Help me enter the viral video pantheon, will ya?
July 23, 2006 10:16 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to remix a handful of videos from Youtube. What's the best/easiest/cheapest (i.e. free) way to do this?

Basically, I want to take about ten 2-minute long videos and cut bits from each of them to make a single 2-minute long mix. I'm using Windows. I'm aware of ways to download the FLVs from Youtube. I figure I can probably convert the FLVs to WMVs and edit in Windows Movie Maker, but transcoding from FLV to WMV back to FLV (when I inevitably re-up to Youtube) I'm also aware of online video mixing sites like, but their interfaces leave much to be desired.

Any suggestions?
posted by TonyRobots to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: oops -- I meant to say "...but transcoding from FLV to WMV back to FLV (when I inevitably re-up to Youtube) makes me a little concerned about quality, especially when the source quality is as dubious as it is.</b."
posted by TonyRobots at 10:26 AM on July 23, 2006

Response by poster: Ugh. I'm a terrible previewer today.
posted by TonyRobots at 10:27 AM on July 23, 2006

Best answer: Detailed instructions from an expert

1) find the video you want from YouTube

2) Use to convert the movies to .flv's. There are several conversion sites, but this one is the best as it supports all video sites and has a no bullshit interface.

3. Download the free RIVA Encoder (look for in middle of page free version here) and FLV player. This is the bomb - .flv to .avi without any hasles and a huge amount of recoding options. Plus its free!

4. Fire up your favourite editing program. I use Sony Vegas, but its your choice. Have a blast.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 11:11 AM on July 23, 2006

Riva encoder does .flv to .avi and vice versa! Forgot that.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 11:11 AM on July 23, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks Funmonkey! Pretty much the approach I was leaning towards, but I didn't know about What's the learning curve on Vegas? Is there anything like a simple iMovie for windows?
posted by TonyRobots at 11:29 AM on July 23, 2006

Vegas is fairly easy to use, if you want a quick leanring curve nad understand some video basic, you can get on pretty quick.I have stuck with it because it is simple and powerful but it's like anything computer related - ask five different people you get five different opinions ;) Try the 30 day full featured download or find a torrent - get a feel for it.

There are loads of other programs - and no doubt people here will make recommendations. The shareware video editing software is pretty much all shit IMHO, but again it depends on what your editing goals are.

Oh, and don't forget to download the K-Lite Mega Codec pack if you are going to be working in video. It's free, no spyware, supplies a range of video tools that always come in handy and offers the greatest amount of codecs to support video transcoding, etc...

Hope that helps.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 11:38 AM on July 23, 2006

There's Windows Movie Maker, but 90:1 says its crap. I've heard Vegas is good. I'd probably go for Avid FreeDV - its a stripped down version of Xpress DV, but if you have ever worked with the Avid interface, you'll get used to it pretty fast.

Personally, though, I'd look at compositing software for any serious mashup.. something like Combustion that has an audio reference track could almost let you avoid an editor completely.

If you can get ahold of a mac, you should at least try Final Cut Pro... I have issues with the software myself, but I picked up basic usage in less than a week in 7th grade. Its definitely the most intuitive package starting from scratch when it comes to editing.
posted by devilsbrigade at 12:05 PM on July 23, 2006

Also, for those using Macs, there's Visual Hub, a sub $25 product from the makers of iSquint, that will convert FLV to a number of formats. Most pertinently, to DV.
posted by evil holiday magic at 9:41 PM on July 23, 2006

Response by poster: devilsbrigade, could you elaborate on the difference between "compositing" and "editing" software?

posted by TonyRobots at 7:18 AM on July 24, 2006

Best answer: Editing software focuses on having a huge number of clips and arranging them in the sequence you want, with the timing you want, and, sometimes recently, the levels of audio you want. Its 'big picture' stuff. It'll handle simple transitions - maybe a fade, crosscuts, split screen, etc.

Compositing generally involves taking a very small number of clips and screwing with them in significant ways. A common use of compositing is to do chromakey & integrate either other video or 2D/3D elements into a shot. The emphasis is on color correction, tracking, & generally merging the various input data well. They'll support things like rotoscoping, much better color correction, & usually some limited support for 3D to integrate 3d elements.

Depending on the mashup, an editor is probably fine. Personally, the mashups that really are 'worth my time' to watch are the ones that go beyond just dropping clips into a sequence, & actually merge some of the elements together in an intelligent way. IE, having an element from the shot before persist into the next shot (rotoscoped in & color-corrected to match the shot, maybe).
posted by devilsbrigade at 11:09 AM on July 24, 2006

« Older How to remove Firefox autofill entries?   |   S. Testing Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.