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How To Choose Windows Editing Software

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 9/16/2008

Choosing the right editing program can be hard, and must be done exactly to your specifications. A number of programs are available, with different capabilities and price ranges. Before you spend a lot of money, determine what capabilities you want, and if your current PC is adequate to the task.

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    Getting a New Program

    Buying editing software for your home PC is an expensive and strenuous process, which can run you hundreds of dollars. The best thing for any striving home filmmaker to do is to decide exactly what kind of uses they would like to get out of their program, and what their computer will run. This way you can make sure that your money is well spent and you do not end up dropping over a thousand dollars on something you just don’t need.

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    Windows Movie Maker

    Think about what kind of projects you intend to produce. If you are mostly interested in recording your weekend at the beach and your son’s fifth birthday party, it is likely you do not need to go into debt to purchase a professional editing suite. Windows already comes with easy and free editing software: Windows Movie Maker. With this you can do very basic editing functions, like simple video effects and transitions. If you are just looking to create a family record this will be more than satisfactory.

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    Vegas Pro

    Perhaps you have dreams of becoming an independent filmmaker with your new digital video camera, and if so you want something that can help your creative vision come alive. When buying a professional editing program there are a number available, such as the industry favorites AVID and Adobe Premiere. Sony’s new Vegas Pro 8 is a great program with all the amenities, and runs cheaper than most at $549.49. It is at the most financially reasonable end of any of these programs, and includes soundtrack producing and DVD authoring software in its package. It is incredibly powerful and has pretty much all the editing capabilities you would want for film production, both professional and amateur.

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    After Effects

    If you are trying to put special effects into your program, the best Windows based application for this is Adobe’s After Effects. After Effects is incredibly expensive, running about a thousand dollars, and takes a significant amount of your computer's memory, so it is important to know if this is the kind of resource you need. Unless you would like to do advanced effects on your film project it may be best to stay away and save your money.

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    Your PC

    The cost of the software should not be the only thing to consider, as it is also going to run a number on your computer. Editing software require significantly updated and stacked PCs that have the speed and memory to do real-time online editing. Look at what each program requires and see what youcan dedicate on your home computer. If you are considering buying a completely new computer for this purpose, then you must figure that into the total cost.

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    Be Prepared

    Like with any aspect of film preparation and production, you need to decide exactly what it takes to jump forward. Your home Windows PC can give you the power to cut together something beautiful, but you do not want to default on your house to get there. Think about what resources you need, both in the way of money and computer space, and then choose accordingly.