Video Editing Software: Comparison Guide To The Best Consumer Video Editors Under $100
Are you looking for a video editing software tool that will not empty your pockets? Do you want to spend less than $100, but still get more than basic video editing? In this MasterNewMedia comparison guide you will find the best consumer video editors on the market under $100.
Photo credit: Warezgen
These affordable video editing software tools are a step above of those free video editing tools that are very simple to use for basic video editing purposes, but are far away from professional solutions like the AVID suite or Final Cut which allow you to customize every single detail of the video editing process.
These video editing software tools are aimed to all those people who have played around a bit with timelines, video formats, transitions and other effects and now want to gain greater control on how videos are imported, encoded and presented to their audience.
Just like other video editing solutions, video editing software tools are based on a timeline interface where portions of the video, or "clips", are laid out in sequence and played back. Once video clips are imported to the software tool from your camcorder or your computer hard-disk, you can access a broad spectrum of features to customize your movies.
Where these video editing software tools stand out compared to free video editing tools, is in their ability to manage many different video formats (including popular types like MP4, WMV, MOV or AVI), have different encoding options, and also support pro video editing features like chroma-key, slow motion, subtitling (text and audio synced) or direct video upload to popular social media destinations like YouTube or Facebook.
Let's look now into some of the key traits that characterize these video editing software tools:
- Drag&drop video editing: Manage your video in a drag&drop fashion. Just move your clips around the timeline, then re-order and trim to get the output you desire.
- Special effects: Enhance and personalize your video with lots of transitions types and filters.
- Audio import and editing: Utilize and edit one or multiple audio tracks from your computer to create a soundtrack for your video.
- Title and credits: Add an overlay text and final credits to your video. Choose among different fonts, colors and styles.
- H.264 support: Take advantage of the H.264 compression codec to produce high-quality video clips.
- DVD creation: Create compatible discs that can be read in your living-room DVD player. Add interactive menus, backgrounds and titles to produce a full multimedia project.
I have also prepared a set of comparative tables and individual reviews to put all video editing software tools through their paces. The additional criteria I have selected include:
- Platform: Operating system supported.
- Input formats: Video formats supported in read mode.
- Output formats: Output video formats supported.
- HD support: Support for 1280×720 pixels (720p) or 1920×1080 pixels (1080i / 1080p) resolutions.
- 16:9 Support: Support for 16:9 video aspect ratio.
- AVHCD support: Support for AVHCD camcorder standard for high-quality videos.
- FLV support: Support for the Flash-based video format.
- Video templates: Custom readily-available templates to utilize during video editing.
- Free trial: Evaluation period offered free of charge to test the video editing software tool.
- Price: Price of the retail copy or digital download of the video editing software tool (applies to what is less-priced).
Video Editing Software Comparative Table
Video Editing Software
- CyberLink PowerDirector 8
CyberLink PowerDirector 8 is a commercial video editing software tool priced at $89.95. You can test the product for 30 days on your Windows XP, Vista or 7 machine before evaluating the purchase. PowerDirector 8 reads a wide range of video formats like AVI, MOV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, HD MPEG-2, DVR-MS, DV-AVI, DAT, VOB, VRO, DVR-MS, WMV, WMV-HD, MP4, MOD, TOD, 3GPP2 and DivX (Windows 7 only), and can output your movies to AVCHD, MPEG-2 HD, WMV-HD, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MPEG-1, WMV, DV-AVI, MOV, RM, 3GPP2 and FLV file types. Besides basic video editing features, PowerDirector 8 has full support for managing and upscaling SD movies to HD quality, optimizing video surround sound, handling 16:9 aspect ratio and importing video files from AVHCD compatible camcorders. There is also a set of built-in custom video templates to help you personalize your videos. Several other video templates are available for free download at DirectorZone. When your project is finished, you can burn it to a DVD or Blu-Ray disc, save your video in a compatible format with iPods and PSPs, or share your clips directly to YouTube and Facebook. No FLV input support is available.
- Corel VideoStudio Express 2010
Corel VideoStudio Express 2010 is a video editing solution for Windows machines. The software costs $49.99 and a 30-day trial period is available. VideoStudio Express 2010 is able to read the most popular video formats like: AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, HDV, M2T, MPEG-4, MOV, WMV, MOD, M2TS, TOD, BDMV, 3GPP and 3GPP2 and can export your video projects to DV-AVI, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MOV, WMV, 3GPP, 3GPP2 and FLV video formats. Support for HD movies, 16:9 aspect ratio and AVHCD camcorders makes for just some of the basic characteristics of Corel VideoStudio Express 2010. You can also take advantage of one-touch adjustments of lightning, noise reduction and image stabilization, and even utilize the touchscreen capabilities introduced by Windows 7 to edit videos using only your fingers. What is more, a set of free built-in video templates is available to save you time and effort when editing your clips. When your work is finished, you can burn your videos to DVD discs, export your clips to iPod and PSP compatible video formats, or upload and share your movies directly to YouTube. FLV input support is not available.
- Adobe Premiere Elements 8
Adobe Premiere Elements 8 is the entry-level solution of the professional video editing Premiere suite. Priced at $99.99, Premiere Elements 8 works on any Windows machine running XP, Vista or 7 and you can evaluate the product for 30-days before purchase. Import video formats available include: ASF, AVI, SWF, DV, FLV, VOB, HDV, MOD, TOD, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MOV, WMV, 3GP and 3GP2. Export options instead are the following: AVI, DV, FLV, VOB, HDV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MOV, WMV, 3GP, 3GP2 and FLV. Note that Adobe Premiere Elements 8 fully supports FLV as input files. Other basic characteristics include the support for AVHCD camcorders, HD-quality movies and 16:9 aspect ratio. A wide range of custom templates for both video editing and DVD-menu customization are available. The built-in SmartSound technology allows you to sync audio tracks with your video and even manage multiple audio files to create custom soundtracks for your movies. When your video is ready to go, you can save it in a compatible video format for playback on iPods or PSPs, burn your video to a DVD or Blu-Ray disc, or upload and share your clips directly to YouTube.
- Magix Movie Edit Pro 15
Magix Movie Edit Pro 15 is a commercial video editing software tool priced at $49.99, with a 30-day free evaluation period available. Available for all Windows machines running XP, Vista or 7, MovieEdit Pro 15 supports the following input formats: AVI, DV-AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, HDV, MPEG-41, MXV, MJPEG, MOV, WMV-HD and VOB, as well as these output video file types: AVI, DV-AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, HDV, MPEG-41, MOV, RM, WMV-HD and FLV. HD movies, 16:9 video aspect ratio and DolbyDigital surround sound are all fully supported. Once your project is completed, you can upload and share your videos to YouTube, create compatible video formats for iPods and PSPs, or also burn your videos to DVD or Blu-Ray discs. Several templates are available to customize your movies while editing or to enhance your DVD and Blu-Ray disc menus. No input support is available for FLV, nor for AVHCD camcorders.
- Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate
Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate is a video editing software tool for recent Windows machines. With a retail price set at $99.99, Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate accepts a wide range of input files including: DV, HDV, AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, DivX, MPEG-4, 3GP, WMV and MOV while allowing you to save your movies in several standard and high-quality video formats like: AVCHD, DV, HDV, AVI, DivX, RM, WMV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, SWF, 3GP, MOV and FLV. Fully compatible with HD standards and movies produced in 16:9 video aspect ratio, the Pinnacle software has also support for AVHCD camcorders, DolbyDigital surround sound and a large gallery of custom-made templates to personalize your home-produced movies. Once your movie is completed, you have several sharing options: you can burn a DVD or Blu-Ray disc, save your video in a format compatible with iPods, PSPs and the Nintendo Wii gaming console, or you can upload your clips directly to YouTube. No free trial, nor FLV input support are available.
- Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD
Vegas Movie Studio HD is the entry-level product from Sony for semi-professional video-editing. Priced at $39.95 (with a 30-day free trial available), Movie Vegas Studio HD can import several video formats either from your camcorder or hard-disk including: AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, M2TS, OGG, MOV, SFA, SWF and WMV. To export your edited videos, you can instead choose among AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, OGG, MOV, RM, WMV and FLV video file formats. Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD fully supports AVHCD camcorders, HD-quality video formats and movies produced in 16:9 aspect ratio. Special feature is the so-called "Ken Burns effect", which is the embedding of still photographs in motion pictures, displayed with slow zooming, panning effects and fading transitions to create the illusion of movement when no motion graphic is available. Also, built-in video tutorials are available at any time to guide you through the video editing process. When your video is ready to go, burn it to a DVD or Blu-Ray disc, export to PSP or share your clips online using YouTube, MySpace and Facebook. No custom video templates, nor FLV input support are available.
- Roxio Creator 2010
Roxio Creator 2010 is a commercial video editing software tool priced at $99.99. Compatible video input formats are: AVI, DV, HDV, DV-AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MPEG2-HD, VOB, IFO / VOB, XviD, DVR-MS, TiVo, ASF, WMV, MOV, 3GP and AVC. Once imported, you can save your movies and video projects to a wide range of output video formats, including: AVI, DV-AVI, HDV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MPEG2-HD, WMV, WMV-HD, AVC, MP4, 3GP and FLV. HD-quality, DolbyDigital surround sound and 16:9 aspect ratio support come as a standard, as well as the compatibility with AVHCD camcorders. Built-in video tutorials are also available to guide you through the whole video editing process. A special feature allows you to manage your TiVo shows using Roxio Creator 2010: you can archive your movies, remove commercials and then downscale your TiVo content to export your shows to any portable device or physical support like a DVD. Created projects can either be burned onto DVD and Blu-Ray discs, exported to mobile devices like iPods or PSPs, or uploaded directly to YouTube. No FLV input support, custom templates and a free trial period are available.
- Final Cut Express 4
Final Cut Express 4 is the entry-level video-editing software tool for Mac. Though priced at $199, Final Cut Express is the only choice for those who have moved past iMovie, but are still not ready for a professional video editing suite like Final Cut. Final Cut Express is available for Mac OsX 10.4 (Tiger), 10.5 (Leopard) and 10.6 (Snow Leopard). Video input formats supported are: DV, HDV, MJPEG, MOV, MP4, iMovie projects and all compatible QuickTime formats. Video export is instead allowed to all the following formats: DV, HDV, MOV, MP4 and, again, all compatible QuickTime formats. The Mac software has full support for HD-quality movies and 16:9 aspect ratio, as well as AVHCD camcorders. The built-in VoiceOver technology helps you create a narration audio synced with motion graphics to produce video tutorials, documentaries or e-learning material. FLV input support, custom templates and a free trial period are not available.
- Nero 9 - Reloaded
Nero 9 - Reloaded is an enhanced version of the Nero 9 burning suite which supports Windows 7 and imports AVHCD content from SD cards or USB sticks without the need of an optical recorder. Priced at $69.99, Nero 9 - reloaded offers a full-featured trial for 15 days. Inside the suite, there is Nero Vision which allows video editing before burning your high-quality video projects to a DVD or Blu-Ray discs. Nero Vision supports the following input formats: AVHCD, ASF, AVI, DAT, DiVX, DV, DVR-MS, FLV, HDV, MOD, MPG, MPEG, M2P, M2T, M2V, MOV, MP4, TOD, VOB and WMV. Projects can be saved and exported to: AVHCD, DVD, FLV, MP4, SVCD and VCD. AVHCD and FLV video formats are fully supported, as well as the 16:9 aspect ratio. Video templates are available to customize your clips and you can also use custom menu templates to create navigation menus for your optical discs.
Daniele Bazzano -
Originally prepared by Daniele Bazzano for MasterNewMedia, and first published on November 2nd, 2009 as "Video Editing Software: Comparison Guide To The Best Consumer Video Editors Under $100".