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Review: Four Feature-Filled Video Editors For $100 And Less

Video editing for the PC has become a lot like image editing: easier, and a lot more automated. In both cases, users can choose from a broad range of tools to accomplish tasks that used to take a lot of manual drudgework. For example, today's video editing tools let you add canned music to fit a specific length of video, clean up image noise and fixing a shaky camera shot.

Consequently, while the level of polished in the finished product is always going to be up to the creator, novice video developers will now find it a lot easier to pass themselves off as professionals -- or, at least, as reasonably skilled editors.

Four Video Editors

•  Introduction

•  Adobe Premiere Elements

•  CyberLink PowerDirector

•  Pinnacle Studio Plus

•  Ulead VideoStudio

•  Conclusions

For this roundup, I looked at consumer-level video editing applications from Adobe, Cyberlink, Pinnacle, and Ulead, each for about $100. All of them offer the same basic mix of functions: importing video from a variety of sources, editing, audio dubbing, effects and transitions, both timeline and storyboard editing modes, and exporting to a variety of formats (including, as one case, uploading the results directly to YouTube).

What I found most eye-opening is the smattering of pro-level features that have started to work their way into consumer video products:

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