The Dazzle Multimedia DM4100 Digital Video Creator is very useful to import video from your TV, VCR or DVD player into your PC for editing and then converting to PC video formats. The device is exceptionally good for making videos for use on the Web or as e-mail attachments. Thanks to its use of USB its very simple to install and can be "hot-swaped" with other USB device without rebooting your computer.
However, it doesn’t have all the features and tools we look for in DVD makers, though it has enough to fit the needs of a novice. Before you can burn a DVD, you need to transform your raw footage into a compelling narrative. As such, this program’s video editing tools are its main selling points. It has a standard timeline/storyboard workflow – you compose the broad strokes of your video in the storyboard and fine-tune it in the timeline. One of the software’s biggest drawbacks is you only have eight editing tracks to build your project, and only one is dedicated to video. This limits the program’s versatility and hinders its ability to create complex projects. As a beginner, you might only need eight tracks; however, as you gain experience, it may become a frustration. In addition, the included DVD burner can’t add menus or chapter breaks.
Disc authoring tools are another essential feature to consider if you intend to distribute DVDs or Blu-ray discs of your videos. Authoring options can be quite extensive; for example, you may be able to insert chapter markers, build disc menus and include extra features, just like in Hollywood-produced movies. The best video editor programs have a lot of authoring tools.
With light features also comes a light footprint, and Avidemux takes up little space compared to the other programs in our roundup. It also allows users to change extensions and select individual output formats when they’re finished editing a video, but the less-than-friendly interface makes it difficult to utilize the more intricate features and worthwhile tools. It may remain a bit buggy and prone to crashing, but the program’s defaults still work as intended, making Avidemux a standout choice once you’ve learned your way around the software. Just remember to save your work.
Final Cut Pro: Offers speed and power for the new generation of video editors. The latest edition boasts a clean new look and a low-profile interface that increases work space. An interesting feature is the improved Magnetic Timeline 2 feature that offers flexible layouts based on roles and automatic color coding. The latest release is ideal for the new MacBook Pro as it supports wide color workflows and the Touch Bar.
Both DaVinci and VSDC mix paid features in their basic programs, but they do not explicitly mark these features as such. However, if you try to use them, you'll get an error message and an ad. We can't fault the software companies for trying to get users on board with paid versions, but just be warned that such annoyances are the hidden cost of otherwise-free video apps.
Like iMovie, Movie Maker uses a simplified version of the standard video editor timeline, with clips represented by "long thumbnails." The first frame is shown at full contrast, while the following ones are faded, in a distinction between this look and iMovie's. The thumbnail tracks optionally show you the audio waveforms along the bottom, so you can see where the loud and quiet parts of your video lay. You get five size choices for the thumbs, which is probably enough, and a zoom control at the bottom lets you stretch out these clip representations. You can trim or split clips using the cursor insertion point combined with edit buttons. It's quite easy once you get used to the unique editing system used by the app: you click at a point in your clip, and can then drag the resulting insertion line around the timeline.
Here's my first experience. I use Windows 2000 on a PIII 550Mhz, with 256 RAM and 20 Gig EIDE harddrive. When Dazzle arrived, I followed the directions and installed the software and put the plug in the USB port and then discovered that this software only works with Windows 98. I visited the Dazzle web site and found out that you have to purchase a program called Movie Star is you want to use it with Windows 2000. I wound up ordering the software for [more $] plus shipping. Once, I received the new disk, I installed it, and once again, it did not detect the unit when I plugged it into the USB port. And again, I visited the Dazzle web site. I discovered that they have posted a patch for the Movie Star software that fixes "some minor problems." I downloaded and installed the patch and after rebooting the machine, I was able to get it to detect the unit.
While most professional-grade software can handle multi-cam editing, Premiere Pro goes one step beyond, handling as many sources as necessary with as many angles as required. The inclusion of the bundled Lumetri Color Panel allows advanced color adjustments to be handled with ease. Additionally, Adobe’s integration with After Effects and Photoshop adds even more reason for professional grade editors to choose Premiere Pro.
There are tons of in-program effects such as transitions, titles, credits, captions and even included audio scores, meaning you won’t get held up at any step of your editing process. There are panning and shift capabilities, high-quality post-processing zoom, as well as a plethora of color filtering plugins to give you the look you’ll need, even if the raw footage isn’t quite there. You’ll have the ability to export your movies in up to 4K resolution, and the software even supports 360-degree video projects. It’s a great powerhouse for beginners.