The Best Software for Video Production: Experts Weigh In On Their Favorite Tools for 2021
Regardless of your industry, video has to be part of your marketing strategy. Learn more about the wealth of video production tools that can help your business stand out.
Video content hasn’t lost any momentum in the marketing world as a powerful tool for lead conversion and building and increasing client engagement across content channels. With that in mind, we reached out to marketing experts and business executives to find out what tools their teams were using in 2021 to create and edit video content.
The results included many references to several industry-leading video production suites, but there were also some amazing, smaller-scale solutions that are perfect for businesses of all sizes to affordably handle their video content creation needs in-house. Follow along with us as we break down 30 of the top video production tools in 2021.
Experts Share The Right Tool For The Task At Hand
The community response was a clear indication that video content plays a major role in marketing strategies regardless of industry. As we parsed responses from the experts in the field, we found that the tools being suggested fell into several distinct categories.
Professional-Grade Desktop Video Editing Suites
For businesses willing to pay for industry-leading solutions, there were a handful of software solutions that appeared multiple times in the responses we received. These mentions came as either lauding these leading software suites or mentioning these solutions as driving factors in forcing video developers at the top of the pile to innovate and improve their products over the years.
Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Premiere Pro is Adobe Creative Cloud’s video production solution and is considered to be one of the products on the market that sets the industry standard for video production. Premiere is comfortable to veteran video editors with an interface and timeline editor reminiscent of some of the industry’s most popular past solutions, such as Avid and Final Cut Pro 7, while still boasting powerful innovations for modern video editing needs like 3D editing and 360-degree editing for Virtual Reality productions. The platform comes as part of the Creative Cloud’s monthly subscription at $80 per month for businesses or can be subscribed to on an individual basis for as low as $21 per month, depending on your terms.
“Premiere Pro makes our videos look great—you can add cool transitions, insert text, and do pretty much anything you want with it. I like that it integrates easily with other Adobe software since we use Adobe for most of our video and graphic production.”—Daivat Dholakia, Director of Operations, Force by Mojio
Final Cut Pro
Apple’s answer to Adobe Premiere and other industry-leading video production tools, Final Cut Pro is optimized from the ground up to fully leverage the power of Apple’s new M1 chip-based hardware. The latest version, the successor to Final Cut Pro X, has shifted the platform to a new unique approach to video timeline editing and has added a powerful AI-driven tool for formatting and optimizing video clips for use across various social media platforms. This Mac-only solution is currently available at $299 for full access to all of the software’s functionality.
“I really like the automatic cropping tools, which format videos for mobile and tablet view. There’s a lot of features and we’re always discovering new things that can be done with it. Also, my company leans heavily toward Mac users, so using Final Cut just makes sense.”—Ravi Parikh, CEO, RoverPass Campground Management Software
Corel VideoStudio Pro
A full-range video production suite, VideoStudio Pro provides an extremely robust yet affordable alternative to some of the industry-leading video production suites on the Windows platform. Allows users to add effects and color correct, as well as edit in 360-degree views. VideoStudio is available only on PCs and comes with a 30-day trial, and then can be downloaded for a one-time payment of $80.
“All necessary editing tools, such as cropping, trimming, and splitting video, are available immediately on the timeline in the video editing software. You can also adjust the video’s aspect ratio, rotate it, and alter it in any way you like.”—Lacy Summers, Chief Marketing Officer, Crush the PM Exam
The Lightworks video production and editing software has been a mainstay in the industry for 25 years and has been used in the production of some of the most visually stunning films in cinematic history. The latest version of Lightworks updates and extends features to include tools for social media video production and modern video media file formats. Compatible with both PC and macOS, there is a limited functionality version users can download for free and use to learn their way around the platform and improve their skills. More professional users can enjoy a short trial period of Lightworks Pro before paying $25 per month, $175 for the year, or springing for Lightworks Pro with an additional digital effects package for $438.
“Lightworks is a versatile video editing software that has a strong presence on the market because of its well-designed interface. The workspace is customizable, and while the UI may appear to be outdated at first, people with prior video editing knowledge should find it to be manageable.”—Andrew Chornyy, CEO, Plerdy
Pinnacle Studio 24 Ultimate
A product of Corel, Pinnacle has been a long-standing workhorse in the video production industry. With a timeline editor that has evolved with the industry standards, the program also includes color correction tools and the ability to mask video in order to create unique visual effects. The versatility and depth of features available on Pinnacle’s platform make for a tool that shouldn’t have any problem continuing to remain competitive for the foreseeable future. The product has adopted a tiered pricing model based on functionality, with pricing ranging from $60 to $130 without the current promotional pricing in place.
“If you’re having your social media person handle video on top of their other responsibilities and you don’t plan to make it a huge part of your business, Pinnacle will work great.”—Rex Freiberger, CEO, Gadget Review
All-Purpose Desktop Video Editing Tools
Throughout the responses from experts, we found that there were video production tools mentioned that had quite a few features under the hood, and in some cases were even considered industry-leading examples when it came to certain functionality. However, on a side-by-side comparison with the full video production suites, these solutions weren’t quite on the same level overall. Note that pricing did not play a factor in this categorization, as some of the solutions in this section come priced as premium services, despite being outperformed by less expensive competing products.
Adobe Premiere Elements
In an effort to capture as much of the market share for video production as possible, and provide solutions for professionals at all skill levels, Adobe offers several forms of video editing software. For users just getting into video editing and who don’t want to be overwhelmed with complicated interfaces and just need basic video editing functionality, there is Adobe Premiere Elements. This product is a stripped-down version of Premiere Pro. The tool integrates the power of the Pro version with automated workflows that leave the heavy lifting to the built-in AI. The program exists outside of the subscription-based Creative Cloud suite, so after a 30-day trial, users must buy Premiere Elements outright for a one-time cost of $100. Accessible on Mac and PC.
“Adobe Premiere Elements is a great tool that we use to edit and launch our internal training videos. The platform helps in the editing process by providing useful step by guides so that the process is easy and accessible to even the beginner editors on our team.”—Christopher Moore, Chief Marketing Officer, Quiet Light
VideoPad Video Editor
Sold through the Australian-based NCH Software brand, VideoPad is a stand-alone editor for either Mac or PC users that offers a mid-range solution for businesses that need more functionality than some of the easier-to-use web-based solutions. The Master’s Edition that provides access to all features and access to media libraries can be purchased for a flat rate of $99 or on a monthly subscription for $3.88 per month.
“In my opinion, VideoPad is one of the greatest video editing programs for getting started with multimedia video editing. It’s ideal for anyone just getting started with video compositions because it’s simple and easy to use.”—Edward Mellett, Co-Founder, WikiJob.UK
Filmora by Wondershare
This PC and Apple-friendly desktop application integrates automation in order to minimize repetitive tasks and gives access to a feature-rich sound and audio control as well as color correction tools. Filmora helps to format videos to the right social media channels, and the film media stock includes access to effects and motion graphics. Pricing on both platforms for the individual is the same and starts at $52 per year, with lifetime access to the software running $80 for independent users. Business licenses cost $155.88 annually and include more robust support features and multiple users.
“We are a garden and lawn landscaping company and we make how-to videos to guide our customers about basic caring for their lawns and gardens without calling a professional gardener. These videos have attracted a lot of attention from our customers and other viewers.”—Kate Gross, Graphic Designer, Fix The Photo
OpenShot Video Editor
The video editing product landscape is rife with pay-to-play features and complicated freemium subscriptions. That’s why OpenShot is a refreshing addition to this list, with its open-source, feature-rich, and donation-driven platform that can hold its own against many of the expensive tools on the market. To get involved with the development and support of the application, check out the team’s current open issues on GitHub.
“One of my favorite tools we use to help our clients develop exciting and engaging content is Openshot. I prefer this program because it is open source and available on all operating systems, and its simple interface makes it easy to cut and move scenes or audio.”—Bryan Philips, Head of Marketing, In Motion Marketing
TechSmith’s all-in-one screen capture and video editing tool Camtasia is an example of a mid-tier video solution that comes at a premium cost. With functions and features focused on screenshots, screen capture, and content recording from any interface on the screen, it’s a perfect tool for creating explainer and educational video content, especially for content creators or tech educators. For some of the functionality you get as a default with other editors, Camtasia relies on other Techsmith tools. The platform costs $250 to download.
“There are numerous editing tools so listing your requirements helps in identifying the right software. When I do handle video-related projects like creating demos or presentations in-house, I enjoy Camtasia for how easy it is to edit raw video and audio and create transitions and callouts.”—Andy Griffith, CEO, Garden Furniture
For Mac users who don’t might be just starting out in video production and don’t have the capital to drop on Final Cut Pro, there’s no need to worry. iMovie is a free download with no limitations to all macOS installations. While it might not have as robust of a clip library or media library, the fact that it’s free will allow users to invest in a source of content to augment their own videos.
“I personally prefer iMovie over the rest because of its user-friendly interface which is rare for editing software. The green screen feature is mind-blowing, which makes special effects editing more interactive and gives me a lot to play around with.”—Eva Lerma, Co-Founder, MyTravelTripod
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
Web-Based And Mobile Solutions
Mobile app developers and web app developers over the last several years have started to leverage the power of cloud-based computing to liberate video editors from bulky workstations and allow them to perform editing tasks from the field on mobile devices and laptops. A number of entries we received were extremely innovative and feature-rich tools accessed via the web on a subscription basis.
Spark is a powerful, free mobile-friendly video editing solution launched by Adobe as an alternative for small businesses or solo content creators who don’t need the complexities of the brand’s more powerful Creative Cloud applications. Usable online through the Spark website, the app offers a free plan with basic video production functionality. To add value for businesses, there is a paid feature that allows businesses to brand the media content they create by allowing them to integrate their own logos and remove the Adobe watermark. This paid format comes as an individual $10 a month option after a 30-day free trial period. For teams, there is a multi-licensed plan for $20 a month that isn’t offered with a free trial.
“We love this tried and tested tool because it uses photos, video clips, icons, soundtrack, cinematic motion, and/or your own voice to create engaging video stories, and with the other Spark Apps, it’s like having 3 tools in one, which helps simplify and set up great websites.”—Robert Brandl, Position, Website Tool Tester
Promo is an award-winning, web-based video-making application. The platform is home to professional video clips, royalty-free music, and templates that you can customize to the target platform for your video content. The platform requires you to sign up and you can enjoy a 2-month trial period to create draft videos. However, in order to download those videos for use, you have to sign up for a paid plan, giving you the rights to the content you created. The platform at the time of writing this article was offering their plans at 50% off of the normal pricing, with the sales price ranging from $25 per month to $155 per month. The range in pricing covers individuals with basic video production needs to professionals and agencies that manage multiple brands.
“Promo.com is a simple and effective promo video creator that allows users of all skill levels to quickly produce beautiful films. There’s also a media calendar that offers a publishing timetable for your material automatically.”—Bram Jansen, Chief Editor, vpnAlert
For fast and easy video editing and posting on the go, Animoto’s free interface provides the ability to make unlimited videos from the user’s own video clips. To access stock image, video, and music libraries, add branding, and eliminate watermarks, users have to step up to either the Professional or Professional Plus tiers, for as low as $15 or $39 a month, respectively.
“When you join up for Animoto, you’ll be given access to two in-depth and easy-to-follow lessons. This simplifies the process of starting your first project on the platform. You’ll be a pro after that.”—Alex Claro, VPN Analyst, CreditDonkey
While there are desktop versions of this brand’s products, the LumaFusion mobile application is a great tool for use on tablets and mobile devices for professionals working from the field and need fast, easy-to-use mobile video production tools. Despite the mobile interface, users are still able to edit and create multitrack videos and access professional-grade effects tools and audio and video content libraries. The application is $30 for the base content on Apple, with in-app purchases giving access to media libraries of premade content on a monthly or annual subscription basis.
“There’s a massive number of visual effects you can apply, as well as the chroma keyer, which allows you to cut out particular elements and put them in front of a colorful background. For a mobile app, this is absolutely great. The most important thing is that any effect can be keyframed, which enables you for accurate fixes.”—Andrew Martins, Senior Associate, LVBet
The web-based Biteable platform allows users access to robust content galleries to create videos out of animations, stock footage, and photos from a wide range of templates or from scratch. Small businesses and individual creators can access the platform for free, with creators and teams paying between $19 and $49 per month to be able to create branded content and access content libraries.
“Biteable is an online video editing platform to make social media ads, slideshows, videos, and more. If you don’t want to export the videos, you can embed the videos or share them with a Biteable link.”—Christ Taylor, Marketing Director, Profit Guru
This web-based video production tool covers all of the bases when it comes to formats and themes for the types of videos companies should be producing for social media channels. At the paid levels of the account, Lumen5 boasts a strong voiceover and branding tool that brings your messaging and marketing strategy to the forefront. From the free tier, users can transition from Creator to Premium to increase the quality of videos they can create and their fee will shift from roughly $11 to $59 a month billed annually. Agencies should consider the Business tier to manage multiple brands; the professional, growth-focused tier costs $149 a month, billed annually.
“I always suggest Lumen5 to beginners who want to try their hand at editing or putting together videos. *This AI software features a simple, streamlined drag-and-drop editor. I noticed that even first-timers could utilize its full features and create quality promotional videos in under an hour.”—Devin Schumacher, Founder, SERP
If you took all of the web-based software above and combined them into a single tool, you still might not have access to all of the features made available to Kapwing subscribers. An extremely feature-rich production tool, users at the free level get the added bonus that Kapwing does not watermark videos at any tier. The paid tier eases some of the limits from the free tier, and businesses enjoy the same price per user as an individual license, which comes at a cost of $17 per month on an annual term.
“Kapwing is great for making video montages. We’ve been using it for a while and it does a great job combining images, GIFs, and videos into a slideshow. The best thing is that it has a user-friendly interface that allows you to create horizontal, vertical, and square videos without any hassle.”—Jon Buchan, CEO, Charm Offensive
Video Production Tools Focused on Marketing and Sales Teams
In parsing through web-based solutions, we noticed that a handful of platforms that had been suggested by the community had a qualitatively different aesthetic and approach to video production. While web applications in the previous section felt like marketing practices influenced their design, these products felt more technical, with interfaces backed by data and analytics and purpose-built themes and templates designed specifically for sales funnels and conversion rates.
What sets Hippo Video apart is its distinctly professional vibe and focus on creating marketing video content that converts. The company makes a point of focusing on email video messaging and how to create powerful email-based video marketing content. Featured on the site are Hippo Video’s integrations with email clients and CRM tools, and you can also find customized integration solutions as well. After a free limited-feature trial of 7 days, you can pay for one of three tiers of access, based on your team size and the reach you need to achieve. Prices range from $49 to $79, with enterprise costs starting at $79.
“Hippo Video creates videos for your business needs using screen capture, webcam, and audio and helps to create how-to videos, explainer videos, customer testimonials, customer support films, and training films. It’s so versatile and easy to use!”—Michael Robinson, Security Expert, Cheap SSL Security
Another marketing-focused business video production tool, InVideo focuses its web-based services model on helping clients create product videos, reviews, and short-form ad videos. As a foot-up on the competition, InVideo’s free tier of access gives users the keys to an extensive library of templates and multimedia clips. The paid tiers, ranging in cost from $15 to $30 per month on an annual basis, allow users to remove watermarks, add branding, and access an extended library of licensed content.
“I like it because it saves me a ton of time when creating video assets, comes with thousands of pre-made templates, and even has a text-to-video feature that will convert your written content into a video. If you ever run into any problems or have any questions, their support team is really helpful and quick to respond.”—Datis Mohsenipour, Director of Marketing, Outback Team Building and Training
Boosted by Lightricks
Available as an application or through the web, the Boosted software’s main focus is on creating marketing and sales-focused content. Access to a free stock library and a myriad of pro-level templates helps to bring your brand’s video content to life. Logging in with your social account gives you the ability to take the software for a test run, with a subscription opening up full access to all the platform has to offer. Yearly subscriptions start at $8.25 a month while a purely month-to-month plan runs just under $15 per month.
“If you’re looking for some quick and easy way to create video content and ads in just a few taps, Boosted by Lightricks is a very user-friendly app that you can use on your mobile phone or computer to create stunning ads and video clips in under 3 minutes.”—David Cusick, Chief Strategy Officer, House Method
A fairly unique addition to this list, Shakr is an automated video generation tool designed to create related content for use across all of your social channels. By allowing Adobe projects to be converted into templates, data sources and feeds can be integrated into the templates to generate new content at scale. This is definitely a solution for agencies and larger enterprise clients, as the platform starts at $2,000 a month, with increased API and SDK support for customized solutions requiring a chat with their sales and tech team.
“We’ve used lots of video editing tools, but the best we’ve come across so far is Shakr. We use this tool to create our own promotional videos which normally contain information about our very own gurus and what they can do. ”—Andrew Raso, CEO & Co-Founder, Online Marketing Gurus
Designed to automate and streamline the channels of communication for users, Vmaker facilitates the creation of video messages. The platform allows for screen recording, traditional video, webcam input, and then allows users to splice it all together into succinct messages that can then be scheduled for distribution via multiple channels. The tool is made by the same team that brings us Animaker, which is also featured in this list. The app comes with a free tier for individual contributors, but also with more complex Starter and Team account tiers ranging from $7 to $10 per month on an annual contract.
“Vmaker is a great tool we use to create quick explanations for internal communication. Being a remote team, once we started using Vmaker, we can afford to avoid a lot of Zoom meetings. This is saving us at least 10 hours a week per employee!”—Casey Allen, CEO, Barista Warrior
Billed as a visual communication platform, Powtoon focuses on three simple steps: video creation, content and asset management, and distribution across multiple channels. Touted for teams ranging from learning and education to marketing and IT, from HR and sales to consultancy, the tool allows collaboration to ensure the videos being created are of top quality and completely on message. Pricing models after the free limited access range from $19 to $49 a month, with agencies getting access for $89 a month, all paid on an annual basis.
“Video production is a small but important part of our agency, so we prefer to produce such content in-house, and the Powtoon visual communication platform helps our team to create, manage, and distribute all kinds of visual communication and videos based on our clients’ needs.”—Aaron Agius, Co-Founder, Louder.Online
At first glance, Vimeo is fairly standard for a web-based video editing and production tool. The tool can capture video and provides the templates and themes to transform raw video into powerful social media content. What sets the tool apart is that it not only has an interface for deploying video across social media channels, but also allows users to track crucial analytics from those platforms to gauge user engagement and determine the effectiveness of your content. Users can stick with the basic plan or subscribe to one of four paid tiers after a 30-day trial at any level. After 30 days, users will pay $7 monthly for the single-user plan or between $20 and $75 monthly for multi-user plans on an annual basis.
“Vimeo offers loads of templates that can be edited and quickly used by businesses to create social media videos. It is this collection of templates that makes this tool stand out for me. It helps inexperienced professionals come up with quality videos.”—Patrick Smith, CTO, FirestickTricks
Animation and Motion Graphics
Animation and motion graphics are alternatives and enhancements to the traditional live video that businesses should be leveraging more often in their marketing content, so it was refreshing that several of the tools that were referred to by experts in the field were focused purely on creating animated content or adding dynamic visual effects to live-action video.
This web-based video production tool allows users to create short videos, GIFs, standard videos, and full-featured animations. There are some unique features in Animaker like a text-to-voice tool, a branding kit, an animated character builder, and lip-syncing tools. Aside from a limited free level, there are tiers ranging from Basic to Enterprise which scales the complexity of the types of videos you can make and access to better assets with pricing ranging from $10 to $39 a month on annual contracts, with Enterprise pricing requiring a consultation.
“We use the videos we create for employee onboarding and for reporting purposes, so one of the tools we love to use is Animaker, which is a DIY video editing tool that allows us to convert our animations into presentations and training videos.”—Ruben Gamez, Founder & CEO, Docsketch
This web-based video production tool helps businesses to create animated videos that can be incorporated into any number of corporate strategies or marketing campaigns. From training and eLearning use-cases to marketing and human resource department onboarding, Vyond users can create animated content in one of three styles depending on the service level they choose. After a 14-day trial, users can opt to create video without their own branding for $299 a year or $49 a month for a single user, or expand the services and scope up through three additional tiers of service: Premium, Professional, and Enterprise. Pricing for these plans can range from $89-$159 per user per month, with annual plans reducing those costs. Enterprise-level pricing is available via consultation.
“With its simple video creator interface, templates make it simple to produce a movie in seconds. Its realistic lip-syncing is fantastic, and it gives videos a professional look. Even if you have no prior expertise with animation, Vyond is simple to use.”—Ansh Gupta, Founder, Empire Crafter
An FXHome product, HitFilm Express is a freemium platform with a paid add-ons store. While HitFilm provides a flexible timeline editor and extensive workflow tools, it excels as a tool for adding effects and animation to film footage. While it comes with many tools by default, the add-on store has some surprisingly complex editing tools filmmakers can use to make dynamic films pop off the screen with advanced effects. Add-ons range in price between $15 to $50 for various effects packs and tools.
“Hitfilm Express is a free video editing software that strives to provide everyone with a professional editing experience, but as I discovered in working with it, it goes beyond simple color balance alterations and exporting video. The advanced features help take the videos I create to the next level.”—Tanya Zhang, Co-Founder, Nimble Made
Video Conversion Software
These last two tools come from product bundles or services that do provide video production capability, but they fill an interesting gap in the video production process. As technologies have evolved across different platforms and operating systems, there are countless file formats considered to be “standard” in the marketing field. To put these various types of video together, you need a tool to convert and combine, a feature not always included with the editing solutions you might be using. Conversion tools are also necessary to convert and transition video from old storage media to new storage mediums. In either case, these two tools have your needs covered.
Freemake Video Converter
Freemake Video Converter helps marketing and video production professionals convert raw video material from several sources into industry-standard formats. Freemake also helps to convert videos you’ve created into other formats for posting on various platforms. Aside from a web interface for users to accomplish this for free, you can also download a number of free PC applications from the site to accomplish this and other video and media editing or manipulation tasks.
“Freemake is extremely versatile. The program can convert video content and even movies with subtitles quickly and easily between more than 500 different formats. Clips can be cut, joined, rotated, and transitioned—it even supports formats up to 4K resolution.”—Sam Browne, CEO & Founder, FindABand
Nero Platinum’s Video
Nero Platinum is a collection of media management tools that includes Nero Video. While it has basic video production and editing tools to create image-based slideshows as well as templates to splice together video clips into powerful content, the software is a stronger solution for converting media from one medium to another and managing the storage of your video content. In the conversion of video content, you can add elements such as menus and other thematic content, allowing you to then burn your videos to discs for distribution. The standalone PC-only product is $60, while Nero Platinum’s seven-product software bundle can be downloaded for only $50.
“Nero Platinum’s Video component is a dependable and innovative video editing software, and owing to its multiple capabilities, you will undoubtedly benefit from using this all-in-one software to tackle your video production needs in-house. The 4K proxy and multi-cam editing abilities allow you to create some very good video effects on films imported from various devices.”—Miklos Zoltan, CEO, Privacy Affairs
Finding The Right Combination of Video Production DIY And Services on UpCity Marketplace
This list provides video production solutions to businesses at all stages of growth. No matter if you’re your organization’s single marketing employee or you’re an expert on a team at an agency, there’s a video production tool on this list that will be valuable to your operation’s marketing strategy in the coming months. If you need more support, or want to learn more about opportunities for partnering with a B2B service partner with more experience in video marketing, visit the UpCity marketplace or check out some of our other discussions on video production and visual marketing.