2020 will be an amazing time to be a content creator. More and more smartphones come with 4k cameras. Professional video editing software is more affordable and user-friendly than ever.
Never has it been easier to create the kind of content you want, whether in a studio, office, or your own home—anything from YouTube vlogs to Oscar-caliber films.
The video-editing software space has become particularly crowded. Aspiring content creators have an embarrassment of options for low-priced apps to create content across a variety of consumer-grade computers and mobile devices.
Which software is best for you? That depends on:
- What kind of content you want to create.
- How fast you need to create it.
- The learning curve you can absorb.
- What kind of machine you want to edit on.
- Your software budget.
With these criteria in mind, here are the Top 5 video editing software not to miss in 2020 …
1. Filmora Video Editor
Price: Free or $59.99 one-time, or $39.99/year
Best For: Beginners, consumers
Biggest Strength: Easy to learn, fast to use
Biggest Weakness: Features are not as powerful as Adobe PR
Affordable and easy to learn, Filmora Video Editor is the way to go if you want to churn out content quickly. The intuitive, drag-and-drop interface can be customized for a speedy workflow to add titles, combine effects, and edit video and audio in a multi-track environment.
User-friendly presets allow you to correct color and audio with one click, while export presets allow you to create files in the right format for YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, and more. If you have internet connectivity, you can even link your platform account and export directly to YouTube, Twitter, etc.—a big time-saver.
Filmora also integrates seamlessly with the Filmstocks content library, where you can find free or inexpensive stock images, stock footage, sound effects, visual effects, or scoring music.
2. DaVinci Resolve
Price: Free, or $299 one-time for the Pro version.
Best For: Enthusiasts, Prosumers
Biggest Strength: Professional features in the free version
Biggest Weakness: Clunky shortcuts
Designed as a color-correction software, DaVinci Resolve boasts a stunning range of post-production features for free software. With grading, masking, and non-destructive color editing, you can get the color of your film just right.
A full suite of audio features, including compressors, limiters, and normalization, allows you to do all the audio customization you need, right there in the software.
DaVinci Resolve also features node-based effects editing, allowing you to create custom effects rather than trying to blend pre-designed effects to get the look you want.
DaVinci Resolve is harder to learn and features a somewhat cluttered interface, but once you get the hang of it there’s no better value to create professional-level final products.
3. Adobe Premiere Pro
Best For: Professionals
Biggest Strength: Ultimate video-editing power
Biggest Weakness: Can’t keyword-tag your media
A go-to software for Hollywood professionals, Adobe Premiere Pro can get your video ready for the big screen if that’s its final destination. If you use other Adobe video editor products like Audition or Lightroom, Premiere Pro can bounce media back and forth between those applications seamlessly.
Premiere Pro features multi-track editing and a full suite of color, image adjustment, and audio editing features. Some of the effect and pizzazz functions built into other software require other products in the Adobe Ecosystem, although an Adobe CreativeCloud subscription makes them easy and affordable to acquire—it’s just extra stuff to learn and integrate.
Adobe has kept Premiere Pro on the cutting edge of Virtual Reality technology. Premiere Pro features a suite of complex VR-editing features. If you need VR capability, Premiere Pro may be the way to go.
4. Apple Final Cut Pro
Price: $299.00 one-time.
Best For: Professionals, Prosumers
Biggest Strength: Organization and workflow
Biggest Weakness: Non-traditional editing interface
Apple tends to go its own way. Professionals making the transition to Final Cut Pro from other software may feel like they have landed in a foreign country and don’t speak the language.
Once they learn the interface, however, they will wonder what they ever did without it. Final Cut Pro allows you to arrange, mix, and match video clips with one-click shortcuts, making the workflow as seamless and intuitive as you can imagine it.
Final Cut Pro also offers VR editing, full control of audio, color, and video correction, audio-sync features to line up video and audio tracks, built-in effects, and 3D title creation. From YouTube videos to Golden Globe contenders, Final Cut Pro can get it done.
5. CyberLink PowerDirector
Price: $139.99 one-time
Best For: Enthusiasts
Biggest Strength: 360-degree and 3D features
Biggest Weakness: Steep learning curve, PC only
If you want features when you edit videos, PowerDirector has them. It offers the most complete 360-degree VR editing capability of any software, as well as the capacity for 3D editing.
PowerDirector also leads the pack in rendering speed, eliminating a key frustration for users of heavy video editing software and less-powerful computers.
Despite having less color-matching power than the other pro software on this list, PowerDirector goes toe-to-toe or outdoes them with 4K capability, multi-cam editing, motion tracking, and screen recording capability, including in-built audio recording.
Tips for How to Choose a Suitable Video Editing Program
- Leverage Free Trials. Organize a project file and a plan, then try to design your video with each app in trial mode. See which interface feels most like home.
- Consider Your Experience. How fast do you learn the software? How much time do you have to devote to learning? Have you used similar software in the past?
- Consider the End Product. Are you trying to make professional films? Vlogs? Training videos? Sales videos? Do you have weeks or months to get it just right, or do you need a finished product the same day you shoot?
- Consider the Machine. If you need to make do with a low-power computer, lighter video editor software with fewer features may be the way to go to keep the software from crashing all the time.
Despite the intimidating sprawl of video editing software options, making the selection is easy once you know what to look for.
There are no wrong choices in the above five selections. Be honest about your budget, goals, and capabilities, and you’ll be cutting together pro content in no time.