Picking editor software to support video creation for learning can be a challenge. In this article, I offer a minimalist approach to the job, beginning with a realistic assessment of what is actually required in most instructional videos.
Video editing is all post-production work but the choice of the editor software needs to match the skill set of the person doing the actual editing, as well as support everything that happens in the production phase: the type of video you will be making, and the equipment and devices you will be using.
Know what you need
Video editor software is a long-term investment. As video technology changes, evolves, and advances, software within a brand tends to keep up, and editors gain experience with time. If you are using pro-level software now, chances are it already supports all or most of what you will need. Otherwise, look at pro-level tools to start with; they will provide more capability than consumer-level, more online support resources, and native support for the newest technology.
Read review comments thoughtfully: watch for weaknesses that affect the type of work you will be doing. Strengths and weaknesses that do not relate to editing video for learning do not count. Be cautious about upselling in reviews in photo/video-oriented magazines and websites. You are probably going to be making videos that are three to seven minutes long, not an hour, with enough production value to engage the viewers.
Be sure that your video editing computer can support the software and its application to the kind of video you are going to edit. Check the minimum system specifications (CPU, GPU and VRAM, RAM) and compatibility with plug-ins if required.
For most training or L&D videos:
- Support for 4K video
- Support for video formats used by DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, camcorders, and pro video cameras
- Basic editing to join, trim, and split video clips, and to create animated transitions. Drag-and-drop style editors will not be adequate for anything beyond simple cuts, and will only handle limited input and output formats.
- Support for chroma-key (green screen), color enhancement filters, creative effects, distortions, and picture-in-picture (PIP)
- Multiple timelines to support video clips, audio, and text overlays
- Closed captions
- Titles and title effects, with WYSIWYG editing
- Multicam editing
- Motion tracking
- If needed for your projects:
- Color grading
- 360 video support