Video Editing on XP (Not Windows Movie Maker!)
November 9, 2007 7:13 AM   Subscribe

Best Video-Editing Software for Windows XP?

My wife is engaged in editing some audio/video files. She's pretty well versed in the GIMP for photo-editing and has been very frustrated using Windows MovieMaker thus far.

Here's how she describes what she's trying to do: "
I want software that will allow me to edit video from various sources, make slide shows and edit audio for podcasts. I'd like it to be easy to use, contain tools to make credits and captions, and give my work a professional feel. It also needs to produce a product that is compatible with upload requirements on you tube etc.
" By 'sources' she means DVD VOB files, MOV files, AVI, etc. No HD support is required at this point.

Is there some open source analog to GIMP for video editing? And what are comparable commercial packages? I see that Pinnacle Studio 11 is popular; we wouldn't want to pay more than say $200 (so Adobe Premiere is out of the question). There's also Ulead. Here's a list of the top-sellers on Amazon...I would appreciate recommendations from anyone familiar with multiple packages.

Last resort is to buy a Mac and use iMovie;).
posted by jjsonp to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You aren't going to find any commercial tools that allow you to edit VOB files, as far as I know. Your best bet is probably to use VirtualDub to convert your VOBs into AVIs or quicktime files.

As far as editing goes, I vote for Final Cut Express on a Mac. It'll set you back $240 plus the cost of a mac, but it does almost everything you'd want and then some. I wouldn't recommend the latest iMovie (8?), since Apple made some pretty drastic changes to the interface that make it less friendly (IMHO) for audio editing, particularly. Older versions (iMovie HD) are nicer, in my opinion. You might be able to get by with iMovie8 + garage band, but I haven't tried that workflow so I can't recommend it.

If you want to stick with a PC, I'm less knowledgeable about recent developments. I had decent luck making silly little videos about 4 years ago with Pinnacle Studio, but that iteration should in no way be confused with a pro editing package. I'm not sure what's out there these days.
posted by Alterscape at 7:30 AM on November 9, 2007

Best answer: Sony Vegas. I use it and require departments to use it in my consulting job. It's significantly more intuitive than all other programs I've used (FCP and Premiere among the list). It has the technical components needed to do broadcast quality work.

There's no open source solution currently, AFAIK.
posted by lothar at 7:47 AM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've used Ulead MediaStudio (NOT video studio) before with pretty good success. Just save your project often because it likes to crash sometimes. It does have the support for many types of files and 'super video converter' could be used to convert in a pinch.
posted by ijoyner at 8:10 AM on November 9, 2007

Best answer: I'm with Sony Vegas on a PC as well. It has a shallow learning curve from Windows Movie Maker but as you dig deeper it has all the facilities of the other big players.

The version you go for depends on how far your wife wants to get into this but they're all available for free download here.
posted by merocet at 8:13 AM on November 9, 2007

MPEG stream clip will edit VOBs, and it's free. It is a bit course on time control, I find it easiest to use it to select the chunks I'm interested in, then convert those to another format for detailed editing.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:36 AM on November 9, 2007

You can get Adobe Premiere Elements for $69 after rebate, and it does pretty much everything.

I also use Ulead VideoStudio 10, but I hate it because it crashes all the time. I tried CyberLink Power Director, but it was a little too user friendly, and didn't allow a lot of customization. I tried Sony Vegas, but I didn't like the user interface, it seemed like it had a steep learning curve.

So I guess I'd recommend Premiere Elements 4.
posted by sanka at 9:09 AM on November 9, 2007

Classic! Questioner asks for free-as-in-free-beer solution to video editing for VOBs. Responder recommends multi-thousand dollar solution involving macs.

There are few free programs for VOB editing, and these are basically limited to mucking around with the IFO indexes and the multiplex streaming. You can use a modded version of VirtualDUB.

One cheap program for direct VOB editing is Womble. The interface, however, is bizarre and seems to have been lreworked from some 1980s Atari ST system. VideoHelp has a good roundup of the different software in this class. You can generally find Nero OEM versions cheap. Sometimes you have to buy a DVD recorder for $20 or so to get them bundled. But the Nero software is pretty intuitive for editing, and has some impressive encoders. Nero versions prior to the current V8 often get remainedered for 1 or 2 dollars apiece.
posted by meehawl at 11:33 AM on November 9, 2007

I used Pinnacle Liquid Edition at one of my jobs and it worked reasonably well, though compared to other editing programs I've worked with, the learning curve was bit steep and frustrating. It includes audio editing and mixing capabilities.

I'm not sure if the audio you want to edit is for an audio or video webcast, but if it's audio only, Audacity is free and works well on any platform.
posted by drezdn at 11:39 AM on November 9, 2007

For opensource solutions, I also recommend VirtualDUB (you many need to find a modded version that works with your codec of choice). An alternative to VirtualDUB is Avidemux, which is also opensource and has a slightly less stark interface than VirtualDUB. I don't think it handles as many codecs however. I'm not sure how appropriate either of these would be for adding captions etc., which might be better done in NERO OEM, reserving VirtualDUB/Avidemux for file conversions, and combining/separating the audio and video.

I haven't had good experiences with Ulead.

If you can get your hands on a cheap (used?) version of Sony Vegas/Adobe After Effects, I can highly recommend them. They are both very useful for working with the audio/video (once its in the proper format) in an intuitive visual manner.
posted by Hutch at 2:42 PM on November 9, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! She is leaning toward Sony Vegas based upon the responses (although she still wants a Mac too, particularly after hearing me bitch about Vista so much lately;).

Would it be possible to do this sort of stuff with Blender? From what I can see it seems to be more of a CGI tool or something, but it does apparently do non-linear editing, which I guess is the technical term for what my wife wants to do.
posted by jjsonp at 2:45 PM on November 9, 2007

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