Which Video Editing Program Should You(Tube) Use?

Our software smackdown compares Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple iMovie, Pinnacle Studio, and Corel VideoStudio, with tips on the best package for creating your digital camcorder movie masterpiece.
Corel VideoStudio Pro X2
Price: $99

Menu templates in Corel VideoStudio let you pick and choose which items you prefer.
(click for image gallery)

Corel VideoStudio Pro X2 can't quite stand up to Adobe Premiere Pro or Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12, but it's not supposed to. It doesn't offer the bells and whistles you would expect from Adobe Premiere Pro and provides a bit more than Apple's iMovie '08. But for a relatively affordable price of $99, it offers considerable value for those who don't require too much out of their videos.

One of the keys to Corel's software is its intuitive design. Unlike more sophisticated offerings like Adobe Premiere, where professionals will need to work their way around the program to find what they want for each clip, Corel does a fine job of parceling each function out to help lead your way through the process.

When you open the program, the launcher splash screen presents three choices: Videostudio Editor, Movie Wizard, and DV-to-DVD Wizard. Once you decide how you want to start, you're presented with a direct workflow thanks to seven tabs that are arranged across the top of the program: Capture, Edit, Effect, Overlay, Title, Audio, and Share. It may sound simple, but having Corel lead your way through the process from capturing video to sharing it with friends and family is a welcome addition that makes the process simple and appealing.

Like iMovie, you can drag video to the timeline. But unlike Pinnacle, which doesn't offer enough tracks, Corel's solution starts with three video tracks and three audio tracks, which should be enough for most users. Even better, it offers a multi-trim tool (unlike Pinnacle Studio), which made modifying the video quick and easy.

VideoStudio will let you create Blu-ray, AVCHD discs, and DVDs without a problem. It offers menu options for each format, but navigation is limited to chapter menus and little else. If you want a slew of customizable menus in your DVD, you'll have to use a product like Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12 -- it offers a full range of navigation capabilities.

Corel VideoStudio Pro X2 is designed for the consumer who wants to make a quick video about the family vacation. It doesn't offer the kind of functionality you would expect from a professional solution like Adobe Premiere and it can still top simple solutions like iMovie. But in its own class, it can't quite stand up to Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12 and should be considered in second place.

In Summary

Video-editing software doesn't fit into a "one size fits all" package. More advanced users would scoff at iMovie '08, while the novice user wouldn't know where to start with Adobe Premiere Pro.

With that in mind, it's tough to say which video-editing software is the best. Obviously Adobe's product is the most capable, but is it the most useful to the greatest number of users? That's debatable.

In the end, it comes down to personal value. If you're a novice, Corel VideoStudio is probably best. If you're an advanced user, Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12 is your best option. And if you're an expert, go with Adobe Premiere Pro -- you won't regret your decision.