So you are interested in getting into filmmaking. One of the first decisions you will have to make is deciding what software you will use to edit your videos.
Do you go for Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Screenflow or Camtasia?
Or one of the many other editing apps?
There are a lot of options, some free and others you must purchase.
I have not used all of them, but I do have experience with some of the more common ones.
I am going to share my experience with choosing movie editing software. Hopefully, my trial and error can help you save some money.
Ok, let’s jump into it.
Several years ago, I dabbled with some video. At the time, I tried Vegas Movie Studio and I even used photoshop to make a video. I only made videos with some basic edits. I pretty much just made cuts and left the audio alone.
This time around I wanted something with more video related features. I had gotten rid of my computer with my old Vegas license and I considered getting the Movie Studio again. However, I decided to look around and see what was on the market.
I was interested in Adobe Premiere, but I do not like the subscription model. So, I focused on one time purchase options.
My initial interest in getting back into videos was to do some programming tutorials. Screenflow and Camtasia looked really interesting. The screen capture and editing seemed really intuitive and easy.
While comparing the two, Screenflow had a good sale and since I already had a Macbook Pro, I picked up a copy. I made a couple of test videos and voice overs. Screenflow was pretty easy to get used to.
I then try to pull in more video source files to try something a little more complicated. That’s when Screenflow started to really bog down and get choppy rendering. It made editing annoying.
That is when I decided to try Final Cut Pro X. This looked especially promising. The source file previews and feature set was nice and it was optimized for my Mac. It seemed like the perfect alternative to adobe.
Right out the gate, I noticed that the timeline behaved differently. The first item placed on the timeline seemed to become the focal point of the timeline.
Clips shifted together in unexpected ways and until I learned about creating gaps, it was really frustrating. I could not move things around as easily as I could in Screenflow and the audio portions of the timeline were short and harder to work with.
A tremendous advantage was the access to more advanced features for adjusting color and other aspects of the clips important to cinematography.
In the end, the snappiness of the timeline isn’t really to my liking and interacting with the audio tracks was frustrating. I was excited about trying color grading and though the color grading tools are good, I realized that I would like to buy plugins to improve the experience.
I also noticed that my 13 inch 2016 Macbook Pro was struggling at times to play the preview smoothly. To be fare I did not purchase this laptop with the intention to edit video. I am sure a specked out Macbook Pro would do much better.
Anyways, I now faced some financial decisions. It was apparent that my Macbook was going to be a pain point and I should consider a new machine some time in the near future.
Should I get another Apple computer? I do enjoy the Apple experience. I have been using a Macbook Pro as a work computer for years.
I had already purchased FCP and if I purchased the plugins, I was locking myself into Apple products.
The price of an upgraded Macbook Pro or Imac is pretty steep. I would likely have to pay $4,000-6,000 to get what I wanted and to be forward thinking. My biggest objection to Apple is the excessive price of upgrades.
I could build a PC for much less and get a more powerful video editing computer. But if I did that, then I wouldn’t be able to use FCP unless it was a hackintosh and I wanted to deal with keeping one running.
Should I even worry about using FCP? Afterall, there were some significant annoyances.
In the end, I decided to go with Adobe Premiere Pro CC. I do like Adobe products, it is just that darn subscription.
By going with Premiere Pro, I could edit videos on both Apple and Windows computers. Any plugins that I purchase will also be more compatible with both operating systems.
The timeline works how I like it and interacting with the audio tracks in the timeline is much better.
I am pleased with the Premiere and don’t regret the decision. I wish I could have bought Premiere as a standalone application.
I also wish that I had not spent so much money on other software to get to this decision.
We live and learn.
Which one would you choose? Let me know in the comments below.