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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
Discussing the editing of all formats with Matrox, Pinnacle and more.

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Old April 25th, 2003, 10:19 PM   #1
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The $25,000 question

Next to asking "What is the only true faith?" asking what is the best software is the most dangerous question. But here we go.

My friend is using Ulead Pro Version 7 (I hope that is right) and it looks awful complicated to me. Computers are not my thing. My brother is and will supervise the hardware purchase. Is there something that is very simple that I can use? I'm not looking to recreate stars wars or anything. Just tack the scenes together, add audio and a little music. It has got to be really simple. I don't even know how to download pictures into my computer. I need something that will take me by the hand and say, "plug this into her and push this button."

(Kind of reminds me of and incident that took place in the back of my dads car when I was 16 years old. I hope I do a better job of this ;-)

I know that I am asking an impossible question, I also know that I am going to need to do some reading. But a push in the right direction would be great.
Why ask me? I thought you were in charge!
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Old April 25th, 2003, 10:27 PM   #2
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Joe, for a PC guy this is nothing short of heresy, but I'm guessing an iMac with it's standard video editing software may be the best solution for you. I'll let the Apple folks chime in. Are you restricted to PCs?
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Old April 25th, 2003, 11:01 PM   #3
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My nine year old son edits on a 3+ year old iMac. My wife edits on a year old iMac. I edit on a 3 year old G4 dual processor and 2 year old PowerBook. They use iMovie (it's free and very powerful) and I use FCP 3.

It took me 20 minutes to teach my son iMovie (and he's ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder). I don't think you'd have any trouble picking it up. I doubt you'll break anything. Macs are very easy and very intuitive. I think Stuart is correct, they would fit the bill nicely.
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Old April 26th, 2003, 09:57 AM   #4
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Old Mac Donald had a farm, imac, imac, ohhh.... You guys have a small orchard going in your house! :)

Joe- I would agree with Jeff, except for that Mac comment... that you should have no problem using whatever software that comes with your firewire card. If you already have a PC, shop around, and see what hardware comes with what editing software. If you want, try downloading demos of those different NLE programs, and see which one makes sense to you.

I like Premiere over Ulead, and Vegas would be second... maybe third. If I had a Mac, I would go with Final Cut Pro... or a labotomy... as a second choice.
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Old April 26th, 2003, 12:19 PM   #5
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IMO start off with the BASIC's .. if you have a PC with XP it comes with a basic NLE .. nothing fancy .. but you can do all the basic's of cutting together your project depending on what you want to do .. now you may out grow it by your 2nd , 3rd , 4th project if you want to go beyond basic's ..

i think ullead has a free give away .. studio 5 ? when you buy a ads pyro basic 1394 card it comes on the cd ... it is a basic NLE .. very simple .. always read manual to get started ...

sonic foundry has Vegas ..and they make a basic vegas factory - you can buy a book "digital video and audio production ' from them on basic NLE editing for $49 and it includes vegas 3 LE , sound forge xp studio, acid xpress and a few other ....

most NLE can do far beyond the basic's .. IMO just start off with what you need to learn for your current project...
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Old April 26th, 2003, 01:13 PM   #6
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I don't know about starting off with the basics, because once you get used to a certain program, then it makes it harder to move up...
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Old April 26th, 2003, 01:24 PM   #7
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I'm going to second the motion to use Windows Movie Maker 2 if your PC is running Windows XP. It's free for the download (if it's not already on your system) and it can do the very basics.

Once you've gotten the sense of video editing in general, you can decide what to do next.

If your PC does not have a 1394 port, I recommend Pinnacle Studio 8 DV; this is the version that comes with the Studio 8 software and a 1394 PCI card. It can often be found with rebates for under $100. One caveat -- studio is very buggy at the moment. Be sure to download the most recent release to avoid problems.

I recommend Studio because it's an all-in-one package with excellent integration and a very clean user interface, making it very easy to get started. Capture, edit, and then output to just about any format you like including MPEG-2 and DVD. You can't beat the feature set for the price. If it weren't buggy, no other under-$100 product would sell a single copy.

Sonic Foundry's Video Factory, also mentioned above, is a very good editor, probably the best editor for under $100. However, it does not come with DVD capabilities or an MPEG-2 encoder. Adding MPEG-2 costs another $99 and then you need to spend another $25 or up for a basic DVD authoring program.

There are two Ulead products, Videostudio 7 ($100) and MediaStudio Pro 7 ($500). Because you mentioned "Pro," I'll assume you're talking about MediaStudio Pro. I don't think it's any more complex than other products in the $500 category (Pinnacle Edition, Sonic Foundry Vegas Video, Adobe Premiere). If that level of complexity is too much, then you definitely want to focus on the low end at first.

VideoStudio is a complete product, but it has a very strange user interface that I find very difficult to penetrate. If you have used both Pinnacle Studio and Ulead VideoStudio, you see very quickly why the Pinnacle product wins the usability contest.

I own and have tried Pinnacle Studio, Ulead VideoStudio, Roxio VideoWave, Sonic Video Factory, and Broderbund MovieShop. Video Factory has the best editor and the best audio features. Studio is the best overall product (except for bugs). The rest trail.
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Old April 26th, 2003, 06:56 PM   #8
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I would find a generic book on the basics of editing video on a PC. Videomaker magazine comes to mind, as they seem to do basic generic answers every issue. Every NLE is different in it's layout and tools, and to a degree, how it works. Knowing the basics will help you whether you are using the free program with XP, or Avid, or Final Cut Pro.

But, you will come to a point where you need to know if you want to use A-B video tracks, or a single track like Storm uses. You can figure out the rest as you go.
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Old April 26th, 2003, 11:27 PM   #9
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If you are on a PC, consider Vegas Video 3 or 4.
Despite the power of Vegas Video (3 or 4), it is EXTREMELY easy to pick up and start editing right away if all you want ot do is the stuff you mentionned in your first post. Vegas 3 can be purchased much cheaper off Ebay nowadays.

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