Free video conversion software and video editing software?
October 27, 2014 9:06 PM   Subscribe

Is there such a thing as an excellent but free video conversion software and a video editing software?

I hate cameras. I've realized that they are on this planet to annoy the crap out of me. Photos should be saved as *.png formats, for example, instead of *.jpg. I'm seeing now that video formats (something I totally new to) has the same issue.

My video camera does only mp4, but most video editors don't use that format. Besides, I'm not even sure if the video editor I'm looking for is the right type! I've tried VLC for conversion but I keep getting error messages. :(

If I tilt my camera to the side, it doesn't know which way is up, so it shows up sideways. I need to be able to rotate it and cut out portions that aren't necessary. Maybe even replace cut portions with something else.

I'm willing to use two different pieces of software, if necessary. I just cannot afford to buy anything right now and even if I could, I don't make videos all that often.

I'm a total newb to this so please speak to me as if I'm two years old. Oh, and I'm on an ancient Windows Vista computer, if that matters.
posted by magnoliasouth to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Free video conversion software == Handbrake.

Free editing software (for Windows) == Windows Movie Maker (but unfortunately, not for Vista)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:18 PM on October 27, 2014

Handbrake is a very good, robust, easy to use video converter.
posted by theyexpectresults at 9:20 PM on October 27, 2014

posted by rhizome at 10:45 PM on October 27, 2014

Lightworks is free, but I haven't been too impressed with its interface (as someone coming from Final Cut/Premiere, anyway)...
posted by Alterscape at 10:54 PM on October 27, 2014

Camtasia is an easy-to-use video editor and converter. I use it for professional work. It's not free, but there is a free 30-day trial, so you could see if it's worth saving up for a license.

Smart Converter is a simple, free conversion tool. I've had good luck with the Mac version.
posted by neushoorn at 5:06 AM on October 28, 2014

DaVinci Resolve Lite is a free color grading suite that also has editing capabilities.
posted by Smallpox at 6:30 AM on October 28, 2014

Yeah, Handbrake is an excellent free video converter — better than some popular paid software, in fact.

I don't have any suggestions for free video editors — Lightworks is pretty cool but I don't think it's newb-friendly (and output from the free version is limited to 720p) nor is VirtualDub in my experience —but I did want to say that you shouldn't be shooting video with your camera "tilted to the side." Because the width of your camera's picture is greater than its height, if you want to "rotate it and cut out portions that aren't necessary" the shape is no longer going to match, and you'll have to blow up the image to fill the full width of your frame, losing picture quality. Maybe picture quality isn't of paramount importance to you, in which case fair enough, but I still think you're going to be happier in the long run if you concentrate on getting the picture you want in camera as much as possible rather than futzing with it endlessly in your editor, especially if you're working with a consumer-grade video camera that records highly compressed images in the first place.
posted by Mothlight at 8:29 AM on October 28, 2014

Response by poster: Wow! Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. Sounds like Handbrake wins hands down for the conversion software.

@Mothlight: I know I didn't mention it, but it's not an actual video camera, it's a phone. The problem is that it doesn't recognize the settings I input. I'm not sure what the problem is. It'll only record if the phone is upright. If I tilt it for a wider angle, then it ends up sideways. I want the wider angle for obvious reasons.

@ChocolatePickle: Actually, I do have Windows Movie Maker, it came with Vista, but it doesn't import mp4s. Who doesn't import mp4s?! How ridiculous! Isn't that like that standard for regular cameras and phone cameras? lol! I tried to open it anyway, but it didn't even recognize it as a file. Thanks though for the suggestion. I'm always listening.

I'm still open to editing software. There just has to be something! lol!
posted by magnoliasouth at 11:35 AM on October 28, 2014

You may need to install an MP4 codec. Try CCCP.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:34 PM on October 28, 2014

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