Video Editing Tools on a Budget

As a follow-up to my equipment list to what is in my HD mobile video kit, I wanted to discuss some of the affordable video software that is available.

I use every tool on this list. Some of them don’t fit my exact needs as an individual (but they do fit client needs.)

[stextbox id=”info”]To give an idea of my experience with tools like this, I also use some higher end video software such as Adobe After Effects, Premiere, and Lightwave. All of these higher end tools are great, but unless you do video work every day it is hard to justify spending thousands of dollars in software.[/stextbox]

So here are some of my favorite budget video editing tools broken into three segments: desktop software, online tools, and iPad/Touch apps.
These tools range from $2 to $150.


The following two programs are very comparable. Most professionals would be equally served by either one of them and they have an identical $100 price point. An example is that Corel Video Studio Pro X4 renders video at almost the same speed as Pinnacle Studio HD.

pinnacle studio hdPinnacle Studio HD Ultimate 15 ($100)
(also has a $50 version)

Created by Avid (who produces a leading array of video/audio software), Studio HD is my favorite ‘easy edit’ software. It had a fairly short learning curve, the layout was intuitive, and it rendered video fairly quickly on both my desktop and laptop systems. A winning point for me is that it comes jam packed with thousands of built in effects that would have taken a $25,000 video rig a few years ago.

Studio HD also supports green screen effects (which take longer to familiarize yourself with, as you need to develop proper lighting techniques)  It also has a plugin and template format that allows you to buy numerous add-ons on effects for specific projects.

In a nutshell, this is the tool I turn to when I need to do something quickly and make it look good. Find more info on the product site.

corel video studio x4Corel Video Studio Pro X4$100

Video Studio Pro X4 by Corel intrigued me when it hit the shelf. While I think that Pinnacle has a better hand on the basic video elements, Corel has leveraged a history of working with creative professionals and has added on some new features that apply to unique projects: mainly the ability to do stop motion, time-lapse, and 3d.

I haven’t had the opportunity to produce finalized content using these new tools, but the ability to use these techniques for an everyday project is amazing.

  • Stop Motion Animation โ€“ create your own animated movie starring people, toys or objects
  • Time-Lapse Effect โ€“ easily and quickly create time-lapse sequences from photos or videos
  • Export in 3D โ€“ turn your 2D video into a 3D movie

Find more info on the product site.


Both of the following video editing tools are good options for removing the need for real video editing. In many cases adding just a little bit of flavor and a good soundtrack can take your videos and photos to the next level.

Animoto ($30 to $250 a year)

Animoto is simply fun. It combines photos, videos, and music into a combined video that is set to your soundtrack. It also offers hundreds of songs that you can use for projects.

In a nutshell, Animoto is brutally simple.

It produces the best ‘instant clips’ of any of service like it, but does this by sacrificing variety and customization (it only has 15-20 templates)

For iPhone and Touch users, Animoto also has an application that allows you to do everything from your phone (which is great for parties and events)

If you want to create video almost effortlessly or on the go, Animoto wins over ProShowWeb (see below)

Find more info on the product site.

($30 to $150 per year)

ProShow Web is similar to Animoto, but is has a lot more flexibility in the final product. The down side to this flexibility is that it isn’t ‘one button easy’ like Animoto.

ProShow Web accomplishes this by giving you access to more templates and customization effects online, as well as allowing you to download an editing tool for your desktop. If you are looking to create videos at your desktop, this tool would be a better value than Animoto.

Find more info on the product site.


The iPad and iPod touch are unique tools to a videographers arsenal. If you already own either of these devices, the following apps are really a no brainer upgrade.

reeldirectorReelDirector ($2)

Reel Director is a self-contained video editor. You can title, cut, trim, and splice video clips. It allows you to record soundtracks and voice overs. It provides sub-titles and opening/closing clips.

In a nutshell, this $2 app allows you to skip all of the above software and create some really effective videos.

movieslateMovieSlate ($20)

This app is for when you get more serious about video. One of the core problems about shooting video is that you forget information about where it was, who was in it, what camera you used, and what flash card the video is on. This app combines a traditional clap board utility and provides all the ‘data tracking’ bonuses on the back-end. (this app does require some learning time, expect to play with it for an hour or so before you can begin benefiting from all its features.)

TelePrompt+ ($10)

This is one of my best iPad purchases. It allows you to enter all you text into your device and then provides a scrolling teleprompter that you can sit next to your camera. This allows you look brilliant on camera (you never forget your lines!) and it also provides the ability to take multiple audio samples (if you like to podcast, this is a great tool for selecting the best version of your audio.)

Thanks for Reading

Combined with some basic video equipment, the above video editing tools will allow you to produce some great video.

If you have questions about any of the software above or have some recommendations to share with the community – please leave a comment below or share with your friends.

3 thoughts on “Video Editing Tools on a Budget”

  1. Thanks for the great tips Barry.

    It was great meeting you last week. I’m surprised by the number of people who are finally adopting video across different channels.

    I’m going to give Animoto a whirl and get Teleprompt. That should help me avoid forgetting my lines. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I prefer the Corel Studio, but I’ve been using Corel since the late 90s.

    Are there any iPad equipment gadgets out there that may it easier to use for taking video?

  3. You put together a great list of video editing tools that will help almost anyone to create a professional video while on a budget.

    I am from Bombing Brain Interactive, the developers of Teleprompt+, and wanted to thank you for including our Ipad app in your article.

    We’re glad to hear the Teleprompt+ app is working out so well for you!

    We continue to strive to improve everyone’s telemprompting experience, and will be launching a new version of Teleprompt+ in early April. It will allow you to record videos of yourself as well as use a Bluetooh foot pedal or Bluetooth keyboard as a controller.

    Thanks again for the mention, best of luck to everyone with their video shooting endeavours!

    Ryan Taft
    Bombing Brain Marketing
    @BombingBrain (Twitter)

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