Digital Video Editing

Becoming the next Steven Spielberg is simple thanks to video editing on your PC.

Potential to reality - Software, the missing link

Quality Digital Video (DV) became a possibility with the arrival of the Sony DCR-VX1000 in 1995, a landmark DV camcorder, years ahead of its rivals. It provided a video signal quality equal to most camcorders available today, was the first consumer camcorder with a Firewire connection, possessed easy-to-use controls, and the lens was professional quality.

The Sony DCR-VX1000 should have been what the Canon 300D was for digital SLRs and the iPod was for digital music on the go. However, it was doomed never to spark the DV revolution. Why? Simple; the software available at the time was horrible to use, expensive to buy and impossible to install.

Digital video for the masses could only begin when the accompanying software was easy enough to use without requiring a Degree in rocket science. This fusion of software, affordable DV camcorders and fast PCs with large hard drive capacities happened around 2002.

On the PC side, Windows XP offered Firewire support and the plug-and-play connectivity promised with Windows 98. While Windows was ironing out bugs, Apple stole the limelight with the arrival of iMovie, a simple to use program that allowed anybody with an iMac and DV camcorder to make movies within hours. The PC industry quickly followed suit with variations of professional video editing programs. These offered lots of features but generally had clunky interfaces when compared to the slick simplicity of iMovie. Mature programs developed specifically for the video enthusiast, eventually arrived over the next couple of years offering the features needed to easily create home movies.

The current crop of video editing packages has matured remarkably, with many programs now into their 7th and 8th revisions. That means a lot of mistakes were made and a lot of lessons learnt. Users entering the world of video editing can now enjoy using applications that are not only more stable, but also more intuitive than ever before.

What you will need for hassle free video editing

Once you have recorded your video footage, the next step is getting it onto your PC and transforming the raw video into a polished movie. Most newer PCs will have enough power and memory capacity to handle DV editing tasks but as a good standard rule always remember, the more RAM the better. Hard drive capacity is also important as video files can take up large amounts of space.

The following figures are not the minimum requirements for working with DV, rather a recommendation on the appropriate system to make life easier.

  • Pentium 4 processor
  • Windows XP (SP2)
  • 512 MB RAM
  • AGP video card with 128MB RAM
  • 19-inch monitor, with a second 15-inch monitor if possible, LCD screen not necessary.
  • 16-bit Sound card
  • Dual format DVD recorder
  • 120GB drive for capture/editing application
  • Second 120GB Hard Drive running at 7200 revolutions per minute (rpm). (DV footage takes up 4GB for each 20 minutes stored on the hard drive).

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GoodGearGuide Staff

Good Gear Guide

4 Comments

Lisa

1

Cyberlink Power Director Express

Help! I have been using the Cyberlink Power Director Express software I got with my JVC Everio back in 2007, on Windows XP. As time has gone by, the program freezes almost faster than I can blink, and I keep getting an error message saying that "An error has occurred when opening this media file in the library ..." I haven't moved the files around in my HDD so I don't know why this has happened.
I have recently bought a new computer, with more RAM. Although Cyberlink Power Director Express works in a way, it still has the two problems that happened with XP. I rang JVC who recommended I buy an updated version for Vista. When I rang their technical department the guy answered my questions in a way that doesn't make me confident that the problems will be fixed with the new disk.
So, what I am looking for is advice re a program that has similiar features to Cyberlink but is better! I have used MS Movie Maker but don't like the edit feature. I want all the normal things, including
- to be able to see the first edit frame and the last edit frame as per cyberlink layout
- be able to mute an individual clip when it is on the timeline - or alter sound (Cyberlink only lets you mute all the clips on the timeline - at least my version does)
- be able to fast forward through a clip in preview screen (MS Movie Maker doesn't do this - at least mine doean't)
And any other useful features anyone can recommend. Thanks for your help

Anonymous

2

DV software

I have been using AVS software for a couple of months now and found it to be quite good. I paid about $90AUD for my subscription a couple of months ago but I see that there is a reduced price on their web site at the moment http://www.avs4you.com/Register.aspx which entitles you to all their software. Their software covers audio and video editing (as well as some burning and utilities stuff) taken altogether it's like a complete package - just in separate programs.

The free downloads will give you an idea of what the programs can do, but they add stuff to the final product that makes it basically unusable unless you pay the subscription.

dougmcol

3

Cyberlink - HDV

Nice to hear of someone else in trouble with Cyberlink. I have been using this software for many years now, having done an extensive analysis of many of the available systems - many very good but none I found were so integrated and easy to use with all edit facilities - PIP's, voice-over, etc. included. But recently I updated to a Canon "Full-HD" camera using SD cards - again after an extensive search of what available and coming up - some nice stories to tell of conversations with manufacturers but not here!!!! However, while Adobe Premier Pro has no problems with the card format - and is a fantastic system if you want to do all the learning to be able to use it! - Cyberlink Power Director 7 Ultra - ansolutely the latesdt version - sold as able to handle blu-ray formats etc. - hangs up continuously with an error message "..failed to construct the media source as a graph"! After a dozen emails back and forwards - Customer Support getting mixed in with Technical Support - they still haven't decided that the software is clearly missing a re-code sub-routine! Up to date pricing on all the other systems available would be useful!!!!!!!!!!!

Bart

4

Cyberlink Power Director Express

Hi.
I have used Movie maker and thought it was very basic. Then went out and got Ulead video studio 11... Not bad, I have no complaints, it hardly ever crashes, and if by chance it dose it will let you reopen your last work. It has lots of other good features. Try it mate, I think you will find it ok.

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