Avid Express Pro 5.7 vs. Windows Movie Maker and the spectrum in between

My brother currently uses Windows Movie Maker to put together video clips and audio. This program is about as simple and easy as it gets to make a “movie”, but my brother is looking to work with something that has more features, but is not too complicated to work with.

Are there any cheap or inexpensive alternatives?

This software website that sells to students, JourneyED, has Avid Express Pro 5.7 for only $295. I know that this is like jumping from a Go-Kart to a Formula One car, but he will be able to grow into this, his willingness to learn is his only barrier. He is 20 years old and looking at majoring in film when he goes to school next year. Does anyone use this software, and is the learning curve going to be too tough for him to produce simple movies?

Are there any alternative that are in between in complexity that you would personally recommend?

Thanks for any suggestions.

I’ll try to answer all of your questions.
The flow for softwares basically runs from beginner level stuff like Windows Movie Maker, to mid level stuff like Ulead VideoStudio, Pinnacle Studio, then to Prosumer level softwares like Vegas Movie Studio and Adobe PRemiere Elements, then it goes to the professional level softwares like Avid Xpress, Adobe Premiere CS, Vegas Video 8, Liquid Edition, Canopus Edius. Naturally, the lower the level of the software, the easier it is to learn and use. I have used Vegas Video, and it took dozens of hours of tutorials to where I was somewhat comfortable with it.

Hardware is every bit as important as software when it comes to video, and depending on exactly what you want to be doing, you need to look at that as well. A really good place to start looking is at www.videoguys.com.