Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Reverting from author to geek

In the last blog entry I described how I had the Digital Video camera communicating with my PC. My first trial of video clip editing started with Microsoft's free Windows Movie Maker software. This was already present on my PC, so I presume it had been supplied free by Microsoft. Using that tool I fairly quickly produced a complete video. I was able to remove video sections I didn't want and also play around with the sound. Unfortunately I could only get output in the form of a .wvm file which is a native Microsoft video file format or too a DVD. I was able to load the file onto Youtube without too much effort, but for longer term plans I need a wider range of output formats. It is a pity really because Movie Maker is really easy to use, but sadly has been discontinued by Microsoft. Its replacement "Windows Live Movie Maker" has far fewer features and was only worth a cursory look.

I decided I'd need something with better video/sound editing capabilities. plus a better range of output formats:

Adobe Premiere - fully featured product, with a steep learning curve and an even steeper price of £810 (equiv. to US$1320). You also need a powerful PC running 64 bit Windows 7; with a small range of recommended powerful "multi-core"graphics cards (£150 +). I've used an earlier edition of the software.

Adobe Premiere Elements 9 - a cut down version of its big brother Adobe Premiere, reasonable editing features but a more limited range of outputs. It can run on a reasonably powerful PC and costs £79 (equivalent to US$129). It runs on Vista, probably XP, Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit), but unlike its big brother it does not take advantage of the 64 bit processor's ability to a massive amount of computer memory.

Cyberlink PowerDirector 9 Deluxe - a well featured editor with a reasonable range of outputs. It has a better range of functions and formats when compared with Adobe Premiere Elements 9 and will run on similar PC hardware. The PowerDirector 9 can take advantage of the processors in multi-core gaming graphics cards and shifts a lot of the processing load from the main CPU (central processing unit). The limitation is that it uses 32 bit memory addressing - max of 4 gigabytes. Editing and rendering large video files would take a long time. It is priced at £60 (equivalent to US$98).

Cyberlink PowerDirector 9 Ultra64 is like the Deluxe version but makes use 64 bit architecture so it can use as many gigabytes of processor memory as you can cram onto your motherboard. This coupled with the ability to use multi-core graphics cards give much faster (video render) processing.

I also looked at Corel's VideoStudio Pro X4 and also Xara's Magix Movie Edit Pro 17 but was not attracted to them. Eventually after trying each product on their trial period (not Adobe Premiere - far too expensive) I decided to go for PowerDirector 9 Ultra64. I've ordered a packaged version of the software.

This will mean I have to upgrade the memory and operating system on my PC to Windows 7 64 bit. This is when my trials and tribulations start ... to be continued!

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