Pimp Me Video Editing Software

So, I've recorded a bunch of video for the dance-like-a-monkey thing. I want to edit several of these clips together in order to form a longer clip. I did this once before with video recorded using Kate's camera, to make the Hoops With Moss video, using the Movie Maker program that came with Vista on the tablet PC.

Of course, because computers hate me, the webcam I used to record the monkey-dancing clips records in some DIVX format (video uses the DIVX 5.0 codec, audio is PCM audio, if that matters), and while downloading and installing the DIVX codec got Windows Media Player to recognize the clips as video clips, Movie Maker thinks they're all just audio clips, and is thus useless to me.

So, I am in need of some video editing software that will recognize my .avi files as video clips, and let me splice them together to make a longer movie. The ability to replace the audio on certain sections would be a nice bonus, but I can cope without that.

I'm sure there must be something out there that will do this, so please recommend some to me, subject to the following conditions:

1) The software in question must be free. My willingness to humiliate myself for charity only goes so far.

2) The software in question must run on Windows. Either XP or Vista is fine-- I've got one machine running each. If you use this as an excuse to talk about the wonders of MacOS or Linux, I will ban you from ScienceBlogs.

3) It has to be usable by, well, me. Or, preferably, a chimpanzee, in which case I have a chance of getting it to work.

The sooner I get something workable, the sooner you get monkey-dancing video. Thanks in advance.

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I recommend Jump Cut, actually. It ain't software - i.e., it's browser based - so you'll have to upload, but it has all of the basic editing functions you'll need to pimp your video, even if it is .avi.

http://www.jumpcut.com/company/faq

Of course apple computers has blah blah blah blah.... Just kidding. I read your disclaimer. Good luck!

I had the same problem, and I think I ended up solving it by downloading some free file translation software that turned my .avi file into something the Movie Maker software recognized. Of course, now I can't find it, nor can I remember the name, but this is another approach you might consider.

I recommend Jump Cut, actually. It ain't software - i.e., it's browser based - so you'll have to upload, but it has all of the basic editing functions you'll need to pimp your video, even if it is .avi.

That looks interesting, though I'm not entirely wild about putting all the individual clips up there...

I had the same problem, and I think I ended up solving it by downloading some free file translation software that turned my .avi file into something the Movie Maker software recognized. Of course, now I can't find it, nor can I remember the name, but this is another approach you might consider.

That might work, too. The DIVX install includes a tool to go in the other direction, but not to make DIVX into non-DIVX video.

What I would really like to do is to line up every software developer in the world and slap each of them in the head with a dictionary for not understanding the meaning of "standard." That's probably too much to ask, though.

Since you have Vista Chad, you have Windows Movie Maker built in. Personally, I use Pinnacle Studio to capture, edit, and make DVDs out of camcorder stuff, but it's not free.

Since you have Vista Chad, you have Windows Movie Maker built in.

And a big "thbbbppppt!" to you, for not reading past the post title.

Free might be a problem, unless you're willing to endure a fair amount of pain. Transcoding from one flavor of video to another is almost always a pain, in my experience. What you trade in monetary cost may require a serious time investment, unfortunately.

At the risk of being banned, you could try http://dynebolic.org/, which would let you run linux-based video editing programs on your windows pc without having to install anything. It's a "livecd", which means you run linux by booting off the CD. When you're done, you just pull the CD and reboot into windows. There is good free transcoding software, but the pain level is pretty high. I don't know if there is yet a simple, effective video editing program for linux.

What I would really like to do is to line up every software developer in the world and slap each of them in the head with a dictionary for not understanding the meaning of "standard." That's probably too much to ask, though.

There's a good reason for having multiple video codecs. Not only is the field still rapidly changing, but different codecs generally solve different problems. Divx, for example, has properties similar to that of mp3 files: high compression to yield small file sizes at not entirely lousy quality. For a webcam that has mediocre quality anyway, that's probably just fine. You'd probably want a higher fidelity codec if you were making a movie with a digital camcorder, however.

By Grant Goodyear (not verified) on 01 Nov 2008 #permalink

Actually, I did read it, and somehow, missed the whole part about how your webcam is a horrid POS that can't capture raw AVI.

There's a good reason for having multiple video codecs. Not only is the field still rapidly changing, but different codecs generally solve different problems.

I don't object to the idea of different codecs for different purposes. What I object to is calling them all the same thing. If ".avi using the DivX codec" and ".avi using the Windows codec" were labelled as different things, then there wouldn't be a problem. Instead, they're all just ".avi" files, and whether your video program will play them properly or not is a crapshoot.

Windows Media Player is especially bad about this, as it happily treats video files with missing codecs as just audio files, without even throwing an obvious error message. I did manage to find the relevant information once, but it took a good deal of searching. It's actually easier to upload a non-playing video file to YouTube and let them figure it out. (Which then opens the "you don't have the very latest Flash player, so YouTube doesn't render properly" bug, but at least there's a consistent fix for that problem.)

Oh, and for the record, VirtualDub was able to fix the problem. It took some doing, for the usual cryptic-documentation reasons, but MovieMaker now recognizes all the necessary video clips.

Thanks for the recommendation.