This is more of a “what can you afford” type question. If you’re serious about perusing a career in editing try to get an Avid product. You can’t go wrong with Final Cut on the Mac (and it’s giving Avid a run for it’s money in the professional field). I personally use Vegas Video with no regrets on the PC, but would not recommend it for “career” editors. Whichever editing program you go for, make sure it has at least these features:
1) Allows “split edits”.
A split edit is when the picture and audio cut at different times. (e.g. You see a shot of someone talking. The picture cuts to a reaction of another person while the audio from the previous shot continues.) A lot of the el cheap-o editing programs that come with camcorders only allow you to cut the picture and audio at the same time. Split edits are a MUST HAVE feature. You can’t do any kind of respectable editing without them. Watch ANY movie and you’ll notice that the majority of edits are split edits.
2) At least a few tracks of audio and the ability to mix them.
Some el chep-o programs only allow you to use the original audio recorded along with the video and another track for adding music. This simply isn’t enough. You also need extra tracks for sound effects, ambiance, etc. Four tracks would be the bare minimum, but most decent programs allow you to have as many audio tracks as your computer system can handle.
3) Lets you control and export/import video to/from your DV camcorder directly.
Okay, I guess it’s not a must have feature, but using 3rd party programs to handle your video I/O is a pain.