Simple Video Editing Software?

So, back when How to Teach Physics to Your Dog was coming out, I did a few “dramatic readings” of bits of the book, such as this one on the Quantum Zeno Effect:

This was made with Windows Movie Maker, because it was free (came with the computer) and dead simple. However, Movie Maker on my new computers is hopelessly broken– I’ve made a couple of attempts to do the same sort of thing with my laptop, but I’ve never managed to get more than a couple of steps in before it crashes. (To be fair, this is one of only two things that are worse under Windows 7 than Vista, and the only one that’s Microsoft’s fault…)

For that reason, I’m looking for an alternative: I need some non-Movie Maker software package that will let me do the same sort of thing I did in that video: record an audio track of me reading a bit of the book, and put together video to go with it out of still photos and maybe short video clips. I could, of course, simply Google this, but I value the opinions of my wise and worldly readers more than random reviewers on some other site, so if you know of a good (and preferably cheap) program that will let me do this, leave a recommendation in the comments.

Comments

  1. #1 Bee
    January 24, 2012

    I use the Corel VideoStudio (X4). It’s not too expensive, yet works well, at least for me. It is difficult to tell for me how easy it is to use. I found it very easy to use, but I’ve been using other Corel software for many years, and it’s organized similarly.

  2. #2 Michael Fisher
    January 24, 2012

    I guess you mean “Windows Live Movie Maker” as it’s called these days. WLMM is a resource hog, but I use it because it’s free & I’ve fixed all the problems with it in Win7. Why Microsoft doesn’t get the basics right is a puzzle…

    I recommend getting the new codecs pack for it & installing a free video converter to convert the odd file to a format that WLMM recognises.

    Read this for hints:
    http://lehsys.blogspot.com/2011/06/having-problems-with-windows-live-movie.html

    Nice, free & lightweight converter tools:
    http://www.freemake.com/downloads/

  3. #3 Pam
    January 24, 2012

    Back when I used to have to edit videos for trade shows, demos, presentations, etc, I used Virtual Dub. IIRC it is harder to figure out than windows movie maker or iMovie, but OTOH, it is free, so it doesn’t cost anything to try out.

  4. #4 Rhett
    January 24, 2012

    youtube.

    Seriously – it is free and online. http://www.youtube.com/editor

    The only downside is that you need to upload all your raw footage first. For simple stuff it seems to work fine.

  5. #5 Lee
    January 24, 2012

    My son uses Sony Vegas for his video editing and it works very well for him. After he tweaked the settings (which took some doing, along with much googling), it is the most painless way for him to make videos. He will often run multiple audio tracks throughout the videos and cuts and pastes many video clips together effortlessly. From what I recall, the simple version was about $100, and the one he uses now is more, but not super-expensive.

  6. #6 Jamie
    January 24, 2012

    I use Pinnacle Studio for video editing. It may be capable than what you’re looking for, but it is inexpensive and aimed at home users, so it’s not terribly complex.