Movie Editing Software Recommendation

For years I have used Adobe Premier Elements v. 3.0 to edit my videos because it worked OK and probably more importantly came in a package with Adobe Photoshop Elements (which is a very good tool, except for the organizer which I don't like).  But I have a PC with a 64-bit operating system and a quad core CPU for which this older software is not optimized -- the old 3.0 was running painfully slowly even on my new computer.   So I downloaded a trial edition of Premier Elements 7 and was horrified at how buggy and unstable it was, without adding any real functionality that I wanted over the old 3.0 edition.  So I then downloaded the brand new v 8.0 and found it if anything even worse.  In retrospect, I could have seen this in the reviews for both products on Amazon.

I have a general rule of thumb that one bad version generation happens, but two in a row means it is time for a change  (the exception to this being Quickbooks, which has had about 4 versions in a row where each is worse than the last, but there is really not a good alternative for me right now).

For video editing, I eventually landed on the oddly named Sony Vegas Movie Studio, v9.0.  I am extremely happy.  It works a lot like Elements used to but is rock solid stable.  I have been working with a 90-minute HD video for 2 days straight without a reboot and it has had no problems and is fast and has all the functionality I could want.  Not for casual applications probably, but I really like it.  I don't usually write posts like this, but this piece of software almost never makes it into the magazine reviews or comparisons at sites like PC Magazine or CNET.  Not sure why, but its an excellent program.  Thanks to the Amazon community, whose reviews again helped me make a good decision.

Postscript: I have never been wildly impressed with Adobe programming and their most recent iteration of Photoshop Elements really worries me as the organizer seems to be badly bugged.  Their programs have always been pigs -- the only way they could get a tolerable load time for Elements was to break the program into four parts and start up with a menu that lets one choose one part or the other.   I know they did this to fight the classic Adobe load time problem (used to have it in spades with Acrobat reader) but I think they have broken something in the process.    You know Adobe programs are a pig when I get impatient for them to load from the new Intel SSD, which generally serves up programs lightening fast.


  1. Michael:

    I have Adobe CS2 and CS4. The company doesn't seem to know where it wants to go. GoLive was their web page generator until the bought Dreamweaver and pretend they were they same just that Dreamweaver was the new release. And they seem to like to take functionality out of the product or make it much more cumbersome. Most times I use my 1995 era version of Free Hand over Illustrator.

  2. scott mcg:

    I've used a few editions of Soney Vegas. I've been very happy with them all. I agree that it may not best for casual users. Both Pinnacle and Roxio have some reasonable software at entry level.

  3. Brad K.:

    I call it the "Adobe virus" - that pause that locks up the system as if a virus just ate my computer.

    It is almost like Adobe, way back in the day, bought the Microsoft developer kit that let them plant a proprietary version of MS-DOS under Windows - like in Windows 95, that is - and they don't have a manager or programmer still alive and kicking that is brave enough to excavate out the underlying carcass.

    And I agree with you about PhotoShop Elements - 3.0 was pretty good. But I was dismayed with 2.0 - when they dropped the programmable tool bar. I do minor graphics tasks for the web, so "Save for Web" was a really, really common function. I still resent losing the ability to put that icon right on my toolbar. Leaving it as a Files Menu function may be simpler for Adobe, but sucks for me.

    I had to buy a different monitor to even try Elements 6.0 or 7.0 - the black-oriented interface was invisible until after the sun went down.

    Adobe must have one crack set of lawyers, is all I can say. That must be cheaper than a good set of useful development managers.

  4. EconGrad:

    Coyote, will you state whether or not you were paid for this review or received any form of compensation from the company, to make sure you don't get a visitor from the FTC?

  5. Billy Beck:

    I've been running Sony's Vegas for over three years now. I recently had someone laugh at me over this, very proud of his Premier installation. {shrug} He can have it. This is really working for me.

  6. txjim:

    I've used Vegas for about 8 years now and I am very happy with it. I decided to try Vegas primarily based on feedback from and Sony acquired Vegas and jacked up the price, almost doubling in 2 years. Can't blame them for that though because I paid about 1/3 of what Premiere would have cost at the time. I tried all the Adobe video stuff and gave up on them because of price and general suckage. I have Elements and it works ok for simple photo touch ups. Easy for the wife and kids to use to do things like red-eye reduction and cleaning up contrast issues. I use GIMP for everything else.

    For converting movies and vids for use on my zune and phone I used Womble mpeg-vcr, TMPGEnc, and 3GP Converter. Mpeg-VCR is awesome for clipping out commercials or what-not because you can customize a clip without re-encoding. There are some handy freeware tools out there too.

  7. rob sama:

    You're probably not using a mac, but every one comes with iMovie...

  8. T J Sawyer:

    Thanks for the timely advice. I was just beginning to look for video editing software. I agree 100% on the quality of Adobe products. I avoid them like the plague.

    I use the organizer in Elements 3.0 I love it and would like to upgrade but they changed database managers a bit after that and apparently have never gotten it back onto the tracks. Amazon user reviews are about the only honest set of reviews left - disregarding the occasional outliers, of course.

    How many times have you seen a discussion of a computer or browser lockup that was resolved by "finally removed the newly installed version of Adobe Flash and things are OK again."