Today’s cell phones make it incredibly easy to create videos of and for any occasion. The phones also feature basic editing capabilities for video.
But what if you want something more? You want to change backgrounds or include still photos in the video, all the while maintaining narration. Edits like this once required expensive equipment and software.
But no longer. I found my solution with a program called Filmora 9.
My Journey in Video Editing
I originally got into video editing when I wanted to create trailers for my novels. I wanted a short video showing various photos and text representing scenes from the book, with an underlying musical score.
At the time, the only software I could find which met my requirements was Pinnacle Studio, made by Pinnacle Systems. When I first discovered it in 2012, the company had just been acquired by Corel, the makers of WordPerfect.
Even though Pinnacle was advertised as a consumer-level video editor, the learning curve was relatively steep. And it wasn’t cheap. Still, it was the best product available for what I wanted to do. Once I learned how to use it, I was very happy with the videos I made with it.
Then in 2015, I switched my operating platform to Mac. I had earlier replaced my aging Windows laptop with a MacBook, and I felt it was time to take the plunge into the Mac world.
I was happy with the decision, with one problem: Pinnacle Studio only works on a PC. There was, and is, no Mac version. That seemed strange to me since Macs have long been known for their graphic capabilities, but so it was.
I learned that I could run Pinnacle by using a PC emulator such as Parallels on my Mac, but that in itself was a considerable expense. However, other needs dictated that I get the emulator, so I was able to run Pinnacle that way.
Then about two years ago, I discovered that newer versions of Pinnacle would not run on a PC emulator. I contacted the company and they confirmed that.
So for a while, I ran Pinnacle on an old PC laptop – far from the best solution.
I began searching for a replacement video editor, one that could do all the things I needed1.
Filmora 9, by Wondershare, appeared to have the features I wanted. In addition, the interface looked very similar to Pinnacle’s. And most importantly, a Mac version was available as well as one for Windows computers.
After testing it in a free trial, I was convinced. In fact, the process of importing photos and other media was actually easier than with Pinnacle.
And the price was similar. Filmora 9, the current version, will set you back $44.99 for a year’s subscription ($39.99 per year for Windows). But here’s the amazing thing about their pricing. A lifetime license for either Windows or Mac is only $69.99. That’s a one-time purchase, and updates are included at no charge.
In contrast, Pinnace’s price for the current version, 24, is $59.95 to $129.95, depending on the features you want. For most personal use, the $59.95 option is sufficient.
However, only minor fixes are included with that price. When a new version comes out, you have to purchase the upgrade. They usually offer a reduced price upgrade option, but it still adds up to far more than the cost of Filmora.
The Filmora 9 Desktop
This article is not intended to be a tutorial on video editing with Filmora 9. I only want to briefly discuss the screens and then let the user experience the editor. There are several tutorial videos for Filmora on YouTube.
The initial desktop is shown in the photo above. It is divided into a Tracks area where you can load multiple tracks of still photos, video, or audio to be overlayed on another. The Media Work Area is the storage location for any type of media you will incorporate into your video presentation.
The Video Display shows you what the video looks like at any point as you assemble it.
The Timing Bar shows you where you are in elapsed time through the video. This bar can be expanded or contracted horizontally to show greater or lesser increments of time for fine-tuning the edit.
The Editing Tools bar allows you to cut or paste increments of your presentation. The Effects Panel adds such features as transitions between segments, titles, and backgrounds.
This photo shows the Filmora 9 desktop with an actual video I developed.
The three media segments that I used in this video are shown in the Media Work Area. They consist of, from left to right, a photo of my office, a photo of my photography logo on a white background, and a video of me shot against green screen2.
The Tracks area shows the three segments stacked one above the other. With the still photo of the office placed below the segment of me in front of the green screen, the green is removed and it appears I am sitting in my office area. Note the effect in the Video Display. The third track is the audio portion of the video.
If you look closely at each end of the top track, the white logo card appears at the beginning and end the video.
The Position Bar shows the current location within the video, as noted on the Timing Bar. The location is also shown at the lower right of the Video Display. At this time, the video is at 11.43 seconds (This was a short introductory video – only about 36 seconds long).
There is a depiction of scissors on the position bar. Clicking on the bar at that location will cut all segments at that particular point. If you only want to cut one segment, to insert another element for example, you can highlight the track and press the scissor icon in the Editing Bar.
When you are satisfied with your video production, you can export it in a number of formats by simply pressing the green Export button at the top-center of the display.
When you leave the program, your video is saved as a project which can be further edited and exported in the future.
Happy with my Choice
I am extremely satisfied with the Filmora 9 software. It does everything I need it to do for the types of videos I produce. One slight downside is that the transitions – effects to soften the switch between scenes – are not quite as sophisticated as those available with Pinnacle.
However, the overall product – considering ease of use and pricing structure – is superior to Pinnacle, in my mind.
Do you do any type of video editing? If so, what software works for you? Comment below – I look forward to seeing what others are doing.
- I had the pro version of Pinnacle, which had a lot of features I never used, but when I first purchased it, I didn’t know what features I would need.
- For those not familiar, a green screen allows you to block out the background and replace it with something else. Filmora 9 allows you to adjust to green tone so that variations of green will work just fine.