Comparing Budget Video Editing Software (Pinnacle, Adobe, Ulead, Microsoft)

Trying to figure out the best software with which to edit your videos? Here's a handy list of some of the best products out there, in my rank order. All hyperlinks take you to PCMag's thorough review of the tools. sums up video editing software here. And here's a PCMag buyer's guide if want to read more about the paths you can take.

Ever since I got my Mac, I've been using iLife to edit my videos. But before I "switched," I was using a few different PC Based Video applications (mostly Pinnacle and Microsoft Movie Maker). iLife's iMovie works pretty well for me, and is well integrated with the other applications like GarageBand, iTunes, iPhoto and the CD Burning tools. But iMovie's transitions and titles are extremely limited. I have a pet peeve for cheesy transitions (nothing screams amateur like a canned transition- the movie equivalent of clip art). And the title options are so limited, I usually create my own in Adobe Photoshop and import them to iLife as JPEGs.

I'm curious what Revver users are finding the best. Please comment.

So here are my picks for good video editing:

Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0
This is the one I'd pick if I hadn't moved to iLife (partially because it got PCMag's "editor's choice" award. What I love about Adobe is that they're generous to basic users in their low-priced versions. For example, Adobe's basic photo editing software gives many of the features of advanced versions at an accessible price.

Pinnacle Studio Plus 10
This would be the second-best pick after Adobe Premiere. Pinnacle is focused on digital editing, so you can't ignore it as an option. I've used Pinnacle before because it was bundled with some hardware I needed (analog-to-video converter) to get my arcane non-digital video camera footage into my computer.

Microsoft Windows Movie Maker 2.0
If you're brand spanking new to video editing, start with this one. It's free, and it's extremely simple. You might outgrow it quickly, but it will serve basic editing needs.

Ulead VideoStudio 9
Ulead comes bundled with other analog-to-video converters. Pretty decent tool I hear from others, but I haven't used it.

Now here are the fancier ones…

Adobe Production Studio
If your Paypal account is overflowing with Revver payments (or your day job is lucrative) you can afford this one. But it's out of the reach of most of us amateurs.

Adobe Creative Suite 2 Premium Edition
I'm not sure why this one would be worth the price. Fancy features, but Premier is good enough for most of us.

Again- please post your thoughts (what you use and what you like/don't).

7 Replies to “Comparing Budget Video Editing Software (Pinnacle, Adobe, Ulead, Microsoft)”

  1. Have you ever tried Microsoft Photostory with voice-overs – It can also produce sleek video from your still photos.

    Good blog. Subscribed.

  2. I have tried a $25 (maybe it’s free now) Microsoft photo/music package. I was quite amazed. Extremely easy to make a bunch of photos look packaged with music and “Ken Burn” fades. I’ve gotten so obsessed with videos that I’ve neglected the photo/music slideshows that used to be at least monthly. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. What’s up Sony Vegas or PremierePro? Have you tried these? Have you heard anything about them?

  4. Nalts, I use Sony Vegas Studio Editor, I’m extremely happy with it. It was under a $100. I also use Sony Acid Music Studio Editor — make lots of royalty free music that sounds good. Now all I need is to go from my analog video camera to DV and I’ll be happier.

  5. Is there a site that talks about how to make good transitions? I am using Ulead 10 Studio and I think its great. I know enough to avoid most of their transitions, but I could use some advice

  6. I was going to make this site more about the software behind the videos, but I’m so fat and happy with iLife I haven’t felt like exploring beyond. If I recall correctly when I used Pinnacle, I could buy a more advanced version of transitions.

    What kind are you trying to make? I’m not a fan of the weird ones. Too me, nothing is better than a simple “fade to black” or “fade to white.” Occasionally I’ll do a dissolve. And if I’m in a crazy mood I’ll do a push. But the bulk of the wild transitions (pixelating and balloons flying) scream “Uncle Henry’s Wedding Video” to me.

Comments are closed.