Digital Video Editing

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

Keep it simple!

Before you get too involved in the video editing process, it is important to understand the concept of telling the story in a simple manner. The audience will be moved by the video content, rather than the stunning transition effects or swirling title sequence. Most of the time, the best effect you will be applying will be a simple cut between one scene and another. Sometimes a fade might also be recommended to signify a drastic change in time or storyline.

If you want to work with any of the more impressive looking transitions (eg page curls or wipes), make sure you use them to enhance your project, not take over it.

Telling a story

All video editing applications have the basic collection of tools, effects and transitions to help you turn your raw video footage into an enjoyable movie.

Editing software

The simplest transition is none at all, or a "cut", where the first frame of the second video immediately follows the last frame of the first. Other simple transitions include fades, where the first video fades out to either white or black while the next fades in. All the applications have these basic transitions, although if you want to go all out with barrel wipes, explosion effects and 3D titles, some applications offer more than others.


Most video editing programs have a titling package that provides the tools and fonts to place into your movie timeline. Titles can be changed or removed at any time right up until the moment when you render the edited footage. Title applications provide a variety of choices -- including animation, colour and a choice of fonts and font sizes.

A good titling sequence can help establish the appropriate mood and prepare the audience for the genre of movie being shown. Hollywood movie titles provide a perfect example of the importance of a title to establish a mood.

Dramatic movies usually employ a subdued, simple titling sequence, while blockbuster movies may use animated titles that zoom in and out of screen to prepare the audience for the upcoming action. So take a tip from the professionals and make sure your titles give the message you want.

Most video camcorders these days provide a titling feature in the camera itself; however avoid using this feature unless you cannot edit the footage on a PC, as in-camera-effects always look cheap and tacky.


If you want to take your editing seriously, you should also consider getting an audio editing program to complement your video editing package. Video editing programs in general are good for simple audio cuts and fades. However, when you work with video, a frame is generally the smallest editing measure, whereas in audio a full frame is often too much time to accurately cut out a sung word or match up a sound.

Dedicated audio editing programs allow you to match up your audio more accurately than in a normal video editing package. Always make sure you have a backup of any original footage before you start working with your audio, particularly if you take the sound off your video track.

If you are working with only one camcorder, you may not have much control over the quality of the audio, particularly if you aren't using an external microphone. This is where you may want to consider a background soundtrack to set the mood, allowing original audio content back into the video only when it is relevant to the story.

Finally, remember copyright issues when choosing audio content to use in your next video. Just because you have bought the CD doesn't mean that you can use the music in any project you see fit.

Getting video to the Web

Because your video is in digital form, your software can easily transform your movie into a Web friendly file. Virtually all video editing programs allow you to capture, edit and output to many Web formats, straight from the timeline.

Web video output options usually include QuickTime Streaming, QuickTime Progressive Download, Windows Media (audio and video) and variations of the increasingly popular MPEG-4 format. You should also be able to customise your video's quality to suit different Internet connection speeds. Although with the popularity of broadband, you may want to keep your video at the highest quality possible if you are sharing with family and friends.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

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.

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?