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

The full suite version of PowerDirector includes programs like those that flank Premiere Pro in Adobe Creative Suite. ColorDirector is CyberLink's color-grading tool, which allows more detailed manipulation of colors than what's available in PowerDirector itself, and can also use motion tracking to apply color effects. AudioDirector lets you perform detailed editing on audio, including automatic noise reduction and a fascinating repair tool that lets you use Photoshop-like editing on a waveform. This last is especially good for removing clicks and pops.

The more basic WaveEditor product (which ships with other SKUs of PowerDirector as well) is also included. PhotoDirector is for quick, guided editing of still images, a la Photoshop Elements, or generating slideshows.

Each of these apps cross-integrates with PowerDirector itself: e.g., if you're in PowerDirector and you open a clip for grading in ColorDirector, changes are automatically saved back to the same clip in PowerDirector.

Bottom line

What it lacks in some pro-level features like 24fps editing, PowerDirector makes up for in the edit-automation tools it provides for the less technical user and its support for 3D authoring.

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CyberLink PowerDirector 11 lets you run it in three different modes; there's excellent camera-shake correction; there are other features such as audio restore.

Sony Vegas Pro 12

$599.95; as part of Sony Vegas Pro 12 Suite, $899; as part of Vegas Pro 12 Edit (without DVD Architect Pro), $399.95 OS: Windows Vista and later

Sony Vegas has power and capacity enough to contend with Adobe Premiere. It doesn't directly integrate with as broad a suite of products -- Vegas's suite is much more modest -- but it shouldn't be dismissed for that reason.

Almost every high-end video format is supported in Vegas, including Redcode, Panasonic P2 and AVCHD 2.0 files. Images and video can be uploaded from a DV source or any system-registered capture device (e.g., a webcam).

Because working with large files can be unwieldy, Vegas has a "Smart Proxy" system: lower-resolution versions of high-res clips are automatically generated for use in the timeline, with the final edited product rendered at full resolution. In addition, rendered effects can be previewed quickly from a RAM cache; since Vegas is fully 64-bit, you can devote as much memory to the cache as you can spare.


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