Video content is one of the best ways to get visibility for your business or project. In fact, 54% of consumers who participated in a 2017 content trends survey by Hubspot indicated they want video content from brands they support. But if you’ve ever watched a poor quality video, you know the damage it can do to brand reputation. So, whether the purpose of your video is entertainment, business, sports, news, or personal, you want professional quality.

The search for the best video editing software can be overwhelming whether you’re new to editing videos or a professional video editor looking to upgrade. 

What is the best video editing software?

Adobe Premiere Pro is no doubt the best video editing software overall. Most professional video editors can agree on that fact. And yet, not every professional video editor uses Adobe Premiere Pro. How can this be? 

Part of the reason is that “best” is somewhat subjective. The technology of video editing has advanced quickly, especially since switching from linear to non-linear editing (NLE). This means many professional video editing programs all have similar basic editing features such as:

  • Media Management
  • User Interface
  • File Import Formats
  • File Export/Production
  • Special Effects

The most notable differences in video editing programs are in advanced capabilities. This contributes to the confusion surrounding the comparison of video editing software. 

The best video editing software for you may be different than the best video editing software for someone else. It depends on what you need for your project and what your skill level with video editing is. Not only now, but as your projects evolve. 

Keep in mind that with today’s dependence on mobile devices, watching a video without sound is common. The ability to add captions and subtitles to video quickly and easily means your viewers retain more of your messaging.

So, in your search for the best video editing software, you should be asking yourself the following questions:

What software do professional video editors use in my industry?

Do some research among the professional video editors in your industry. If the professionals in your industry are overwhelmingly using a specific video editing program, start your testing there. Most professional video editing software programs offer a free trial so you can try before you buy. 

Below are the pros and cons of our software top picks used by professional video editors in various industries:

1. Avid Media Composer

The gold standard for editing blockbuster films and award-winning television shows. If you’re going Hollywood, take Avid along for the ride.

Pros

  • Natively edit HD media and high-resolution footage
  • Script Integration
  • Dynamic media folders
  • Multi-camera editing
  • Edit HDR 
  • Multi-user collaboration in real-time

Cons

  • A higher learning curve, especially for beginners
  • Not a finishing tool-need separate software

What’s noteworthy? 

  • Avid created non-linear editing (NLE)
  • The new release includes the ability to customize the interface by role
  • Remote cloud access to files

2. Adobe Premiere Pro

A popular pick with professional YouTubers, especially those who favor PCs over Mac systems.

Pros 

  • Multi-cam angles are limitless
  • Stellar stabilization
  • Supports importing of up to 8K resolutions
  • Can import raw file format from cameras, smartphones, and DSLRs

Cons

  • Audio not as good
  • No media keyword tagging

What’s noteworthy? 

  • Infinite customization 
  • Creative Cloud makes it accessible from any online connected device
  • New real-time collaboration features

3. Final Cut Pro X

The majority of Mac users still swear by Final Cut Pro X, though some loyal users switched programs due to a less than perfect workflow revamp.

Pros

  • User-friendly
  • Top-rated editing and media management

Cons

  • Mac users only
  • The recent change to the trackless timeline wasn’t popular
  • Only 64 camera angle

What’s noteworthy? 

  • the trackless timeline switch integrates with more powerful Mac features
  • faster processing, connected clips, and auditions make editors’ jobs easier

4. Sony Vegas Pro 

A really great option if you’re in the gaming or sports industries, or editing reaction videos. It’s good for those who need a video editor that is easy to learn or one which works well on any PC or laptop.

Pros 

  • Best timeline
  • Drag & drop files directly
  • Easy to learn
  • Ideal for audio editing

Cons

  • Windows users only
  • Picture in picture and motion tracking can be difficult

What’s noteworthy? 

  • Dynamic storyboard editor
  • Video stabilization

5. DaVinci Resolve Studio 16

Used by large collaborative teams for post-production and finishing in the Entertainment industry. Davinci Resolve Studio is designed to allow live collaboration by multiple users at the same time.  

Pros

  • Full 3D workspace with over 250 tools
  • 32-bit float processing
  • Multicam editing for up to 16 cameras
  • Legendary color tools
  • High Dynamic Range Grading
  • Stereoscopic 3D Grading

Cons

  • Resource intensive computer requirements

What’s noteworthy? 

  • Fairlight audio for 3D audio
  • Collaborative workflow
  • DaVinci Neural Engine for speed warp, facial recognition, and more
  • Amazing post-production and finishing tools

6. Edius Pro 8 

The favorite video editing software pick for those in the news industry or event videography. It’s ideal for basic editing and great for everyday video projects.

Pros

  • Compatible with all import formats
  • Edits and renders faster than leading competitors
  • Multi-camera support
  • Easy to use clean customizable interface

Cons

  • Higher learning curve
  • Lower video processing (10 bit)
  • Slow image sequence support
  • Not ideal for large productions
  • Windows users only

What’s noteworthy?

  • Excels at scaling, cropping, and sizing
  • Superior 4K workflow
  • Quote based pricing

7. Lightworks 

Has been around for more than two decades and has been used to edit major films including The Wolf of Wall Street and Pulp Fiction. It’s used by professional video editors wanting advanced capabilities for film editing and ease of uploading to social sites. 

Pros

  • Compatible with most popular formats and files
  • Preset profiles for export formats make video sharing easy
  • All tools accessed via timeline
  • Runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows

Cons

  • Atypical workflow takes getting used to
  • Lacks a smart content analyzer
  • Maximum output resolution 720p MP4 format

What’s noteworthy? 

  • Access to royalty-free music and stock video
  • Lightweight-requires only 200 MB of storage space and 3GB RAM
  • Ability to share and collaborate on projects in real-time

8. HitFilm 4 Pro

Ideal for those who want a compositor and editing in one program. Similar to what you’d get if Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects were combined. If your project involves combining elements from different sources seamlessly into a single image, consider HitFilm 4 Pro.

Pros

  • Easy to learn and use even for beginners
  • Low cost
  • All-in-One Color grading
  • Particle engine enables 2D simulations and full 3D effects including gunfire effects and cool hyperdrive effect
  • Apply animation directly from the editor
  • Built-in tools for rigging and animation

Cons

  • Limited file format compatibility
  • The annual fee for updates 
  • Somewhat limited text editor

What’s noteworthy? 

  • Compositor and Editor in one program
  • ProSkin Retouch feature
  • 3D Object Importing
  • Animation tools

9. Pinnacle Studio 23 Ultimate

A great choice for anyone who wants total creative control and for the special effects and filter junkie. You’ll find over 2000 effects and filters as well as enhanced color grading tools.

Pros

  • Enhanced color grading tools with more than 30 LUTS
  • Overhauled video masking, including shape and panel masks, now integrated with the timeline
  • Export video clips with transparent backgrounds
  • All the pro features including fast rendering, 360-degree VR editing, and Multicam support
  • Batch processing without the need for extra software

Cons

  • Motion tracking can be unreliable
  • Implementation of 360-degree VR uneven
  • Occasional crashing reported

What’s noteworthy? 

  • Selective Vectorscope for precision color corrections
  • Clip Nesting great for intro and outro creation
  • Color LUT presets to produce motion picture feel

10. CyberLink PowerDirector

Pros

  • Lightening speed rendering
  • Very extensive effects package
  • Easy to learn interface
  • Available by subscription or a one-time purchase
  • Project Nesting for intros and outros

Cons

  • Taiwan product
  • Trimming unavailable in the source panel
  • Number of editing options can be overwhelming for beginners

What’s noteworthy? 

  • Pioneer in 4K and 360-degree VR footage
  • Automatic updates behind the scenes in the subscription version
  • Storyboard or Timeline modes

For more details on pricing, captions and subtitles, file format compatibility, and our best pick categories, see the chart below:

Professional Video Editing Software Comparison Chart

Editing
Software
Captions
and
Subtitles
PricingOSMobile
App
Best Pick
Adobe
Premiere
Pro
Best$20.99
monthly
Windows
Mac OS
Premiere
Rush
Overall
Final Cut
Pro X
Best$299Mac OSPROCUTXMac
Users
Avid Medi
Composer
Hard$49.99
monthly
Windows
Mac OS
Avid Link
Community
App
Hollywood
Vegas Pro 16Good$249WindowsMakeItSimple
Tutorial App
Prosumer
Option
DaVinci
Resolve
OK$299Linux,
Windows
Mac OS
N/AColor
Correction
Edius Pro 8OK$189WindowsN/ASpeed &
Compatibility
Lightworks
14 Pro
OK$174.99Mac OS
Linux
Windows
Android
App
Minimal PC
Resources
HitFilm
4 Pro
OK$299Windows
Mac OS
N/AAll-In-One
Editor and
Compositor
Pinnacle Studio
23 Ultimate
OK$129.95WindowsPinnacle
Studio for iOS
Creative Contro
and Animation
CyberLink
PowerDirector
Ultimate
Good$129.99WindowsCyberLinkBudget Choice