Video Editing – The Top 5 Programs to Use

In this top 5 list I’m going to focus on the best programs based on versatility and how useful it is to an average user or low budget video maker who wants the ability ( or at least the tools) to make professional looking videos.

1 – Final Cut Studio

I chose final cut studio as number 1, despite it being only available on Macintosh computers, there’s a lot of consumer friendly versions and options for Final Cut, as well a lot of power. Final Cut Studio is the name of a whole package that comes with Motion, a special effects editing program, Livetyp, an animated text program and more.

Let’s investigate what the difference is between Final Cut Studio, Pro, Express etc. Final cut express is the cheapest version of Final Cut and is an excellent choice for anyone who just wants to edit videos, with much much more power than the editing software that came with their computer. Final Cut Pro is their best choice and is also useful for more serious video editors and even studio editing facilities.

2. Adobe Creative Suite

Similarly to Final Cut, Adobe should be a winner because it has so many must have programs and different packages, all of which are available on both Mac and Windows. The video editing application we’re going to talk about here is Adobe Premiere. It comes with some of the CS (creative suite) packages or you can also buy it standalone. Adobe premiere has all the tools you will need as a basic video editor and depending on which CS package you get, you have other power tools at your disposal like Photoshop, After Effects and more.

3 – Avid Media Composer

Avid has long been considered one of the main video editing applications in the professional world and is still used in somewhere around 50% of all major production houses. Avid needs to have a place in this list because it is the most accurate video editor when it comes to database managing tools for organizing, frame accuracy control, maintaining color levels and broadcast standards etc.

It’s is perhaps to expensive and too hard for the average user to make videos that can compete with what other average users can do with Final Cut Studio, or with After effects for animation + Premiere. An average user can put together really cool animated stuff with those templates while he would most likely only have basic text with limited styling if he used Avid.

This is why those programs are listed higher in this list, and you can see how hard it can be to rank them. From a professional broadcasting company’s view the #1 combination might be multiple After Effects editors doing special effects editing while an Avid editor puts together all those FX clips with media and readies it for broadcast.

If we compare two solo editors, both with equally limited computer skills, both with pretty equal artistic sense and see who can make the best stuff after half a year of practice – if one of them is given Final Cut Studio and learns all those software,while another one gets the professional Avid and tries to learn After Effects as well – I can guarantee you the Final Final cut guy would learn how to make awesome animations with livetype and Motion. While the other guy could only do basic stuff with Avid + After effects because he hasn’t learned it yet.

Number 4 and 5 on this list are going to be

Cheap alternatives: For the sake of this list being about user friendliness and affordability

4 – iMovie is a Mac only editor and is a basic editing program that usually comes with most Mac packages and is very good compared to Windows Movie maker (although I haven’t seen the very latest versions of Windows Movie Maker) and even some other non-free applications. It should me no surprise since apple makes their own video editing software and other stuff with Final Cut Studio.

5 – Windows movie maker comes with windows and has some basic editing capabilities, You can edit different shots together, shorten the time of each shot and add music. That’s about it. It saves the file as a wmv file with very little options. This program is only available on Windows PCs