Video Editing for Dummies
March 7, 2018 7:23 PM   Subscribe

What's the best video editing software for someone who's never edited video before?

I've never done any kind of video editing before, but I'd like to try my hand at it for a work activity to showcase my team. Assume I'm going into this with some iPhone videos and photos, various music clips, and sound effects / clip art. I'd like to be able to:

* Splice the video pieces together, with some basic effects like being able to adjust the video speed and stabilize the video a bit from my shaky hands
* Add in some pics with effects like slow zoom-in
* Add graphics and subtitles (cartoony special effects, not CGI-level stuff. Think 1960's Batman TV - Pow! Bang!)
* Dub music into various places
* Not spend any money

I won't need the ability to do any kind of color or lighting enhancements or any of that fancy stuff. Just taking these various pieces and putting them together... add music here, move this scene here, etc.

A cursory google search points to a few potentials - Lightworks, Shotcut, and VSDC look promising. VSDC also touts its "non-linear editing" capabilities, but I have no idea if that is something that will help me or not.

I think I'm smart enough that I don't need a five-year-old-friendly interface, but it needs to be at least somewhat intuitive. I've got a few weeks to put a 2-4 minute video together so hopefully that's enough time to learn and create.

I'd like some feedback from those with experience on what's a good choice for a novice. Please share your experiences with the mentioned software, or any other options you'd recommend. Thank you!
posted by SquidLips to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
VSDC is decent. "non-linear editing" means that they have separate layers you can use. Are you familiar with photoshop? if so that might seem more intuitive to you.

Find out what you're going to be playing the final output on. Might matter in terms of the ratio you want to use.

Side note: save often. VSDC has been known to crash at inopportune moments.
posted by pyro979 at 7:44 PM on March 7, 2018

iMovie is decent.
posted by thesockpuppet at 8:01 PM on March 7, 2018

Vegas is great.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:01 PM on March 7, 2018

I dabbled a tiny bit in video editing, but I don't really have a good recommendation.

I too like free stuff. I have used either Windows Movie Maker (made by Microsoft, free, interface made for 5 year old, convenient to use, very limited options) or else Blender (open source, poor UI, full of bugs and weird inconveniences, but can customize almost everything). I think they're both bad, but I looked at a few other free ones and they were possibly worse...

I used blender to put together this short clip after seeing someone do the viral version that went around the internet, of the Game of Thrones / Overwatch mashup, I mainly wanted to name the famous characters in the battle on the voting score screen and do it with sound effects, and I wanted to try my hand at it for a "first" project".
posted by xdvesper at 9:12 PM on March 7, 2018

Seconding Sebmojo's recommendation of Vegas. It is often cited as a capable editor that is good for beginners.
posted by bz at 9:36 PM on March 7, 2018

... and, I just checked ... the near-top-of-the-line Vegas 365 is available for a 3-month term for $20/mo. That seems a deal to me.
posted by bz at 9:47 PM on March 7, 2018

Whilst it doesn't meet your "not spend any money" criteria, I'd third/fourth the recommendation for VEGAS, but specifically VEGAS Movie Studio, which is the home/non-pro version - the professional version comes with a bunch of stuff you really won't need, and Movie Studio can be had for $50, all in. Movie Studio Platinum does a bit more (including really useful stuff like colour matching and stabilisation) for $80.

It is Windows-only, however. If you're on a Mac, just use iMovie tbh; there isn't a similar cheap-but-decent video editor that I've found comes even close to VEGAS Movie Studio.
posted by parm at 5:06 AM on March 8, 2018

Filmora is cheap and simple.
posted by davidmsc at 6:51 AM on March 8, 2018

I did everything on your list with iMovie, with no experience with any video editing software, so another vote for that if you have access to a Mac.
posted by Bron at 7:51 AM on March 9, 2018

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