Hobbyist video production software?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Alabaster, Nov 11, 2005.

  1. Alabaster

    Alabaster Guest

    I'm looking for a software package that will allow me to do basic video
    editing. My main purpose is to make short films with a middle school
    acting class.

    I'm looking for something in the $60 - $120 range, or cheaper if
    possible. I would consider buying seperate software for the editing and
    burning as long as the programs are compatible and don't require a lot
    of convoluted conversion. An upgrade path to professional versions
    would be nice. It seems that Adobe Premiere Elements, Pinnacle Studio,
    and Vegas Movie Studio are the best options so far--any thoughts?

    Features I require:

    -Capture from Sony DV (firewire)
    -Export to Sony DV
    -Save as AVI, WMV, MPG, DIVX, Quicktime, or at least a few of these,
    with various levels of compression, bitrates, framerates, etc.
    -Author and burn to DVD, with menus, subtitles, etc..
    -The ability to convert between multiple video formats and encoding
    options would be a big plus.
    -Some nice transitions and effects would be helpful, but I don't need a
    huge library of them.
    -Audio sync must be flawless. Other than this, I don't need fancy audio
    features, because I am a composer and do most of my audio work in
    separate software. The video software only needs to import one or two
    tracks.
    -A good GUI, and fairly quick rendering if possible-- I tend to work
    right up to my deadlines.

    I've been trying to search for something online, but so many
    questionable-looking packages pop up that it's hard for me pick out
    what's good and reliable. Right now I do it through a whole series of
    random little conversion programs and encoders that I've found on the
    internet, but the process is long and frustrating, and usually requires
    a lot of trial and error, and time spent tracking down codecs.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    chris.
     
    Alabaster, Nov 11, 2005
    #1
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  2. Assuming you are running PC (not Mac)...
    Did you look at Windows Movie Maker (free)?

    Have you lurked around here long enough to see all the
    people complaining about Pinnacle?
     
    Richard Crowley, Nov 11, 2005
    #2
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  3. Alabaster

    Alabaster Guest

    Yes, I'm on PC, and i've used Windows Movie Maker but it's too remedial
    for me, as well as buggy--it's given me lots of problems with audio
    synchronization, as well as freezing up during renders. In general, I
    need a richer feature set anyway.

    I have not lurked around here before--this is my first time reading this
    board, as a result of a frustrating overnight attempt to finish a
    12-minute film with Windows Movie Maker. I had probablems at every
    step--capturing, editing, synchronizing, exporting to DV, rendering to
    disk, converting, burning to DVD, etc. My computer is souped up for
    professional audio production, so it's not a matter of ram or cpu limits.

    Right now I'm torn between Vegas and Premiere. Vegas has a strong
    reputation with the audio community (I am a composer and audio
    engineer), so I'm inclined towards that. But Premiere seems to be user
    friendly and fairly ubiquitous--it seems like plugins are more readily
    available. Since I'm not especially knowledgeable, there may be
    features that I don't even know I should be looking for.

    Any thoughts on which of the two (or other) to go with?

    I'd like the software to not be TOO proprietary--that is, I'd like the
    DVD burning / authoring component to work with files created in other
    software as well. And again, the ability to convert between various
    formats would be helpful.

    Thanks,
    chris.
     
    Alabaster, Nov 11, 2005
    #3
  4. There is a newsgroup specifically for WMM...

    How clean is the machine you are running this on? It would
    appear that lots of people use WMM without any of those
    problems?
    I don't have any experience with Vegas (now Sony), only with
    Premiere. I am quite happy with Premiere Pro and Encore (for
    DVD authoring/burning), but that is beyond your desired budget.
    You should certainly consider Premiere Elements which I believe
    will also do simple DVD authoring/burning. You can get free
    previews of most of the Adobe products online.
    The Adobe products are pretty broadly supported by 3rd party
    plug-ins, etc, and use industry-standard file formats that can
    be exchanged with other software.

    People have good things to say about Vegas, and I am a great
    fan of Sony hardware. But I am wary of Sony as a software
    vendor. They are such a big company that they could just decide
    one day to quit the production software business and never even
    give it a second thought. I had a Sony laptop PC before this Dell
    I am using now, and I wouldn't buy a Sony PC again, either.
    IMHO, Sony just doesn't do computer hardware/software to
    the same level as they do audio and video hardware.

    There is also Avid Free DV http://www.avid.com/freedv/
    which, you will have to admit, is a very good price. And
    Avid is a big name in the pro market. There are also free-
    ware (or cheap-ware) MPEG converters and DVD authoring/
    burning applications available. Depends on whether you
    want to exchange time/experimentation for $$$.

    Can you find another computer to do your video editing on?
    I also do multi-track audio production. But I mostly do video
    and audio on different machines since video is so demanding.
     
    Richard Crowley, Nov 11, 2005
    #4
  5. Alabaster

    Harry Putnam Guest

    [...]
    These are a far cry from the $60-120 dollar premise...
     
    Harry Putnam, Nov 11, 2005
    #5
  6. Alabaster

    Jona Vark Guest


    I am a Premiere user and I find it excellent. Many here also love Vegas. The
    time you save and the features you will have will far outweigh the extra
    expense. Go for it.
     
    Jona Vark, Nov 11, 2005
    #6
  7. Alabaster

    Gary Guest

    I have Vegas Video 3.0 when it was still from Sonic Foundry, and Vegas
    Video Studio from Sony which I got for basic DVD authoring which VV 3.0
    doesn't have.

    One thing I like to do typically is have a collection of clips each
    available on the menu, but when you select one, play through to the end
    rather than come back to the menu after the clip ends each time. The
    only way DVD Architect Studio included with Vegas Studio allows you to
    do this is if you have all of your media rendered as an AVI with
    markers at the chapter points, but you can't do it if your clips are
    already rendered to MPEG. This is a huge time waste if you are
    tweaking one little clip but need to re-render the whole thing every
    time. I don't like to re-render as a step in authoring, come on!

    I finally gave up and got TMPGenc for DVD authoring, about $60. It
    gives you the choice per clip I think to either play through or return
    to the menu.

    One problem with all of this is that as a newbie I didn't really know
    what I wanted, assumed that the product would have some flexibility
    where I needed it, but was wrong. I haven't tried the other packages
    you mentioned but ultimately it may come down, as it did with me, that
    you really want just ONE thing that your sw won't do and then have to
    go get something else. Good thing that I didn't drop $900 on something
    to find that out!
     
    Gary, Nov 11, 2005
    #7
  8. Alabaster

    Alabaster Guest


    What I mean is I'm torn between the "home studio" version of these
    programs... Each offers a hobbyist version for about $99, which
    features just about all the features I would need. And presumably there
    is an upgrade path if I wanted to move on to more professional work.
    For my amateur and educational stuff, I think the smaller versions would
    do the trick.

    chris.
     
    Alabaster, Nov 11, 2005
    #8
  9. Alabaster

    Alpha Guest

    What you want in the package is *not* available in the hobbyist versions of
    Premiere and Vegas. Neither of the $99 versions can adequately author DVD
    structures with subtitles.

    Sonic DVDIT 6 Pro has a built in subtitle editor. Caveat Emptor - their
    past products have been buggy.

    DVD LAB Pro can do subtitles with an external editor...and you have to use
    another program for editing ($199).

    What you want is only available in the full Premiere and Vegas products.

    I am particularly fond of Edius from Canopus .. however the
    hardware/software/keyboard bundle is essential (for standard video, about
    $1200).
     
    Alpha, Nov 11, 2005
    #9
  10. Alabaster

    marks542004 Guest


    I would download the Sony vegas Studio pack and see if it meets your
    needs.

    The DVD authoring is a seperate program but I haven't found that to be
    an issue.

    Windows Movie Maker seems stable on WIN XP service pack 2. Anything
    earlier seems a bit buggy.
     
    marks542004, Nov 12, 2005
    #10
  11. Alabaster

    Alabaster Guest

    Subtitles aren't crucial--I mentioned them as an afterthought, and if
    they're not in the $99 version, I can definitely do without them. As
    long as the software has all (or most) of the other features. Premiere
    and Vegas Movie studio seem to have them, unless I'm misreading
    something. Any tips?

    chris.
     
    Alabaster, Nov 12, 2005
    #11
  12. Alabaster

    info Guest

    info, Nov 14, 2005
    #12
  13. Alabaster

    Donald Link Guest

    You are among the minority. Plus you can purchase Pinnacle Studio 10
    Plus now for the same price if you look hard. Mabey ten dollars more.
    Your requirement must not be much more than the basic video editing.
     
    Donald Link, Nov 14, 2005
    #13
  14. Alabaster

    Larry S. Guest

    Chris

    I own all three and have used all of them.

    If Pinnacle runs, the smartsound is cool, it can rip audio from a CD, had
    sometimes useful antishake. EZ to use for basic stuff. Hard to use with 2 or
    more cameras or anything special.

    Vegas Studio (lite). Just a bit harder to learn, has 3 tracks, won't rip
    sound from a CD anymore. And I'm mad at Sony over the DRM spyware on some
    audio CDs, but it works (more often than Pinnacle).

    Premiere Elements. Harder to learn, 99 audio and video tracks. Can handle
    more complex tasks. Since my last software reload several months ago, it is
    still the only NLE editor on my system as I haven't had the need to load the
    others yet. Here are some videos shot with 2 cameras and produced over 1
    weekend with Premiere Elements. http://www.videobylarry.com/KMC_Band.htm
    If you use enough to learn (one project per month or so) I think it is the
    best pick. If not go with Vegas (whatever they call the home version now)
    for faster learning curve.

    All of them are buggy at times and need workarounds but you can get the job
    done.

    Larry


     
    Larry S., Nov 14, 2005
    #14
  15. Alabaster

    nappY Si Guest

    I'm looking for a software package
    Want some good advice:
    STAY AWAY FROM PINNACLE.

    Despite what Pinnacle muppets say
    on this NG, Pinnacle Studio software
    is GARBAGE. Do a Google and make your
    own mind up.
    Both excellent products. I prefer Vegas
    which is very reliable and pretty
    bulletproof. The audio in Vegas is
    superb. If you want to really
    go for it, get Avid Xpress.
     
    nappY Si, Nov 15, 2005
    #15
  16. Alabaster

    Jona Vark Guest

    It is always funny when people post crap like this. As if they take their
    time to research it.

    Pinnacle has a very bad rep. Has for many years

    Unless you are totally new you would know that.
     
    Jona Vark, Nov 15, 2005
    #16
  17. Alabaster

    Rusty Guest


    I've been more than pleased with VideoStudio. I'm using version 8 and it's been
    great. But then I've been using VideoStudio since version 4,
    so........whatever.

    Rusty
     
    Rusty, Nov 15, 2005
    #17
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