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Video Editing on the Mac Vs the PC: The Best Platform for Video Editing

written by: KateG•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 4/14/2010

The battle lines for the Mac Vs PC can be drawn on virtually any subject, from speed to compatibility. Here we look at Video Editing on these rival platforms, comparing the video editing skills of a Mac and a PC straight out of the box. With no blind one system loyalty, just an honest comparison.

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    Choosing the Best Video Editing Platform

    If you’re a novice video editor the odds are that you don’t want to shell out thousands of dollars and part with the hard drive space needed for a high end video editing system like Final Cut Pro. You are most likely going to use what comes with the system. So, if you are big into home movies (or you make AMV’s, or short films for YouTube) should your next computer be Windows or Macintosh? [See image 1 and 2]

    Let’s meet the players in this head to head match. If you’re using Windows then your default program will be Windows Movie Maker, if you are on a Mac then your built in editor will be iMovie.

    Importing your files in a very different experience in these two programs.  If you’re using iMovie you’ll get the whole thing, lock, stock and barrel.  With Movie Maker the film will be broken up into clips, but you’ll have no say where the clips will break.  Each has an upside and a down.  It’s easier to find things with the clips, but the scenes you want may be broken in the middle.  It’s harder to find what you want in iMovie but you have 100% control over your transitions. [See image 3]

    Transitions between clips in Windows Movie Maker consist of a few different fades and to be honest iMovie is about the same, but a home movie maker won’t be using a great deal of transitions in their work.  Muting in favor of music is easier with Movie Maker, but iMovie will let you layer sounds and music for fade in’s and out’s or background music with volume control. [See image 4]

    Finally, we’re going to talk about saving your movie file. Using Movie Maker this can take a while if you choose one of the less compact formats, but iMovie is often done in less than half the time for the same file size.

    There is one other thing, Windows Movie Maker can be a bit unreliable if you have an older system and it will periodically need to be restarted so save often.

    All in all for your video editing dollars you’ll spend more on the Mac, and Windows Movie Maker is a much more generically compliant solution. What is more, packaged as it is with Vista and the like, it is hard to compete with 'free' service offerings that Microsoft regularly churn out. Especially when they have a fight on their hands because a competitor has a viable alternative to their own solution. But taking cost out of the equation, for reliability, fine tuning control and quick compiling times, the Mac is worth the extra cash.

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    The iMovie IconThe Windows Movie Maker IconThe Windows Movie Maker ScreenThe iMovie Screen