When it comes to overall flexibility and power among the lower-end software packages, Adobe Premiere and Ulead Media Studio Pro offer the best value for the money, many experts say.
All offer the ability to create high-end effects such as dissolves and chroma-key, the technique used by television stations to superimpose one moving image on another. Many capture cards come with a "lite" version of Adobe Premiere or MediaStudio. Both are similar to the professional packages but cost much less.
While these packages allow entry-level manipulation of video, experts advise consumers who invest $1,000 or more for new MiniDV cameras to make similar investments in software.
High-end video-editing suites such as Adobe Premiere 5.1 ($895) and Final Cut Pro ($999) are far better suited to digital film processing on home computers.
Here's a list of lower-end, basic editing software:
MGI Software VideoWave 3.5 ($90) comes with many camcorders and video capture cards sold these days at electronics stores. Novice-level packages such as VideoWave generally limit sessions to one minute of input from the camcorder.
Ulead VideoStudio 4.0 ($90) performs a major overhaul of VideoStudio, its novice-level video-editing package. VideoStudio 4.0 adds lots of cool tools, including comprehensive support for digital camcorders and music soundtracks from audio CDs or MP3 files. The program's user interface is clumsy, but it's still a solid choice for rookie video editors.
Pinnacle Systems Studio DV ($78) features edit and capture video capability using a FireWire card.
Apple's iMovie2 ($49) is a very basic home movie tool recently upgraded by Apple. It comes standard on many iMacs.
Microsoft's Movie Maker ($59), comparable to iMovie2, is a very basic tool incorporated into the new Windows Me operating system upgrade.