The Top 3 Video Editing Softwares From the Perspective of a Photographer
Ok, confession time. I have been putting off writing this post for quite some time now. I don’t think its because I didn’t want to write about it or because I was afraid I would be sharing too much information too freely. Instead, I think I have been hesitant because I doubt my own knowledge and expertise. If we get down to it, I am a photographer at heart. I’ve been shooting photography professionally for more than eight years now, and that ultimately is where I am comfortable.
But, about five years ago or so, we decided we would serve clients with both photo and video. And I knew I couldn’t claim ignorance any longer. So today, I, a photographer, am going to do my best to explain the three most common professional video editing softwares. And then I will tell you which one we use and why we love it most. I promise I will use non-technical language that is easy to understand and sprinkle in plenty of pretty photos, for us non-video-people to feel more comfortable. 😉
**Also, these thoughts are our own, and based on our own experiences. Other professionals (including you) may have differing opinions, and that’s totally cool!
Option 1: Adobe Premiere
If you’re a photographer, this is probably the most familiar of the video editing softwares. That is likely because you are using Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw to edit your images. If you are paying $50/month for the Adobe Creative Suite, you even already own this (or at least the subscription of it). If you are paying $10/mo for Lightroom & Photoshop, you would need to upgrade. Premiere is what I started editing on, and is likely the most common among Adobe users.
- Included in the Creative Cloud (full subscription)
- Easily accessible and familiar to creatives
- Designed with an engineering-type interface
- Must pay for full Creative Cloud subscription, cannot own it outright
- Least stable of the three (tends to crash easily)
- Designed to be supplemented by Adobe’s other programs and plugins
- Can get expensive quickly
Option 2: Final Cut Pro
Next on our list of video editing softwares is Final Cut Pro, or FCP. When Dan and I first met, way back in college, he was “the video guy” on our small campus. He had a giant camera that he carried around on his shoulder (it was 2002, friends). And he used Final Cut Pro to edit. This is the extent of my knowlege of FCP, because he had already switched to Premiere when I started editing.
So, this is the one I know the least about. (Spoiler alert, we don’t use this one). So, I had Dan help me understand the pros and cons of it and the basics of the software.
- Fast processing (when using a Mac)
- Optimized for Apple hardware
- Operates with a “magnetic timeline,” where the pieces of video “stick” together in the editing line. This can be great for simple projects and allows the editor to create videos very quickly.
- Not available for PC users
- Lacks robust tools for advanced editing (audio, coloring, etc)
- Magnetic timeline – can be difficult for more complex projects if you don’t always want all of your pieces to stick together
- Difficult interface for color correction
Option 3: Davinci Resolve
We’re rounding out our list of video editing softwares with Davinci Resolve. This one is fairly new to the at-home editor market. These guys have been around for a long time in the pro studio world, but Resolve was exclusively designed for the advanced color grading process. In 2017, Resolve 14 came out and shook up the market, becuase they added an entire editing workflow, rather than just the coloring piece. Oh, and they made it FREE. Yep, that’s right, free.
- Best color rendering engine on the market
- User-interface is more creative-minded, rather than engineer-minded
- Each step of the video creation process has its own tab with its own dedicated interface (media storage, editing, audio, color, etc)
- More of a visual editing experience
- Could be more complex to understand if you prefer a more engineer-centered model
- Less technical editing interface
- Higher-end GPU-heavy effects don’t come in the free version (noise reduction, sharpening, facial tracking, etc)
Ok, Our Choice…
So, out of the three main professional video editing softwares currently on the market, we use Davinci Resolve. We chose this one for a ton of reasons, but essentially we switched from Premiere in 2017 and haven’t looked back. If you don’t know this about me you should know that I am not very technically minded. I am creative and visual and I like pretty things. I deal with editing softwares (Lightroom included) because it is the nature of the beast and there isn’t really any other way to get the results I want.
When we switched from Premiere to Resolve, I was so frsutrated with video editing in general. I just felt like there had to be a better way that would work with how my brain works. Premiere felt so clunky to me, and took me so long to figure out. When we started using Resolve, I literally sat down and immediately understood what I was doing. It took me probably less than three hours to be able to know my way around the editing tab.
Dan does all of the video color correction and has worked tirelessly for years to try and match my photos. If you don’t know anything about color correcting video, just know that matching photos is really, really hard. Resolve’s coloring interface has made matching our photo work sooooo much easier. I’m not going to say its a perfect match, because that is nearly impossible. But I will say that we don’t get into fights about color anymore. 🤣
Ok, this has been a really long post, and if you’re still here, thanks for sticking around! I hope it was helpful for you! Ultimately, the bottom line is that there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing among the video editing softwares out there. Your editor is simply another tool in your tool belt, there to serve you and your end goal. Please comment or email us with any questions about this, and we’d be more than happy to help!
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