Post-Production : What's A Very Good But Affordable Film Editing Software? by Rhonda Merrick

Rhonda Merrick

What's A Very Good But Affordable Film Editing Software?

We're making a movie. I want to be able to edit short promo bits from the footage on my own. I need something fairly user friendly... I'm a windows not a mac sort of thinker. Any ideas? Thx. Rhonda.

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Bianca Filoteo

I haven't tried this myself, but heard good things about it (especially it being user-friendly):

Chris Regan

Edius Express is affordable and I've found it works really well. I've been using it in windows. It's very basic in terms of what you can do with it, but for straightforward editing it's a great package and very stable.

Derek Nickell

The whole adobe suite is available for $50/mo. Would give you a professional way to cut your film and if you needed to export to a standardized NLE you can export XMLs.

Darrin Smith

Use Premiere CS6, the starting price for Creative Cloud is actually $30.00 for the first year.

Sarah Prewitt

Lisghtworks is really good and has a free version with nice features.

Charles G. Masi

Very good question! You're not alone. I've been patching together some CGI abstract animations with Windows Live Movie Maker, but it's not professional level, although it might work for what you want to do . Check the result out on my YouTube channel. I've also used it to assemble clips from raw video showing motion of some of the mobile sculptures I've made. Those aren't on YouTube, but on my website at software's free, but I haven't been able to get the current version to work properly on my computer. I'm using an older version on my wife's laptop. I'm also looking to upgrade for more involved projects and will check out the suggestions of other commenters.

Lewis Gordon

Avid has a newer version of media composer aimed at the home based consumer. Their 'Pinnacle' line is similar to iMovie. But for affordable, I'd pick up Premier 5.5 on amazon.

Kane Schirmer

I'd recommend sony vegas it's incredibly intuitive and much easier to use than any other software - very user friendly. I've been using it for a couple of years. Tried Final Cut pro x and it sucks compared to vegas. Haven't tried adobe, but adobe seems relatively similar to final cut. I'd wager that by just following the info included with vegas you can do a very nice edit the first day - the rest is up to you to learn where and when to cut. Vegas is only $500 and only works on PC. Just about everything in it is drag and drop and you can even burn a DVD right from the edit suite so you can show people before you burn a master. Vegas also comes with DVD authoring software. You can download it a work immediately - I haven't seen any problems or need for a special computer for this program either. It is made to work with one Hard Drive (you can bring your files in from an external drive, but it doesn't need a separate drive to render. Also the files are tiny, until you actually render the DVD. Final Cut Pro X is not a Non-linear editor, because it still renders everthing you're working on while you're working - which is stupid because you eat up hard drive rendering footage you wont use.

Heath Vinyard

I used Vegas as my primary editing suite for a few years when I first started out. Great software, easy to use interface, and very quick to learn. Add to it its great pricing and it's a great place to start.

Mike Guckian

I would recommend the Adobe Creative cloud. You can get a free 1 month subscription, which includes Premiere pro, After effects, Audition, Photoshop etc. After that you can 'rent' it per month or year. There are lots of online tutorials, so you should pick it up easily.

Bret Hampton

I'm with Mike. However if you've never done editing then perhaps Adobe Premiere Elements would be good. It's a simplified version of Premiere and is only 100 bucks whereas CC you have to pay monthly.

Jim Sawyer

Premium is good software but I think that the learning curve on Premium is a bit too high for new editors. What you say in your post it is “I want to be able to edit short promo bits from the footage on my own. I need something fairly user friendly” If you have the cash, go for it. However I think Premium is far more than you need. I would say the same of Composer and FCP. If you are looking to get into editing I would suggest starting with a consumer level program like Movie Studio Platinum 13. At $50 bucks it is a good buy. I use it at work for simple projects and to burn DVDs. I do not have much loyalty to one software or another. I am Avid Certified and used Avid for 10 years. About 5 years ago my company converted to Final Cut Pro and I was trained in that. My preference at home for my own work and the freelance editing I do is Sony Vegas Pro. I have no connection to any seller. I am a professional editor and have been for over 25 years, both film and video. Note, in my edit suite at work I have 2 complete Final Cut Pro 7 systems, so It's not because of the cost. (I have 2 systems because I work on a lot of high level edits and the rendering time is very long.) I also have a version of Movie Studio Platinum 10 at home because has far more codex than a professional edit system so that I can open just about any video. Movie Studio Platinum is easy to learn, there are a million YouTube videos showing use and tricks. You can do audio, video, burn DVD and a lot more. It comes with all the basics. Some are not all that pro but for $50 what do you want. Platinum is a simpler version of Sony Vegas Pro. NewBlue FX makes several upgrade packages that will allow you to add just about any effect you want. So, it is expandable. They have color correction tools, tilters and all sorts of transitions and effects. Then after you get good at the simple software and you want more professional color correction and post effects you can go to Sony Vegas Pro at between $600 for just the software to $800 for the suite. The New Blue packages you got for Platinum will transfer over to Vegas and you lose nothing. Sony Vegas Pro is one of the most highly used edit packages in Europe and Asia. It’s only the marketing and elitism that keep Final Cut at the top here in the states. My opinion and worth every penny you paid for it.

Charles G. Masi

I downloaded Lightworks Pro, and so far am pretty happy with it. Good non-linear editing (NLE) system with intuitive user interface. The video-based tutorials are especially good. Don't bother with the free version, though. The Pro version is far superior and not very expensive, so what's the point?

Sydney Cuthbert

A while back Adobe made an earlier version of Premier available for free. Don't know if it's still there, but it couldn't hurt to look.

William R. Zwicky

For affordable, you can't beat what you already have, so try Windows Movie Maker. I've heard Lightworks can be hard to learn, but it's free and highly regarded, so that's worth a shot. I've always like Sony Movie Studio (home version of Vegas), and it's reasonably priced especially if you can get the rebates. Reviews suggest it's better than Premiere Elements. Vegas Pro is good, but if you need the best, get Premiere CC.

Kane Schirmer

I'd have to say the most user friendly and feature rich software is Sony Vegas. They sold out recently to a company called Magix, but the software is the same. It's so intuitive you can become a great editor in about an hour! Everything is drag and drop - so simple it's crazy. I've used all the others, and this editor is leaps and bounds easier and quicker to use. They have really good pricing and it was made for windows. You can find tons of "how to" videos on youtube that helped me dive into the program and do some amazing things!

Matt Muchka

Da Vinci has a pretty reliable edit software for free.

Lindsay Miernicke

Da Vinci is great, you can also organize everything and do an Adobe Premiere free trial (10 days). YouTube is a great resource for tutorials. Good Luck!

Vasco Phillip de Sousa

Affordable, but on what price range? If you have a Mac, then Final Cut Pro can do almost anything (except special effects) and Motion is okay for creating bespoke titles and special effects. iMovie is free with a lot of Macs, and pretty good. (Not a lot of selection with titles and stuff, but it is accurate, and on the way to learning FCP.)

I disagree with Windows Movie Maker. That's kind of clunky. It's okay for little kids who just want to drag and drop, but there's very little control there.

For Windows, I'd agree with Vegas. I've seen novices use it and have no problem.

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