Originally Posted by jayw64
I just picked up a Canon HFM41 over the weekend and have been looking into video editing software. I am a complete novice and newbie to this whole HD camcorder world....My primary use for the camera is for home family movies.....
You are where I was about a year ago. My grandaughters and I bought a Panasonic and later a Sony. I know nothing about Canon camcorders.
My first suggestion is that you read the camcorder manual a couple of times. You bought an advanced consumer camera, not a simple one. You need to know what it does that you want to do.
Next I would load and learn the software that came with your camera. A google revealed it is called "Zoom Browser EX". A downloadable manual is here: http://web.canon.jp/imaging/dcsd/zb46_v16_144dpi-e.pdf
A very fast review revealed it does lots of stuff -- including cataloging your video and editing your video. The editing section says it has clipping, joining, trimming, titles, transitions, effects, etc. If it is like Sony's and Panasonic's software, it will have features you may want that can't be found elsewhere.
When and if you get the desire to be "creative" beyond the scope of typical family video, you may want to begin exploring the various third party "Non Linear Editors" or "NLEs". Their purpose is to read from any and all digital images you may have from any source, without changing that source in any way, and "rendering" a new movie to one or all of the viewing devices old, new or imagined. They have features where, with "effects" you can turn your kids into cartoon characters or make them fly like Superman. All of them on the market are complex, have evolved for a decade and require serious study to get much out of them. Examples are Sony's Vegas and Adobe's Premier. Both come in $100 amateur versions and $600 professional versions.
Between the advanced NLEs and your Zoom Browzer are the free editing programs that come with Windows or and Apple. My granddaughter loves Windows Movie Maker. For Christmas she gave me a video she produced, filmed and edited about how Granny makes beef stew. She is 10.
I enjoyed wasting a lot of time figuring some of this out. I am getting pretty good at capturing video. I am reasonably proficient with the software that came with the two cameras. I played with Windows Movie Maker and started learning Sony Vegas Movie Studio 11 until it stopped running on my i5 chipped computer. I gave up on Vegas and decided to try Adobe Premier Elements.
For Premier Elements, I have signed up at http://www.lynda.com
where for $25 you can spend a month watching excellent training videos on all the NLEs. It is cheaper than a book, and the one on Premier Elements is extraordinary.
Good luck with the family video and have fun.