What Video Editor Do I Want?
March 30, 2012 12:52 AM   Subscribe

I would like a video editing program for Windows 7 that does the following. I am willing to pay a modest amount, free is good, too.

I have tried Movie Maker, vdub and Avidemux, but none of these do what I want. Wish list:
  • Ability to add multiple titles or captions over the same segment of film, with different font styles and screen locations.
  • Ability to mix still images with video clips.
  • Cross fade and similar effects; nothing too fancy needed here, but some basic tools would be good.
  • Ability to lay in a couple of audio tracks, recording narration as I watch the clip would be awesome but not necessary.
  • Ability to take a large sequence of images and turn them into a time-lapse video. (I can use avidemux for this and import the resulting movie, but it would be nice to be able to pause the time-lapse and insert a still image and then pick up the time lapse again, so I guess the wish list would include the ability to break an imported video into segments which could be moved around if it can't handle 3,000-4,000 imported images.).
  • My images are 1280 x 720, so I was hoping to output this as HD video, like I know what I'm talking about.
Things I'm not looking for are awful user interfaces with counter-intuitive ways of accomplishing what I want.

I'd be tempted to do this in Flash and output as a movie (since I've done a fair amount of work in Flash and can picture how to accomplish nearly everything on my list), but I have an ancient (8) version of Flash and I'm not sure what kind of movie quality I'd get out of it.

I could maybe afford to spend $100 or a bit more, but not $990. I have a fairly powerful windows 7 64-bit box with a decent amount of ram.
posted by maxwelton to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
If you have Windows 7 64-bit and you have not already done so, download Windows Live Movie Maker! It is free and will be able to handle all of your above demands!
posted by TangerineGurl at 1:00 AM on March 30, 2012

Thanks, TG, but I have it, and while my being incredibly dense wouldn't be a surprise, I can't find a way to have multiple captions on the same frame. It also dies when trying to import the number of photos I want, so I would have to use videmux for the time-lapse stuff, and I'm unclear whether I can segment an imported AVI in MM, it doesn't seem like I can.
posted by maxwelton at 1:12 AM on March 30, 2012

Try Sony Vegas. It's pretty sophisticated and has a ~$100 version that would probably be good for your purposes. I believe it also has a fully function trial version.
posted by The Lamplighter at 1:29 AM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

How many photos are you trying to import? I'm using WLMM to make a stop-motion video, and I've got at least 200 in there so far without issue. I don't doubt you're having an issue, but it might not be WLMM's fault.
posted by troywestfield at 5:40 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Try Sony Vegas. It's pretty sophisticated and has a ~$100 version that would probably be good for your purposes. I believe it also has a fully function trial version.

I love Sony Vegas HD -- I've tried a bunch of the inexpensive video editors out there and I keep coming back to Vegas -- but it doesn't look like it will display multiple text items simultaneously.
posted by puritycontrol at 6:13 AM on March 30, 2012

Yep, Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD 11. $45-195.

It will take you all of 20 minutes of following built-in tutorials to learn, then you are well on your way. Quite powerful stuff for the money. The user-based support forum on the same site I linked above is full of very helpful people, too, if you need it.

I am a very experienced user with the most basic version of the software and I can do all of the things you dream to do without any issue at all. Just make sure that you get a version with DVD Architect included if you wish to burn to a DVD or Blu-Ray.
posted by TinWhistle at 6:42 AM on March 30, 2012

but it doesn't look like it will display multiple text items simultaneously

Unless I am misunderstanding the original question, I don't see why this would be a problem. You can have up to 10 video tracks in the non-Pro version, with each track having different text. AND you can have mixed text within in each element anyway, so your simultaneously text really is unlimited.
posted by TinWhistle at 6:45 AM on March 30, 2012

You could try Magix Movie Edit Pro MX Plus. And, there's a basic version and a "premium" version, this "Plus" version is the middle version.

30 day trial version here.

It's actually Version 18. I've bought some earlier versions.

On Amazon with reviews. You could check earlier version reviews there too. It's a real love or hate program, but has some unique features especially for integrated sound editing.
posted by caclwmr4 at 8:39 AM on March 30, 2012

I am confused by this
"Ability to add multiple titles or captions over the same segment of film, with different font styles and screen locations."

You can add annotations! As many as you want!
Just set the time for how long you want them and slide to where you want them to appear.
Do you want multiple titles in the same SECOND of the video?
Lots of GREAT tutorials on You Tube! It's how I learn everything it seems ...

Also, as far as WLMM dying on you, do you have at LEAST 3gigs of memory in W7 64b?
posted by TangerineGurl at 11:36 AM on March 30, 2012

When you are looking for free software to do something Gizmo's Freeware, aka TechSupportAlert.com, is a great place to go look for info. In this case they recommend Avidemux.

I haven't used it myself, but as it's free you can always take it for a test drive and see if it meets your needs before considering paid alternatives.
posted by philipy at 12:00 PM on March 30, 2012

On closer reading, it sounds like you use Avidemux already and it doesn't do all that you need.

In that case let me mention that what I did use (when I was into video editing a while back) was CyberLink PowerDirector. I can't tell you about everything on your list, but I certainly did all the following:

- Make slideshows from photos, set to music
- Merge slideshow and video segments
- Overlay soundtracks and subtitles on video
- Work with multiple overlaid audio and video tracks
- Use a variety of crossfade effects

It is pretty cheap, and there was a 30-day free trial.

FWIW, I did play with trial versions of several of the alternatives as well. I found Sony Vegas over-complex, and also buggy. But things may have changed.
posted by philipy at 12:18 PM on March 30, 2012

Thanks everyone for the ideas. I do want multiple titles in the same frames (for example, a main title top left and a subtitle bottom right, in different sizes).

Frankly I'm going to try all of the above that have trial versions. Sounds like Vegas' multiple track thing is exactly what I'm looking for. I'll try to remember to report back!
posted by maxwelton at 2:48 AM on March 31, 2012

troywestfield, I'm importing anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 1280 x 720 images.
posted by maxwelton at 2:49 AM on March 31, 2012

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