The Top 10 Video Editing Programs to Help You Level Up From a Beginner to Expert Editor
News flash, video editing has become a necessary skill for many professionals entering the workplace in 2021!
Your project could be as simple as combining two pieces of video content for your company’s social media pages to editing full feature-length films in a Hollywood editing bay, but every editor needs a software that can keep up with the demand.
We’ve come up with a straightforward and simple guide to the editing systems that YOU need to learn in order to succeed at any level as a professional video editor in any industry. Take it from professionals like us - we know which editing systems work and which don't.
Beginner Video Editor
iMovie 11 (Mac)
Not only is iMovie free, but it’s one of the best video editing softwares for beginner editors. Intuitive and easy to understand, you only need to explore the interfaces and follow the simple tutorials to get the basics down. VSDC is also a solid option for those starting out on Windows or a PC. Both of these video editing systems are perfect for those seeking to edit a heartwarming family video or learning the ropes before you move on to more complicated editing software programs.
Intermediate Video Editor
Adobe Premiere Rush (Windows & Mac)
Final Cut Pro X (Mac)
Once you’ve mastered the basics with iMovie or Movie Maker 10, you’re ready to make the upgrade to Adobe Premiere Rush or Final Cut Pro X. Final Cut Pro X can be useful in certain situations, but Mac doesn't have many options that make it appealing to work with it professionally for very long. We suggest getting to know the Adobe system layout, as it’s the most popular video editing software out there. Premiere Rush is also great for on-the-go editing, making it a staple for editors trying to do work while out of the office. This level is perfect for those who are social media marketers/influencers, graphic designers, or if you just want to get an edge on your competition if you're looking for a new job.
Advanced Video Editor
Adobe Premiere Pro (Windows & Mac)
DaVinci Resolve (Windows & Mac)
So you want to be a professional video editor, huh? Adobe has taken the editing world by storm, making Premiere Pro the current industry standard for video editing, and for good reason. Adobe allows seamless cross-project integration across all of their software programs, including After Effects (for graphics and special effects) Audition (for sound editing) and Photoshop (for image/logo design). If there is one software to learn out of all of the ones we mention in this guide, it is definitely Premiere Pro. DaVinci Resolve is mainly used for color correction and non-linear editing, but it can be handy for a range of scenarios.
Expert Video Editor
Avid (Windows & Mac)
Lightworks (Windows & Mac)
You've hit the big leagues - this level is for those want to go the extra mile and end up on a list as one of the top editors in the film and video industry. Though Avid has much of the same features as Premiere Pro, some production studios prefer to work with it for a variety of options. It's not difficult to learn, especially if you have already familiar with Premiere Pro or even Final Cut Pro X.
Lightworks is used by a lot of the top editors in Hollywood, including Thelma Schoonmaker (Martin Scorsese's top editor) Tariq Anwar (Revolutionary Road, The King’s Speech) and Sally Menke (Pulp Fiction). There are even some editors who create their own editing software systems to customize the workflow so they can work more efficiently.
If you want to get an edge on your competition, we seriously recommend taking an interest in 360 video editing. More companies are seeking to create 360 videos in 2021 than ever before. At Element 7, we use a combination of Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, and 3DVista to weave together the multiple frames that a 360 camera takes and create some seriously cool results. We also use Unity for additional tasks, and it doesn't hurt to know other game engines like Unreal and 3-D modeling programs like Blender since their integration is essential for some parts of the editing process. (Unity, Unreal, and Blender are free, too!)
In the film and video industry, the more you know as a video editor, the more you'll be able to accomplish in the post-production process. Studying film production can help you see how a shot was filmed before it gets to the editing bay, and other areas such as art and coding can help on the technical side. Eventually, you can specialize in areas such as animated logo design and VFX work.
In the meantime, try out any of these software programs based on your current skill level, or challenge yourself! Learn a variety of topics by watching tutorials and reading books. Work as an intern or as an assistant video editor to learn the ropes first-hand. Reach out to local Seattle video production studios (like us!) to see what skills they look for in an editor, or connect with other editors through social media.
As long as you work hard at what you love, you will always succeed in some way. We wish you the best of luck in your editing journey!