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.
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.
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).
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.
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?