Sunday, March 3, 2013

Researching Free Video Editors 2013 - Part 1

The questions come from people that just want to do simple edits to others that need more power than what Windows Movie Maker and iMovie can provide but they don’t have the cash.

Not a day goes by without someone asking the great void about desktop free video editing software.
I have some ideas about how to go about it.

So I'm doing a series of posts on free desktop and web app videos editing software.

Limitations and Caveats:

You need to be honest about your skill level, your computer’s capabilities and how much of an investment in time and money you are willing to make. There is a cost beyond money. Your time has a value. Do you have time to learn and possibly troubleshoot new software? If the software messes up your computer can restore it back to the original state? Do not install software until you have a good answer to those questions.
My focus in the next couple of posts is on consumer level video editing software. There are applications that the old school computer techies love like Avidemux or VirtualDub that will do the job. If you are coming from Windows Movie Maker experience it might not be the easiest of transitions.
I’ve been broke so I know that for many people it is not a reluctance to pay for software but the reality is that you don’t have the money. My preference is to pay for software; this supports the vendor and helps pay for innovation. But a free option is always appreciated.
One more thing.

I don’t like spyware, malware or bait and switch software. There are some vendors that claim that they have a free version only to find out that the software is crippled or you need to purchase a module for the software to function. These programs can be worse than what Windows Movie Maker or iMovie has to offer.

I will not link to bottom feeders. I will also not link to affiliate software that often poisons questions and answer sites.

Legitimate companies will allow you to try the software for 10, 15 or 30 days. It is okay to have the purchase button visible on start up but I don’t want to see it flashing in my face every time I perform a task.

Shop at known vendor sites or marketplaces like or a strong national or regional chain store. If you prefer software downloads I would suggest going to the actual vendor’s website.

Enter Investigation Mode

One of the things you need to do is to go to the vendor’s website. Find out if there is help or support for your free software. There may be a web page. There might be video. There could be members helping members.

Or there could be nothing.

If the vendor doesn’t provide help and support is there an external support community? A sage or guru that has tutorials about the software? If there isn’t then you are on your own.

Observe the look of the software. The vendor website there should be screenshots of the program.

Yes, you will go to YouTube and watch tutorials on how the software performs. You want to see if it is as easy as it claims to be or can you catch a potential problem, such as only having a single video or audio track.

That would be a deal breaker for me but perhaps not for you.

What else? The usual, make sure you have a back up system in place. Have good maleware protection that you keep up to date. Don't steal commercial software. Stuff like that.

In the next couple of posts I will get specific on what is and isn’t a good investment when it comes to supposedly free video editing applications.

Other Posts of Interest

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