Thursday, December 31, 2009

Video mania

Video Editing
3 weeks ago I bought a camcorder (JVC Everio HD300) and have used it to film family time around christmas. The supplied software is not too bad (and worked only after I installed a new H.264 codec) but has no provisions to edit a film. But this is badly necessary - nobody wants to watch a series of unedited video scenes.
Finding suitable software was harder than expected. Windows Live Movie Maker looks nice, but doesnt seem to support the AVCHD format which is used by this camera, at least not on Vista.
AVS Editor looked promising but I didnt like their pricing model. You either pay $39 for one year or $59 for unlimitedd usage. And it wasnt so easy to use either.
Trying Adobe Premiere Elements was a complete waste of time and bandwidth. I had been warned by several very negative Amazon reviews and found them to be so true: first crash after 60 seconds.
Corel Video Studio X2 Pro does whatever I wanted and most of the time in a pretty intuitive way. But even when I could not figure out how to do certain tasks, I quickly found the solution in the user guide. So I went for it and am pretty happy with it.
Be careful where and how to buy it. The download version at the Corel site doesnt seem to be the cheapest. And as a german customer you can save some money when you use a US address: 60 $ instead of 60 EUR.
Converting for iphone
Converting videos into an iphone-compatible format always was sort of painful. SUPER does a pretty good job, but videos often were distorted because SUPER had stretched the picture to fill the complete iphone screen.
Handbrake is just what I need. It comes from the Mac world, and it shows: Handbrake is extremely easy to use. Only the batch mode looks something like an afterthought: I needed to look up the help to find out how to use it. But otherwise Handbrake is just perfect: it produces great iphone videos with a minimum of effort. Highly recommended!