Editing is one of the most important steps in the video production process. Whether you’re creating a feature film, a TV show or a simple YouTube video, the editing station is where you build what your audience will see, hear and experience. While consumer-level video editing software will suffice for small projects, if you’re working on something that has a large audience, a big budget or many complex elements, you need the power and precision offered by professional video editing software.
The best professional video editing applications enable you to organize a wide variety of media types, including video, audio, images and more into bins and folders where you can easily find them when you need to place them on the timeline. They also offer superior enhancement options in the form of visual effects and tools such as precision trimming, color correction, masking and key framing that go far beyond what is possible in consumer-level applications.
We rated and ranked the best professional video editing software available. At the end of our evaluation, Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro X and Avid Media Composer earned the top spots on our side-by-side comparison chart. We’ve also written informative articles about professional video editing programs to help you decide which product is right for you and your project.
The top editing applications make your job easy and provide the tools you need to make a flawless final cut. We evaluated the best professional video editing software based on the criteria below.
When you get to this level of sophistication in the video editing world, you’ll find that most applications have very similar tools and feature sets. Indeed, you can take the same footage into any of the products in our review and achieve more or less the same results. What makes one professional video editing application different from another is how well all the tools come together. This means that aspects of the software such as user interfaces, workflow and usability become extremely important in making your decision about which product to buy.
It is sometimes said that there is no such thing as “professional” software – only professional users. There is a degree of truth in that; a skilled editor can utilize any editing program to its fullest potential. However, what separates these applications from those on the consumer level is the power, precision and control you have over tools such as the timeline, chroma key, color grading, stereoscopic editing and much more. These are the tools that transform simple footage into movies fit for a mass audience and the silver screen.
Projects that require professional video editing software often have massive amounts of footage, sound recordings and images to sort through as well as a wealth of disparate media types to deal with. The best applications can import, render and play back a wide variety of file formats. They also enable you to organize project elements intuitively.
Export & Production
When you’re done crafting your project, you need to get it off your editing station and out into the world. There are more and more ways to get your creation before the eyes of an audience, and the best professional video editors come equipped with comprehensive export options. This includes the ability to create deliverables fit for everything from a 50-foot screen to a YouTube window, and even disc authoring features for Blu-ray and DVD.
Professional video editing software enables you to transform your raw video footage into something special. It’s what allows you to tell your story in a way that is highly honed, polished and, most importantly, entertaining.