I've been wanting to learn some basic video editing skills and eventually post a series of edited videos exploring interesting museums. I'm not sure want the best video editing software would be. I'm a PC user but will probably buy a new MacBook Air in the next few months. I've tried my hand with a number of free pieces of software (Window's Movie Maker, VideoSpin, Blender) and have found them either too basic (MMW, VideoSpin) or too complex (Blender).
I'm willing to spend money on a good piece of software if there's no suitable free option. I mainly want to produce quasi-professional looking videos with edits, music, transitions, and such.
Does anyone have any recommendations.
@RyanHunt: Personally, I like the Adobe solutions (Premiere for most of what you're asking for, After Effects to add special effects, and Media Encoder to export it). They're anything but cheap, but there is a subscription service where if you commit to paying for a year, you can get EVERY piece of Adobe software for $50 a month.
Otherwise, I've heard good things about Sony Vegas, which should be cheaper.
Vegas would probably be the cheapest software to buy outright but Premiere is where it's at if you want what most of the pros are using.
Vegas will still set you back $600USD odd or so though.
Having the luxury to have worked in both I couldn't push in one direction over the other, both are powerful NLE solutions. IMHO Premier's advantages is to seamlessly work with assets to your project with other Adobe applications such as After Effects etc before rendering your project. Vegas Pro has always been very fast and flexible software, plus the license is much more end user friendly when it comes time to purchasing upgrades. The down-fault for some is Vegas Pro is a Windows only platform at this time. Other solutions also exist from from Avid and Apple as well.
If you want try the Free-ware solution you can check out Lightworks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightworks) for WIN/OSX/Linux as it finally came out of beta in May of 2012 at NAB. Personally I haven't had the time and opportunity to try this yet so can not comment one way or another, but the cost barrier of entry remains low (free)
I recommend downloading trial editions of both and give them a try to see what fits your style and are properly supporting your camera.
It is also worth mentioning if you are currently a full time student or educator, significant discounts are offered at places such as http://www.studica.com/.
@RyanHunt: The Adobe Creative Suite but it will set you back $1,899
Cheers, thanks for the advice. It's nice to hear first hand recommendations. I've been reading good things about CyberLink Power Director 10 Deluxe (horrible name). http://ccph.carleton.ca/ Has anyone used it or heard of it? It's dramatically cheaper than many of the other options out there so I don't expect it to be all that great.
@RyanHunt: There is a free 30 day trial I suggest you give it a test run to see if it's your cup of tea. >> http://www.cyberlink.com/downloads/trials/powerdirector/download_en_US.html
I would recommend adobe..I've been using premiere since the early days...But I'd like to point the fact out, if you're going to buy a new machine (that air) for video editing, you're going to have a VERY hard time doing anything quickly on the garbage of a (intergrated) video card you're going to get with that new laptop and will be extremely dissapointed you wasted all that money on a new machine that can just barely handle any of your expensive video editing solutions, especially that alot of them are going with GL2.0. (which intergrated cards generally run like shit.)
Buy a macbook Pro with a dedicated video card, one that supports GL2.0. Or a build a desktop for half or less the price. (unless you really want a laptop, I don't want to recommend something you specifically don't want.)
The take home message is;
Make sure you read the requirements for the software you want to buy then buy hardware accordingly.
If you're going to buy a new laptop to do video editing, make sure you buy one that can actually do it.