The Best Video Editing Software for 2023
Summary: When you want to make a strong impression, there's nothing quite like moving images with sound. Digital video is gaining in popularity online.
Professionals and amateurs can use the best video editing software. It also must work with 4K video, since common devices are now capable of producing 4K content and sometimes even higher resolutions.
Increasingly, features trickle down from professional-level software to the consumer category. Motion tracking, multitrack editing and advanced colorgrading all have made this leap. Nonprofessional video editors and videographers will find this trend a blessing as the software they use simplifies complicated procedures. This will allow you to move on to professional software with more experience. Consumers also have the advantage of being able to use features not available in professional software, such as color grading and motion graphics.
This makes it easier to get the best video editing software for their price. Multicam editing allows you to switch between different camera angles in the same scene. This and other sophisticated effects can now be found in consumer-level software.
Motion tracking allows you to attach objects or effects to moving parts in your video. It can be used to blur someone's face or display text next to moving objects. The app tracks the object that you have marked, then displays the text or effect. If at the same time, you are looking for a good video editing software, I highly recommend you to have a try the DVDFab Video Converter for its excellence in
Corel VideoStudio is the original consumer product to offer motion tracking.
It's still the best at tracking motion, even with multipoint tracking. Even smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, which I just upgraded to, can now shoot in 8K.
However the support for higher formats and 4K is different between consumer products. For example, some but not all the applications can import Sony XAVC and XAVC-S formats, which are used by Sony's popular DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, camcorders, and professional video cameras. H.265 High Efficiency video Coding (HEVC, is also available. The majority of these applications can now import and export HEVC.
However, there are still a few exceptions.
All the included software can be used to join, cut, or split videos. Many of these programs also offer extensive tutorials and help. You can make use of special effects such as animated transitions, picture-in-picture (PiP, chroma-key (aka green screen, and filters that enhance colors or apply creative effects and distortions. You can create many timeline tracks to accommodate audio clips and effects.
Some video editing applications include seamless transition tools. Imagine a scene with people on a beach. There are plenty of other examples of seamless transitions; this magnificent video shows a good selection of them and is partly responsible for starting the trend.
Many desktop apps in this roundup offer mobile video editing. Adobe also offers Premiere Rush as a separate application. Final Cut Pro works in a similar way to Apple's iMovie. TikTok offers the free CapCut. The powerful CyberLink PowerDirector mobile app, which has been downloaded more than 100,000,000 times on Google Play's app store, is a well-known app on both mobiles and desktops. Color grading is a new feature in many of these apps that allow you to shoot and edit video right from your phone.
Editors can control the intensity of each shade using color wheels, curves and histograms. LUTs (lookup table are also supported. Pro-level software allows you to quickly alter the appearance of your video in order to create a certain mood. For example, think of the dark blue look of thriller movies like The Revenant. To give your video an individual look, you can either download LUTs from multiple sites or include them with the video software. The LUT that makes a scene appear like it was taken at night is a well-known LUT.
Many video editing apps now include tools that cater to users of action cameras such as the GoPro Hero9 Black. Many offer automatic freeze-frame, speedup, slowdown and reverse time effects. CyberLink PowerDirector’s Action Camera Center combines freeze frame with stabilize, slomo and fish-eye correct and adds color corrections for underwater footage. Magix Movie Edit Pro Premium comes with the NewBlue ActionCam package of effects.
I'm seeing more attention to title effects when using these video editors. Apple Final Cut Pro now offers 3D title creation. Corel VideoStudio has 3D Titling as well, although it is not quite as robust as Apple's. PowerDirector's Title Designer allows for transparency, color gradient, border, blur, level and reflection, while Magix offers impressive titles templates that fill the text.
Corel VideoStudio follows suit by offering a similar title effect. You should look for an application that allows you to edit title in WYSIWYG mode (what you see, is what you get, so you can format and type it over your preview.
Captions for dialog may also be useful. Corel VideoStudio, Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro have recently introduced features that create captions automatically from the spoken dialogue in your timeline.
Video editing is one of the most computing-intensive activities, so you'll want the best laptop or desktop you can afford if you're serious about cutting your own movies. Many applications speed up editing by creating a proxy files of lower resolution to allow for normal editing and previewing.
This allows you to render the final product onto a standard file that can be played on your target devices, such as a laptop or HDTV. Many software will take advantage your computer's GPU to speed up. To see how fast or slow an application runs, make sure you check out the performance section of each review. CyberLink PowerDirector, Pinnacle Studio, and CyberLink PowerDirector have always been the best at rendering speed tests, however, Corel VideoStudio won the title in my latest testing.
Startup time and stability are also important measures. Video editing, which involves many components, is an extremely taxing task for computers. Video editing apps used to take longer than other applications to open, which led sometimes unexpected shutdowns. Although stability has improved significantly, crashes are still a common occurrence.
If you use a Mac, the excellent iMovie comes with it. For PC users, Windows' Photos app lets you join, trim, and even add background music, 3D animated effects, and titles to video. The app works on both Windows 10 and Windows 11 versions. Clipchamp will join the Windows 11 app store. This Progressive Web app has a multitrack timeline.
It is best suited for social media marketing. These apps include Animotica and Movie Maker. While some of these are very basic, most have clip joining, transitions and effects in an easy-to-use interface. I recently discovered MiniTool MovieMaker, a free app for video editing that isn't available in the App Store. Although I haven't yet tried it, it seems promising. Apps from the Microsoft Store are my preferred choice.
They're tested for safety and functionality, run in safe sandboxes so they don't interfere with any of your software. Many codecs are proprietary and require that licensing fees be paid by the software manufacturer. That said, the impressive open-source Shotcut does a lot of the same things that the paid applications in this roundup do, including things like chroma-keying and picture-in-picture. Lightworks, which is also free and open-source, has a limit of 720p. Both Shotcut and Lightworks can be used on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Several of the products here (Adobe Premiere Elements is a notable exception still support 3D video editing if that's your thing, though this has been replaced by 360-degree VR footage like that shot by the GoPro Max as a home-theater fad. With the exception of some Facebook content, 360-degree video is slowly losing popularity. Our Editors' Choice CyberLink PowerDirector, which supports 360-degree video, was the first to support this type of media.
Some apps offer 360-compatible titles and support motion tracking. PowerDirector includes these two features. Final Cut has a handy tool to remove the tripod and camera from an image.
We still live in the days of talkies, so you want to be able to edit the audio in your digital moves as well as the images. Many of the included products can provide background music.
Pinnacle Studio can adjust the audio track to your specific length. A few of these products include an auto-ducking function, which reduces the background music while you speak.
This is a pro-level feature that Apple users will appreciate. The surprisingly powerful and easy-to-use iMovie is the most basic. It comes with all Macs sold after 2011.
CyberLink PowerDirector, my Editors Choice video editor application, has been released for macOS. Although it lacks the same tools that its Windows counterpart, it offers impressive features.
Professionals and prosumers have powerful, though pricey options in Davinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro, and Premiere Pro. Final Cut, a simple and intuitive application, is similar to iMovie. Final Cut makes great use of Touch Bars on certain MacBook Pro models. Premiere Pro has a traditional timeline, and a wide range of plug-ins and companion apps. Premiere Pro excels at collaboration and works well with Adobe software like After Effects or Photoshop.
This roundup only includes software that has been rated 3.
5 stars or higher. This means that you won't see Vegas Movie Studio, Magix Movie Edit Pro or VSDC Video Editor Pro. These are not bad products. Many of these products have made significant improvements in the interfaces, performance and speed.
This is a major problem for PCMag's primary consumer audience. We haven't tried a few more, including AVS Video Editor and NCH VideoPad.
The choice of video editor depends on how serious you want to be, your budget and the type of equipment. There are many options available. Peruse our in-depth reviews of enthusiast-level video editing software linked below to see which is the right one for you.
One final note about the features table here: To provide some differentiation among the products, check marks represent above-the-call-of-duty features, rather than truly essential ones. Nero Video, Wondershare Filmora, and Wondershare Filmora may not have many features, but that doesn't make them bad choices. Both offer basic editing for a reasonable price.