8 Useful and Easy Video Editing Tools

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Capture and share. I like the sound of that better than Point and Shoot. You probably own a video camera in the form of a smartphone, an iPad, or one of a hundred video cameras that do, gasp, only video. This post is for the small business owner who has the creative tools, but wonders how to move that video from camera to the web.

Video Editing Tools

First, why use video? Well, just about every marketing guru you know will tell you that you should be using YouTube or Vimeo or Viddler to share your story. Not to be snarky, but besides you and me, no one reads anymore. It is true, customers want to “view” your message especially if its fun and compelling, but also if its just plain good. The following seven tools can help you achieve that. Many of them have new iOS and Android tools for you to use on your smartphone, by the way.

iMovie comes built into the Mac OS world. If you own an Apple product, you know this. If you’re deciding on a new computer and want the most (arguably) user-friendly video creation tools, it is hard to argue with a passionate Mac user. I don’t have a Mac, but I can see the power on my iPad2. You can also upgrade to Final Cut Pro X for $300 if you need more professional tools.

Adobe Premiere Elements is one of the powerful tools by pro video and serious amateurs. There’s a learning curve on the full pro version, but that’s true for any video editing software. However, it is one of the first and best known video tools. You can get a 3o-day free trial (look for the “Try” link) or you can buy it at Costco in a light consumer-friendly version comes bundled as Adobe Premiere Elements 10 for $90. The full version of Premiere is more expensive, of course.

muvee RevealX is considered one of the easiest to learn platforms for new video editors and creators. They have a consumer version for $60 and a small business version for $500. The higher cost of the business version can be worth it if you want the different templates, styles, and music tracks built in. They offer trial versions of both. I was impressed to see that they created an Express version for $20 that lets you ultra-simple videos for YouTube and Facebook.

Camtasia might not count as a video editing tool, but I’ve used it that way and love it. It is better known as a screen capture program, but if you don’t feel the need to put your face on camera this tool is for you. You can record your screen and narrate what people are seeing. You could snap still pictures and then narrate a slide show. Loads of creative ways to use this wonderful tool by TechSmith for training and for marketing. Free trial or buy for $299 on PC or Mac.

Jing Project is TechSmith’s web-based video/screen capture tool. I list it separately because its useful and lighter. Plus, it is free. You can capture something on screen and share it instantly, with captions and more.

Studio HD, formerly known as Pinnacle 15, is a program I’ve reviewed here and its older sibling Avid Studio here. Years ago, I spent hours and hours using Pinnacle 6 or 7 analyzing wild dolphin video footage for a research project. The newest versions are just as powerful and let you do everything from take a video apart frame by frame (not recommended) or use their Smart Movie option that pulls it all together for you. Powerful and easy to use. Pricing starts at $60 for basic version.

Animoto is one of my favorite tools. It’s free for short videos (which you should be keeping your messages short). The Plus plan is $30/year and the Pro plan is only $249/year. You can upload still images or short clips and combine them with royalty-free music with this web-based service. You can even add captions and your website address as a caption or slide. Animoto then goes into a real-time jam session with your content and renders it back in a unique, hip, and powerful way. You have to see it to appreciate it — here is their sample gallery.

Video is a powerful way to market. It can also be an intimidating process. My hope is that these truly easy-to-use tools will help you get started today. Let me know what tools you’re using in the comments below.


TJ McCue TJ McCue served as Technology/Product Review Editor for Small Business Trends for many years and now contributes on 3D technologies. He is currently traveling the USA on the 3DRV roadtrip and writes at the Refine Digital blog.

17 Reactions
  1. Another fine review post, TJ…

    I used Animoto for awhile. I liked it, but I found that lots of others were using it, and it diluted it’s coolness a bit.

    Just sayin…

    The Franchise King®

    • Ah, the coolness factor…. I’m with TJ — the last thing we would want to see is your coolness to wear off. 🙂

  2. Thanks Joel. I understand and certainly wouldn’t want to see your coolness diluted. What are you using now?

  3. All small businesses need to get active in the video space, both for traditional reasons (promoting your brand) and for SEO reasons. The results are hard to argue against.

  4. I find it interesting Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Edition didn’t even make your list. The Pro version was used to edit Paranormal Activity, and the Platinum edition has most of the power and features as the Pro version for only $65.
    I’ve used both (Platinum and Pro) and actually prefer the Platinum edition. The only reason I’ve found to justify the expense of Pro is if you need to render long videos at 1080p.
    I have not found a better editor for the money. Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve, but the How To function is quite good and gets you up to speed quickly.

  5. Hey TJ,

    Really enjoyed reading your post and thought I’d add Magisto’s automatic video editing app to your list. Magisto is the epitome of “capture and share.” Just shoot your video (or upload pre-shot footage) and Magisto uses state of the art AI technology to analyze your video and cut together the best parts, complete with effects and transitions. Magisto’s technology edits your video for you like a human editor–but it does it in near real-time, while you sit back and relax.

    Magisto is on the web at Magisto.com and is also available for iOS (with an Android app coming soon). Would love to hear your thoughts! http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/magisto-video-editor-free/id486781045?mt=8

  6. Great list! Thank you.

    I wanted to mention that I have used the paid version of Jing (Pro) for sometime; a program which allows for 5 minutes of onscreen video capture in mp4 format with output to YouTube. However, I received a note from TechSmith that Jing Pro will ‘go away’ and paid subscribers will revert to the free version. The replacement-upgrade option for Pro users will be SnagIt…another TechSmith program, which has an unlimited video capture option instead of 5 minutes. Snagit has more features than the Jing Pro so it is a little more expensive. However, the free version of Jing will remain. Not sure if it is a push for TechSmith to get Pro users to upgrade to a more expensive version (SnagIt), but here’s a good blog that explains.



  7. Thanks for this update, Janine!! Super appreciated. I guess in the scheme of things if you are using one of these programs to improve your marketing, or training, than it is worth the minor expense. Again, thanks for keeping us “in the know”!

  8. Lately I’ve been using Freemake to edit videos and it works very nicely.

  9. Martin Lindeskog

    I haven’t used any video editing tools yet, but I have started to play around with the iPhone apps, Viddy and 8mm. I got a tip from a Mac and video enthusiast: “Almost DSLR” app.

  10. Hi, thanks for your considerate sharing! It’s the best collection I’ve seen ever. I’d like to add one more video editor that missing from your list – Joyoshare Media Cutter. It helps me in video cutting, merging, converting, and more. Glad to share it here for beginners just like me. Anyway, have a great weekend ahead.

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