Video Editing Software: A Rundown of Various Free, Paid Options

Non-Linear Editing (NLE) systems allow you to rehash, reshape and redo edits in a frame-by-frame manner, unlike linear editors that just make hard cuts to the original clips.

Are you using the best video editing software option already?

 

 

Perhaps.

 

Let’s look at a short list of powerful and effective video editing software that is currently available, to quickly weigh some pros and cons tied to each choice. Hopefully this will help you determine whether you’re already in the right boat, in terms of your ministry’s best solution.
 

Linear or Non-Linear?
 

What is this and why should I care? Unless you’re a total pro that never makes a mistake, forget Linear, in my view.
 

Non-Linear Editing (NLE) systems allow you to rehash, reshape and redo edits in a frame-by-frame manner, unlike linear editors that just make hard cuts to the original clips.
 

NLEs are much more forgiving of your time, particularly if a mistake should be made, so that will be our focus in this piece.
 

Naming Names
 

Lets’ see a list of titles you’ve probably heard of, but maybe don’t know much about.
 

• Final Cut Pro X
• Adobe Premiere Pro CC
• Avid Media Composer | First
• DaVinci Resolve
• HitFilm Express
• Sony Vegas

 

In all likelihood, you’re already using one of these programs listed above, and have probably tried one or two of the others. You may even be happy with your current suite, but is it really the best long-term solution for your needs? Let’s take a look at each of these programs, considering their features and drawbacks.
 

Final Cut Pro X

 

I’m talking about this one first, because this is the title that I’m going to strike from the list.

What’s wrong with FCPX?


It’s a beautiful, powerful and versatile editor. The workflow is intuitive, easy to learn and frankly, a joy to use.


FCPX ain’t cross platform. Unless you are 100 percent Apple across the board, this may cause a problem for you one day.


It’s 11 p.m. on a Saturday night, and your senior pastor expects the Easter video from last week’s performance to be on sale after the next morning.


You’re 87 percent finished with the edit. Then the lights go out. When the power returns, something is wrong. The workstation is down, and this is the only Mac you have, or it’s the only one you have access to that is licensed to use FCPX.


If you had been using cross platform software, no big deal.  You could just grab your external hard drive and finish the edit on another system. No dice in this situation, though, and now you’re going to have to explain to your pastor why you allowed ministry to fall victim to a worst-case scenario, or to avoid that, you’re anxiously searching The Pirate’s Bay for another copy of FCPX, while praying that no one finds out.


If you already have it, fine. Use it, it’s amazing. Just make a backup plan.
 

Premiere Pro CC (Cross Platform)

 
I hate Adobe. I hate Adobe so very, very much. Even now as I type these words, I feel hot, scorching flames licking across my face, engulfing me and carrying my full being into a state of furious disgust over the apparent loathsome disdain that I feel that Adobe has for its users.


I use the Creative Cloud software suite. Premiere Pro CC is powerful, versatile and does everything I need it to, plus some things that I probably don’t even know about.


Apart from the regular service and occasional special events, I need to create videos, ads, bumpers and vignettes from scratch. The CC suite is great for this, as you can extend your workflow across every program you need, to get the job done.


I often have Premiere, After Effects and Audition open, while having Media Encoder working in the background.


If this level of editing far exceeds your video editing needs, pass this by. Save your church the cost of an everlasting software rental.
 

Avid Media Composer | First (Cross Platform)

 
Avid Media Composer Pro is such an awesome editing software that most movies, TV shows or whatever else is edited on it.


I was the director of photography, or DoP, on a feature length film a while back, and the editor who was Avid Certified was able to burn through thousands of takes to edit the film, in just a few weeks.


Keep in mind that the cost of the program is also $1,300, so unless you’re working on that level and shooting your service on an Arri Alexa, then I assure you, this is not money well spent.


The good news is that Avid Media Composer | First is totally free. Free. It was created with the same purpose as Apple’s iMovie software, in that it offers a lighter, less feature-rich version to learn on, while aiding in a transition to the full suite if you like.


The real drawback here is that pro video file formats need to be encoded to consumer file formats before they can be used with this program. So no importing AVCHD or XMF into your projects here.


Don’t know what AVCHD or XMF are? That means you’re already using consumer formats anyway, so go ahead and give it a try.


Free is a price that you just can’t argue with.


It is Avid though. Many people feel the way about Avid, that I do about Adobe, and will go so far as refusing to use it, purely for that reason.

 

DaVinci Resolve (Cross Platform)


This completely free editor is so brilliant, powerful and feature-rich, that you’re going to feel like you stole it. When I use it, I’m almost afraid that at any moment, DaVinci will suddenly demand that I pay for its continued use.


It’s too good. There isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t consider using this software. If you’re accustomed to another editor, it will give you the option of using that editor’s shortcut key profile upon first launch, keeping the learning curve for you very short.


The only difference between this and the pro version is that you can’t export 4k video in this amazing free product, which for most of you, will have you saying, so what? Right?

 

HitFilm Express (Cross Platform)

 
Another free NLE that is powerful and easy to learn. You can jump right into this one and apart from its ad-based interface, laden with micro transactions pertaining to asset packs, it isn’t much different from HitFilm Pro.



If you can deal with the ads in the start screen, I say give it a try. If not, then the pro version doesn’t go for much ($299), but honestly, they made HF Express too good. No need to upgrade to the pro version, in my opinion.

 

Sony Vegas

It’s OK.


That’s all. Just OK.


I’d put it on the same level as HitFilm Pro, but with a clunkier interface, from my view, one that’s a less efficient use of your monitor’s real estate.


It’s even the same price as HitFilm Pro, but if you can get something almost as good, HF Express, for free, then why pay, I ask.


This software also isn’t cross platform, but that isn’t so much of a problem, since PCs are a dime a dozen anyway.


Plus, Windows-based PCs will sometimes decide to give you a lovely blue screen to key off of.


That’s it.

 

There you go. Try these six video editing software options out. I hope this has helped you evaluate your ministry’s needs so you can use the resources provided to you effectively.


“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”


Mathew 28:19

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