Nero video (opens in new tab) is the kind of streamlined video editing software that makes the editing process accessible to everyone.
Video is universally essential these days. Marketing teams, web designers, students and the next big YouTube stars all need access to video editing software, even if they aren’t natural videographers. Those needs don’t always require industry-standard editing software such as: Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro (but if you’re curious, you can see how the two leading video edits compare in Adobe Premiere Pro vs Final Cut Pro†
+ Windows 7 +
+ 2 GHz AMD or Intel processor
+ 1GB RAM
+ 5 GB hard drive space
+ Microsoft DirectX 0 compatible graphics card
+ 64-bit OS for Ultra HD (4K) editing
Famous, back in the day, for its disc burner tool (yes, it’s still going strong), Nero has been building out its software over the years. While other products like Nero TuneItUp PRO and Nero Burning ROM rate well, the developer’s video editor has never managed to make the same impact.
When we last reviewed Nero Video, we praised its simplicity of use. However, we argued that it was only able to cover the basics. Adobe Premiere Pro slayer was not. This is software for beginners and advanced. For novice editors experiencing the first sensations of experimenting with video. Or when you can just do without all the bells and whistles of professional editing tools. And that’s all it ever wanted to be.
But is there room for Nero Video among the best low-cost hassle-free video editors for cheap PCs?
If you’re even a little familiar with video editing, you should have no problem learning the basics of importing, editing, and exporting to your chosen format. For those less adept, the tool even has a wiki-style Live Guide — you can toggle it on and off with the toggle switch along the ribbon — to help you get the hang of the system.
When you first load Nero Video, you navigate through three main windows:
– Preview screen
– Control panel
So far, so familiar.
Maybe too familiar. That’s not to say it isn’t functional – it is – but the dated UI wouldn’t look out of place on a Windows XP machine.
The timeline will be your primary playground, so drag your video, image, or audio file into place to get started. Once in place, clipping clips together is relatively easy by moving the trim handles to the desired start and end points. For more detailed control over individual clips, double click to open the Trim window. Here you can navigate through files frame by frame to more accurately mark your intersections.
Depending on your skill level, you can switch between Advanced and Quick Edit. The Express option is tailored for beginners. The basic UI removes all but the most necessary tools, tracks, and settings, reminding us of the old Windows Movie Maker or Microsoft Video Editor.
Veterans are not phased by the advanced option. It looks and feels like a simplified version of more powerful video editors, with the ability to change or increase the number of video and audio tracks with a quick right-click.
However, once you move your project from Express to Advanced Editing, you cannot switch back. So you might build a prototype structure in Express and move the project to Advanced to fine-tune your video.
Effects and extras
Nero Video may be simple, but it’s not completely without frills. There are a few effects hidden inside.
Nero Rhythm Snap has been around for years – basically it’s an automated slideshow maker that analyzes an audio track, creates rhythm markers, and then automatically snaps clips to the markers to match the music beat. Not an effect that power users are likely to invoke, but a nice feature for those looking for a quick fix.
In the same vein, like most other editors on the market, you will find a large number of themes and templates. These are accessible from the effects palette in the control panel and let you put your videos into a coherent form easily and efficiently. The result? Professional videos for those who just don’t have the time to dive into the editing process and don’t mind forgoing a really polished shine.
There’s also a very basic green screen option, although the chroma keying doesn’t leave much to be desired when compared to more powerful budget video editor apps like Corel VideoStudio and CyberLink PowerDirector, or free counterparts like DaVinci Resolve, HitFilm, and Lightworks.
Elsewhere, Nero continues to plug AI upscaling capabilities into its software. This produces moderate improvements in image quality and resolution. Most notable – perhaps even necessary in today’s market – is the tool’s 8K video support. Acting as a way to future-proof your content, the video editing software handles importing and editing ultra HD video effortlessly, even on older, slow machines. The disappointing downside, however, is a lack of 8K export options.
If you don’t expect or need Adobe After Effects levels of VFX software (or even those of the best Adobe After Effects alternatives), the minimal tools on offer will suffice for casual video editors.
In terms of video editing, Nero Video is the definition of ‘fast and easy’. Drag-drop-cut-ready. Output can look pretty slick (with support for up to 4K export) as long as you have the know-how to bring out the right results, as there isn’t enough in the tool to get you there on your own.
If you’re a hardcore video editor, you’re unlikely to switch from high-end video tools like Adobe Premiere Pro. There just isn’t enough here to achieve that level of professionalism.
If you’re an enthusiast in the early stages of your editing career or a creative on a budget, it might provide the basic tools you need to get started. For that purpose, it is a reasonable alternative to Adobe Premiere Pro. Even then, it competes with the best free video editing software like HitFilm. But since this is a Nero product, you can always burn your movies to disc as well.