Archive for the ‘Video Software’ Category

Getting my feet wet with Sony Movie Studio 12

I don’t normally do much work with video, but as of late I’ve really had a want to learn. I don’t see myself running around with a video camera trying to make movies or some sort of documentary, but there are plenty of reasons that editing video would be a handy thing to know.

So with that in mind I set about my task. I wrote about Sony Movie Studio 11 and 12 and some significant price drops on Amazon. I took the opportunity to strike and actually bought both 11 and 12. Since I have two machines and the copies are tied to the computer I thought a copy of each would be worthwhile. In fact, with the price drops I got both copies for less than 12 was going for a couple weeks ago.

But moving on. Since I don’t know much about video I created a little project for myself. I’ve had a great time playing Dirt 2 so I took many of my “lesser moments” and spliced them together into a nice little compilation video. There were some wickedly funny moments as I lost control of the car on numerous occasions. Not all of them were my fault mind you! There were plenty of times where I was just driving along trying to make a good run and got caught up in disaster.

This was a simple project, just compile some clips together and see how it goes. I’m not using anything like effects or envelopes or the more fancy features. That will come later. For right now, I just want to get used to the interface and understand how the timeline works.

To be honest, it was far easier than I thought. So many of the Amazon review made Movie Studio out to be a beast of a program with a vertical learning curve. Many considered it far too advanced and complicated. I took the simple approach and found it very easy to work with. It worked exactly like I expected it to. You select items in the time line then either move, delete or trim them. Setting markers was just a click of the keyboard and lining up the files was just as easy. I found the help file to be very good and it answer the questions I had. It showed how to add your own audio tracks, separate from the game and record through a microphone/headset.

I felt comfortable within couple of minutes and was able to add additional audio clips and text like it was nothing. I didn’t get hung up on a single task and spent several hours adding and trimming clips. By the time I edited my 3rd file it was second nature.

So far, I’m really impressed with Sony Movie Studio. I find editing video to be very easy. It’s to select, delete and move files. I also found adding text was very simple. I even dropped in my own audio clips on a second track with ease.

I’m sure the more advanced functions take a bit of getting used to, but my first effort was flawless. I put my 20 minute clip together and rendered it out as 2 separate files. Pretty sweet. I’m pretty satisfied with my purchase and the meager amount I spent. In fact, I’m really looking forward to capturing some more game clips and compiling them together.

Here’s a screenshot of what I ended up with as I was editing.

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I have the main video track with it’s corresponding audio track. Above that is the Text track where you can put text overlays on the screen. At the bottom is an external sound file. This will play “over” the main audio. It won’t mute it out, they play together. It’s the same concept as layers in Paint Shop. Each one gets combined to make the overall effect.

I really like how Movie Studio works so far. And this is Movie Studio 12, the 64 bit version.

If you want to see the final project, check out the video below. This is Part 1.

 


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Freemake Video Converter, Audio Converter, Video Downloader

Ever since the Tour de France ended, I’ve been looking for some video tools to help me splice some of the videos back together. Live broadcasts don’t always go according to plan and you end up with fragments of the race. What I need to do is join them back together. Seems like a simple process, but apparently my way of thinking about video isn’t the same as everyone else. I look at it the same as editing audio. You open the file, it appears on a timeline and you remove the pieces you don’t want and add the pieces you do. You save the file as a new completed piece and everything is done.

Well, not quite. While I’ve had many misadventures with video editing so far, I did want to share a very neat set of tools that I came across that allow you to convert video files between a slew of formats, a video download tool, an audio converter and a YouTube to MP3 converter. And all of this comes at the cost of Free.

The Freemake Video Converter reminds me of Xilisoft Video Converter Ultimate in that it can take any source material and convert it into anything else. AVI becomes MP4. MPG becomes MKV. FLV becomes WMV. You literally drag a file onto the converter and select the output source and that’s it. A few minutes later the file will be done. You can resize the video, change the bitrate, fiddle with the audio codec and even trim the video clips. That is pretty impressive. And, you don’t have to run around looking for 3rd party codecs. Everything you need is built in. That is a personal frustration of mine.

Freemake Video Converter also comes with a lot of presets for mobile devices including Apple, Samsung, Android, BlackBerry and Nokia. You can also format your video for YouTube as well as extract the audio tracks to MP3. You can even go all crazy and make SWF or FLV files for a website and Freemake will give you the code you need to make them play correctly on the page.

You can also select multiple videos and join them all together as one long file. Once you load all the files you can drag them around, change their order and even have a fade transition between “scenes”. This would make it easy to put a compilation video together.

That unto itself is a great tool to give away, but Freemake has a couple of others. They have an audio converter which works the same way as their Video Converter. Just drag your files, select the output format and away you go. You can even join multiple files together for one long track. That would be good for your running or cycling workout.

And finally there is the Video Downloader. Like a lot of other tools, this hooks into the actual hosting system and lets you download the video to your machine. You can either copy and paste the link into the app or you can use the Browser Button it installs. It worked like a charm on some YouTube videos, but the authors claim – “YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Veoh, Dailymotion and 10,000+ sites.” That’s a pretty big statement.

But, if you combine all this, it’s basically the same thing as the Xilisoft Media Toolkit Bundle which retails for about $100 (if you get it on sale). The Freemake bundle is shockingly close and is Free. They really don’t charge anything. I’ve already combined several videos and extracted some tracks. There is no watermarking, or Ads or messing with the files in any way. The installer will try to download some 3rd party apps to offset the costs, but you can easily uncheck those. They aren’t trying to be sneaky in any way. I already have the Xilisoft Media Toolkit, but I felt compelled to donate money to Freemake for the awesome work they’ve done on this suite of tools.

The downloads are small and the tools run very quickly. It might not be the video editing toolset I was originally looking for, but it’s a keeper. I ended up installing all their apps so I won’t be caught unaware in case I have to edit something. I download music and files all the time and I can definitely see me using these in the future. If you work with video, download videos or download music, I think you need to check this out.

Freemake Video Converter, Audio Converter and other tools

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DivX Pro 7 Free Full Commercial Version Download

DivX (Digital Video Express) codec is one of the most popular video format used to rip and transcode Video DVD or Video CD to local file as it’s able to compress lengthy video clips into relatively small sizes while maintaining high visual quality. To playback a video encoded in DivX format, a freely available and downloadeble DivX codec is available from divx.com to play back and allow watching of DivX video, with also supports H.264 (.mkv) HD video playback.

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For video content makers and generators who want to convert existing video media and create DivX video in .divx, .avi or .mkv files, DivX Pro is required. DivX Pro is able to encode and create full HD H.264 video with high-quality AAC audio, and includes DivX Plus HD encode profile and advanced encode settings.

DivX Pro typically costs $19.99 to purchase a single license, which also comes with full version of DivX Converter and DivX Pro Codec including DirectShow filters for H.264 decoder, AAC decoder and MKV splitter. For a limited time, thanks to promotion with Computeractive magazine, the full commercial version of DivX Pro 7 is available for download for free by everybody.

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To grab the free full version DivX Pro 7, just head to the following URL, and click on the Download Now button to download DivXInstaller.exe (direct HTTP link: http://www.vnudownloads.co.uk/DivXInstaller.exe).

http://www.computeractive.co.uk/divx/

Run the setup installer of DivX Pro 7 to install the software. Only email address is required during installation for automatic registration of the product, and no serial number, registration code, or product key is required.

The free download offer expires on 3 October 2009.

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