Video editing is possibly the most challenging and involved part of the video production process. For that reason, many companies opt to pay for professional video editing. However, if you have basic editing skills already, or if you have a bit of time to invest in learning how to use editing software, there’s no reason why you can’t learn to edit videos yourself.

In this post, we’ll give you a brief overview of software options within the ranges of low-cost, mid-level, and professional-level, with a bit of info about each set of options.

Note: For the best results, have your storyboard ready before you sit down to edit, so you know exactly what shots and audio you’ll need, in what order, from beginning to end.

Video Editing Software

Budget (Free!)

Fortunately for the beginners and those on a budget, you can achieve good quality video with movie editing programs that come free with your Mac or PC. For Mac, that’s iMovie, and for PC, MovieMaker. Both of these editing tools use a simple, storyboard-style interface that allows you to add subtitles, video files, images and audio to create simple videos.

Mid-level (~$100)

Mid-range editing software includes products like Adobe’s Premiere Elements, Nero’s Multimedia Suite, and a host of others with comparable sets of features. (You can skim this review list from Techradar of the Best Video Editing Software under $100 for a sense of what’s out there.) Most of these options use a timeline rather than a storyboard interface, which allows for greater precision and control in editing, as well as offering features like tagging for easier clip organization and ability to mix multiple audio tracks. This is a worthwhile investment if you want to train yourself or your team in video editing, but you’re not ready to pay upwards of a grand for professional-level software.

High End ($300+)

Professional-level video editing software includes products like Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, and Apple Final Cut Pro. This level generally offers bundles of programs together, as professional video editing is a matter of managing not just video but also graphics and audio. Purchasing a professional-level editing suite is worth the cost for companies are a) are preparing to integrate video as a key element of their company’s marketing strategy, and b) are willing to devote time and resources to getting a member (or a few members) of staff trained on the software.

Doing it Yourself

If you choose to purchase software and learn to use it yourself, you don’t necessarily have to shell out for a class. Brands like Adobe offer web tutorials to support learning, not to mention a wealth of user-created video tutorials available online, allowing you to learn as you go.

Hiring Someone to Edit Your Video

Hiring a pro video editor will cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on who you hire and what kind of video you’re asking them to create. The benefit of a professional editor is that you’re likely, though not guaranteed, to get a polished, professional-looking video with a minimum of effort on your part. The downside of this option is that this probably isn’t the most cost-effective or sustainable way to produce great video content over time.

If you’d prefer not to train your team in video editing but don’t have a bottomless budget for costly professional video editing either, a wise middle way might be to contract a freelance video editor, rather than an expensive post-production firm. You can post ads outlining your needs on sites like Production Hub and Creative Cow.

We hope this gave you a good start. Anything to add or ask? Leave your comment below, or tweet to us at @SproutVideo.

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted March 27, 2013

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