points and user levels. Some editing software is designed for beginners, with minimal features and a low price point. At the other end of the spectrum, some editing software is meant for professional content creators—and it has all the bells, whistles, and hefty price tag that come with it.

The best thing you can do is decide what features are a must for you. We’ve listed five examples you may want to consider below.

1. Is it Easy to Use?

One of the most important considerations when choosing video editing software is the learning curve required to start using it. How easy will it be to learn and become proficient with the editing software?

It’s usually best to look for software that comes with tutorials, auto-editing features, and templates to let you hit the ground running. Then as you learn the software, you can play with some of the more advanced features as you become comfortable.

Of course, it helps to use recording software like Riverside.fm, which has a Magic Editor that does much of the preliminary editing work for you automatically. That way, you can experiment with advanced editing software at your leisure. 

2. Does It Require Internet Access?

Some software comes as a download and functions entirely on your device. In contrast, other software options work in a browser or otherwise need to be connected to the internet to function correctly. It’s worth considering whether the internet access question will matter to you.

3. Does the Software Support 4k Video? 

If you’re creating consumer video, your content needs to be crystal clear—which is why the video editor you use needs to support at least 4k video. 

This level of clarity is beginning to be the standard for most quality editing software tools. Still, you’ll want to double-check any software option you’re considering purchasing to ensure it can handle the quality output you plan on producing.

4. What Are the Multicam Options?

Multicam editing lets you use multiple cameras to shoot several angles of the same scene, then pick and choose which angles are used in the final video. If you’ve seen shows like The Office, you know what multicam video looks like. 

high five gif

And while multicam capabilities used to be regulated to the pros, advanced effects such as this are now found in many mid-tier tools.

5. Does it Have Motion Tracking?

Do you want to be able to use effects on a moving object? Perhaps you want to blur out faces or insert graphics and text boxes that will follow moving objects. This capability is called motion tracking, and many consumer-level video editing tools now offer this feature.

The 5 Best Video Editing Software Solutions

First, let’s look at the top paid editing software on the market today: Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Premiere Rush, Final Cut Pro, Movavi Video Editor, and Pinnacle Studio.

Adobe Premiere Pro CC

video editing software Adobe Premiere Pro CC
(image source)

Premiere Pro is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of tools, and it’s one of the most popular video editing tools for professionals and hobbyists alike. It offers many industry-standard features like visual effects, motion graphics, and animation.

  • Price: $20.99/month
  • Available on: Windows, macOS
  • Supports 4k? Yes
  • Motion tracking? No
  • Multicam editing? Yes

Adobe Premiere Rush

Video editing Software Adobe Premiere Rush
(image source)

Also part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of tools, Adobe Premiere Rush is a free mobile and desktop video editing app designed for video creation on the move. If you’re looking for easy and fast video editing on your mobile device, Rush is an excellent choice for shooting, editing, and sharing videos that are still of high quality. 

  • Price: $9.99/month
  • Available on: macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android
  • Supports 4k? Yes
  • Motion tracking? No
  • Multicam editing? No 

Apple Final Cut Pro 

Video editing software Apple Final Cut Pro
(image source)

If you’re a Mac user who’s looking to upgrade from iMovie, Final Cut Pro X is Apple’s professional video editing software that includes many high-powered features in a user-friendly interface that’s still simple enough for both professionals and hobbyists to use. Features include high-speed performance, trackless magnetic timeline, and AI-powered cropping for social media sharing to places like Facebook and Instagram.

  • Price: Free trial, then one-time purchase of $299
  • Available on: iOS and macOS
  • Supports 4k? Yes
  • Motion tracking? No
  • Multicam editing? Yes

Movavi Video Editor Plus

Video Editing Software Movavi Video editor plus

Movavi is a powerful, easy-to-use tool whose features include filters, transitions, motion tracking, slow motion, chroma key, and a drag-and-drop functionality on Mac.

  • Price: Lifetime access starting at $64.95
  • Available on: macOS and Windows
  • Supports 4k? Yes
  • Motion tracking? Yes
  • Multicam editing? No

Pinnacle Studio 25 Ultimate

Video editing software Pinnacle Studio
(image source

Pinnacle Studio is a fast and intuitive video editing tool for PC users that boasts many pro-level features—such as color grading, special effects, filters, video masking, 360-degree video editing, and motion graphics—without the steep learning curve.  

  • Price: One-time purchase of $129.95
  • Available on: Windows
  • Supports 4k? Yes
  • Motion tracking? Yes
  • Multicam editing? Yes

Best Free Video Editing Software

If you’re not willing or able to invest money in your editing software at this time, no worries! There are plenty of free video editors out there to get you started. Our favorites include Apple iMovie, HitFilm Express, Lightworks, and Clipchamp.

iMovie

video editing software iMovie
(image source)

iMovie is a great entry-level option for Mac users who want a beautiful, minimalistic user interface. It comes with several movie templates, audio editing, color grading, narration, soundtracks, and greenscreen effects. This free app is especially a great one for beginner creators of movies and trailers.

  • Available on: iOS and macOS
  • Supports 4k? Yes
  • Motion tracking? No
  • Multicam editing? No 

HitFilm Express

Video Editing Software hitfilm express
(image source)

HitFilm Express is a powerful free app designed to make Hollywood-style movies—but it works just as well for other kinds of video content. It comes with a customizable dashboard, chroma keys, extensive visual effects toolkit, and 3D tools. This software works best on a computer with a processor powerful enough to support it.

  • Available on: Windows and macOS
  • Supports 4k? Yes
  • Motion tracking? Yes
  • Multicam editing? No

Lightworks

Video editing software lightworks
(image source)

Lightworks is used by amateurs and professionals alike—and many top Hollywood movies were edited using the pro version of this tool. Even in the free version, Lightworks comes with many professional-quality features, including a customizable interface, cross-platform feature, advanced sharing options, advanced color correction, and other real-time effects. And it’s optimized for speed, meaning importing and rendering processes happen in the background, so you can keep working on other editing tasks while you wait.

  • Available on: Windows, macOS, and Linux
  • Supports 4k? No (must upgrade to Pro for this feature)
  • Motion tracking? No
  • Multicam editing? Yes

Clipchamp

(image source)

Clipchamp is a free, browser-based, and user-friendly online video editor. It integrates with your favorite storage tools like DropBox and Google Drive. It comes with basic editing functions like trimming, cropping, flipping, filters and transitions, and adding text and graphics.

  • Available on: Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers
  • Supports 4k? Yes
  • Motion tracking? No
  • Multicam editing? No

What Is the Best Video Creating and Editing Software?

The number of software tools and apps on our devices can quickly become overwhelming for many of us. If minimalism is your goal, you may want to look for software that can pull double-duty, such as one that lets you both record and edit high-quality video for podcasts and video interviews.

Riverside.fm is an excellent option for minimalists. On the recording side, it lets you capture uncompressed 48kHz WAV audio and 4k video, all from your browser. Video is recorded locally, meaning each participant’s track is saved to their device—so even if your internet connection drops, you don’t need to worry about your video being affected. 

And it also uploads each file to the cloud progressively while you’re recording, so you don’t need to wait for long uploads after you press stop.

On the editing side, Riverside’s new Magic Editor now combines recording and editing into a single platform. The editor automatically stitches together the separate audio and video tracks. 

It also uses an AI Speaker View feature to analyze the recording and automatically switch whoever is speaking into full-screen milliseconds before they talk. Riverside is the first editing platform in the world to automate this task, so if you’re recording a lot of video interviews or multi-cam presentations, this automation alone saves you hours of editing time.

Video Editing FAQ:

Should I pay for a premium video editor?

In other words, is free video editing software good enough? It all depends on the features you’re looking for. 

The adage that “you get what you pay for” is true in many ways for video editors. While many free options get the job done well for hobbyists, be prepared to pay for the best features.

What is the best video editing software for beginners?

Any of the options listed above should work well for beginners. You may want to start with one of the free options, such as iMovie or HitFilm Express, which come with plenty of tutorials to help you get started.

Which is the best video editing software for windows 10?

For Windows users, consider Adobe Premiere Pro, Movavi Video Editor, or Pinnacle Studio.

What do most YouTubers use to edit their videos?

According to G2.com, most YouTubers use Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and Adobe After Effects.

Which programs do professional video editors use?

Professionals typically gravitate towards the programs with the most features and granular options, such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, and the premium tier of Lightworks.

Final Thoughts

The editing stage is almost as important as the recording process in any video creation project. Whether you’re creating YouTube videos, recording a video podcast, or making your movies and trailers, you’ll need to put a few finishing touches on your video before putting it out into the world.

In 2021, there are seemingly limitless video editing software options for you to choose from. The above options are some of the most popular paid and free tools—so choose which one works for you based on your preferences, such as budget, learning curve, internet capability, and advanced features.

And if you’re looking for a simple tool that lets you record and edit in one place, look no further than Riverside. Get started with a free trial today!

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