Any recommendations on video editing software?

We just purchased our first video camera (sony handycam dcr-dvd 108). It came with Sony’s video editing software, called Picture Motion Browser. I’m gonna check it out tomorrow. In the interim, do any of you have any suggestions/endorsements for a video editing program? If there’s a good freeware program that would be sweet but I’m not necessarily opposed to buying some software if its worthwhile.

Primarily we’ll be shooting family events like this coming Sunday’s baptism of our daughter, goofy things the dogs do, etc. I’ll also be taping some events my school/employer hosts and putting some video of those events online, some sort of viral marketing deal my boss is all hepped up about.

I use NeroVision, part of the Nero suite, but I’ve always used it, so I can’t really compare it to anything else. It seems reasonably fast to me and has far more transitions and menu backgrounds and crap like that than I’ll ever use.

If you’re on a Mac and looking for low-cost, consumer-type software, the obvious choice is iMovie, which is part of iLife but comes installed with a new iMac or Mac Pro. But it sounds like you’re on a PC, in which case this link might help you out!

For Windows, I use PureMotion EditStudio - I’m still on versions 3 and 4.1 - which I got both free (full versions though) on magazine covers.

It takes a multi-layered approach to editing (rather than the linear one in Windows Movie Maker) - you drag clips into a layer in the timeline - if you want to apply an effect to the clip, you drag the effect into a layer above it - if you want to add another effect, you just put that in the layer above, and so on - you can have as many layers as you want, and the effects include fades and transitions between them.

The first thing I produced with it was The Dream Kitchen Of Tomorrow (I like to think I’m capable of better stuff now).

For Linux, Cinelerra is a good one, with a similar conceptual model.

I have Studio DV which I got with a DV camera I bought, although it’s a mainstream product. It is very good but my version is old so the newer one is probably much better. My version has some limitations about what it recognizes as an importable video format. It captures DV video as AVI files so seems to prefer that format, but can output multiple formats. The transitions are very good, and has a good title editor. You can create opaque or transparent titles. The only thing I miss is a scrolling credits style for titles. It has great editing features, very easy to select individual frames and move one frame at a time, can view individual scenes or preview the entire video.

I have also used Window Movie Maker once with decent results. I captured a movie from my TV card, edited out the commercials, and burned it to DVD. The resulting DVD had too many compression artifacts, though. You know how a bad JPG photo looks? That’s how the movie came out. I have not had this problem with either of the other two products.

I also use Nero, which has very good features. The title editor is rather limited, and you can’t insert a title in-line with the video. It’s in a separate layer, so you have to put several blank seconds into your video to make space for a title. I have also had problems that the timing of my project is not accurate in the rendered video. Scenes often cut in or out too soon, by a matter of a second or so, which is a long time. There is also no preview feature where you can watch the entire video in the editor, you can only watch a particular section of it that you’ve pasted in. For example, if you import a scene from one video file and another scene from another file, and add a transition, you can’t watch both scenes with their transition from beginning to end. This is really horrible if you’re making a serious effort.