I’ve accumulated a number of personal videos in a large variety of formats. Some with a variety of cell phones over the years. Some via old videos to capture.
My desire was to save and consolidate most of them. Edit, trim, clip and title some of them.
It didn’t take long before I began to find myself constantly starting only to change direction again.
I had challenges with all the different cameras, cell phones, and capture devices all using different formats.
I need to pick a primary video editor. That also means I need consistency in video formats. And I need video format conversion tools. And any new video stuff I did needed to begin to fit with those formats. I’d like to have the tools available to possibly create an animated title or two that could be used. And free would be the best, so I focused my search on opensource or what’s already on hand.
I’m going to skip the blow by blow. I’ll try to summarize my rationale, although some of it is arbitrary.
Video file conversion, I focused on two options. First was YouTube editor which is not focused on a specific operating system (even Chromebooks) and can be used to flip your cell phone video. Whatever format it is when its uploaded you can download it in MP4 format. Second was an opensource program called Handbrake. Able to convert most formats over to most other formats. It’s limited to Windows machines, but does what you need fast.
Video Editors: Let me list the ones I tried. Windows Movie Maker 12, of course limited to Windows 10. Openshot (both Linux and Windows), Cyberlink PowerDirector 12 free version, and AviDemux on Windows. There were others that I attempted in linux, but since they didn’t work out on my underpowered linux platform, I decided to leave them out since I can’t give them a fair shake.
All of them have some sort of learning curve because they all use slightly different methods to achieve the same thing. Those I quickly eliminated, AviDemux. The learning curve was way too steep for me. Cyberlink PowerDirector 12 (currently included in all Windows 10 installs) was also eliminated because I kept running into ‘buy the upgrade to do this’ prompts.
Windows Movie Maker 12 is hidden in the latest Windows Essentials and is one I’ve had good experiences with. However, I haven’t figured out how to add multiple audio tracks (like a music or narration track). I highly recommend this one as it could probably satisfy a lot of simple project work.
Openshot, I discovered and used with an underpowered Ubuntu laptop and again with a hefty desktop running Windows 10. It’s about the same level of complexity as Windows Movie Maker with more readily available functions like supporting multiple tracks (audio and video) and functions like 3D animation title rendering. By the way, 3D rendering is a huge power draw on your cpu and completely unsupported by the underpowered laptop. Stability with the windows version has been an issue. I had one project that failed due to ‘launcher’ failures multiple times. I’ve had no issues with the linux versions. If I had a more powerful linux desktop, this would be my number one. For that reason alone it’s only my number two.
I’ve decided to try gearing all the devices I do video with to MP4/MP4 format. Let me explain, the first part of the format is the container and the second part is a format inside the container. Nuff said, for now.