Video editing is one of the most computing-intensive activities around, so you'll want the best laptop or desktop you can afford if you're serious about cutting your own movies. Most applications help speed up the editing process by creating a proxy file of lower resolution, so that normal editing and previewing aren't slowed down by the huge full-resolution files.
One of the capabilities that has been making its way into consumer-level video editing software is more-detailed color grading. Color wheels, curves, and histograms give editors control over the intensity of every shade. Related to this is support for LUTs (lookup tables), also known as CLUTs (color lookup tables). This staple of pro-level software lets you quickly change the look of a video to give it a specific mood. For example, think of the dark blue look of thriller movies like The Revenant. You can download LUTs for free from several sites or use those included with video software to give your video a specific look. One well-known LUT type is the kind that can make a daytime scene look like it was shot at night.
Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine's lead analyst for software and web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine's coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of web services for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine's Solutions section, which covered programming techniques as well as tips on using popular office software. He previously covered services and software for ExtremeTech.com.
Camtasia is a software that lets you create videos of your computer screen or webcam feed in real time. You can choose between recording your entire screen or define just a portion of it to be captured. In addition to producing high-quality video, the software lets you edit your videos once they are recorded. The editing feature includes many advanced options, including video superimposing, brightness adjusting, and video syncing as well as the ability to apply visual effects, such as blur or green screen. Once you've finished editing your video project, you can share it on sites like YouTube, Google, or the hosting site Screencast.
DaVinci Resolve is arguably the most advanced video editor on the list. While it has many professional video features, its interfaces remain intuitive. Alongside video slicing and trimming you can master audio and correct color. You can also use it to add 2D and 3D titles to your video. If you just want to trim and upload your videos, the rich feature set of DaVinci Resolve may be too extensive. However, if your video project is a little more advanced, the free version of this software is hard to beat.
Another program, VSDC Video Editor Pro, had a terribly outdated interface when we tested it, but its developer has recently done a major update, so look for an updated review soon. Longtime pro video editors will note the absence of Avid Media Composer, which is simply too unwieldy for PCMag's primarily consumer audience. There are a couple of more interesting applications—NCH VideoPad and AVS Video Editor among them—that we simply haven't tested yet.
When you’re doing a tutorial or game session, and you want the audience to see your expressions, CS can help with that. Use the picture-in-picture mode to create a video showing your instructions on screen. Another cool thing when using this is that Camtasia can split the recorded file into two separate tracks. One for your talking head and one is the actual content. You can edit each of them as an entire project.
LOTS of errors. I know it's good software, and I would definitely recommend it, it has too many errors. Just today I tried to record my webcam, and got "An unexpected error has occurred. Capture cannot be started". I have searched for answers and typically could not find any. Sometimes when I edit clips they crash the software and then I lose sometimes hours of hard work.