Ivory tower dispatch: Free online video editing
This week, amongst other things, I’m pondering video. I tried to write about some of the more contextual thinking around video in a earlier post, but it’s the practical side that’s been upfront for the last week.
In the workshops for my Digital Newsroom module I’ve tried to find open source or free resources to use over and above the resources available to the students via the uni network. I wanted them to explore the possibilities (and limitations) of using free resources and compare the workflows to the more established stuff. In many cases the free stuff is what the industry are using; slideshare, audioboo and soundcloud for example.
When it comes to video editing the choice of free apps is pretty limited. Most are clunky affairs with a limited range of compatibility with the range of video file formats most things are spitting out these days.
There are downloadable options. If you’re on Windows for example then you can take advantage of the feature-film-ready Lightworks. A monster app that’s truly industry standard, but there isn’t much else. And if you’re on a mac…well….
So I went looking for online video editors. Sites that offered video editing through a web interface. The results were limited.
Youtube has a pretty decent clipping editor as part of its standard enhancements. If all you want to do is adjust the start and end times (a top and tail) then the enhancements section of the editor is pretty good. You can also add audio. But there is very little in terms of even the basic functionality you’d expect from a video editor. This is sub-windows moviemakers stuff.
It’s more advanced video editor is a little more useful but let down by a lack of audio control.
Wevideo is my current fave. It’s flash driven which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and it does need a flash player above 10.2. But beyond that I think, for free, it’s pretty handy.
You can see that the user interface is pretty standard but it does offer nice touches like rubber band editing on audio levels and video transparency and there is a nice collection of open source audio and video files to add.
It plays well with most video formats ( I downloaded one of my videos from youtube and uploaded that) and a jpeg graphic created in powerpoint rendered nicely. It’s limited to 500MB max file size but for short video that’s no hardship
Exporting is pretty easy. The free version will create a watermarked standard definition 480p video file which you can send across to your youtube or vimeo accounts. You’re also limited to 15 exported images a month. The watermark isn’t obtrusive but you could buy an HD 720p version for $4.99. You can pay $10 a month and get no watermark, higher resolution and 2 hours export a month. The plans themselves seem a little limited in that respect but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more granular offerings and the pricing plans are split across personal, education and business.
One of the neatest parts of Wevideo is the option to integrate with Google Drive and the option of a mobile uploader.
All in all I think WeVideo is a very neat and user friendly solution to editing video in the cloud. Of course there are apps for your phone, ipad and other platforms and the flexibility of something on your desktop – FCP, Avid, Lightworks or premiere – is always going to be better. But as something to get you out of a whole, create a quick edit or tidy something up, I think it’s pretty impressive. I’ll let you know what the students think.