Digital Video Editing

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

Video editing software

Video editing applications allow video to be captured, edited and exported to DV tape, the web or a recordable CD or DVD, with price points for video editing programs ranging from free (on the web or on a PC World cover CD) up to several thousand dollars for professional hardware/software solutions.

Popular video editing applications are available from Pinnacle (, Ulead ( and Adobe ( Often, demo versions of the applications are available to try out for a limited period. This allows you to see if the application is worth using, before you lay down your hard-earned cash.

If you have a Windows XP machine, a video editing application called Movie Maker is already included in the operating system. If you have upgraded the OS to SP2, you will have the latest version installed. If you haven't updated to the latest version of Windows XP, you can download the latest release of Movie Maker from the Microsoft web site.

Most of the current inexpensive video editing packages offer 3D titles, special effects, impressive wipes and transitions to satisfy most movie making tasks. Easy to follow step-by-step wizards help to make the process less daunting, with some applications creating a finished movie for you from scratch.

Installing the software

Once the CD has been inserted, your application should automatically install in its own directory. While the default choices for installation should satisfy most users' requirements, we recommend you have your video captured to a separate hard drive if possible.

Once the program opens, a variety of settings will need to be determined to suit the type of movie you want to create. Templates are often available for either the local DV PAL or the American NTSC systems. Applications will usually have NTSC as the default format for video, so check before you make your first movie. You should also be able to choose between 4/3 or 16/9 (HDTV) support. Another popular preset function is DVD, where video is converted to MPEG-2 before it is burnt to a DVD disc.

The software should recognise the type of camcorder you are using, with Windows XP providing most of the relevant information.

Your video editing program will present you with a series of windows, timelines and palettes that allow you to manipulate your video, audio, titles and effects.

Capturing video

Capturing video from a DV camcorder or VCR is a simple process, usually involving little more than choosing File - Capture Movie from the application menu. Some applications offer a "wizard" approach, where you simply click on icons that look like a camcorder to start the video transfer process.

You will generally see a monitor view of incoming video, with settings and logging tabs to select if you don't want to capture the whole video tape. A batch feature may also be available, allowing you to put clips in any order, add comments or notes, delete clips, search for scenes and temporarily disable footage for capturing.

The most popular way to work with video is in a Single Track, or Storyboard, environment. This is where single icons showing a video scene and transitions placed between clips on one single track are displayed on the screen. New users should start out using a Single Track mode if possible.

A multi-track mode is where you need to keep track of multiple video and audio tracks, creating a movie by layering the various tracks in a sequence. For example, if you want a transition, you place it on the effects track between Video track 1 and Video track 2.

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GoodGearGuide Staff

Good Gear Guide




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



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 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.



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!!!!!!!!!!!



Cyberlink Power Director Express

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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