Review: Wondershare FilmoraPro video editing software
$149.99 (Lifetime) or $89.99 (Yearly) | wondershare.com
|Wondershare FilmoraPro. Can it compete with the market leaders like Premeire Pro or Final Cut Pro X?|
There has been a significant growth in the number of nonlinear editors (NLEs) available in the last ten years. In particular, the growth of YouTube has meant a large number of people are looking for good video editing software at a reasonable price. Gone are the days when video editing was only useful for film and television companies, with costs that ran into six figures. There is now a demand from millions of channels that need to edit their content, and they’re all looking for something that’s easy to use, provides value for money and is able to expand as a channel grows.
Wondershare, a company that makes a variety of video software, recently introduced FilmoraPro, an NLE that seems like it might be a a good fit for this market, though Wondershare tells me it's targeting the Premiere Pro user who's disillusioned with the subscription model. Having used a number of different NLEs over the years, I was interested to see what FilmoraPro had to offer, and whether it could compete against the likes of the more established products like Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, or DaVinci Resolve.
- Unlimited Video Tracks
- Audio Noise Reduction
- Automatic Audio Sync
- Motion Graphics animation support
- Auto color correction
- Available for Mac and Windows
At first glance
|The simple opening screen.|
My initial impression of FilmoraPro was good; it was easy to download, install and get started up quickly. The user interface you’re greeted with is very clean indeed, showing only options for opening existing projects or creating a new one and a very basic menu bar.
Diving into the menus I was pleased to see that it has a very useful option that prompts you to set the frame rate and resolution for a new project. With some software it can be infuriating when you forget to set this initially as you might have to create a new project and re-import the media all over again if you get it wrong or you forget to set it correctly.
|Just a small sample of the 50+ project presets available.|
FilmoraPro offers a huge range of frame rates and resolutions all the way up to 4K UHD at 100 frames a second. It's even possible to set custom resolutions and frame rates. Also available are preset options for Instagram and other projects with a vertical video aspect. Changing some of these options requires a restart of the software, though this took under 10 seconds with my set up, a refreshing change.
Wondershare offers a number of tutorial videos on YouTube which are quite comprehensive and go through the basics and some of the more advanced features. It’s well worth watching these videos if you’re new to FilmoraPro as they're well put together.
The user interface is relatively simple, allowing you to get on with editing your video. It doesn’t have all the options and complications of other NLEs, which can be seen as an advantage, but it also has it’s own issues as well as I'll cover later.
When opening a project or creating a new one you're greeted with the standard editor interface common to a lot of NLEs. However, FilmoraPro is very flexible in this regard and it's possible to change the layout if required. Standard layouts are available for editing, trimming, audio, effects, color correction, media and text, any of which can be changed if you don’t like the size or position of the windows.
|The default unpopulated edit workspace in FilmoraPro.|
The process of assembling clips together is very easy. The interface is not intimidating, though you can’t seem to have multiple timelines in the same project. I also found the ability to adjust the transparency of the video level directly on the clip in the timeline rather awkward. It’s very easy to drag this line accidentally and hence change the transparency of the video when you don’t mean to.
|FilmoraPro's YUV color correction tool lacks some pro options.|
Moving on to color correction, I found it lacking in a few areas. It borrows heavily from photo editing software in its approach to color manipulation via the application of preset filters than can be adjusted. Although it does have YUV grading via basic wheels, these adjustments are in the color correction section rather than color grading. This is not in itself a huge problem, but it certainly doesn't translate well when transitioning from other NLEs. I did find that the auto color setting worked well for some of the shots I was using, getting about 90% of the way there. Although if you’re looking for a very stylized color the auto setting won't work very well, but that's to be expected.
For those situations it offers the ability to apply LUTs (Look Up Tables); there are several available pre-loaded, but it's also possible to add industry standard .CUBE files as well. What I found disappointing is that the preset LUTs are not industry standard, but instead are named after the look of several popular films and TV series like Game of Thrones and Star Wars, another indication that this may not be a truly pro product.
Audio, Effects and Text
Looking at the audio edit work space, there are some basic options that are missing, for example, a proper parametric EQ or side chain control. It does allow you to sample and reduce noise and to add reverb effects to simulate various room sizes. It doesn't offer a way to record external audio, when adding a voice-over track for example.
|The rather disappointing audio edit effect filters.|
When working with effects, there are quite a few options, again borrowed mainly from the stills world. Unfortunately, there's no motion tracking or stabilization available, though I'm told that stabilization is planned for inclusion in a future release.
|The comprehensive light flare effect.|
The lens flare effect options are quite comprehensive, offering plenty of scope for adjustment, though the slow motion effect could do with a bit of work as it only offers a single option and no smooth movement or motion flow option.
I do think there's a usability issue with the text options, which are split over two separate windows when they should be combined into one. I also think it's a bit too complicated for adding simple text, however the software offers the ability to add several pre-made title styles which can then be customized and combined with lighting effects if required.
|The title tool offers lots of options but could do with some reorganization to simplify things.|
Import and Export
There is some good news, however. I found that FilmoraPro could open a file that would not even be recognized with Davinci Resolve 16. This enabled me to help a friend who wanted to join a number of specially shot short films together for a film festival.
When exporting a completed timeline there is no graphics hardware acceleration and the CPU isn't fully leveraged. When rendering the aforementioned file and transcoding it from MPEG2 to H.264 the rendering speed was just over real time. When adding any effect or color correction to a shot you can expect the render time to increase considerably. In my tests an auto color correction effect on a 1-minute shot gave me a render time of 2.5x of the unaffected shot.
At $149.99 for a lifetime license, or $89.99 for a yearly one, FilmoraPro is priced attractively when compared Adobe Premeire, which requries a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. However, it still has a fight on it's hands as there are a quite a few fully-featured competitors out there, some of which offer more functionality at zero cost, including Avid's Media Composer First and Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve, or, at just slightly higher cost, Davinci Resolve Studio ($300) or Final Cut Pro X ($300, Mac only).
I think users looking to move to FilmoraPro from other pro-level software will find that it's not quite pro enough. The key user will be someone looking to start out with an easy to use NLE or someone who is looking to upgrade from other Filmora software.
What we like
- Ease of use
- Lots of options for frame rate and resolution project settings
- Effects can be grouped and saved as a preset
- Easy to read audio meters
- Good online video tutorials
- Easy crashed-project recovery
What we'd like to see improved
- Not enough audio options for pros
- Color tools need more pro options
- No motion tracking
- No shot stabilization (planned for future update)
- Lack of hardware acceleration for output rendering
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