When it comes to making the best videos, having great editing software is an absolute necessity. There’s a range of editing software out there, some of which are great for beginners, and some that are designed for pro users. For the pros, this evaluation of the best editing software of 2021 for advanced users will be your map to discovering which program is the best one for you.
Adobe contains a multitude of options for editing software. There are a few, however, that are best for the pros, so they’re the ones you should stick to. And, if you’re struggling to choose which program is right for you, you can always choose Creative Cloud, which offers bundles of different Adobe programs at group rates.
Adobe Premiere Pro
Premiere Pro is, to put it simply, what a lot of the pros use. Pro is a heavy-hitter that combines lots of tools, compatibility with other apps and services, and the boosted power of Adobe Sensei to amp up your editing capabilities. Premiere Pro works with and improves the other products Adobe offers.
|Adobe Sensei enhances and eases the editing process to save you time||Rather pricey at $20.99 a month|
|Editing ease across all platforms and footage types||Prone to some issues with glitches and instability, but they are fixable|
|Lightweight proxy workflows||Occasional playback lag issues|
|Native file support||Can get bogged down and require you to reboot or reset preferences|
|Integrates easily with other apps in the Adobe collection|
|Includes Rush so you can work on your videos anytime, anywhere|
Premiere Pro is an excellent option for anyone who is making a lot of videos and has already established Adobe as their preferred program. Premiere Pro incorporates so many excellent functions, but, true to Adobe standards, it’s still easy to navigate.
Adobe After Effects
After Effects is a delightful addition to the Adobe group. After Effects is primarily useful for adding in those special touches that make a video from ordinary to exceptional.
|Animation options for all your video content, both with presets and build-your-own options||Rather pricey at $20.99 a month if you buy it singularly|
|Animation across the board||Occasional preview glitches|
|Color adjustments to enhance your scenes||Some lag issues – generally because of other programs running|
|Hundreds of effects to choose from||Occasional failures with render|
|Compatible with other Adobe programs||Uses a lot of RAM|
After Effects is perfect for anyone looking to up their editing game with some spicy additions. If you’re already working within Adobe and you love it After Effects is worth your time and money.
Adobe can get rather pricey when you consider that you’re paying for it every month, as opposed to one lump sum. Whether you choose one of these options, or you go for Creative Cloud to get a bundled price on multiple programs, there’s an Adobe option to suit your editing needs.
The classic Avid isn’t for everyone, both in that it’s a watch-your-wallet program and it can be difficult to learn and master, but it’s a great program for the price that you’ll pay.
Media Composer is both its own program within Avid, and the beginning title of several smaller options for specific editing purposes. Media Composer as a whole is the ultimate editing software from Avid, with everything you need to edit quickly, precisely, and with the tools to back you up like a pro editor.
|Editorial management options for team projects||Beyond the lowest cost of $23.99, other subscriptions and add-ons can quickly bump this up into the $100s|
|Starting at $23.99 for a 12-month subscription commitment||The most complicated and difficult to learn software on this list|
|One of the most full-service software programs available|
|Best-in-class Trim tools and Source Side Motion Effects|
|Bulk edit capabilities|
|An abundance of video file format options|
Media Composer, and everything that falls under it, is the top knotch editing software that has earned Avid the reputation of being what all the pros in the film industry use. From the standard to Media Composer Ultimate and Enterprise, if you want the best that money and time can buy, this is one of the best programs you can get.
Avid Artist I/O
The Artist I/O software options is another excellent option from the Avid group of products. I/O is one of the most versatile of the Avid products, working with many other systems and giving you a wide range of video formats to work with, so you can get it all done with ease.
|The DNxIQ option is also compatible with other programs outside of Avid – Adobe, Blackmagic DaVinci, Final Cut, Filmlight – so you can use it even if you don’t exclusively use Avid||The amount of options means you really have to know what you’re using the software for, as they are all good for different purposes|
|Sync abilities with an internal clock and time code locking||Prices start at $999 and only get higher|
|Thunderbolt 3 connectivity|
|High-quality VO capabilities through direct audio punch-ins|
|High-quality VO capabilities through direct audio punch-ins |
Compatible with a range of video formats, including 4K, 2K, UHD, 1080p, 1080i, 720p, NTSC and PAL
|Onboard 3D processing|
|Premium-quality video and audio connectors for a crisp video product|
The available Artist I/O programs are exceptional, that’s for sure. If you’re making a really healthy profit from your editing work already, this software is a great option.
Final Cut Pro
For all the Mac lovers out there, you might not even want to look beyond Final Cut Pro. Right off the bat, the downside is that you can only use Final Cut on Apple products, but if that’s your jam, this could be the perfect program for you. And, as a bonus, there’s a free trial you can utilize to test out the program before committing to the purchase of $299.99.
|Relatively inexpensive as a one-time buy||Only for Apple products|
|Free trial available prior to purchase||Only works on macOS 10.15.6 or later updates|
|Endless options and system actions included, e.g. customizable keyboard and multi-touch gesture support||Excessive options – could be bad if you’re looking for something extremely straightforward|
|Compatible with other products on Apple||Potential additional fees for features requiring internet access|
|Utilizes Grand Central Dispatch to work with all available processors|
|Custom Motion templates for repeated use|
|Batch share to export multiple projects to multiple formats|
Considering it’s a one-time purchase, Final Cut Pro is pretty solid in terms of value for money. It also follows the Apple standard of being fairly user-friendly. Is it the best of all the options on this list? No. But is it great if you’re already attached to Apple products? Absolutely!
DaVinci Resolve Studio
If you’re looking for a great software program, and you’re confident in your ability to learn the ins and outs of the software, DaVinci Resolve Studio, at only $295, is not a bad price for everything the program gives you. That being said, the optional add-ons will quickly drive up that price. With professional editing tools, support, and ways around your most difficult editing problems, Resolve Studio will support all your pro editing needs.
|Dynamic zoom||Even more of a learning curve with the additional features|
|Image stabilization||Gets very expensive very fast with additional tools|
|Timeline curve editor|
|Overlays and scrubbing for audio|
|Custom keyboard shortcuts|
|Dramatic speed ramps|
|Web, broadcast, and cinema delivery options|
|Drag and drop video import features|
|Edit clips directly into the timeline, multiple options to include overlay|
|Seven ways to edit your clips with an overlay|
|DaVinci Neural Engine|
|120 frames per second|
|Includes Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision|
|Stereoscopic 3D tools|
|Dozens of extra Resolve FX filters and Fairlight FX audio plugins|
|Advanced HDR grading and scopes|
Resolve Studio is an excellent commitment if videos are truly your entire life’s work. With the amount of time that goes into learning it and the money that you can spend, it’s not a purchase to be made lightly, but if you’re at that point in your editing career, it’s a great option.
Time To Decide
So, the question is, after learning about all of these great options, which one is right for you? Take some time, evaluate your editing skills and goals, and then go forth into the world of editing on a professional level.