Professional video editing software is a high-end product and usually among the more expensive software available. For this reason, it’s particularly important to find a product which both meets your needs and fits your budget. In most cases it won’t be worth your while to cut corners and miss out on an important feature just to bring down the cost a little.
While the price of professional video editing software may seem like the most important factor, remember that neither “cheapest is best” nor “you get what you pay for” are necessarily accurate philosophies. The basic prices of packages vary widely and some buyers may feel that prices include a premium for a brand name as much as the product’s performance. Because software has such a high mark-up in comparison to the costs of an individual disc and packaging, there’s a great deal of room for retailers to cut prices, so price differences between rival packages aren’t always set in stone. And you may find a highly-priced product becomes better value if you are buying it under a multi-user license.
The specifications required by a package are particularly important. Professional video editing software tends to require a particularly high amount of memory, and often needs a computer with fast access to a hard drive. What is listed as the minimum specifications may often be virtually irrelevant and you are better off relying on the ‘recommended’ specifications or, even better, independent reports on what is really needed to make best use of the software.
Make sure that whichever package you choose can cope with the input formats you need to work with. Although any modern professional video editing software should cope with all major high definition formats, you may find some are unsupported by older packages which are now retailing at so-called bargain prices. If you are working with analog formats, remember that you’ll need a package which can cope with real-time capture rather than simply transferring digital files.
It’s also important to make sure the package can output content in every format you require. There are a wide variety of uses for digital video, from low-resolution display through online video sites, right through to high-definition television broadcast or even showing in movie theaters. Pay particular attention to your audio requirements as a simple stereo mix may not be sufficient for your needs.
Some packages offer pre-designed templates and stock footage for video production. In some cases this can be extremely useful, save time, and help you out when your original video footage needs livening up or enhancing. However, be aware that some packages are very popular and that the standard templates may therefore come across as overly familiar and less effective in your final product.