There is a wide range of editing programs available for home use - e.g. for non-linear editing and sound editing. It’s wise to consider the programs available before delving into one program, as you could find your choices are limited in the midst of editing and find it hard to transfer between programs. Similarly the decisions made when importing your material to your computer (the resolution and compression) cannot be changed without losing information. The most widely used compression format is QuickTime which is regularly updated and backward compatible (meaning you can continue to access footage compressed with an older version). Consult with an editor before you begin, to set the standard that you will use throughout the editing process.
The basic desktop digital editing packages are Final Cut (on Mac), Avid XpressDV (on Mac and PC) and Adobe Premiere (on PC). The websites listed below provide advice and support for these programs. Most professional post-production companies will edit with Avid’s high-end programs or with Lightworks. High-end editing equipment is mainly supplied as stand alone work stations (including multiple monitors etc) and are not for home use. However, it is possible to edit your work on a domestic computer and later take your work to a post-production company to finish it with a high-end program. If you are thinking of doing this it is essential to contact the editor/company who will finish the process before you start editing to make sure your Edit Decision List (EDL) will be compatible with their system. This could just be a question of the format of the edit decision list or could be the program you use.
The leading industry sound editing program is Digidesign’s Pro Tools. It is widely used within the film and TV industry and can be used on home computers (information of a free version is below). Another package widely available is Adobe Audition (formerly Cool Edit Pro) which is an accessible program for sound editing and manipulation.
For information on computer retailers see Artquest's comprehensive list of suppliers – Computers and Internet. The Regent Street Apple Store run a Genius Bar, for information, free advice and help with your Apple computer.
Adobe are behind many key programs on the PC including the editing program Premiere, the titles and image processing program After Effects as well as Photoshop. The website has information on all their programs as well as trouble shooting and advice. Adobe also offer a range of DVD authoring programs.
Avid are the industry leader in professional film and TV editing. Their program Avid Media Composer is the most widely used professional editing program (along with Avid Film Composer adapted to edit for 35mm and 16mm film). Avid also offer Avid XpressDV a cheap semi-pro editing system, widely available and can be used on Mac or PC. This program integrates well with Avid’s high end systems meaning you can easily complete the edit on a more powerful system later on.
Domestic semi-professional program. Accessible and widely used for Mac. A similar system to Avid XpressDV but not as widely used in the film industry.
Lightworks is a professional system not as widely used as Avid but often used by editors who moved from film to computer based editing. It is used most commonly for feature film editing. Their website has extensive information on product range, profiles of editors and support. It also hosts the section Talent Pool which has information on experienced Lightworks editors plus their contact details.
Pinnacle Systems (now a division of Avid) offer a wide range of video capture cards and editing equipment for domestic to professional use. Their website outlines their range of available products and technical support.
QuickTime is a widely used media compression format. It has professional and domestic application and is also available for High Definition video. The basic QuickTime media player can be downloaded from the website (for Mac and PC).
Adobe Audition (formerly Cool Edit Pro)
Adobe Audition 1.5 software is a professional audio-editing package. Designed for audio and video professionals, Adobe Audition offers advanced audio mixing, editing, and effects-processing capabilities.
From the first idea to complete compositions, Cubase is the virtual studio for musicians and producers looking for a creative way to realise their projects. WaveLab lets producers and sound engineers perform accurate mastering, broadcasting and sound design work.
Pro Tools is a digital audio editing system made by Digidesign, now owned and distributed by Avid Technologies. Pro Tools offers high-quality sound editing and manipulation (for Mac and PC). A free version of Pro Tools is available for download from the Digidesign website. Using your computer's built-in sound capability, Pro Tools FREE offers up to 8 tracks of audio and 48 tracks of MIDI, real-time plug-ins, and many of the same editing and mixing features in the professional program.