Five good apps for editing video

You can produce some impressive videos if you take advantage of today's feature-rich editing tools. Here are several worth checking out.

Hardly a week goes by that I don't end up doing some sort of video editing. Not only do I create technical presentations for various clients, but I also film and edit a lot of home movies of my travels, family gatherings, etc. Of course, all this would be impossible without video editing software. Today, video editing is a completely mainstream technology, and there are countless video editing products on the market. Here are five good ones to consider.

Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.

1: Pinnacle Studio

Pinnacle Studio (Figure A) has been around practically forever, and I have been using various versions of it for at least 10 years (possibly longer). Studio provides a good balance between ease of use and a solid set of features. Overall, the software does a really nice job. In fact, most of the videos on my YouTube page were stitched together using Pinnacle Studio. Even so, the software is a little bit buggy. I have had some problems with the live preview occasionally freezing on me.

Figure A

Pinnacle Studio

The software uses a timeline method for video editing, in which elements such as video clips, music, sound effects, and video effects are arranged along a timeline so that you can place each element at precisely the right spot within the video you are creating.

Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate sells online for $79.95

2: Camtasia

Camtasia Studio (Figure B) from TechSmith is another video editor I have been using for many years. The main reason I use Camtasia is that it works well for creating videos that are based on PC screen captures. I frequently produce videos illustrating how to perform various tasks in Windows Server, Microsoft Office, and other software packages. Camtasia Studio allows me to narrate the task I am performing and then turn the whole thing into a video. Although I rarely use it, a smart zoom feature is available to automatically zoom in on the area of the screen where you are working so that fine details are better seen in the finished video.

Figure B


Camtasia Studio sells online for $299.00

3: Corel Video Studio Pro

Corel Video Studio Pro (Figure C) is designed to add polish to your home movies. Like most of the other products I have worked with, it lets you add video clips and other elements to your project in a linear fashion to form the finished video. Your projects can include things like graphics, titles, transitions, and special effects.

Figure C

Corel Video Studio Pro

Corel Video Studio Pro seems to work relatively well, but I did have trouble installing it on one of my lab machines. I simply received a message stating that the installation failed -- no reason, no apologies. Fortunately, this seems to have been an isolated incident.

Corel Video Studio Pro sells online for $99.00.

4: VideoPad Video Editor

VideoPad Video Editor (Figure D) also lets you add polish to your movies. This software seems to have all the basics of video editing covered and offers numerous options for creating disks (CD, DVD, Blu-ray), media files, and for uploading videos directly to YouTube.

Figure D

VideoPad Video Editor

One of my favorite features is the set of audio editing tools. VideoPad Video Editor includes multi-track sound-mixing software that lets you blend voice-over, music, sound effects, and pretty much anything else you can dream up.

Perhaps the coolest thing about this app is that NCH offers a free version for noncommercial use. If you want all the bells and whistles, the Master's Edition is available online for $69.95

5: CyberLink PowerDirector

CyberLink PowerDirector (Figure E) has most of the same features as the other video editors I have discussed, but it also offers 3D support. You can create 3D videos that use the old school red and blue anaglyphic 3D glasses or you can create a full-blown 3D Blu-ray disk.

Figure E

Cyberlink PowerDirector

I didn't have any native 3D content to test with PowerDirector, but the software lets you convert 2D content into 3D. I really wasn't expecting much from this feature, but I was surprised by just how good my 2D videos looked in 3D.

CyberLink PowerDirector 10 Ultra sells online for $82.95

Other picks?

Do you have a favorite video editor that didn't make this list? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.