Video Editing Software

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Before getting into the reviews of video editing software, we would like to take a moment to suggest to those out there creating videos based on their research or investigations to consider dialing it back a little. A lot of videos out there seem to be over-produced to say the very least. Unless your goal is to make a pilot and pitch it to a network, your focus should only be on presenting the data and/or experience of the investigation or research in question.

A good research/investigation video should start out simply showing the date and location then get right into the subject matter. Flashy graphics, loud music and spooky transitions won’t be taken seriously and set the tone for the rest of the video. Videotaping yourself isn’t why people are interested in watching. They want to see what transpired and not a low-budget reality TV program. Keep it professional and don’t lose track of the reason the video is being shared in the first place. Try to keep the video to only moments that pertain to the data gathered. Far too many videos are 14 minutes long and when you cut out the filler contain 3 minutes of actual data.

You’re going to keep your audiences attention far longer with a short video pertaining to what was experienced than with something that looks like it belongs on MTV. Just because your video editing software has 18 transitions and 42 effects doesn’t mean that you have to use all or even any of them.

Magix Movie Edit Professional 2013

Magix Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus waView posts the first major video editing program we’ve ever purchased (after using a lighter version Magix for years). We felt this would allow us to create YouTube videos, short documentaries, and training videos, and edit relevant evidentiary video files from our research or investigations. The fact that we could insert up to 99 audio and video tracks and  import and export 3D files was a big move for us into the world the newer technology available today.

Having such a tool to edit and create videos we felt would be useful to combine interesting elements into our YouTube videos and/or documentary films, such as transitions, voice-overs, special effects (color rendering, UV/IR, etc.) and include footage from multiple devices from multiple formats. Since Magix provided us with more than 1,000 included effects, templates and audio clips in their library that was also compatible with Blu-ray and AVCHD made this an appealing package. However, it should be noted here that I had to download the majority of these included templates…and effects… after the main software application was installed (which took a while). Then each had to be installed separately, which added them to the program’s extensive library of available tools.

We believed that using this professional video editing software would come much more natural to us since we were familiar with the lighter version of Magix and few other inexpensive programs. Boy were we fooled and overwhelmed when we first opened the application. One of the improvements we did notice for this particular version of the application was its much improved open timeline (so-called because it allows us to handle objects within a timeline (such as video, images and audio) with better precision than any of the previous versions of the software (Magix Professional 13, 14, & 17).

Since Magix also redesigned their software to take advantage of the additional processing power of the i7 dual core processors we believed it would speed up the load, rendering, and save time (as the software reassigned the rendering process from the CPU to the GPU), and it did so dramatically. Other aspects of the program also seem to take advantage of the i7 dual processors, which meant we could no longer go fix supper while the CPU, cache, and memory were actually creating and rendering our creations.

Third party applications right out of the box include add-ons from Red Giant, Digieffects, and NewBlueFX, whose plugins are useful and provided us with even more tools. This inclusion was important for our choice of selecting Magix Movie Edit Professional 2013, which isn’t known as the best video editing software out there, such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut, and even though there are fewer plug-ins available for Magix, we felt what was included was much more than adequate. Nor did we have to spend a small king’s ransom to buy the expensive plugins available for Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut.

The major criteria we required in our application, was the ability to export a finished video projects into various file formats. This being crucial, attracted us to Magix with its extended file support over the lighter version of Magix Video Pro X. As the 2013 package now supports MVC and AVCHD standards, in addition to the list of their existing supported formats that included VI, DV-AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, MXV, MVC, MXF, ProRes, DNxHD, DVCPRO, AVC-Intra, MKV, MJPEG, QuickTime and WMV(HD).

The most compelling factor over our previous version of Magix Video Pro X4 was the ability to get much more professional results. But be warned, for those unfamiliar with video editing software, this package can be daunting and appear quite confusing. This application is much easier to use for those that are experienced with video editing or upgraded from any of the Magix previous versions.

Although Magix Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus is said to be one of the most user-friendly and versatile video editing programs available, we still find it sometimes confusing, and at times complex. But with it improved rendering speed, hundreds of effects, templates and transitions, and the ability to edit up to 99 tracks of  video and audio, we felt that Magix Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus was our powerhouse of choice. We are still learning how to use this extensive video editing software.

Editing Tools

With Magix Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus editor we can split, move, crop and edit video and as well as sound files. The transition effects are simple and easy to add or adjust, along with one of its greatest strengths, the professional color correction and adjustment features. Adjusting the color is a simple way to improve the warmth, or cool down, of your production improving its appearance to fit the mood.

With the project in Story Board (or in Timeline mode) the scene modes enable us to move quickly from one scene to another, including the transitions, with the Timeline showing us every asset in our project. We also quite pleased and surprised to discover that a screen capture program was included with this program. Movie Edit Pro also offers a multi-cam editing capability– its a process where the footage from one scene using two cameras and Movie Edit Pro can be synchronized, including their soundtracks. This option is great us as we often have multiple cameras shooting in the same room from different angles; including cameras pointed at specific equipment.

With the professional movie templates included in Magix Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus, we can also quickly insert scenes, music and/or sounds rendering immediate results and playback with the preview before saving our file in full HD or AVCHD. (Even our cameras that record directly to a memory card (both our Full-Spectrum HD cameras or directly to an internal hard drive like our Sony HD, and those that usually use an AVCHD or H.264 format (requiring a proprietary conversion program like Sony). Magix also allows us to edit and transfer AVCHD files without having to convert its format. Since Magix improved the software’s processing speed, which we noticed immediately when the program responded smoothly without locking up our PCs resources (CPU, Memory, Cache), with little or no delays during the import of files, moving assets or rendering processes of our projects.

Supported Formats

Magix Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus will support the import of AVI, DV-AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MTS, M2TS, MXV, MJPEG, QuickTime, WMV(HD), VOB, MKV and AVCHD file types, without us even noticing a decrease in speed, which I’m sure our HD video card from NVida had a lot to do with it. We can even burn our video to a DVD or Blu-ray Disc, with any of the professional-grade video templates accessible from a simple menu with hundreds to choose from, all with professional quality customization that can make our movie creations unique.

Ease of Use

Our testing and use of Magix Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus, has taken a bit of time to learn and although we’re still learning it, we’ve noticed that the tools, timeline and file systems are not only intuitive, they’re easy to find. We’re able to view and edit our video files directly from within the Media Pool without adding the video to the Timeline. Music and sounds can be previewed as well without bothering to open a separate window, and we can import various file types easily. Switching between the Timeline and the Story Board mode is instantaneous, and without a lag. But the one feature we were really impressed with was that Magix Movie Edit Pro allowed us the ability to simultaneously edit different files of different types without first converting them.

As we said earlier, the program does include many different templates and effects, but most of them had to be installed after the initial installation from their website accessed from the help menu. Be warned that these files are by no means tiny, and will take a while to get them downloaded much less installed. But once done, you’re good to go. The only inconvenience you may experience is that the slower your internet connection or download limit is, it may present a problem and multiple attempts.

Help & Support

Magix is a German-based company with a very large international following, and they do support their customers quite well, although our experience is sometimes slow, and because of some language barriers, usually a short and concise explanation is the best one. They can also be contacted by via extensive FAQs page, forums or email to tech support. Phone support is also available.

The buy and registration of any Magix product comes with a year of free Premium Support. After that year expires, Magix requires you to buy Support Vouchers, which enable you to receive immediate help from a support representative.

Other help is also available from Magix who has provided a multitude of tutorials on their site, and maintain an active YouTube channel and blog site dedicated to teaching customers how to use their products. We’ve needed it several times and quickly got a satisfactory response.

Conclusion

If you are looking for more control over your video editing projects and high quality, professional results, then Magix Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus will give you the tools you need to succeed. You will enjoy the user-friendly interface and powerful editing tools, as well as the improved speed and stability. Once you’ve had the chance to play with it, we’re sure you’ll be pleased with your results.

MAGIX Movie Edit Pro 2013: $39.99 SALE (click to buy)

MAGIX Movie Edit Pro Plus 2013: $99.99 (click to buy)

MAGIX Movie Edit Pro Premium 2013: $129.99 (click to buy)

Important Note: We have no affiliation with these links, they are simply included for your convenience.

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Download Magix Movie Edit Pro Plus 2013
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AVS Video Editor

AVS Video Editor also has more than 670 transitions and 70 special effects, with 46 text options, and 34 templates for disc menus (some as well will require an additional download and install). Applying these settings uses a simple drag and drop to put them in place. We use  the AVS Video Editor when all we need to do is create a simple video…usually for YouTube, as its tool set is easy to understand and has a simple organized interface.

AVS Video Editor provides the ability to add as many video and audio tracks as required that can all be adjusted, including an easy fix for audio tracks and video stabilization for shaky footage. It should be noted that the AVS’s video editing software doesn’t really provide the necessary tools for satisfying the professional filmmaker in all of us, but it does make movie and video editing easy, including the added benefit of creating them in HD.

All of these are things that should be considered when choosing a video editing software package. This is an investment you’re making and one that you will more than likely have to live with for quite some time. Make sure the software that you choose does everything you need it to do as well as something that is not so complex to use that you won’t be happy with that investment.

Editing Tools

With all different transitions and effects built into the AVS Video Editor, any beginner can easily adjust the start and end time of each effect. Including adjustments matching your sequencing; for example, the size of each snowflake in a film can be adjusted to give it that ‘winter’ look. As well as giving you the ability to change the opacity, color, density of each snowflake…even the direction it moves. Other effects can be chosen for transitions to include a gray out, anaglyph 3D, newsprint, invert, posterize and border.

Often with hand held cameras, shaking or jittering of the video is a problem, with AVS’s stabilization tool, this problem can be easily fixed automatically by cutting out portions from the top and bottom of the film to create a much smoother image. Including just how much of the video you want to drop onto the cutting room floor, but care should be used not to cut off too much as it can easily ruin a segment of video.

Special Effects

The AVS audio effects settings also come with tools to amplify, remove noise, equalize, normalize, compress and adjust the pitch of the audio track. As well as easy increase or decrease the volume of each track. With the audio line the bar can be moved up or down to adjust the sound quality of the film. If you choose to customize the volume control, simply select the points on the audio timeline to make an easy adjustments like fading the audio in and out of the video.

AVS Video Editor’s simple interface is evident when you start the application. From the simple icons, you can add an unlimited number of tracks, which offers us a lot of flexibility that is greatly appreciated. Typically, the overlay track is a picture-in-picture track that has the second video appear in a box over the main video, with an option to add additional audio and video tracks if more are needed for the project.

AVS Video Editing software comes with a total 46 text options; such as adding a banner that appears across the screen, thought bubbles subtitles or colorful text. Including additional tools that allow you to customize and edit how the words are displayed on the screen, their size, and color with a chroma-key effect that allows easily edits out any color; including a green screen function, that can edit out and replace the background(s) easily.

Timing is everything when creating a video; for example, a good length for a video on YouTube is approximately 3.5 minutes without loosing your audience, so trimming and adjusting the video clips length is important, and AVS can do that with a couple of simple clicks of the mouse, as well as add chapters automatically or manually for a longer movie. Turning on the automatic setting will tag the chapter’s beginning of the clip, or set them to occur at a specific time intervals… such as every five minutes.

When you’ve completed your masterpiece, disc menu can be added from which the viewer can select specific scenes or choose to play the entire film. AVS Video Editor comes with 34 disc-menu templates; including Wedding Flowers, Sea, Saint Patrick, Old Photo, Christmas, Football, Child and Travel, with only five of these templates being part of the movie editing software, while the other 29 have to be downloaded from on the manufacturer’s website.

Supported Formats

The software supports HD, MPEG, AVI, WMV, Quick Time, Adobe Flash, mobile video, RealNetworks and WebM files, and allows you to work with video formats such as AVCHD, MPEG2, MP3, MP4, WMV, SVCD, DVD, MOV, M4V and FLV. The following file formats can be imported, but NOT exported: DV, Matroska, Ogg Media, AMV/MTV, TS, Nintendo DS, NullSoftVideo and Google Video.

Audio and video files can be imported from either a camera or camcorder, and images can be captured images from your computer’s screen to include in your video, by a screen-capture feature that can record a video of your screen movements, or just still images captured off your computer. As usual, all audio can be adjusted  from your recordings.

When you’re ready to share your finished movie, you can either save it as a file, burn it to a disc, or share it online with your smartphone or other device by following the upload wizard that walks you through the process of creating the various forms of output.

Ease of Use

AVS Video Editing software has a simple interface for editing movies that  is well organized. Its tools are clearly marked and found when you need them, making the editing of videos quick and easy. Even the novice can begin working on simple projects immediately with hardly any difficulty.

Conclusion

With AVS Video Editor provides you with all the basic tools for editing video, adding effects or overlays, text, and all the audio and voice-over tools required for the beginner. And the support from Online Media Technologies offers a vast amount of help for their video editing software. Or  you can log on to the AVS YouTube Channel to review their tutorials.

All AVS 16 Tools Suite + Free Upgrades + Free Support

  • Unlimited Lifetime Access Subscription: $59.00
  • One Year Limited Access Subscription: $39.00

Important Note: We have no affiliation with these links, they are simply included for your convenience.

Products not sold separately include:

Video Software

Audio Software
Image Software
Misc. Software
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Power Director 11

One of the biggest reasons we use PowerDirector (we still use version 10, but this review will include the latest information about version 11) is that it enables us to trim all of our video clips down to a reasonable size. As with the other applications we’ve reviewed, this application is also capable of adding audio and still images. Its extensive tools allows us to string entire video recordings or clips together, using an extensive set of professional transitions, effects and more. Plus with its strong online following (forums, YouTube, etc.), users seem to be more than willing to share techniques in order to help others improve their film-making skills. Judging from some of the YouTube videos we’ve seen, trust us in saying a lot of people need all the help they can get.

Although this product was developed to help the lay movie maker to create complex movies, most users don’t have the necessary amount of resources to allow it to work properly, as it does require a lot of computing power and can influence how well the software functions. So be sure to verify that if you choose to give PowerDirector a shot, that you PC is up to its resource demands (but that goes without saying for most graphic intensive programs on the market today). If you don’t, you may experience some serious crashes, especially if you intend to use extremely large files and go-to-town on transitions and special effects (which we do not recommend).

 

It’s been nearly ten years since PowerDirector by CyberLink first came on the market and has earned a lot of awards for this video editing application. And PowerDirector 11 Ultra is certainly no different (or any of its four offerings – Ultimate Suite, Ultimate, Ultra and Deluxe). Why? Because PowerDirector is a simple, powerful and economical video editing solution that is simple to use, that provides professional results. Most people will agree that many video editing software packages can be daunting, yet PowerDirector functions well with everything ever learned with those other packages. However, if you’ve never really attempted to try one because they were way too intimidating, this application will change your mind from the moment you start it up.

As with everything we’ve reviewed so far in our arsenal of video editors, PowerDirector is totally compatible with all kinds of audio and video formats. CyberLink has even expanded with this latest release its already vast and comprehensive camcorder support that includes the latest, greatest and most innovative cameras and or sound devices used by consumers all over the world, and at various skill levels.

Video Edit

Editing software should provide you at least a standard set of tools to do such functions as trim footage and PowerDirector provides just that. With PowerDirector you’ll be able to trim and adjust clips to your heart’s content without worrying about losing the original content as PowerDirector saves each of your edits as a reference file to your original file, untouched and safe from corruption.

You will be able to crop, zoom in, play a selected clip in reverse, adjust the video speed, freeze a frame and even rotate a clip within the video without worries. Adding a picture-in-picture images is easy too. Our favorite features is the ability to upscale standard-definition video content into HD quality, enhance image details, naturalize colors and automatically adjust chroma and luminance during your edit. Even remove that annoying grain from poorer quality clips and stabilize camera shake in real time.

PowerDirector’s transitions, titles and effects will enhance your video creations into a more polished and professional looking creation with this tool set. Plus, adding them to your film’s timeline is simple using its drag and drop feature.

Audio Editing

The Volume, pitch and playback speed editing tools are also simple to use and allow you to separate the audio from the video for a much greater flexibility and better creative control. PowerDirector Deluxe, Ultra, and Ultimate offers a Beat Marker that analyzes the audio content you’ve included, placing relevant markers at each of the prominent beat locations. This is very useful for us to time down the transition times and apply any other editing techniques to the clip. We can also use the auto-normalizer to adjust all our audio files within the timeline, to verify that the volume levels are consistent throughout each and every clip we’ve created.

Magic Features

The Magic Fix and Magic Motion function also allows us to remove shakiness and red-eye from the footage (common with IR light sources), as well as enhance the focus of any added photography. With the Magic Motion Designer we can pan and zoom within any scene to allow more interest or define any objects, with animation in our still photos. The Magic Cut feature will automatically condenses any long clip into a shorter clip containing only the highest quality footage. Then there’s Magic Style, which gives us the ability to add any of the pre-designed style templates for a much more professional look.

Again be warned that the more tracks, transitions and special effects use, the more it computer resources it requires to operate the application. When we were working with it on large projects, it crashed several times. However, in the settings you can determine how often the program auto-saves your work. We generally set it to somewhere between 1-3 minutes in order to prevent data loss in case of a crash. When you restart the program it will ask you if you would like to load your last auto save which can be a life saver. We have also learned to manually save after every single edit is made when working with a large video project.

Importing Files

More than 20 file types can be imported by PowerDirector, including MPG, MP4, MOV, AVI, WMV and AVCHD, and is fully compatible with Canon and Nikon generated DSLR video files, or any H.264 format withed clips LPCM audio (like the Sony SD1 HD Video Camera). Included with PowerDirector is a utility that can capture full HD video directly from any HDV camcorder, and does not require conversion before it can be edited into our feature. Similarly, we can also capture DV footage without converting either. Their batch capture process is very convenient for capturing a multiple number of video clips automatically, as well as grab individual segments in the single scene capture mode.

PowerDirector will also import WAV, MP3, WMA and M4A audio files with no trouble at all, including AAC, Dolby, DTS, WAVE and MPEG-1 Layer III audio formats. For importing photos files, PowerDirector also supports RAW, JPG, GIF, PNG, TIF and BMP.

Exporting Files

Export effortlessly in 3GPP2 for 3G mobile phones, AVCHD for SD Card, AVCHD, MPEG-2 HD, WMV-HD, DV-AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MPEG-4 AVC, QuickTime, RealMedia and WMV files. Meaning video files can be played on a smartphones, PlayStation 3’s and PSP’s, Xbox’s and Zune systems, among many others devices.

Let’s not forget the social websites, because when we’re done editing our clips we can upload them directly into YouTube, Facebook and other video sharing services with no trouble at all.

Conclusion:

Video editing couldn’t be easier than with any of the four CyberLink PowerDirector software packages. As it has all the tools and features anyone can hope for in creating, editing and producing top-notch professional-looking videos, not to mention how much fun it is to use.

PowerDirector 11 Deluxe: $69.99 $48.99

PowerDirector 11 Ultra: $139.94 $74.99

PowerDirector 11 Ultimate: $169.94 $94.99

PowerDirector 11 Ultimate Suite: $289.94 $184.99

  PowerDirector 11 Ultra Free Trial Download