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What Software Do You Use for Video Editing?

Published: 29/08/2019

Darren in California writes:

What are people using for real estate video editing these days? I've been using Adobe Premiere Pro CC for about 6 years and it makes my skin crawl just about every time. I'm a PC user and Premiere Pro was recommended to me when I first started. I've just tolerated it ever since. It's gotten to the point where my workflow is being hindered significantly and I almost cringe when a client wants to add video to a photo shoot knowing that I'll have to deal with PP. I find it terrible in so many ways; notably the rendering/playback time, exporting time, random bugs, over complexity to do simple things such as creating a title; I could go on. I have to believe there is a better solution. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Thanks for writing in, Darren. I dabble in video but it's by no means my area of expertise so I reached out to Nick Swartzendruber from Drone Cowboys who has been absolutely killing it in the film game for a while now. Here is what Nick had to pass along:

"Since Darren is using a PC, he can’t use Final Cut Pro X which would probably be the best fit for him. The next best thing is DaVinci Resolve. You can download the non-linear editor for free (the studio version, you have to pay for) and there’s no monthly expense. Blackmagic has been constantly updating and streamlining Davinci so it's very powerful and much more user friendly than Premiere. Davinci is very impressive and even has some AI built into it."

Here are couple of comparison videos that might be worth a watch:

Davinci Resolve vs Premiere

Davinci vs Premiere vs Final Cut

[polldaddy poll=10396802]

Brandon Cooper

17 comments on “What Software Do You Use for Video Editing?”

  1. I don't do many videos, and found Premire Pro hard to deal with. The high subscription cost is what finally pushed me to try Davinci Resolve, and I find it easier to use, and free.

  2. I am personally a professional cinematographer and photographer and use Premiere Pro for compilation, Audition for audio, After Effects for motion graphics, Photoshop for stills and text layers, and Davinci for color grading.

    Based upon your complaints, I think the issue is that your computer is getting a bit old for the video work. It takes a pretty powerful computer to work with 4K or 6k footage. Depending on the assignment and where the video will be displayed, I may not render video files in 4K, but in 1080, as that is generally the max places like YouTube or Facebook will display. Even then, for real estate, I often shoot 60fps at 1080 anyways, as I generally prefer the faster frames over the higher resolution for slower more cinematic footage on a 24 frame timeline.

    If you are shooting 4K footage, try going to 1080 for more manageable video files as most people won’t notice unless they are looking at the footage from a 4K tv off a Blu-ray. If 4K or 6k is a must, it maybe time for a hardware upgrade to speed up your workflow.

  3. I switched from Premiere (user since 2002) to Resolve and won't look back. Overall better performance and responsiveness. Color correcting is hands down the best. Here is a video I made on coloring in Resolve vs. Premiere. There is another one somewhere in my channel where I talk about editing in Resolve.

  4. I switched from Premiere pro to Davinci resolve about a year ago. It is a different workflow than premiere, so there is a learning curve, but well worth taking the time to learn. The learning curve is not bad. The studio version is included with some Black Magic products - so if you happen to need a new video camera, you can save the $299.99 price for studio. The free version has everything that the studio version has (I believe) but will not work with raw or some log files.

    I no longer dread video editing!

  5. This year, I only had one Agent asking if I was doing Drone Video- The bottom line is that in my market, Video is not a big demand to say the least. I do not offer Video at that point. The idea to learn Premiere/Davinci to do a few videos every season does not seem to be realistic to me. What about software like Adobe Premiere Elements if you were to do a handful of video per year?

  6. A few observations - Resolve is considerably harder to learn, especially for people used to a familiar GUI. It's frankly a foreign feeling interface similar to After Effects, which is a miserable interface to work with. Video already has a bit of a steeper learning curve because you're working under considerably tighter limitations as compared to a RAW image file. Most of us choose to shoot RAW because we dont want to edit already "baked" images, but with video, they are already baked, and that makes shooting and editing difficult. The clunkiness of video editing programs just exacerbates that problem, and they are inherently clunky because of the size and scale of video.With still images, your computer is only working with 100mb or less, but with video, it's measured in gigabytes. So first, you have to have a machine with a lot more beef to handle that. And you can't be casual about that. I, rather naively, bought the 2013 Mac Pro. The thing has two video cards, 64 gigs of RAM, and a boatload of other nifty things, and guess what? Video is still clunky as hell on it.

    In spite of that, I do multiple videos a week. I use Premier Pro. What I have done is solve problems one by one to get to a reasonable workflow. None of these programs is going to be a magic bullet for anybody, not even if you had the most capable computer on earth. You have to KNOW what you are doing with them. Here's what I do:

    -choose a shooting format, I chose S-Log3. I did that because it's flat as hell. I expose it with the histogram centered. I do that because home interiors are different then other subject matter, and if you expose to the right, you will blow it out unrecoverably.

    -Choose an editor you can live with. You are not going to love it no matter what. I chose Premier Pro because I can understand the GUI much easier then Resolve. I absolutely dont need to fight the GUI while I'm fighting the video learning curve simultaneously. I can always move to other editors later if I need to, but first I need a working knowledge of video editing.

    -when you edit, start thinking about how to create templates that capture your editing success's. You're going to come across a better solution for color, or rendering speed one day, and you're going to want that setup in a template that you can recall instantly. Since I shoot S-Log, my template is set to input 4k s-log files, on a 4 minute max timeline, and since the camera always has the same settings, there are adjustment layers with LUTs that I have created that reside in that template that will make the s-log beautiful before I even add individual Lumetri settings to tweak each file. This streamlines the editing process. Like stills, I already know how it's going to look before I even work on it. My template is set to output 1080p, and the reason has to do with Zillow's upload limitation of 500mb's. A 4min 1080p file comes in just under 500mb. Anything less is fine also, that's the outer limit though.

    -Learn how to create LUT's in PS CC. It's quite easy. Take a frame from your log footage, edit it in PS using only adjustment layers until it looks amazing, then create a LUT. That LUT should be applied in the creative section of Lumetri, not in the basic section. I dont know why, I just know it works predictably. If you do the LUT right, you will need very little grading in your editor, which will eliminate the time bottleneck of video editing.

    -Finally, render while you sleep. If you have a reasonable computer, you can multitask, but if you dont, render while you sleep so your lousy little eff'd up computer won't blow a gasket while you run bloated software on it.

    - I also have several templates to facilitate my workflow. There is the main editing template as described above, and there is a secondary template just for branding the video. For each of my realtors, I already have a branding template so all I have to do is drop in the main edit, and change the address of the property. It takes my computer less then 2 minutes to render the final branded output, but it takes it over 2 hours to render the initial roughly 4min edit.

    In using that workflow above, I can edit up to a 4min show in an hour. It's as efficient as I think is doable, what with imputing the files, setting in and out points, correcting perspective on each file, and tweaking the color. And, I'm not talking about a competition quality edit, this is a very straightforward baloney sandwich edit. Good, but not perfect.

    Once you get a good workflow down, you will find yourself not hating the hell out of the process.

  7. Premiere is the standard in the industry. It sounds like your problem is more your computer. Video editing is a bear and spending 3k on a computer you use to edit video is not unreasonable. You may not want to spend that much, but you’ll save hours and hours in time rendering/exporting.

    I personally use final cut at the moment simply because of the cost. It’s far less expensive than premieres monthly cost. The export times and rendering are faster than premiere, but premiere gives you more flexibility with editing, color correcting, transitions, and graphics.

  8. I use Final Cut ProX for severals reasons. 1. I hate the "lease to use" business model Adobe has adopted and with FCPX you buy it once and no monthly payments. 2. I have used a Mac since they were first introduced and see no reason to change. 3. I used iMovie for years and felt that since its user interface looked similar it would be a smooth transition (did not work that way in practice!), 4. Grant Johnston uses FCPX so as I had taken his courses in RE video it was a natural choice and he then came out with his tutorial for editing real estate using FCPX that cleared my way for working with FCPX that had eluded me prior to taking his tutorial. (It also will help those struggling with Premiere as well even if all the tools are not called the same thing or in the same place. It lays out a smooth and efficient work flow.)

    Yes with my 2015 MacBook lap top it takes time to export, but I have few hangups when editing except for when I use Ramp Speed and/or other plug ins to deal with lighting flicker or other heavy processing filters.

  9. We are on a Mac and therefore use an extremely easy - powerful product called ScreenFlow from Telestream. Easy, inexpensive and you can upgrade your support to telephone support on an annual basis. We have really cut down on our use of Adobe Premiere Pro since becoming distributors for Telestream. Constant webinars, easy to access tutorials and feature rich. Great facebook private group as well.

  10. I use Premiere and love it BUT the cost is becoming bothersome. I stick with it because creating PDF files is an integral part of my business so I have the Adobe package which includes PS, LR, and Acrobat (PDF). I did not mind the $10-$20 per month as I figured I was upgrading my Adobe software every two years or or so. But now the PS/LR combo is reasonable at $10/month, but to add premiere and acrobat you have to buy everything at $50 or so per month. Now am seriously looking at a replacement for premiere (resolve is top of the list I have it on my PC at it seems fine) and acrobat.
    I am an experienced premiere user and the few times I created simple videos in resolve it was fine.

  11. Thanks for the feedback everyone. Quick note, I'm using a pretty beefy computer, purchased in 2014, desktop that was specifically built for photo/video editing (after my previous Dell was too weak). I just find Adobe PP to be clunky and not very intuitive for someone who's not very fluent with the program. Hoping for simplicity, going to try DaVinci Resolve.

  12. I used both Premiere and Resolve. If they were both free programs I would give the edge to Resolve myself. For what I do stuff just works better with Resolve, and things tend to go faster. I use warp stabilizer a lot for example, and it is just way faster in Resolve. I would rate the final results as about equal though.

    Premiere tends to get worse in certain areas with updates, and as a professional (Tom Antos) noted in a Youtube video I saw, Premiere can be difficult/impossible to use without an internet connection. That right there is an absolute deal breaker. I always have internet when I work, but who in the hell does adobe think they are?!

    Again, both free and I favor Resolve. But resolve is free so it becomes almost too easy of a decision at that point. Plus resolve updates result in actual improvements, like an entire new way to edit via the cut page in this last iteration. Adobe products get worse with updates.

  13. I seldom do videos for real estate, only when someone begs me (not even sure why they might do that), but I do video local music acts as part of a volunteer for the St. Louis Blues Society and sometimes for whiskey. I use two or three cameras and two to four audio feeds and use Corel VideoStudio Ultimate to edit. It's just simple and was quick and it was easy to learn the workflow. I imagine if I were charging a lot of money for RE video I would get Premier Pro and take some classes to learn how to use it. However, considering it has taken me a couple decades to learn everything I need to know with Lightroom and Photoshop, I don't relish that sort of challenge right now. I am plenty busy with just stills and I have a friend who does only video, so we double up quite often.

  14. Yeah, that's right im also using Adobe Premiere Pro CC from last 3 years this software is amazing and giving awesome editing and always gives a very good update. i recommend this software to my friends

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