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Best Adobe Premiere Pro alternatives: Free and paid software options from Corel and others

Video editing
(Image credit: Shutterstock)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Best Adobe Premiere Pro alternatives

1. Corel VideoStudio

2. DaVinci Resolve

3. Final Cut Pro

4. Pinnacle Studio

5. CyberLink PowerDirector

Read on for our detailed analysis of each app

When it comes to video editing software, Adobe Premiere Pro is often the first name that comes to mind. It’s an industry-standard editing app packed with features that give you in-depth control over the creation and fine-tuning of your videos.

However, it isn’t for everyone. The most common criticism of Premiere Pro is its subscription payment model, which can be costly over time. Some users also have issues with the software performance and Adobe’s poor customer support.

But there are plenty of other video editing programs available. In this article, we look at Premiere Pro alternatives that you might want to consider.

Corel VideoStudio

(Image credit: Corel)

1. Corel VideoStudio

An affordable but imperfect option

Reasons to buy
+Easy to learn+Good value
Reasons to avoid
-Too basic for pros-Dated interface-Windows only

Corel VideoStudio comes in two versions: VideoStudio Pro, which costs a one-off fee of $79.99, and VideoStudio Ultimate, which costs $99.99. Both are significantly more affordable than Premiere Pro.

It is a much simpler application, lacking many of Premiere’s in-depth options for fine-tuning clips and effects. That said, it is relatively easy to learn, and once you’ve mastered the basics, it does have useful features, such as 360° and multicam editing. In recent updates, the color tools have been significantly improved.

There are a few odd issues with its interface: the layout can feel a little clunky and dated, and the way that layers work is upside down compared to most other software, which might be confusing to editors used to working with other editing programs.

DaVinci Resolve

(Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

2. DaVinci Resolve

A comprehensive post-production suite that’s free

Reasons to buy
+Multiple post-production workspaces in one app+Best color tools available+Standard version is free
Reasons to avoid
-Steep learning curve

DaVinci Resolve started out as a color grading app but has since evolved into a fully comprehensive post-production suite. It has separate workspaces for editing, color, audio, and visual effects, each with in-depth features allowing a deep level of control. 

Rather than a user editing in one program and sending the project to another for effects or audio work, the whole post-production process is contained within one app. With multi-user collaboration, various team members can work on their aspects of a project simultaneously.

The standard version, which has all the main features, is completely free. A premium version—DaVinci Resolve Studio—is available and includes features such as a neural engine, stereoscopic 3D tools, and advanced HDR grading. It costs a one-off fee of $295.

Resolve is one of the most in-depth editing programs available, so it is targeted at professionals rather than newcomers. This does mean it may be too complex for some, but with zero cost, you have nothing to lose in trying it out.

Final Cut Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

3. Final Cut Pro

Still a worthy competitor from Apple

Reasons to buy
+Efficient interface +Powerful editing features
Reasons to avoid
-Mac only-No recent big updates

Apple’s own editing program, Final Cut Pro, was one of the big names in editing software a decade ago, but without any major updates in the last few years, it has fallen behind its competitors.

Nevertheless, it’s still a powerful and versatile editing app, with a well-designed, no-fuss interface that makes editing intuitive without compromising features. Its magnetic timeline makes it easy to insert shots within a sequence without other clips losing relative position, and the assembly process feels slick. Other impressive features include 360° video, HDR, and advanced color grading tools.

One downside is that it’s Mac only, so not for Windows users. It costs a one-off fee of $299.99. While this may seem a high price tag, it can work out better in the long run than subscription models, like Premiere Pro.

Pinnacle Studio

(Image credit: Pinnacle Systems)

4. Pinnacle Studio

One of the best choices for mid-level editors

Reasons to buy
+Accessible but powerful editing+Great new features+Reasonably priced
Reasons to avoid
-Windows only-Not as in-depth as Premiere Pro

Though it once had a reputation for poor performance and limited functionality, Pinnacle Studio has significantly improved in recent updates. 

It’s less in-depth than the likes of Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve, but it is still a versatile editing program. The interface is intuitive, and besides the performance issues being fixed, many useful new features have been added. 

These include a title designer with an impressive level of control over animated text, keyframing controls that enable you to adjust clips and effects over time, and face-tracking masks so you can adjust the lighting or effects on a face, even when the person is moving.

The three versions available—standard, Studio Plus, and Studio Ultimate—cost a one-off fee of $59.95, $99.95, and $129.95, respectively. It’s worth paying the extra for Ultimate if you’re likely to use the additional features, which include masking and 4K editing.

CyberLink PowerDirector

(Image credit: CyberLink)

A powerful but accessible editing app

Reasons to buy
+Versatile editing features+Regular updates+Good value subscription
Reasons to avoid
-Color tools lacking

CyberLink PowerDirector is aimed at a prosumer market: it’s neither for complete novices nor full-time professional editors but is a good solution for those in between. 

Its interface is attractive and efficient, and once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll find that it has a wide array of features. Additions in recent updates include custom masking, precise keyframing tools, and a library of customizable animated sketches, which are an easy way to add color and energy to a video. That said, it does lack in a few areas; the color-grading tools are a bit rudimentary compared to some competitors, for example.

There are several versions: PowerDirector Essentials is free but basic, PowerDirector Ultra costs $99.99 and includes most features, PowerDirector Ultimate costs $139.99 and adds a few advanced features, and PowerDirector 365 is a subscription plan that costs $69.99/year and includes all features. Also, as of December 2020, it’s finally available for Mac, as well as Windows.