May 30, 2016 Inbal Voitiz

Top 6 Best Video Editing Software

Gone are the days of inefficient, time-consuming methods that plagued our industry’s forefathers, such as video tape-to-tape linear editing and the imprecise razorblade method. A filmmaker has the option of becoming their own editor now that it’s easier than ever to learn video editing software.

With so many consumer and professional level software to choose from, there are some considerations when choosing the editing software that’s right for you. User-friendliness, special effects packages, hardware compatibility and cost are some main factors. While brand loyalty and familiarity with a certain software are also likely to guide your decision. Remember that you don’t have to make a lifelong commitment to just one, especially since new improvements and developments are constantly announced.

We’ve scoured through many programs so you don’t have to. Here’s a look at the best software currently available on the video editing market.

Adobe Premiere Pro CC

$19.99-29.99/month or $239.88/year (subscription): Final Cut’s longtime rival.

video editing software

Major selling points:

  • Search bins, clip names, and colored labels automatically update and save for future use
  • Masking tool allows for easy blurs on faces, logos, license plates, etc.
  • Integration with other Adobe Creative Cloud applications allows you share assets like graphics between projects made in After Effects CC, Photoshop CC, etc.
  • Multi-project workflows permit you to reuse content from other videos
  • Paste Effects saves time with quick reuse of special effects

Employed by major networks such as CNN and BBC, as well as used for the critically acclaimed 2014 film Gone Girl, Adobe is a mainstay in the multimedia software world.

Make sure your computer’s hardware is highly equipped and prepped for the platform, as the software will require fast speeds and substantial space on your hard drive.

Adobe also offers a lighter, more user-friendly software option for beginning editors and non-professionals alike with Adobe Premiere Elements 14. Appealing aspects include slow motion, Shake Stabilizer, and mobile video uploads. At a fraction of the cost, its more simplistic features allow the amateur videographer to get his feet wet before diving into the editing game with the big guys.

Avid Media Composer

$34.97-74.99/month to subscribe; $1,299 to purchase: The Jack of all trades.

Major selling points:

  • Specially equipped to handle large numbers of varying file-based media
  • Boasts accelerated high-resolution workflows and high-definition editing and finishing
  • Avid Resolution Independence supports media in every resolution so no job is off limits
  • Avid DNxHR economizes your storage budget by saving bandwidth space

This software package is a favorite amongst a variety of large companies and across film mediums, whether they be video shorts, television broadcasts, or big budget films. The editors for major Hollywood blockbusters including The Dark Knight and Black Swan used Avid, and in both cases were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing. Avid’s results speak for themselves.

Final Cut Pro X

$299.99: An industry standard provided by Apple.

Major selling points:

  • Analyzing capabilities upon import include automatic classification into groups (i.e. long shot, group shots, close-ups)
  • Automatically detects and prepares faulty video footage for quick fixing (i.e. camera shake, color imbalance)
  • Magnetic timeline will automatically sync gaps between clips
  • Background processing enables editing while rendering, transcoding and moving media.

Final Cut Pro X was met with some backlash following its launch in June 2011, even including a televised spoof on TBS’s Conan. Its initial shortcomings–including a lack of EDL and OMF support–were rectified by free updates on behalf of the Mac App Store, as well as the outsourcing of these editing issues to third-party developers.

They’re continuing to learn from past mistakes. Updates are regularly made to the software, ensuring its at the cutting edge of video editing technology. They’ve developed a low-cost app for editors as a complement to the software, which stands in as a guide, troubleshooter, and a right hand during the editing process. We’ve used it, recommended it, and reviewed it in a former post on the best apps for video editors.

To see Final Cut Pro X in action, check out Will Smith’s 2015 film Focus, which was the first major motion picture to be edited entirely with this updated software.

Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 12

Free,  $995 to purchase Studio version: All for one, one for all.

Major selling points:

  • Clips for multi-cam editing can be synced automatically by sound, time-code or In and Out points.
  • Professional color grading abilities combined with an editing tool.
  • Easy hand-off or archiving for whole projects with a media management tool
  • Free of charge, and supports most of the features of the more professional version – DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio.

With films like Skyfall and Avatar  in it’s resume, DaVinci is a long time player in the color correction field of the film and TV industry. Over the last few years Blackmagic had set out to establish themselves also as a serious competitor to the NLE software market, offering a complete post-production package. Along with a free of charge price tag, it presents an attractive option for many indie filmmakers.

Pinnacle Studio 19.5 Ultimate

$129.95: For the independent (or cash-strapped), discerning pro video editor.

Major selling points:

  • NewBlue special effects package includes 700 presets and 55 plugins
  • Storyboard platform attracts beginners, while Timeline platform allows more precision
  • iZotope Music & Speech Cleaner reduces noise and clarifies audio
  • Stop-motion capture and green screen enhancements
  • Includes Scorefitter library of royalty-free music to contribute to your soundtrack

The software’s interface is friendly on the eyes, while the price remains friendly to your budget. It’s a suitable intermediate option for video edits before making your big break and the big bucks.


Price: $14.99 


Last but not least iMovie, popular with consumer level video makers yet even used sometimes by pros because of its total simplicity. This video editor for Macintosh devices, comes from Apple Inc, and can help you deal with video editing even while you are using an iOS-based device — let that be your iPhone, iPod or iPad. iMovie has a tremendous number of features, some of those include truly impressive collection of transitions and drag-based interface. iMovie Theatre that lets you watch movies from your Apple TV, ability to fine tune clips, etc.

Major selling points:

  • Start editing on iPhone or iPad, and finish on a Mac.
  • Supported Platforms: Macintosh and iOS
  • Supported Input Formats: QuickTime compatible with HD support, even supports 4K
  • Supported Output Formats: QuickTime compatible with HD Support
  • Key Features: NDE, HD Support, 2 video tracks and 4 audio tracks, linear timecode display and storyboard mode.

As an editor, your personal preferences, professional obligations and budget will all help decide which software works best to fit your editing needs. Once you’re at a point when you’re ready to share your video’s progress with fellow editors and collaborators, we invite you to try LookAt to easily share and discuss your work in progress. Have fun!

look at video maker web app

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy. 



About the Author

Inbal Voitiz Inbal Voitiz is Co-Founder of LookAt, where she is focused on producing the tools for video professionals, so that brilliant, inspiring beautiful videos will come to life.