Video editing on Windows Laptop for old n00b
July 24, 2018 1:41 PM   Subscribe

My dad, 60-plus, wants to get in to editing family videos that he has taken on a camcorder. Looking for advice on- Minimum spec for a laptop to do handle this (ideally someone saying "buy this laptop for £x and it'll do a decent job"). What software should he use- does windows have a bundled video editing program as standard that would do the job, or would a modest purchase of some bespoke software be so user friendly that it is worth the price? (I'd rather stick with Windows rather than Mac because of price, and because I'll no doubt be the helpdesk for any issues, and I'm more familiar with Windows than Mac.) Topline budget of £500 for laptop (and software if reqd) seem reasonable?

UK based question if that means anything. User friendly software that allows him to work it out as he goes (dad by no means a digital native, so if any software designed for beginners especially appreciated). Any hints and tips on forums/resources that could set him on his way would be a bonus too.
posted by Gratishades to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Windows Movie Maker should be free with any Windows machine and good enough for the basics. I have edited a few family videos with it and they were big hits. Assuming he just wants the ability to add music, captions and transitions between clips, it will work fine. I eventually "graduated" to something called Sony Vegas Pro, that had way more features but was also more complicated to figure out. Windows Movie Maker uses a basic timeline editing structure that is how all editors work, all the way up to Final Cut Pro, which many professionals use, so you could start there and see if he gets the hang of it. Tell him to save his work periodically.

For the laptop, just get something that has at least 8GB of RAM. More is better but I'm not sure it's necessary unless he is going to be using very large, high quality video files. Large video files can be demanding, but he can choose to compress them and make them more manageable. A solid state drive (SSD) would be better than a hard disk drive (HDD) for storage because they work faster. I should add, I'm no expert at video editing - I've messed around for fun, so this is not expert advice.
posted by AppleTurnover at 1:29 AM on July 25, 2018

Actually, Windows Movie Maker has been discontinued since 2017. It's been replaced by Microsoft Photos, which is even more basic and really targets people like Gratishade's dad. Seconding the RAM requirement in any case (particularly since all videos are shot in HD these days).
posted by elgilito at 1:38 AM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

I might try Openshot over MSPhotos - I don't find this latest batch of MS products very intuitive. YMMV on that.

But yeah, at least 8 gigs of RAM, and in your price range I'd opt for a SSD in the machine for editing and a big external for storage.

I will say AV is where Apple still shines, iMovie is dead simple compared to any of the *Nix or Windows alternatives I've used, and is pretty good training for FCPro.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:07 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Windows 10 offers nothing to help on the video editing front; there are some work-arounds (Windows Movie Maker from 2012?) but other problems get introduced (i.e. incompatible codecs depending on the model / manufacturer of the video camera).

Wanting to quickly produce interview videos for my work, with simple titles and ability to add music, I ended up with Wondershare's Filmora software. At $60 it wasn't going to break the bank, and was very pleased with the final product without a lot of fuss. You can get lost in the effects with any software, but the Filmora product enabled me to get to the end goal without a lot of fuss, and to its credit was remarkably stable.

FWIW I found even easier software for use on the Mac platform, and for those interested in making slideshows and video with a lot of flexibility Fotomagico from Boinx is what I use for my home photos and videos.
posted by scooterdog at 2:03 PM on July 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

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