I checked out the trial versions of:
Adobe Premiere, Camtasia, VideoPad, ACDSee Video Studio, Magix Vegas Pro, Magix Video Pro X, Videopad and Coral Video Studio
and the following free for non-commercial use programs:
DaVinci, OpenShot, Windows Movie Maker shudder and, of course, Shotcut.
The paid software does offer a lot of things Shotcut doesn’t feature but, really, especially as a complete rookie there is nothing you’d miss using Shotcut. For ye ol’ homevideo show, cutting and rearanging downloaded videos and friends planted on your HDD Shotcut is comparatively quick to start, very tidy and easy to manage with eyes that aren’t trained and used to media editing software and tools.
When I was looking for video editing software, OpenShot and Shotcut were the first programs I tried after reading a couple of newbie help pages for video editing beginners of the below zero budget variety. Looking at all the “professional” and expensive solutions after that was actually quit sobering:
- Shotcut loads quicker than most paid programs, because it has a clean interface and doesn’t try to roll over you with a million tools and plugins you’ll never need.
- Everything I needed was ready for use and easily understood with a couple of quick reads in the FAQ and forums, and a minute or two for specific tasks in between editing. I made my first compilation of favorite musik videos with transitions and a couple of text titles in under 4h. Most of the 4h were used for the acutal editing and (rearranging) work and not studying. (HINT: Print out the keyboard shortcuts page you can find on the website, it’ll help you immensely)
- It’s rather hard to completely f*:[k up your settings because there are just barely are any. No 10 pages of settings (e.g. as in Adobe Premiere) with two words per sentence you’ve never seen before in your life, just what’s really necessary to get the show on the road.
- Shotcut is really easy to customize, just click all items in the menu to make them visible and then move their windows around and see where they best fit on the interface for your liking, or remove them if it gets to crowded.
- Last but not least: It’s free for non-commercial use. I say it last because in my opinion that is just not the most important point when looking for the right video editor, I’d choose Shotcut over all others almost anytime even if buget size wasn’t an issue at all. (Almost because: If you do a lot of work with the audio track, e.g. dubbing on a slightly more professional level, then you’re faced with Shotcut’s, in my opinion, biggest problem and weakness: cutting, arranging, editing and mixing audio is not it’s forte.)