Basic Video Editing
Motion picture editing has come a very long way since the days of physically cutting and splicing celluloid film in the cutting room. Today anyone with a basic home computer can easily edit video.
There are a number of tools (called nonlinear editors or NLEs) available for video editing on the desktop PC. They range in price and capability from very simple (and free) such as Microsoft Movie Maker all the way to professional tools like Adobe Premiere costing hundreds of dollars. Since this is a basic guide, we will focus on Microsoft Movie Maker.
There are a number of tutorials available on the web showing how to use Microsoft Movie maker. The basic steps are pretty straight forward. With Movie Maker you can import video from your video camera, add videos to a time line or storyboard, add effects and titles, and then render the final video.
Here are some video tutorials to step you through using Microsoft Movie Maker:
- Microsoft has a movie maker tutorial site that also includes plug-in downloads
- Atomic Learning Movie Maker 2 tutorials includes getting started all the way through saving your movie to a DV tape, CD, or the web.
- About.com has some great introductory information and tutorials
- Video Tutorials from a variety of sites are available though a quick Google video search
After creating your masterpiece, you might like to write it to a DVD. Microsoft Movie Maker does not include DVD authoring software (although they would be happy to sell you that capability). However, there are some free and open source alternatives. Three popular choices for Windows are:
- Video DVD Maker free touts itself as "a freeware tool to create DVDs in 3 clicks." While it is simple, that also means it lacks some of the more advanced features.
- DVDStyler is a cross-platform open source DVD authoring application for the creation of professional-looking DVDs. It is more complex, but allows you more flexibility in creating menus and backgrounds.
- DVD Flick is an open source tools that aims to be a simple but at the same time powerful DVD Authoring tool. It has a simple interface for adding videos and allows creating menus.
My personal favorite is DVDStyler as it seems to have a good mix of features and ease of use.
Once you are comfortable using Movie Maker, if you want more features there are lots of options. For under $100 you can purchase a number of very capable editors such as Sony Vegas Movie Studio or Adobe Premiere Elements. These editors contain all the capabilities you would likely ever need for editing home movies. In addition, suites like Sony Vegas include very capable DVD authoring tools that integrate with the video editor to give you an end-to-end video editing solution. Most of these products include a trial version that you can download for free to try before you buy.