4 Handy Free Tools for the Video Editor

Super video converter Years ago, video editing was restricted to those with high-end computers, and was a cumbersome, problem-riddled task, filled with dropped frames, out of sync audio, and other headaches.  Some of us even attempted to edit video without a computer.  I remember the days of trying to splice together a family video, using dubbed VCR’s.  Let’s just say that those efforts didn’t turn out so well.  Now, though, video editing has come to the masses.  Almost any modern computer can handle video, and editing software comes preinstalled on most operating systems (or is a free download, in the case of Windows 7).  In addition to the software to edit video, there are other free programs that are worth carrying in your arsenal.  Here are four handy ones, which are Windows-only unless otherwise noted.

 

1.  HDVSplit

HDV Split video capture program and scene detection

If you have an HDV camcorder, HDVSplit can make your life easier.  Plug in your camcorder, start HDVSplit, and play back your video.  HDVSplit will capture the video, and split it into files (i.e. scenes) based on timestamp.  This makes handling your video MUCH easier when editing.

 

2.  SUPER

SUPER video encoder

If you edit video, you know that you often must convert video from one format to another.  Some editing programs do this well, while others are a bit lacking.  Enter SUPER.  SUPER is the Swiss army knife of encoders, supporting a staggering number of formats.  It actually acts as a front end to several different engines, such as FFmpeg, MEncoder, MPlayer, and x264.  While the interface can be a bit daunting, it is easier than most of the alternatives.  My one complaint with SUPER is that its website is an absolute nightmare.  Have fun navigating through several pages to finally get to the download link.  There’s no way to go directly to the download link, or I’d give it to you (but you may have luck finding it on third party sites).

 

3.  Audacity

Audacity audio editor

The audio editing capabilities of some video editing programs are very basic.  Fortunately, you’re not limited to editing audio in your video editing program.  Audacity is a feature-rich freeware program for recording and editing audio for Mac OS X, Windows, and GNU/Linux.  With Audacity, you can cut, copy, splice, or mix sounds together, change the speed or pitch of a recording, add effects, remove static and hiss, and more.

 

4.  GSpot

GSpot codec identifier

If you edit video and are like me, you have many video files on your computer.  Sometimes, you can’t determine what codecs are required to play those files.  GSpot solves this, identifying what codecs (audio and video) are required to play a media file, and determing whether those codecs are installed on your system.

 

Those are some of the free programs I have in my video-editing arsenal.  What do you use?

Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.

4 Comments:

  1. Currently I’m pretty good about importing video from my new Sony into the software they provided, but I also have boxes of VHS and Hi-8 tapes just waiting for some attention. “Cumbersome, problem-riddled task” is EXACTLY how I’ve seen video editing. :) I’ll check into these free tools. Luckily open source software is the one exception to my grandfather’s saying, “You might not always get what you pay for, but you’ll sure as hell pay for what you get!”

    • I think we’re in the same boat- I have several old tapes just waiting for me to load up and edit. I do go through periods where I enjoy, and other times where it is a chore.

  2. I like to edit videos but sometimes I just get frustrated because some tools which I am using are not very user friendly , I guess I have to check out these tools. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sometimes I think video editing software is in a world of its own, especially when trying to move from one app to an alternative. I use Adobe Premiere (and occasionally Pinnacle Studio), and I tried to move to Sony Vegas once, as many people swear by it. I couldn’t make any sense of it at all.

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