Choosing an Editing Tool for Your Digital Film

By Nick Willoughby

Many editing tools are available for your digital film, and they are all different in the effects they offer and the way they work. But the basic functions of editing tools are similar. Film editing tools allow you to import footage from your camera or media card, cut and arrange your clips on a timeline, add transitions, and then export what’s in your timeline to a final movie.

A popular choice is Apple’s iMovie, which is available only for Apple products. If you have an Apple Mac, you can purchase iMovie through the App Store for a small amount of money. If you have a PC, Windows Movie Maker is the standard editing tool. You may have Windows Movie Maker installed on your computer, but if not, you can download it for free as part of the Windows Essentials Bundle.

Although there are other editing tools you can buy that offer more amazing effects and functions, the low cost tools for the Mac and PC offer more than you need to start with.

Check out the iMovie workspace layout where you will navigate through the functions to build your timeline from your selected clips.

iMovie is a good choice for editing digital films.
iMovie is a good choice for editing digital films.

You may have access to Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro, which are more advanced editing tools used by industry professionals. There is also Adobe Premiere Elements, which less expensive and offers fewer tools and controls than Premiere Pro but has simpler and quicker effect tools and templates. These tools offer additional effects and functions to enhance the look and sound of a film.

The following list compares the features of Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro:

  • Final Cut Pro: A video editing software application developed by Apple that uses a magnetic timeline, which means clips can be inserted and moved around the timeline easily without overwriting other clips.

    • Final Cut Pro is good for smaller projects because it is a great tool for editing simply and quickly.

    • It has great some great preset effects for enhancing the picture and sound.

    • It is available to purchase through the Apple App Store and it’s only available on the Mac.

  • Adobe Premiere Pro: A timeline‐based video editing software application created by Adobe. Adobe Premiere is available Adobe’s website as a monthly or yearly subscription. It’s available on the Mac and PC.

    • Adobe Premiere has fewer preset effects and more manual setting controls, which allows you to get the look you want.

    • Adobe Premiere Pro is a good choice for bigger and more complicated projects because it is better at coping with larger projects than Final Cut Pro.