Taking a vacation this summer to the shore, overseas, a theme park, or somewhere exotic, like Cleveland? There's a good chance you're going to want to film some of your trip. But instead of letting it languish on your smartphone, DSLR or compact camera, you'll want to polish it up to share with family and friends. That's where a good video editing program comes in.
You can only install Movie Maker as the Essentials bundle, a free set of lifestyle and utility apps for Windows 7 and Windows 8 that also includes Windows Photo Gallery. The single installer for all the Essentials apps offers an initial option of installing everything or letting you choose which to install. Since you may not need the Family Safety program, for example, I recommend the latter installation option. Movie Maker installs as a desktop application in Windows 8, and unfortunately, is not available for Windows RT tablets (though they do have alternatives like ArcSoft ShowBiz).
It’s the stripped-down version of Adobe Premiere, an industry-standard editing program used to create movies, TV shows, music videos, commercials and online video content from major brands. Although the workflow is much different than Premiere, Elements give you a taste of the tools used by professionals in a user-friendly way. It has three modules to make videos: Quick, which is great for making short videos quickly. Guided, which teaches you the ins and outs of the program, and Expert, which removes all the training wheels and lets you delve deep into your creative ventures. All projects made with Elements can be exported for transfer into the professional Premiere application.
You can choose among a few different speeds, and the app will show you how long the hyperlapsed video will be for every speed in comparison to the length of the video in real time. (So a 40-second video in real time will become roughly a seven-second video in Hyperlapse at 6X speed.) It's a really cool way to capture something that usually lasts a while -- like a sunset or an event setup.
Avid Media Composer's latest version comes with a wealth of new and improved features, such as accelerated high-res-to-HD workflows and automated media management to handle background media tasks while you focus on your creative vision. The $999 price tag is steep for amateurs, but worth it if you're looking for a professional-grade software. As the editing software of choice for summer blockbusters like Star Trek and The Great Gatsby, Avid Media Composer 7 can handle any editing challenge with ease.
The main problem we have in regards to training is knowledge transfer and simplifying training of processes when on-boarding new staff. We do have some videos created from other platforms but no way to share. As we are primarily a Windows shop, using Movie Maker allowed me to create training videos using Microsoft approved codecs and made it much easier to share videos with other team members. The main benefit of course is they can now get some training from the videos we've created and cost savings by not having them go to another facility or rely on other training tools.
Many independent vendors, who are often sole proprietors in charge of the software, make themselves available to users via social media and email to assist with problems, troubleshoot, take suggestions and criticism, and otherwise oversee the software. Programs with intuitive interfaces and tool-tip hints, and even built-in tutorials to greet new users, make free software popular.
Despite being the cheapest option on this list, Corel Video Studio Pro X6 is simple to use without sacrificing power. Features such as motion tracking for moving effects, even better stop motion controls, an enhanced screen capture utility and a subtitle editor with voice detection make this a low-risk purchase for amateur videographers who still want quality.
Support for 4K video source content has become pretty standard in video editing software, but the support varies among the products. For example, some but not all of the applications can import Sony XAVC and XAVC-S formats, which are used by Sony's popular DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, camcorders, and professional video cameras. The same holds true for the H.265 High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard. Most of the applications here now can import and export HEVC, though there are still a few holdouts.
Nothing makes an impression like moving images with sound. That's why digital video continues to grow in importance online. Couple that trend with the ever-increasing availability of devices capable of high-resolution video recording—smartphones, GoPros, DSLRs—and the case for ever more powerful video editing software becomes clear. Further, the software must be usable by nonprofessionals, and it has to keep up with new formats such as HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), 360-degree VR video, and 4K and above.
The Full Feature Editor contains simplified versions of nearly all the tools available in professional video editing software. For example, you have access to an audio mixer that lets you fine-tune your sound, the chroma key that allows you to create green-screen effects, and a surround-sound configurator that optimizes your video for home entertainment systems and even movie theaters. These tools and others allow you to make the same type of videos as Hollywood professionals. PowerDirector is a great program not only for creating great videos, but also for learning nonlinear editing in case you decide to upgrade to professional video editing programs.
Our biggest issue with VideoPad was not knowing which features were disabled in the free version versus the trial and paid versions. We found VideoPad to be a bit slower on our transcoding tests than Hitfilm, too. But that may not matter for those looking for an app that they can use to quickly and easily edit video and then upload to the social media outlet of their choice.
The software offer up to seven AutoMovie themes including contemporary, default, fade, cinematic, pan and zoom, sepia, and black & white. Although this collection is nowhere near the one offered by premium options, the themes are presented in simple, good taste. The editing options are quite limited, but its collection of effects is attractive and are applied with a single click.
We combined a text opener with five clips linked by a cross-fade-type transition into a 2.5-minute video shot at 60 frames per second, and rendered the projects to the MPEG-4 format at 720p. We timed rendering at both 60 fps and 30 fps. We adjusted settings to take advantage of hardware acceleration for all tests whenever possible, setting them in either the preferences or the rendering controls for the best speeds. Apple’s iMovie, the lone Mac-only app, is not included in the timed comparisons.