Last Updated on 17.09.2022
What is a simple video editor? Everything is relative. A few years ago, the capabilities of most of the applications discussed here could well be considered professional-grade.
In recent years, the rapid growth in the implementation of artificial intelligence algorithms based on the use of neural network technology has affected all kinds of applications.
This looks especially good in the literal sense of the word on the example of applications for processing photos and working with videos.
The recognition of faces and objects, their visual dynamic isolation, the tracking and changing of movement trajectories seemed fantastic recently. Today it is a common reality.
The list of technological solutions that have taken editing to a new level is very long.
As a result, this led to the fact that the boundary between a conventional video editor and professional video studio software was greatly blurred.
Its functionality is determined by the specific composition of the tasks to be solved and special requirements for the technical level of the quality of the result.
In this review, we will talk about common computer applications that are available to most users.
We assume that the cost of the minimum annual or permanent license of the application does not exceed $150, and to work with it, an average performance PC with 4 to 8 GB of RAM is needed.
The quality level of the resulting videos must be similar to the maximum quality of the videos published on YouTube and other leading platforms.
And here are the apps that turned out to meet these simple requirements. To make it easier to introduce and identify this category of apps, we decided to call them “simple video editors”.
However, their capabilities turned out to be very, very different.
Adobe Premiere Rush Cloud Video Editor
Like most Adobe programs, this video editor works with Creative Cloud. What makes Premiere Rush special is that the entire edited video data can be stored in the cloud and you can work with it from any device at any time.
The app is officially marketed as a one-stop editing solution for any device. Compatible with Windows and macOS PCs and iOS and Android mobile devices.
The purpose of the application is to create and edit videos up to 20 minutes long for social networks. The lifetime limit is related to the amount of storage space available to the cloud app when sync is enabled.
The main features are an expected set:
- standard edition in the timeline,
- load audio files, record from a microphone, edit sound,
- upload video files, record from a mobile device camera, edit video,
- color adjustment according to ready-made templates, manual adjustment, creating your own templates,
- video transformations: move, rotate, scale, crop,
- add and edit static and animated titles,
- crop, pan, zoom, transitions,
- picture in picture, acceleration and deceleration.
In general, the feature set is modest, but everything works very well, and the traditionally excellent work with the image itself is worth mentioning separately.
Interesting fact. The application can be used free of charge as part of the initial tariff plan. At the same time, only three videos can be exported from a computer, and the export for mobile devices is not limited.
The app can be purchased separately or obtained as a free add-on to any of the more expensive Adobe software subscriptions.
Corel VideoStudio video editor
Under this name, Corel offers a very good video production package.
There are two versions to choose from: Corel VideoStudio Pro and Corel VideoStudio Ultimate. Aside from the slight difference in license cost, the versions differ in functionality.
Both options include the following main features:
- tools to edit HD, 4K and 360º panoramas,
- support for up to 50 tracks on the timeline,
- complete instrumental to work with sound,
- a set of filters and effects (more than 1500 in the Pro version and 2000 in the Ultimate version),
- support for multi-camera editing (maximum 4 and 6 cameras, respectively),
- video capture from screen and webcam,
- video stabilization tools (more advanced in the Ultimate version),
- DVD creation using the menu (50 and more than 100 templates, respectively),
- tools for working with titles,
- tools to create and edit presentations/slides.
Several features are available only in the Ultimate version:
- work with video skins,
- support for ongoing and transformative transitions,
- a large set of effects from professional collections,
- work with split screen,
- post-production color correction using LUT profiles.
The video editor is available for Windows only.
CyberLink PowerDirector – Advanced Video Editor
CyberLink doesn’t just develop and sell end-user software. Among its projects in development is one of the world’s leading facial recognition technologies based on the use of artificial intelligence.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the company uses its advanced developments in its own programs for editing photo and video files.
CyberLink’s PowerDirector video editor also uses the latest technology. Dynamic object tracking, dynamic masks, linking titles to objects… All in all, a very functionally rich program.
There is no need to list the main features of this video editor as it has everything that the competitors have.
It is much more interesting to take a look at the list of features that few people can boast of:
- export video with frame rate of 120 and 240 fps,
- LUT support,
- audio Ducking,
- work with keyframe transparency,
- edit videos taken with an action camera,
- motion tracking video masks,
- design tools for menus, titles, skins, transitions,
- work with 360º video,
- advanced chromakey,
- means to correct shape and color distortions,
- extended import with 8K support,
- support for hardware acceleration.
In general, the application is very remarkable. The composition of its capabilities depends on the license.
There are two separate perpetual license options available: Ultra (Starter) and Ultimate.
There are also two subscription license options: PowerDirector 365 and Director Suite 365.
The latter is the most complete and, without discounts, can go beyond the budget described in this overview. We liked the PowerDirector 365 option better.
A very useful and nice fact: almost all of the company’s paid applications, including PowerDirector, are available for download and work with full functionality for 30 days.
After that, the premium features are disabled, but you can continue to use the app.
The video editor is available in versions for Windows and MacOS. There are also mobile versions for Android and iOS.
Free version of DaVinci Resolve Video Editor
This video editor was reviewed on our summary of free video editing apps.
Its peculiarity is that it is fully functional even in the free version, and only the number of available effects and filters is very limited.
But what is there is more than enough for some pretty serious work.
Filmora Video Editor
We did not previously consider the free version of this video editor for one reason only: it leaves developer watermarks on the video.
The trick is understandable, but today it seems very archaic and does not appeal to users, there are too many alternatives on the market that do not leave a mark on the video.
The video editor has two versions that must be paid for.
The cheapest one is called Filmora 9, the most expensive (but still under $150) is called Filmora Pro.
The main difference between the versions is that Filmora 9 provides somewhat simplified editing tools, as well as filters and effects with preset parameters.
Filmora Pro gives you the ability to customize almost every parameter in every conceivable case and customize every available effect.
In addition, this version provides more flexible and professional audio tools and a complete set of tools for keyframe animation.
The developer targets the Filmora 9 release at beginners and those who already have intermediate level experience.
The Filmora Pro version is designed for jobs from medium to professional level.
In general, in our opinion, this is true. Both are great options for everyday tasks. But we like Filmora Pro better.
Free version of HitFilm Express video editor
We also review this video editor in the review of free programs.
We will consider the paid version of this program in a separate review.
And the free version contains “only” about 400 effects and filters and works at a maximum resolution of 4K.
The program makes a great impression and can serve as a very good business tool.
Lightworks Video Editor
It is a very advanced video editor, which is positioned by developers as corresponding to the professional level.
Its free version, which we reviewed in a special review, is more of an introductory version, since the export options are limited for it: the finished video cannot have a resolution of more than 720 pixels, which today is not possible. it’s not enough even by YouTube standards.
In fact, you can produce commercial video products, but this is possible for most modern mid-range video editors.
The main advantage of this video editor is that it is a single complete solution, originally intended specifically for professional work:
- the video editor supports special studio equipment,
- a special video engineer’s console and a special keyboard are produced for him,
- full support for production in multi-user mode.
No additional programs, plugins or add-ons are provided. Everything is included in the application itself and is available depending on the type of license.
As an advanced video editor with an annual license, Lightworks meets our cost criteria and hardware requirements.
If you take a license with a monthly payment, then the available options will be fewer but the total cost of ownership will be more than $200 per year, but with a perpetual license and full access to all features, this editor can definitely be classified as professional.
Movavi Video Editor Plus
Advanced version of Movavi Video Editor.
From the younger version, the program inherited the simplicity, intuitiveness and ease of use of the interface, all basic functions and low demands on hardware resources.
The developer claims that 2 GB is enough for the program (and 512 MB for the free version) of RAM.
If this is true, we could not verify it because we did not have a suitable computer at our disposal. However, we will not discuss the fact that the program is lightweight and works without lag.
All a high quality video editor for permanent work. A neat interface, simple manipulations and assembly techniques allow you to work without stress and not strain your eyes.
And this, in fact, is much more important for our life than the cunning effect, which is clearly visible and understandable only to a true connoisseur of the intricacies of video editing.
This video editor:
- has all the basic tools to edit videos,
- support for FullHD and 4K with hardware accelerated rendering,
- includes tools to work comfortably with the timeline,
- supports up to 99 tracks,
- contains a large collection of filters, effects, transitions and tools for customization,
- can do keyframed animations,
- allows you to create high-quality custom titles.
But that is not all. In addition to the video editor, the developer offers a number of video editing tools, which together with it can serve as the basis for a home video studio.
They can be purchased separately and as part of a package called Movavi Video Suite.
In this case, the total cost of the purchase with a large margin will fit within the parameters specified at the beginning of this review.
The video editor is available in versions for Windows and MacOS. Most of the additional tools only work on Windows.
Pinnacle Studio Video Editor
One of the traditionally popular programs for working with video, an honored veteran of the market. Developed by Avid, acquired by Corel in 2012.
It is offered with different types of licenses: Studio, Studio Plus and Studio Ultimate.
In terms of license cost, it slightly outperforms Corel VideoStudio, while remaining in the niche of affordable mid-range software.
But in the configurations corresponding to the Studio Plus and Studio Ultimate licenses, it moves into the professional league in terms of hardware requirements.
All configurations of the video editor are equipped with the standard editing, import and export tools required.
Included are screenshot and webcam tools, an advanced title editor, hardware-accelerated rendering, a host of preset filters and effects.
General and basic characteristics of the Studio license:
- editing (6 tracks on the timeline),
- color correction tools,
- multi-camera mode (2 cameras),
- support for working with keyframes,
- over 20 DVD templates.
By purchasing a Studio Plus license, the following will be available:
- 24 tracks on the timeline,
- color processing with LUT support,
- multi-camera mode for 4 cameras,
- over 50 DVD templates,
- means of tracking the movement of objects,
- Audio Ducking (ensuring the audibility of the voiceover).
When purchasing a Studio Ultimate license, the following is also available:
- unlimited number of tracks on the timeline,
- advanced color processing with LUT support,
- multi-camera mode for 6 cameras,
- over 100 DVD templates,
- means of tracking the movement of objects and overlay protection,
- work with video skins,
- support for seamless transitions,
- 360º video processing.
An optional plug-in is available to prepare and burn Blu-ray discs.
Shotcut Video Editor
The only free open source video editor we believe is a real competitor for entry-level and mid-range business systems.
We have already covered it in our free video editors review.
Testing and careful study only confirmed its technical level.
We came to the conclusion that in its capabilities it is really not inferior to a number of commercial video editors, and somehow even surpasses some of them.
For example, it has built-in streaming tools.
Its peculiarity is that it is a completely autonomous application, which solves all tasks without auxiliary applications, additional modules or plug-ins.
In a nutshell, this essentially free product has no commercial environment and exists on its own.
The video editor is updated frequently and regularly, the documentation is quite complete, the user community is actively using the forum, there are a lot of training materials and videos.
VSDC Pro Video Editor
We also review the free version of this video editor in a special review.
Its capabilities are quite impressive and some of them are simply not available in more popular commercial programs.
Of particular note is the program’s ability to export videos for playback on game consoles and the built-in tools for creating impressively diverse animated business graphics, even in the free version.
The paid version differs from the free one:
- more advanced edition,
- the presence of video stabilization tools,
- support for hardware acceleration during rendering,
- high-precision sub-pixel object positioning,
- advanced tools to work with sound, chromakey and masks.
This video editor is the most affordable included in this review.
If you really need fast cross-platform access to projects and media, Adobe Premiere Rush is it. an excellent economical solution.
This is an especially interesting option if you’re primarily focused on working with Adobe Creative Cloud and other Adobe products and services.
Movavi Video Editor Plus is a good alternative. It’s not about working in the cloud, but this is really a good option: cheap, easy to use, with a clear interface and offering all the necessary functions.
Versatile video editor
The free video editor Shotcut or the cheap VSDC Pro is the perfect affordable home video studio.
Don’t forget to note that VSDC Pro supports streaming and animated business graphics, as well as free add-on programs for audio and video conversions.
If you are targeting a commercial branded solution and need full customer support, we recommend CyberLink PowerDirector, Corel VideoStudio Ultimate, and Pinnacle Studio Ultimate.
Video editor for professional intermediate and beginner levels
Choose Lightworks Pro (excluding perpetual license) or Filmora Pro. You will have a fully equipped workstation for your serious daily work.
In this case, the restrictions on the technical quality of manufactured products will be more formal than real.
Video editor to transition to a professional studio level
There are two free versions of high-end software products out of competition here.
We are of course talking about HitFilm Express and DaVinci Resolve.
Of course, nobody forces you to switch to paid versions of these programs if, for example, you are completely satisfied with the free ones.
You just need to keep in mind that these are truncated versions of quite expensive commercial products, and restrictions on functionality and the number of effects are set based on careful selection, and giving the opportunity to use programs for free does not mean that their developers are altruistic.
You may find that you need exactly the features that the free versions don’t have. And the ones that are required are available as part of other video editors for a much cheaper price.
Therefore, you should approach your choice carefully, because the choice of media for video production is, to one degree or another, integrating your work into the appropriate ecosystem. It can be very difficult to stop using one program and start using another.
The developers are well aware of this and therefore you always have the opportunity to make a conscious decision.
Use the trial period, ask questions to experts, watch tutorials and forums on developer and vendor sites.
A video editor is not the easiest object to choose. We hope this post will help you better navigate this issue.
Which video editing software to choose and how to do that