Monday, November 9, 2009

Video Editing Software - Quick Introduction

This week among other things I want to write about video editing software. Now, there is nothing wrong with recording and uploading video straight from the camcorder. Millions do it. It is just that most of those folks could stand a bit of editing.

Part of the reason I want you to know and understand what kind of camcorder to buy is that hopefully your video editing software should be in alignment with the video format produced by your camcorder. If it is not, you might need third party software to be able to edit your video.

This is an extra step that you might not want to include.

Matching Your Needs

  • Skill level - You might not have any experience editing video. There are some of us that come from the old school of assemble editing. Other don't have a clue as to what NLE means (non-linear editing) and don't want to know. My point is that you can find video editing software that closely matches your needs.
  • Video format of your camcorder - Does it record in .mov, .avi, .mod, or .mp4? There are dozens of video formats. Not all video editing software support every video format. There are some camcorder manufactures like JVC that uses a proprietary format such as the .mod when it is really a .mpeg2 video file. At the time my video editing software did not support that file format. I have to search for a workaround.
  • Features - this depends on what you want to do with the video. How many video and audio tracks do you need? Can you import and animate photos? Is there good tutorials available or are you totally on your own? Are you only going to upload to the Internet? Will you make a DVD copy? Are you planning to sell the video to other markets? Is it going to be posted on iTunes?
  • Price - From free to thousands of dollars. Free sometimes is not free but it can be good enough to get you started. There are editing programs that are worth the money and others I would not touch with a pole if you paid me.
  • Support - is there a support from the vendor website or is there a community of users that are willing to help newbies and others with questions. Some vendors have videos, easy to search help files and welcome questions. Others vendors rely on volunteers on forums but provide limited support. Those volunteers become burnt out and cranky.
Before you start your search for video editing software check your computer. You might have what you need to get started. Both Mac and PC computer systems have an entry level video editing program.

Operational System Provided Video Editing Software

You might not have to purchase video editing software. If you are a Mac user you have iMovie. Don't underestimate it. There have been award winning films editing on iMovie. I'm not a Mac user but I have been suffering in envy for years.

If you are a Windows XP or Vista User you have Windows Movie Maker 2. It is designed to help you create simple videos. but there are a lot of features such as a narration mode, transitions and help with creating titles. Those of you that are on XP cannot run the new version of Windows Live Movie Maker.

If you are a Windows Vista user or are going to be moving to Windows 7 you have the ability to install Windows Live Movie Maker or Windows Live Movie Maker HD. It is a stripped down mash-up of Microsoft Photo Story and some elements of Windows Movie Maker 2. Windows Live Movie Maker HD can edit MPEG2 and video from high definition camcorders.

This software is really designed for novice users that want to combine photos and simple video.

Those of use that had experience with Movie Maker2 will be shocked at the reduction of functions. That doesn't mean this is a bad program. It just means that it has be re-focused to entry level video creators. Drag and drop video making. Bare bones.

Ok, there you have it. This is just to get you to peculate on what you might want, need or already have. Coming up, One size does not fit all and I am not talking about pantyhose.

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