Video Editing Question

My son has a project which calls for taking some vido and editing it. We’ve got a Sony video cam that records directly onto a mini-DVD. Will I need to buy editing software for my PC. And if my PC doesn’t have a DVD burner, how would he get it off the PC and onto a DVD?

  1. I’m assuming you’re using windows, so you may already have windows movie maker installed. Alternatively virtualdub may be enough for the editing, and it’s free. http://www.virtualdub.org/ I haven’t followed video editing software on windows much, so other may post better options.

  2. Are you sure the mini-dvd’s can be read by your system, or are they in some proprietary format? Check this first if you haven’t yet.

  3. If you don’t have a dvd burner, find someone who does, or buy one. An internal dvd burner should be around the same price point as an 8 GB USB thumbdrive (about 20 to 30 euros around here), which would be the easiest way to transfers the file(s) to another (non-local) computer.

If you’ve got a laptop and/or cannot install an internal drive, you would probably need an external (USB) DVD burner, which will be more expensive.

Thanks. I do have the “Movie Maker” program. Never knew what it was. Also taking your advice, I checked the camera manual and the discs can be formatted correctly. Down to the burner. Guess I’ll have to buy/borrow one.

Oh, one more thing about the DVD burner: if you want an internal burner, make sure you get one with the right connectors. Most (I think) are IDE ((parallel) ATA), while motherboards have either just SATA (rare), a combination of IDE & SATA ports (common for recent-ish boards) or just IDE ports. You can connect up to two hard/optical drives to an IDE port, but only one drive to an SATA port. SATA drives can be faster (especially reading), but I doubt it would matter for casual DVD burning.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT_Attachment and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_ATA or your user manual.

Why do people always bring up VirtualDub in these threads? It is a very useful utility if you work with .avi files, but it’s no video editor.

Ok, it’s extremely limited, but you suggest something better. I haven’t used windows for video editing in ages.

VirtualDub is not extremely limited. Combined with plugins, it can handle WMV. Combined with AVISynth, it can handle practically any format that can be shown on a computer. It is a video editor. And the best FREE one out there, IMHO.

But, it isn’t noobie friendly. To use if effectively, if you have to know what you are doing. Windows Movie Maker is extremely limited. But it is also reasonably noobie friendly.

To the OP - unless you want to spend hours researching and learning various aspects of video editing (video and audio codecs, frame rates, interlacing, resolutions, containers, etc), the likely easiest approach is to use whatever video editing software that came with your camcorder. Hopefully, it will come with a DVD burning option as well. Otherwise, it will be long slow road of learning the basics to end up with something that will play in a standalone DVD player.

If you are OK with having the video simply play on a computer, you will find it a considerably easier project.

As a starting reference site, videohelp.com is pretty good comprehensive site to leverage.

Good luck. It will not be as easy as you might think.

Woah. I have used VirtualDub a lot. It is very useful. But it is not, and does not claim to be, a video editor. From the link in Superfluous Parenthese’s post: “VirtualDub is a video capture/processing utility for 32-bit Windows platforms […]. It lacks the editing power of a general-purpose editor.”

Name something better? Almost any purpose-built video editor.

OK. Name one - that is free.

If you follow the rest of quote, it specifically refers to a general purpose editor like Adobe Premiere. Another would be Sony Vegas. Both of which are quite expensive.

I stand by my statement (though an opinion). It is the best free video editor out there. I suspect it is likely to be the most popular video editor as well. It lacks the “timeline” feature found in may general purpose editors. It makes up for in the flexibility not found in editors like Windows Movie Maker.

By the way, from the wiki link on video editing software: “Virtual Dub is a popular Open Source video editor with some powerful features, but lacks the intuitive drag-and-drop timeline interface of high priced editors.”

I looked around, and the only free video editing programs I’ve been able to find have been pretty bad. The best had quirky interfaces that baffled this veteran video editor, and the worst were downright user hostile. I would recommend looking for an inexpensive one, like Corel’s VideoStudio X2. It retails for $60, has a downloadable trial version and is more than enough for any non-professional.

You have to wonder what goes through most GUI designer’s heads when they come up with some of this stuff. It beggars the mind, it does.

I’d recommend pitivi, but it’s X (linux?) only. I found it easy and pretty intuitive, though it only caters to very basic video editing.

http://www.pitivi.org/wiki/Screenshots

I’m sure the OP’s question has been dealt with. But I just want to throw a plug in here for DebugMode’s Wax. Combine Wax and Windows Movie Maker and you can do just about anything Adobe Premiere and Adobe Aftereffects can do.

For free.

It’s not that hard to use, either. There are a lot of youtube tutorial videos to get you started.

So, yeah, Wax is probably beyond the scope of “general purpose editor” but it is free, easy to use, and extremely powerful for the price.