So.......software. Which one? There’s many. Too many. They all pretty much do about the same thing, right? Ummmm…..nope.
First of all, let’s make it perfectly clear that as a filmmaker you have absolutely no intention of using (and I shudder to even type them) Windows Live Movie Maker, iMovie or any other editing software that came free with your PC or Mac, something you got out of the bargain bin at Walmart, or anything that cost you less than $200. (Now pardon me while I go take a shower. I feel dirty for having even mentioned those. I may have also vomited a little in my mouth.)
The software I am discussing is actual video editing software. Free or poopie-cheap software will most certainly not give you the kind of professionalism that you want your videos to have. You must step into the realm of professional video editing software. I am talking about the all-powerful Adobe Creative Suite, AVID Media Composer, Apple Final Cut Pro, Sony Vegas Pro, and other comparable products. Adobe and AVID have the lion’s share of the market by far. Final Cut is starting to fade and Sony is picking up steam. All are good options for editing video.
That being said, there are differences between them. If you are into graphic design, animation, or love to use Adobe Photoshop, then you definitely want to go with Adobe Premiere Pro since you can link all your imported files. This is a feature Adobe calls “Dynamic Link”. So, if you make a change to your picture in Photoshop, it is automatically updated in Premiere Pro…without you having to do anything. The same goes for projects created in Illustrator, InDesign, and After Effects. Honestly, this is what gives Premiere Pro such an edge over other products. You get all of Adobe’s powerful line of products working simultaneously. You can’t go wrong.
I have also used Final Cut Pro and Sony Vegas Pro extensively and they are spectacular as well. I will say that I prefer Sony Vegas Pro over Final Cut Pro because the user interface and workflow is so much better. In fact, I use Sony Vegas for little projects or home movies because it is so easy and fluid to use. I use Adobe for large and complex projects because of all the needed resources.
The answer here, you really need to put some research into a software program that not only meets your needs, but also meets your level of computer proficiency. If you struggle to check email or pull up your bank account online, then you probably will go blind or have a mental breakdown from just looking at Premiere Pro or AVID. If you can navigate your way around a computer really well and catch on quick, then you are probably safe getting whatever software fits your needs.
In order to understand what software you need, you need to consider what the software offers. You need to find out answers to these questions:
There are many other things you should be asking about your potential software, but these are perhaps the most important and will give you a good starting point.
One thing is doubly important….make sure your computer can handle the software! Complex systems like Adobe and AVID require a ton of computing power. Meaning, they need fast processors, lots of RAM, a heavy-duty graphics card, and a lot of hard drive space. Please understand that the minimum requirements posted on product packaging is just that…..the MINIMUM. You should aim for a computer that exceeds the minimum requirements.
A computer that only meets the minimum requirements or doesn’t meet them at all will cause you way too much misery and will take years off your life. The program will not be able to handle large projects, it will lag while editing or playing back, it will constantly crash or error, it will take excruciatingly large amounts of time to export/render final projects……like hours and hours and hours….like start rendering before you go to bed and hopefully by the time you get up in the morning it will be finished….that’s how bad. It’s not good if you’re working with tight deadlines. You just don’t have that kind of time to waste rendering things that way. Be sure that you have figured purchasing a powerful computer into your business plan.
It is also important to note that your video editing computer should be just that….your editing computer. This should not be your main home computer that the kids play games on, the wife clutters with terabytes of photos, and unscrupulous internet browsing occurs. This machine needs to be solely dedicated to processing nothing more than video projects. This will help the machine stay uncluttered, virus and error free, and running smooth and fast.
When choosing a computer, consider the following hardware suggestions:
These configurations may not be available on all models of PC or MAC, so you may have to do some manual configuring on the product websites to see what can be upgraded. Please note that most laptops do not allow for extensive upgrades because they simply do not have the space for the larger, more powerful components. I would highly suggest looking at a desktop computer since more hardware options are available to you. I would also suggest looking at gaming computer brands like Alienware or HP ENVY since those models are already enhanced with more RAM, faster processors, and beefy graphics cards. MAC users beware. Any upgrades to your Mac Pro or iMac will be extremely costly. You should expect to spend $2000-$3000 more for a MAC than a PC.
When choosing a software program, be sure to research what types of codecs come with the program and if it’s possible to install additional rendering codecs. In a nutshell, codecs are video formats that your software will compress your final project to for viewing online or burning to a DVD. Codecs are covered in another post. Make sure that your software can render using high-quality codecs.
There are literally thousands of online tutorial videos demonstrating different editing software programs. It would be wise to check them out on YouTube or the product websites to learn more about them before making a final purchase. They also come in handy for learning more about your software by teaching things like animations and special effects.
Copyright 2018 Steven Vest. All rights reserved.
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