Video Editing
December 31, 2004 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Video Editing. What is the best solution on a Windows platform for video editing and burning to DVD? I am considering purchasing a Mac for this function, but if I could do it on Windows, it would be good as well.
posted by benjh to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I use Adobe Premiere and MySonic DVD. Works just great. The Windows alternatives have progressed quite a bit over the last few years, and I'm not sure that you could say that either platform, at this point, has superior tools.
posted by vraxoin at 7:49 AM on December 31, 2004

Adobe Premiere Pro is a great non-linear editor. Some people mistakenly think it sucks, because they (understandibly) confuse it with Adobe Premiere. Premiere Pro is a totally new application, written especially for Windows. It's intuitive to use, powerful, and if you ever get into After Effects, it can work in concert with that program like no other NLE. Premiere Pro can create simple DVDs -- DVDs that play without any menus. If you want menus, try the combo of Premiere Pro and Adobe Encore.

The Mac solution of Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro is excellent, too. But you can get the job done just as well on the PC.

Disclaimer: I don't work for Adobe, but I wrote a book about Premiere Pro.
posted by grumblebee at 7:51 AM on December 31, 2004

I'll try to keep the whole Mac v PC thing out of my 2 cents here, but I must take issue with Grumblebee's assertion "But you can get the job done just as well on the PC". This only partially correct; true, once you are working in an application such as a Photoshop or After Effects, the differences between Mac OS and Windows don't feel very pronounced.

However, it's important to remember that editing is only one part of your workflow. Where the Mac really shines is in the hardware comparability department, or the "it just works" factor. Apple's control of both the OS and the hardware means far fewer nasty surprises on the plugging-stuff-in-to-your-box front. My wife works for a giant mega media conglomerate in the video and FX department, and the PCs are always giving them a hassle somewhere in the production chain, whether it's color fidelity, network storage, graphics cards, or just general Windows weirdness. The designers are all on Power Mac G5s and don't really require much in the way of care and feeding.

I too work in video and graphics and it's the same deal at my company. Development and production is all Mac based, we essentially have no administration needed on those machines. The execs all have IBM laptops and are constantly having the OS give them a hard time. Apple maintains it's outsize market share in creative departments for a good reason.

So is there really any reason to even consider a PC? Yes. The advantages on the Windows side:

The availability of much higher end video cards. This one from 3D Labs has 640 MB of VRAM for example.

There is always price too. You can build a very serviceable editing box for under five or six hundred dollars, and there is lots more video and 3D software available for Windows as well. Also, when you are done working, you can play Half-Life. Half-Life is supposed to be really great.

Anyway, shutting up now. Good luck with your project!
posted by Scoo at 8:47 AM on December 31, 2004

I would suggest that your budget and the quality of the final product would dictate some of this.

I recently produced a DVD of my wedding using Windows Movie Maker that was adequate, and Nero DVD burning software that came bundled with the DVD drive I was using. The quality was not 'BBC' but was certainly watchable - for all 4 hours!
posted by ajbattrick at 9:24 AM on December 31, 2004

You didn't mention what sort of work you'll be doing and how much, but on the Windows side, I will stand up for Premiere Pro as well. (And this is coming from someone who is a lifelong Mac user.) However, Premiere Pro is expensive, see my earlier comment about a cheaper alternative to Premiere Pro.
posted by jeremias at 9:29 AM on December 31, 2004

Yeah, what are your inputs? Are you talking about working with what's on your DV camcorder? Old VHS tapes? Downloaded AVIs? These all call for different tools, so please specify what your needs are, what you're starting with, etc.
posted by scarabic at 12:53 PM on December 31, 2004

This totally comes down to budget, ease of use, and quality.

General since most of the Apple solutions come from apple, their integration is tighter than on the PC side.

This isn't really matched on the PC side until you get to about $1k in cost.

Here are my quick thoughts.

Sub ~$100

At the low end (~nothing) on the PC side look at:
Avid Free
and MyDVD Studio v6 > MyDVD Studio v6

The other package to look at is Sony Media Software - Vegas Movie Studio

Movie studio is a dumbed down version of Vegas.

Avid DV is great if you want to begin to learn professional editing software (almost every film/tv show for the last five years has been edited on an Avid). Sony's software will have better integration


On the Mac Side is iDVD+iMovie, both of which you get for free with a new mac.

Without question - Apple's iLife integration is super easy. Everything "just works". Bonus, you get iPhoto as well (for really easy digital camera/slideshow work.)

So for under $100, Apple really has it sewn up.


Under $500

I'd serious look at Pinnacle for Pinnacle Systems - Product summary - Studio MovieBox DV version 9

Which handles all formats (analog + Digital) and outputs to DVD.

Cost $200


On the Mac Side, you'd look at Apple - Final Cut Express
(~$299) and iDVD part of the iLife series.

Integration is still seamless on the mac side, and while I've never used the pinnacle software, I'm going to guess that FCE is easier.


Under $1000

Premier pro is certainly a more "polished" app to use for editing (a bit above FCE) ($699)

The problem here will be that some of the more advaced compositing/effects are included in After effects. Premiere Pro is capable of using uncompressed boards (only necessary, really, if your shooting other than with a DV camera, like professional video format like digibeta).

At $999 is Adobe's Video Collection (standard)
Premiere Pro - editing
Encore - DVD authoring
Audition - Music + Looping
After effects (standard) - compositing

Xpress DV is also a good choice - it includes Xpress Pro, Sonic DVDit and Sorenson Squeeze lite for compression. $500

As an alternative I'd also serious look at Sony Media Software - Vegas DVD Production Suite At $800 it's a better deal than Premiere Pro


Under $2k.

This is where it gets interesting.

At $1499 you get Adobe Video Collection

Premiere Pro
After Effects Pro (tracking, better keying, particles, 3d effects)

Avid (the profession's choice) doesn't come in until ~$1700 with Xpress Pro.

at $1399 you get the pro suite
DVDSP (Well more mature for DVD authoring than Encore)
Motion (apple's new Real Time compositing app. Not a replacement for AE, but covers 85% of what most people go to AE for.)

FCP also includes:
Soundtrack (looped audio)
Compressor (Compression engine)
Livetype (but if you have motion you probably will never open this up)

At the $2k price it's a toss up. But then again, that's what you'd be spending on an editing system too.

Which do I prefer? I'm a professional video editor. I've done backbreaking 3 days at work and don't leave the edit suite jobs to meet the deadline. I also teach this stuff (like grumblebee) FCP or Avid seems to have the long form and short form workflow for me.
posted by filmgeek at 1:13 PM on December 31, 2004

I've been using Sony Vegas which came bundled with a DVD authoring program. The integration across the suite is nicely done. A few things in Vegas aren't intuitive, especially if you come from Premiere, but that's a matter of getting used to its model of operation.
posted by plinth at 1:41 PM on December 31, 2004

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