Another impressive effect that has made its way into consumer-level video editing software is motion tracking, which lets you attach an object or effect to something moving in your video. You might use it to place a blur over the face of someone you don't want revealed in your video, or to display a text box next to a moving object. You mark the object you want to track, specify the effect or text, and the app takes care of the rest, following the marked object. This used to be the sole province of special-effects software such as Adobe After Effects. Corel VideoStudio was the first of the consumer products to include motion tracking, and it still leads the pack in the depth and usability of its motion-tracking tool, though several others now include the capability.
Free video editing software often comes with legal and technical limitations, however. Some widely used codecs require licensing fees on the part of the software maker, meaning they can't offer free software that can handle these standard file formats. That said, the impressive open-source Shotcut does a lot of the same things that the paid applications in this roundup do, including things like chroma-keying and picture-in-picture. Shotcut is completely open-source and free, while another free option, Lightworks has paid options that remove a 720p output resolution limit. Note also that both Shotcut and Lightworks run on Linux as well as Windows and Mac.
Camtasia Studio comes with a collection of brand new video assets, including customizable intros, outros, and lower thirds. Or get full access to over 500,000 royalty-free stock assets with a TechSmith Assets subscription. Create multiple themes to keep your various company or personal styles organized and ready to use. Easily create, save, and apply themes with custom color and font preferences. The editor has been refined to provide a smoother experience all around. Improved preview playback now gives you more stability with greater responsiveness during editing.
Openshot is entirely open source, which makes it one of the best video editing software that is accessible. It may remind some Mac users a little of iMovie with its easy to use drag and drop interface. However, Openshot packs more features than iMovie, including unlimited layers and audio mixing. This free editor strikes a nice balance between advanced features and a simple interface. It also allows real-time previews when you create transitions between clips.
Nothing makes an impression like moving pictures with sound. That's why digital video continues to grow in importance online. Couple that trend with the ever-increasing availability of devices capable of high-resolution video recording—smartphones, GoPros, DSLRs—and the case for ever-more powerful video editing software becomes clear. Further, the software must be usable by nonprofessionals, and it has to keep up with newer formats such as HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) and 360-degree VR video. It also must be able to let you work with 4K video, since common devices are now capable of producing 4K content.
Though university I graduated from (and one my daughter currently attends) have limited academic licenses available, I chose to purchase an indvidual pro license that I could use for my personal and professional use in 2011. I am glad I did! At the time I purchased Camtasia Studio 7 (CS7), but at a time when Camtasia Studio 8 was being previewed and was a no cost upgrade. There have been some growing pains with Camtasia Studio 8 (CS8), but the current 8.2 release seems to have stabilized and all major features I seek now have more function and are as fast or faster to render as the old reliable CS7.