In our search for the best video editing software, we’ve analyzed numerous high-quality programs. However, it’s important to understand that there’s no single best option that’s suited to all users. For example, a professional video editor will likely need a more powerful program than an amateur who simply wants to put together a short clip with footage from their last holiday.
For the professional, advanced features and editing power are going to be a priority. On the other hand, an amateur will be more likely to choose a program that’s easy to use and boasts speed and efficiency.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of five things you need to consider when you’re selecting the right video editing software for your needs. Again, remember that the best option for someone else won’t necessarily be the best for you, so make sure you keep an open mind.
1. What you’re planning to use it for
The first, and arguably the most important, thing to consider when you’re selecting the right video editing program for your needs is exactly what you’re going to use it for. Different programs are designed for different users, and selecting the right software will make your life that much easier.
For example, Adobe Premiere Pro is arguably the best video editing program on the market, but it’s a little expensive and could be overkill for some users. It comes with a wide range of advanced tools and features, but if you’re just looking for a basic video editing program, these will likely just end up being confusing.
Another of our favorite video editing programs, Cyberlink PowerDirector, is targeted more towards amateur users whose main aim is to put together a nice video without needing the highly advanced tools Adobe offers. In short, understand what you’re going to use your editing software for and choose a program accordingly.
2. The editing tools that you need
Similarly, different video editing programs come with different features. Before you choose a program, spend a little time listing the features that are most important to you. This will make it much easier to narrow down your choice of programs, especially if you need very specific editing tools.
For example, Adobe Premiere Pro comes with highly advanced tools that are suited to professional users. If you’re planning to spend a significant amount of time fine-tuning every aspect of your video project, it could be a good choice.
However, other more affordable programs, like Cyberlink PowerDirector, don’t come with as many advanced features. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, as it still includes tools such as a built-in project previewer and AI styling plugins.
3. Whether or not your computer will run the program
Some video editing software requires a very powerful computer to run properly. If you don’t have a high-end computer, you will need to pay careful attention to the hardware requirements of the different programs you’re considering.
For example, Adobe Premiere Pro has very high system requirements. It’s recommended that you have at least 16GB of RAM, Microsoft Windows 10 version 1809 or higher, 4GB of GPU VRAM, and high-speed SSD storage. The majority of computers don’t meet these specs and therefore won’t run the program very well (or at all in some cases).
However, there are plenty of video editing programs available with lesser system requirements. Make sure you choose something that’s suited to your computer, or you will almost certainly run into performance problems.
4. The video input formats you need
One of the most important things to think about is the format of your raw video files. Since not all editing programs accept all formats, you need to make sure you choose one that meets your needs.
For example, higher-end programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro claim to support video editing in any format, including 8k and virtual reality. You can import any file you need to and even convert between different formats.
Meanwhile, many programs only support editing up to 4k resolution, or even less. This will still be more than enough for most users. Note, though, that some have a much more confined range of supported video input formats.
5. Your budget and the software price
Finally, it’s important to keep your budget and overall aims in mind when selecting a video editing program. If you’re just planning to put together a little clip for fun, there’s no need to spend a fortune on high-end software.
There are numerous free options available that come with more than enough advanced tools for the average amateur editor. For example, programs like Lightworks and Hitfilm Express are 100% free, support most file formats, and come with a range of advanced editing tools.
Meanwhile, professional programs like Adobe Premiere Pro cost significantly more, with licensing costs stretching to hundreds and, in some cases, even thousands of dollars, per year.
In this article, we’ve outlined some of the most important things to consider when choosing a video editing program. Think carefully about what you need to use it for and whether you need any specific features or editing tools. Shop within your budget, ensure the required file formats are supported, and make sure you find a program that will run on your computer.
Ultimately, there’s no single best video editing program for all users. If you’d like to find out more, check out our best video editing software and best free video editing software guides.