(The links provided here are done so without any compensation from the vendors and are not an endorsement of any kind. They are simply links to products that I have used or have read about)
Choosing an Editor
So you have all of your footage shot and want to make a nice video. There are a wide range of editing software that is available to day ranging from free to $1000s. Choosing an editor depends on a few things. One is your ability to use the application. If you are looking to create a quick video and do not have the time to sit down and learn a system such as the Adobe Premiere Pro, then maybe a more drag and drop approach will be better. For that there are a large range of free and inexpensive editors. Now what is an editor. That has changed with the introduction of the non-linear editing system in the late 1980s. Going digital allowed us to move beyond the tape editing that was basically cuting out the source content and recording it in a linear track on tape. Now we can have layers of content from video to graphics to special effects added and removed with ease and all within a single editing application. You may want to fly in a logo or add an explosion effect, not you can do that with ease and in many cases for free.
Free Editors - Are They Worth The Price
Today you can use a wide range of applications including cloud services to edit your content from any device from anywhere. The cost of entry into editing has come done greatly where even your smartphone can be used to not only edit but also be your camera and microphone. But in some cases having a workstation with a NLE is the only option. Determining which software you go with depends on the type of work you will be doing and the budget. If you are editing a school play and are only going to do one or maybe a couple and have no budget then going with a $10,000 editing suite is not an option. Here are some budget friendly options.
If you are just starting out you can try several NLEs for free. Below are a list of them. Both Media 100 and DaVinci Resolve are professional editing systems while iMovie is for personal projects. But all have the basic functionality and can be used to produce great videos. Here is an example of a project done in one of these editing systems.
Windows, macOS, Linux
Going with a free editor can actually work to your benefit. Many of these are fully functional and you can actually create some great products from them. What is great about them is that you can try them out and see which one works best and you are only out the time it takes for you to work on them. And if you find that you are needing more advance tools then you can always step up to the professional software from Adobe, Apple, Avid, Blackmagic and Vegas. These are usually product suites that include tools for audio, graphics, special effects, editing, color correction and authoring of DVD and Blu-ray. The industry is going towards subscription based services but you can still purchase Final Cut Pro and DaVinci Resolve for $299. I personally use Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere along with After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator.
Most of the editing packages will have some tutorials available and YouTube will have a bunch of videos from people that use the systems. Play around with these systems will any footage that you shoot or grab some stock content and try out the systems. While they may look very complicated in the beginning, once you start using them you will find that they all function about the same. There are also several podcasts available that focus on post-production for novices and professionals. These are great sources of information.