4 video editors: Pro results for ambitious amateurs

Video-editing software now offers features formerly only available to pros. We review four of the top packages (with video examples).

By Serdar Yegulalp, Computerworld |  Software

With HD-resolution cameras now standard-issue items in smartphones, 4K-resolution cameras falling into consumers' hands and multi-core processing power standard issue on desktops and laptops, the need for video editing suites with high-end features has moved into the mainstream.

In this roundup, I explore four well-known video editing packages -- Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, Corel VideoStudio Pro X6, CyberLink PowerDirector 11 and Sony Vegas Pro 12 -- that are suitable for the ambitious amateur or for the professional who wants to complete a quick project. These are available both as standalone items and as parts of larger suites or packages, and there's a price range and a feature set for most every budget or need. (Note: Only Adobe offers a version for Mac users.)

What constitutes a "high-end" feature -- or product, or suite -- is at least as much about implementation as whether or not it's included. For example, 4K-resolution video (3840 x 2160 pixels), used by a growing number of consumer-level devices, is supported by all the products in this roundup. However, not all of them support Redcode, the 4K video format generated by Red pro-level cameras. Not a big deal to those editing cellphone footage, but a potential deal-killer if you end up working with such high-tier technology.

To that end, I've looked at each of these products with an eye towards how well they handle top-of-the-line features like 4K support, general usability, value for the money and bonus features. My test system for this roundup was an Intel Core i7-3770K quad-core (eight-thread) system running at 3.5 GHz, with 16GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD system drive and a 2TB secondary drive; NVIDIA loaned me a Quadro 5000 GPU.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS6

Standalone: $799 or monthly starting at $19.99. Suites: CS6 Production Premium ($1,899); CS6 Master Collection ($2,599); Creative Cloud, ($49.99/mo. w/annual commitment, $74.99/mo. cancel at any time) OS: Windows 7 and later, Mac OS X v10.6.8 and later

Adobe has done a lot of work with Premiere Pro -- both as a standalone product and as part of the Adobe Creative Suite -- so that video professionals will take it more seriously. With each successive revision Premiere Pro has become more tightly integrated with Photoshop and other Adobe products (and vice versa).


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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