Audio and Video Editing Software Reviews
Video Editing Software
If you’re just getting started in the realm of digital multimedia editing for video or audio, it’s helpful to know what software is out there and available for you to use. Following is my brief review of just about every digital video editing software I’ve ever used.
Windows Movie Maker [6/10]
As basic as basic can be. The program has become more robust in its latest versions, but it’s still just a bare bones system for the most part. Gives you ease of use in exchange for control and functionality.
Adobe Premiere [8/10]
Adobe has made great strides in improving the stability of their workhorse as time has gone on, but I still find the program to be only relatively reliable at best. The layout has changed and now uses tabs you can pick up and move around to suit your tastes, and its support for import and export of multiple video formats is fantastic. It even has a direct-to-FLV export feature for Flash video, which comes in handy for me quite often.
Sony Vegas [9/10]
I’ll tell you straight away, this is my video editor of choice. It comes from an older program called ScreenBlast Movie Studio, which Sony bought and fleshed out into a full-fledged professional-grade editor. Compared to some other video programs it doesn’t cost much, and there are a few versions at different prices that offer some purchasing flexibility (while the cheaper ones have obviously limited features). It syncs up perfectly with SoundForge, which I use for audio editing. The toolkit is great, with tons of included effects and transitions, and the learning curve is relatively low because the interface is intuitive. Press ‘S’ to slice a video in two at your current scrubber location. Grab the top corner of a video and pull it inwards to create a smooth fade up from black. Very smooth, especially for those novice users trying to do so for the first time. For a pittance, you can pick up a copy that’s only a version or two back from the most current release.
Pinnacle Studio [7/10]
It has a sweet capturing setup, but that’s about all I ever used it for (in the days before drag-and-drop file transfer, when we had to capture all our video real-time). To be honest I’ve never gotten much into editing with it. It has both storyboard and timeline editing capabilities and Pinnacle includes it with most of their sound cards and breakout boxes, which is nice.
Apple Final Cut Pro [9.5/10]
Entire films have been edited and post-produced using FCP. Probably the best video editing suite I’ve ever used, but the price tag is indicative of the quality of this product. It’s a shame Apple is such a snobby company and they don’t offer a PC version. You can tell I’m not an Apple fan in general, although I do love my iPad. Again, the limiting factor of Final Cut Pro is its outrageous price.
Audio Editing Software
These programs don’t all have the ability to record multiple simultaneous tracks, but they can all be used to record and tweak audio for films and videos.
One element that makes this a great audio program is that it’s free. You can get it from SourceForge here. A great piece of software for the price!
Cool Edit Pro [8/10]
An old favorite of mine; it’s no longer manufactured, and in fact Adobe bought the rights to it several years ago and turned it into Adobe Audition. Cool Edit has limited multitrack recording capabilities but it’s great for finalizing audio, mixing down, tweaking and signal processing.
This is a dual mode program that allows you to program digital music using MIDI, which is basically computerized audio, or record live audio yourself. There are hundreds of MIDI voices available that mimic every instrument imaginable. You can program in each note and beat and integrate it with actual recorded sounds, which is a nice feature if you don’t have the actual instrumentation for every sound you want. Its basic audio manipulation functionality is very limited, however, and usually when I’m editing with it I find myself having to bring pieces into other programs to mess with them.
Steinberg Cubase [5/10]
Even with lots of experience using audio editors, I find it difficult to navigate this program. We use it on our mobile recording station at work and every time I open it up I find myself having to go back to the help section to re-learn things; in other words, the interface is not very intuitive. Can’t say I like it all that much.
Adobe Audition [7/10]
A polished version of its predecessor, Cool Edit Pro. It has some minor stability issues, but overall its a decent program other than the fact that it costs a lot unless you buy it included in a suite or package from Adobe.
Sony SoundForge [8.5/10]
Sony bought this from its creator, Sonic Foundry, and added it to its suite of products. Great support for plug-ins and a host of them are already included in the main package. You can right-click a segment of audio in Vegas and open it in SoundForge for editing, which for me is one of the best features it has. Older versions of this software can be had very reasonably.
Sony Acid Music Studio [8/10]
This is more of a music composition software than an editing software, but it’s one of the leading packages out there if you’re interested in creating your own synthesized loops. It comes in several different varieties, from the free Xpress version, to the mid-level Music Studio and up to Acid Pro at the top. Also has recording capabilities for adding your own sounds.
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