Best user friendly editing program for PC

UprightCitizen said:
Hey,

I was wondering what everyone's favorite editing program is. I am looking for an editing program for the PC that is fairly user friendly, or at least easy to learn, but has alot of features.

Thanks,
Taylor
I've been using Adobe Premiere for a few years now. It's not the easiest program in the world, but it is still very nice to use nevertheless. If you would rather have something a little less demanding, I would highly recommend Vegas. It's like a swiss army knife for post-production. You do a variety of effects, edit HDV, and even make music with it.
 
Yeah, I learned Vegas in an hour. It's a great tool. Of course, you should also try and learn Avid Free DV that way if you decide to purchase a nice Avid system someday, you'll know how to use it.
 
I would reccomend Vegas 5 for the user friendliness. It is pretty simple to catch on.

About Avid though, I've spoken to a couple production houses and a couple are moving away from Avid. They say it's just too expensive. The support contract is what gets them. They are moving to a Final Cut platform.
So I've been thinking the same thing. but Ewwww MAC. Since I want to be a professional editor and vfx dude. I may have to make the change. FCP is way less expensive than Avid.

BUT for now, go with Vegas. There have been a TON of awesome reviews on it. In fact, you heard about Cheryl Crow doing a concert on an United Airlines jet? Well they have 4 cams shooting HD. Those were recorded on a harddrive. Then that footage was edited on a laptop using Vegas. By the time the plane made it to the gate, the music video was done and they showed it to all on board.
 
Most of these programs have downloadable demos. I recommend trying a couple to see what fits you best.

I decided on Vegas movie studio for the time being for a couple of reasons. Never having used a NLE before Vegas seemed the most intutive, user friendly, and has most features a person just starting out might be looking for. The price, which wont break the bank, also includes Sony's DVD authoring program. A nice perk, which for me closed the sale, is that when you are ready to upgrade to the full version of Vegas they take off the price of Movie studio. So for me it has been a great place to start.
 
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I decided on Vegas movie studio for the time being for a couple of reasons.
Wait up a sec. Vegas Movie Studio is different than Vegas. It's like a strip-down version of Vegas built for home camcorders. I recommend that if you have a little bit more cash, go for actual Vegas 5.
 
As was already mentioned download a few demos and try them out. That's really the only way for you to know if you like a piece of software without buying it.

That said, I use Premiere Pro. It's good software and I like it. If I were using a mac then I would most certainly be using Final Cut Pro. No question there. I've tried Vegas but I really dislike it. Vegas does NOT conform to how most NLEs operate. They have their own setup and even their own organization of windows. It's a good program, don't get me wrong, but if you ever decide to move to a different editor you will have quite a hard time adjusting as everything is different. I'm also NOT happy that you cannot export a video sequence as a series of still frames from Vegas and the thing that irks me most is that you cannot have nested timelines! I don't know how they missed that boat but they sure did.

Again, I suggest trying these programs out - at least three different editors.
 
If price is a big concern, check out Adobe Premiere Elements. It's a toned-down version of Premiere. I've never used it, but if it's along the same quality lines as Photoshop Elements is to Photoshop, then it's definitely worth a look into.
 
Everyone, thank you SO much for posting so much. Everything is REALLY helpful!!! Thank you all for being so friendly and helping me out! What do you guys store your films on? I was looking at an external HD because mine is only 80 GB.
 
An external hard drive would be great. Get several hundred gigabytes if you can. The more the merrier! :) Make sure you get a firewire or USB2 connection though. You don't want to have to use a slow USB1.
 
After some experimenting with a variety of demos, I opted for Vegas Home Studio (I believe the MSRP is currently $99). It seems to be the same interface as the full Vegas 5.0 without the more advanced features. Sony also offers an upgrade program so that if you purchase the stripped-down Vegas Home Studio, you can purchase a discounted upgrade to the full Vegas, so you don't waste money by trying the Home Studio version first. I just got the Vegas program for Christmas, so I haven't worked much with it yet...
 
Price isn't that much of a concern because I can get the software for cheaper because of my student status...I guess I just want to be able to do the most with my film. I've seen my cousin use Premier and I've liked it's features, but I have never used Vegas before. I think I will probably get demos of each and see which one fits me the best. Thank you all for your help!!
 
I used Premeire for awhile and didn't ever really like the interface. I tried the other simple user friendly programs available from Microsoft's built in movie maker to Pinnacle to Ulead. I picked up Vegas 4 and I haven't looked back, and have since upgraded to Vegas 5. It gives me a very easy to use interface with tons of effects and the ability to work with seemingly endless video and audio tracks. Each track can be given a plugin chain (this allows me to set all scenes shot from one lighting situation on one track and color correct, saturate, contrast, etc) or I can set up a plugin chain per clip. And/or you can set an overall plugin chain for the whole movie (great for overcoming a camcorder shortfall like to correct a camcorder that has a tendancy to be slightly washed out, and soft you might set an overall plugin chain to sharpen +3, Brightness -2, and contrast to +3). Transitions are very simple, to dissolve all you do is overlap two clips and then you even have the option to set the falloff of clip A to the pickup of clip B. This just scratches the surface.

My 15m short utilized about 20 tracks of DV including audio tracks, and it is easy to get in and change something at any point in the film. The one thing that is still tough is if you change the length of a clip lets say at the 10m mark, you then have to move up the rest of the clips on the other tracks. This makes you plan out your edits very carefully because to go back and lop off part of a clip makes you have to go to every track and select events to end and slide them up.

When you get to that level it CAN get complicated, so I would say if you start doing complicated stuff like that, it is probably best to piece together scenes or sections at a time, render them, then go back and put them into the overall movie project as a clip.

Overall I would have to say that if you want to seriously get into filmmaking and want to learn how real pro NLE's work, Vegas will teach you this on the simplest to use level. I believe I have acheived expert status on Vegas after 8 months, 2 shorts and a re-edit of a feature (simple fixing of a few scenes and problems that were inherent of a feature made on SVHS 15 years ago), however now that I have really learned how to use the program, I am learning how to combine effects and complex edits into really flashy sharp looking productions.

Hope this helps, but as you said it is probably a great idea to download the demo of all the NLE's you have your eyes on. Some people love Premeire's interface. Some people love using Apple comps. I love using Vegas and PC's. Find what is right for you.
 
cinematography said:
I've been using Adobe Premiere for a few years now. It's not the easiest program in the world, but it is still very nice to use nevertheless. If you would rather have something a little less demanding, I would highly recommend Vegas. It's like a swiss army knife for post-production. You do a variety of effects, edit HDV, and even make music with it.

agrees ^ but then again I only played with Vegas and Premier. Premier is kind of hard to understand.


What other programs are there? I want to purchase the new version of Vegas from Sony.
 
bensmerglia said:
Yeah, I learned Vegas in an hour. It's a great tool. Of course, you should also try and learn Avid Free DV that way if you decide to purchase a nice Avid system someday, you'll know how to use it.

is this the card/software that renders in real time? I heard its like 1200 bucks.

Would save me hours in test shots alone.
 
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