Got a question yesterday about video editing software and what’s worth having. I’ve tried lots and lots of different types, in the 20 years I’ve been editing due to working for different editing houses, but I recognise if you’re just starting to cut your teeth you don’t have freedom to just go for the most expensive! And by chance a few months back I went on a hunt to find out something suitable for people just dipping their toes. I wanted something powerful but not something that would blast a hole into your pockets and stop you from making films till you were rich or something that wasn’t powerful enough so it would inhibit your creativity. Not easy.
Now the thing to say first off about video editing software is that they all pretty much do the same thing and what’s more is they’ve all developed so they even do the same things in pretty much the same way (which is obvious really since they’ll all be looking at the competition all the time and stealing whatever’s best!). It’s a bit like cars, don’t you notice they all seem to look the same nowadays whereas they used to look radically different?
I started off in the 90s with AVID, the daddy of all video editing software in those days we did offline edits on lower res files and moved to online since the computers couldn’t handle it! Nowadays your mobile phone could do it (even a mobile/cellphone from the noughties had more computer oomph than was used to send the Apollos to the moon!).
So video editing software just cuts and pasts the clips to where you want them, and why I’m saying all this is because you don’t have to feel that once you’ve selected one that you’ll be tied to it for life. A few days familiarising yourself with new software (and let’s face it there are plenty of tutorials on line that will help you to do that) and you’ll be up to editing on different software so it’s not going to really hold you back jobwise if the house you’re going to be working for hasn’t got what you’re familiar with.
All of which means that you don’t have to fork out for an Apple right off! Which will limit your software choice to Avid or Final Cut. The most important thing is your artistic editing skills. Adobe Premiere Pro also has a lot of kudos particularly because of Adobe After Effects, but they’ve now just started making it available as a monthly licence for £17 which makes a bit of a pain if you’re doing one project now and another in a few months. If I throw another name, Canopus, in (favoured by new reportage houses for some reason!) then it all starts to get a bit complicated. So let’s start to get simpler…
I’ve used Sony Vegas Pro for the last 15 years it’s excellent. By far the most chilled out bit of kit you can get. People that work on it having using other software take to it in an hour or two and I can state hands down it does everything all the other softwares do. But if you’re on a budget that’s not the best part!
Vegas has a little brother and incredibly the little brother as far as I can see does everything papa can (OK I haven’t edited feature films on it like I have with Vegas but I can’t see anything missing) and the little brother costs a tenth of the price of the pro version!
Hands down then by far the best on a budget is Sony Movie Studio. We’re talking just £37 but you can get older versions for around the £20 mark (I think they just call it Movie Studio HD but it ‘s probably the same). Buy Sony Movie Studio from Amazon
As I said though it’s not really about the software (which is why I’ve emphasized to not go for the more expensive believing that it will sort all your problems!), so I’ve put together a vid about editing on my shootfilmsnow.com site: http://shootfilmsnow.apps-1and1.net/a-film-in-five-days/ that concentrates on the artistic mental approach to editing, mainly showing how not to let your artistic side get bogged down in the software!
Look forward to hearing your comments!