Video editing software caters for a vast spectrum of users, ranging from pro-level CGI animators and feature filmmakers to hobbyists, visual artists, marketers, journalists and more. To meet rising demand, the industry is now host to hundreds of editors all the way from entry-level to suites that cost within the thousands.
Regardless if you’re a video editor, content marketer or a local SEO consultant as video continues to assert its dominance, it’s essential that you choose the right video marketing editing software.
Selecting an editor that’s usable, expandable whilst you learn and appropriately priced can be challenging but is realistically achievable. Read on and discover our guide that will showcase the problem with Adobe Premiere Pro, followed by a comprehensive review of suitable alternatives.
The Problem With Adobe Premiere Pro
You can usually trust Adobe to emerge with a highly refined video editing software that’s become the benchmark pro video editor amongst creative professionals. The obvious problem is its cost. It’s customizable but expensive, – Adobe Premiere weighs in at $20.99 monthly for the single app via the Creative-Cloud or $52.99 as part of Adobe’s more fully-featured Creative-Cloud service.
Especially if you intend to use it for years on end -10 years of use would cost you near enough $6350!
Fortunately, if you’re looking for an Adobe Premiere alternative there are lots of available options and the functionality gap is closing between cheaper and more expensive editors. So whether you’re looking for an editor to simply produce video content or are aspiring to create an interactive content medium such as a 360-degree video or video brochures you’ll be sure to find an editor that suits you.
From Adobe Premiere’s key competitor Sony Vegas to Windows Movie Maker, iMovie and many other lesser-known and open source options, simply read on and find an editor that suits you.
HitFilm has helped shape the modern landscape of video editing with their rather unique offering of pro-level software which only costs for optional, more advanced add-ons.
Gradually, HitFilm has added more paid add-ons and features which were once available in the free version but still, the free version of HitFilm, HitFilm Express, packs a remarkable feature-set for a free Adobe Premiere alternative
HitFilm’s interface may seem a little tricky at first – it’s packed with a lot of small icons and hidden shortcuts but its core UI and functionality is superb. It allows for easy trimming, cutting and mixing of both video and audio as well as filtering and color-correction and even free 2D and 3D compositing tools. It’s great for beginners but offers surprising expandability for upcoming experts and has a solid reputation within the industry.
- High availability of guides and tutorials. There are tutorials that teach both the simplest and most advanced features of HitFilm, ranging from simple cutting and editing to creating full-blown Hollywood-style 3D effects.
- Beginner → expert.
- Streamlined editor for simpler tasks.
- If you do need more complex video editing features then HitFilm Pro costs £264.61 which is no small price.
- Over time, HitFilm has constricted the Express version with fewer export options.
- Purchase add-ons for additional features.
- HitFilm Pro – $351.00
- Mac OS
Lightworks is an open-source video editing program that has been around for the best part of 25 years! As a result, it’s a finely tuned and highly developed program that can cope with pro-level editing duties. Lightworks is built for speed and efficiency – its interface does differ slightly to the timeline-based convention but it has many similarities too and once you’re used to it, it’s fast!
Lightworks has the backing of years of user experience. It’s clearly lasted the test of time – it wouldn’t still be a household name in video editing if it didn’t provide users with some long-term value.
- The free version allows access to a staggering amount of FX and tools that are conveniently available direct from the editing timeline.
- Bundled stock video and music from the Audio Network and Pond5.
- A USB keyboard that’s specially designed for the software. It contains tons of color-coded shortcuts, optimized functions and controls pads. It costs $126..
- It has one of the biggest forum resources of any editing software with 497,0120 users!
- Lightworks has a partnership with coveted video effects and plugin producers Boris FX.
- What Lightwork’s free version gains in advanced features it loses in basic export options.
- The free version will only allow you to export 720p videos which simply isn’t good enough in the era of 2k and 4k video.
- Monthly Pro License $19.90
- Boris FX Year License $132.76
- Boris FX Outright License $331.92
- Mac OS
If you’re a Mac user then iMovie will have some level of familiarity to it, even if you’ve never used it before. iMovie, like many programs authored by Apple, is designed for usability and simplicity and that’s where its strengths lie.
Having been around for 18 years, it’s a clean, sleek and finely distilled program – it doesn’t provide much by ways of advanced features but for basic editing, it’s exceptional.
Apple iMovie does the trick for cutting and editing video and sound together with some color-correction and basic transitions.
- Designed for simple editing. If you’re looking to cut up footage with basic FX and audio control then it does the job superbly.
- Can effectively fix shaky video footage.
- Seamless integration between Apple devices like iPhones, iMacs, etc.
- Very limited when it comes to more advanced features.
- Limited to 18 clips per project.
- Limited audio export options.
- iMovie will never be expanded with extra features because Apple also offers a paid video editor called Final Cut Pro.
- Mac OS and iOS
Apple generally knows what consumers want and with Final Cut Pro they’ve delivered a crisp, aesthetically beautiful and incredibly usable video editor. However, despite Apple’s best efforts, Final Cut Pro still doesn’t really compete with industry flagship Adobe Premiere – this is partly owing to poor compatibility with non-apple or OS programs and partly owing to the glitches and chronic problems that have plagued the software.
Also, Final Cut Pro X inarguably works best with the best iMacs. Its interface, whilst beautiful, is large and detailed – its needs a lot of screen space to work properly. The bigger the monitor the better, with Final Cut Pro X.
- Mac users will have a relatively frictionless transition from iMovie to Final Cut Pro X.
- Beautiful UI is powerful and flexible.
- 3D video support.
- Can be paired with Motion 5 for awesome 2D and 3D compositing and FX.
- Optimised for use on iMacs. MacBook screens are too small for this interface.
- Poor integration with anything non-mac or Apple
- Mac OS
Windows Movie Maker is ubiquitous amongst windows users – it’s an entry-level editor which is very easy to grasp for those who are new to video editing. Windows Movie Maker has always focussed on the basics and it doesn’t pretend to add anything particularly complex – some consider it defunct and others consider it legendary.
It works with near-flawless stability and works particularly well when it comes to cutting up videos and audio, adding basic transitions, etc. It features flexible export options for both video and audio and you can directly upload your creations to YouTube and other social media. Just give the a skip!
- A classic and well-known interface, that’s simple and usable at all levels of experience.
- Allows for a range of different export formats.
- Ideal for basic editing tasks.
- Doesn’t come with any features or tools beyond basic editing and basic FX, captions, etc
- WordArt is not worth using as the assets and designs are outdated.
VideoPad features a sleek, familiar and intuitive interface which is easy to grasp at any level of video editing experience. It’s expanded a fair bit over recent years to include over 50 transitional FX and filters, therefore we rate it above Windows Movie Maker and iMovie for its functionality. The paid versions are inexpensive and do offer more including unlimited video and audio tracks and extra FX.
- The interface resembles Windows Movie Maker and other classic video editing software.
- A wealth of export options.
- Lots of highly usable FX and tools.
- Pretty limited in regards to choice of effects and transitions.
- Doesn’t really offer much beyond simple editing.
- Master’s Edition – $69.95
- Basic Editor – $39.95
- Windows, Mac OS, Android and IOS
Davinci Resolve has quickly ascended the video editing software ranks to find its way in top movie studios around the world. It features a unique collaborative mode which allows editors, color correctors, sound designers and other creative professionals to work from the same program session simultaneously. Davinci Resolve is a deep and complex program that meets professional demands but it still features a free version which has tons of advanced features.
Davinci Resolve has a bit of an entry-barrier for those who have never used video editing software before. One glance at its interface might leave you cross-eyed with confusion! However, once you pick your way through its labyrinth of features, it’ll be the only video editor you’ll ever need. Also, for a full-blown piece of video editing software, the price of its full version is actually quite reasonable.
- Incredible software that will do anything you want and need in both video and audio creation and editing.
- Combines editing, video effects, color correction and audio production in one program.
- Stacks of tools ranging from multicam editing to curve editing and advanced filters.
- An extremely steep learning curve for the inexperienced!
- DaVinci Resolve 15 Beta – Free
- DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio Beta – $229
- Mac OS
OpenShot is a ‘free forever’ open source program that has been continually expanded by teams of dedicated developers over a period of 8 years. Built on the sound principle of providing free and easy-to-use video editing software, OpenShot is a transparent video editor that should survive the test of time thanks to its open source nature. It’s pretty simple but will take a bit of getting used to but when you put the hours in, you can delve into its rather impressive set of advanced features that include 3D animation tools, video effects and fully inclusive import/export options.
As Adobe Premiere open source alternative, OpenShot has access to tons of extra plugins which are downloadable from within the app.
- An open-source program that won’t hide any features or ask for money for extra ‘stuff’.
- Built by a wide team of developers who have listened to user’s feedback over its course of development.
- Plenty of simple and advanced options.
- Has lacked some compositing options like rotoscoping.
- Some qualms that the timeline doesn’t zoom in far enough (8-second max).
- Isn’t as fluid as it could be.
- Mac OS
Kdenlive is another free open source video editing software based on the MLT Framework. Built faithfully by teams of developers from across the world, Kdenlive has developed into a fully-fledged multi-platform program which can accommodate new users and advanced users alike. There are tons of creative plugins available through Kdenlive add-on installer which is its unique selling point.
Like other open source creative software, Kdenlive doesn’t really suit those with zero experience – you’ll need to invest time into it, to get the most out of it. But if you do, it’ll reward you with everything you need in video editing software without costing anything.
- Faithfully built and maintained by open-source developers.
- Loads of free plugins available through the consistently updated Kdenlive platform.
- Fully-fledged video and audio editing tools that range from animation tools to multicam, advanced grading and much more.
- Not the easiest program to adjust to quickly.
- OS X
Sony Vegas Pro is the key alternative to Adobe Premiere and it’s always just about held onto its stake in the pro level of video editing tools. Despite this, it’s recently been dubbed more of a ‘prosumer’ program which doesn’t quite make the cut for use in the world’s top video studios. With its standard timeline-based interface it’s both familiar and flexible for new and advanced users alike.
Sony Vegas Pro combines easy-to-use editing with expandability and that makes it a useful alternative to Adobe Premiere for the money.
- Sony Vegas Pro features intelligent up-scaling technology which allows you to enlarge HD footage for better playback on 4k screens.
- One of the few editors that allows you to open multiple instances of the same program.
- The familiar interface can be customized and you can save layouts for future use.
- Sony Vegas Pro has never quite cut the mustard at the highest level.
- Stability and bug issues.
- Windows only.
- VEGAS Pro 15 Edit – $199
- VEGAS Pro Suite – $799
- Windows 7 +
Adobe Premiere Alternative
- HitFilm Express
- Apple iMovie
- Apple Final Cut Pro X
- Windows Movie Maker
- Davinci Resolve 15
- Sony Vegas Pro
If you’re a beginner looking to build your video editing skills then we highly recommend HitFilm Express. It’s available on all platforms and has a vast amount of video editing functionality that bridges the tricky gap between simple usability and complexity.
If you’re looking to cut up videos and export them as fairly raw bare-bones footage then iMovie and Windows Movie Maker work well for each of their respective platforms. The open source programs on this list will only grow in strength as more plugins are authored for them and some, like Kdenlive have become impressive even to industry pros in recent years. LightWorks is the veteran of the list and comes with the backing of literally millions of users.
Still, Adobe Premiere Pro is hard to knock off its pedestal, and one tremendous advantage is that it can easily integrate with other Creative Cloud video/audio apps. One piece of standalone Adobe software is powerful enough but their entire Creative Cloud service is pretty groundbreaking when taken as a whole. It allows you to incorporate unrendered After Effects projects directly into your timeline, merge images from Photoshop, etc. If you can’t afford the $55/month for Creative Cloud, however, it’s hard to beat HitFilm Express.
Also, let’s face it – even if you can afford Adobe Premiere now, when you realize you would literally pay thousands for it over the course of a few years, you might be wishing that you got on board with some of its alternatives a bit sooner.
On the bright side, there are plenty of alternatives to Adobe Premiere Pro. Now, it’s up to you to choose the best alternative to Adobe Premiere and make some awesome video content!
This post was written by Sam Jeans from Vidioh that are a video brochure marketing company. Vidioh offer a fantastic way to repurpose your existing video content with traditional print advertising for direct mail targeting such as video mailers. They’re also great for pitches, sales presentations and impressing special clients. #videobrochures.