Sunday, January 15, 2012

Quick Look at Serif Movie Plus Starter Edition

There came a time when I could deal with Windows Movie Maker no longer. It was free but the crashes when I tried to do anything more complicated than a simple edit were too much to bear. There were tears involved.

True, this was in the past with an old computer and software. There will come a time when you will want to move on. If you mess around with web video and editing at some point you will want to know if there are alternatives. Serif MoviePlus Starter Edition might be what you are looking for in a simple video editing program.

There are people that keep asking if there is a free video editing software and the answer is yes. A qualified yes if you can live with the limitations.

Operating System:

Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 computers with a Dual Core or higher CPU

Computer Skill Level: 

Comfortable with using menus, file folders and Windows Explorer

I use the full version of Serif Movie Plus X5 and the prior version X3 so I'm really familiar with the program. For folks that might have had prior experience with a computer videos editing program this is a great alternative for the price; which is often at a discount for the full program.

The Starter Edition is free but I would only download it from the vendor web site for security reasons. Security means you don't want to download malware cooties.

This Starter Edition (SMPSE) is a limited edition of Serif Movie Plus X5. The software is free to download and use but there are limitations. You need to know about them ahead of time before you invest in using this program.
SMPSE imports and exports .avi, .wmv, .mov videos. If you camcorder records in H.264, mp4 or ACHVD then you might be out of luck. There are mp4 videos in the .mov format so that might work. Or not. .
For the record, there are almost no camcorders that record in .wmv. There are however smartphones and tablets that record in .avi or .mov, in which case you score and can give this program a bit more consideration.

Some of the advanced editing features MoviePlus X5 are disabled in this version of the program. Or if it the feature isn't disabled you might see something like this:

That is correct, you are seeing a logo for the product in the upper left corner. You can't remove it or prevent it. Consider it the cost of using the program. You can view the full test video by Taykslav so you can see the logo for yourself.

Checking the Serif forums it seems that the watermark logo can appear if you export the video so yes, you need to be aware that this can happen.

You also might see a nag screen to upgrade to the full program. 

Still With Me?

Ok, if you have a Dual Core computer and video that it will accept we can talk.

It is good program that makes it very easy to trim, edit, add audio and photos to get a good video. It exports the videos quickly and I haven't notice any artifacts or gunk mucking up the videos, even with my glasses on.

There is a good helper guide that you can use to learn the program as well as a tutorial section on the web site. In addition, the company does have YouTube videos that you can view for help. Keep in mind that they were designed for the full version of the program.

I do like that the render times are generally quick. There are some software that take forever and a day to export the video out in a particular video format.

Again, if you have an older computer this could take much longer than you find comfortable. 

I would recommend giving this try if you can live with the limitations.

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  1. Is this better then WMM and can it do the disk in PAL as I live in the UK?

    1. It is different. It is more of a traditional video editing program with a track for video and a dedicated track for audio. My understanding is that Serif is a UK company so you should be able to access the UK web site. I've added the UK language link that should take you to the UK version of the site. However, I've used the program and I've been able to change between NTSC and PAL


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