When you’re first buying a video editing suite or investing in one, it’s important to look for the right features. The last thing you want to do is purchase a program and spend months learning it. Or find out at the last minute that you can’t upgrade or modify it for future use.
Video editing in the digital age refers to the act of making non-destructive or non-linear edits. Your original videos stay unchanged when you import and work on projects with them. And even after rendering out your project files, they stay unaffected.
Here’s what to look for when you’re going for a video editing tool as a beginner.
1. Check Your Budget
If you don’t look at your budget and end up splurging on a brand new software, you might regret it. Don’t go for expensive video editing suites. If you’re a beginner, you want a program that has all the basic features bundled. Features like being able to export projects in different media formats, an intuitive user interface, and ease of use.
If you’re not sure about your budget, you can try out free video editing software first before deciding to buy a subscription. You can get many premium video selling and marketing editing suites too once you get more familiarized with the basics and know what to look for.
2. Make Sure It’s Easy To Use
If you’re a beginner, you don’t want to be bombarded with information. Getting overwhelmed learning how to use a video editing software is a challenge on its own. Look for a program that’s easy to use and features a beginner-friendly interface.
Things you’d probably want in your video editing tool are:
- A video editing timeline along with space for making audio edits
- Animations, texts, and transitions
- Ability to save effects presets and use templates
- Preview on the go and make edits without lagging
- Use minimal hardware resources and get full GPU hardware acceleration for a smooth video editing experience
3. File Rendering Options
You want to make sure that the video editing suite gives you various file rendering options. Authoring tools and being able to write your media onto Blurays and DVDs are a must. If you’re uploading to YouTube and Vimeo, you want to be able to output your projects in MPEG-4 format.
If you’re recording 4k or HD footage, you want to be able to edit in 4K and output them without losing out on the video quality.
4. Various Editing Features
In addition to being able to render videos fast and have a user-friendly UI, the software should be bundled with a variety of non-linear video editing features. Being able to split or splice clips, increase or decrease the speed of video tracks and add cuts, fades, crossfades, and transitions – these are essential.
The video editing tool should also be able to layer video and tracks on top of each other and rearrange the ordering. You should also be able to add overlays, video filters, and special effects. Besides this, being able to pan and zoom in/out of scenes or transform your videos should be doable. If you could rotate your clips and flip them horizontally/vertically and mirror them, that’s a plus.
5. Sound Editing Options
For your sound editing options, the tool should give you room for removing echo, distortion, and white noise. Using a good microphone to record high-quality audio for your content is important, but you should still look for these audio editing features in your video editing suite.
6. Compatibility With Capture Cards
If you’re trying to transfer your footage from VHS tapes and capture cards onto the video editing tool, it’s important to be aware if it works with the software. Most video editing companies try to ensure compatibility with most capture cards, but sometimes they miss this out. Be sure to verify with the video editing software’s brand and see if their products are compatible with whatever capture cards you’re using.
7. Special Effects, Video Filters & Templates
Now, this is something we’ve talked about a few lines ago, but we’ll break it down a bit more. Sometimes you just don’t have the time to sit down and edit. You want to insert your video tracks, apply a template, and render it out fast.
Templates and video filters give you these options. Most video editing templates let you add text, images, and video clips in different segments. They are editable and can be customized to fit your needs.
A good video editing tool will bundle various video editing templates with it. If you’re planning to try out Hippo, which is a free program, you can actually browse their library and explore their various themes and options. If you’re making videos for your Instagram Reels and TikTok, video filters will come in handy. Being able to change them into black and white, apply vintage 1980s filters, or turn them comic-style. These are some of the perks of using video filters.
8. Color Correction & Minimum Hardware Specs
Cutting-edge color grading or color correction tools should be built into the program. These days every video editor knows the importance of removing noise from the video and cleaning up footage. You need color grading features for your post-production needs.
As for the hardware specs, be sure to check if your laptop or desktop is able to run and support the program before installing it. If you get a software that requires 8GB RAM to run and your laptop has only 2GB RAM, it’s not going to work and crash instead. This is something that’s often overlooked, so read the back of the product’s label before buying.
There’s no one single feature to look for when you’re investing in a program. The barebones are that you want a user-friendly timeline, effects and presets, templates, and a few sound editing options. That’s the gist.
Look at the customer reviews and testimonials before buying. If it was easy to use for others and the learning curve wasn’t too steep, you’ll read about it online.