For quite a while, podcasting was centered around audio. Bandwidth for video podcasters was still fairly expensive, and it seemed like the lure of an Internet-based show was centered around being on in the background while listeners jogged, drove, cleaned the house, and browsed the Web. More recently, it seems every device with a screen became capable of playing video. Services such as YouTube and Blip.TV became extremely popular, bringing these Internet-based programs to the mainstream. Today, video podcasting is in full swing, and the production values of these podcasts range from simple webcams to all-out production studios equipped with TriCasters and other technologies. So, what programs can you use to edit your video and make it ready for your audience to view? Here are five video editing solutions for podcasters:
Final Cut Pro X
The latest edition of Final Cut is also the most dramatic update to the popular video editing platform since its initial launch, years ago. Final Cut Pro has become a standard among professional video production houses for its flexibility and vast array of features. As much as this update changed about Final Cut Pro 7, it has also caused some anxiety among its users. In a sense, Final Cut Pro X is targeted directly at podcasters and YouTube content creators. Borrowing from iMovie’s user-friendly interface, Final Cut Pro has an extremely trimmed-down look and feel compared to previous version. Don’t let this new look fool you, there is a lot you can do with Final Cut Pro X, especially if you want to master the audio and add graphics to your video to make it a little more shiny. When combined with Compressor 4, Final Cut Pro X is a capable solution for any video podcast from amateur to professional.
For Windows users, Sony Vegas is one of the most popular video editing solutions for folks who want some extra functionality without having to pay an extremely high amount for the editing software. You can choose to go with a trimmed-down Studio version or step up to Platinum and to the Pro line, each within a reasonably spaced pricing tier. Sony Vegas gives users enough functionality to make a stunning HD production without the complexity associated with other more industry-specific software. Over all, Sony Vegas is an excellent choice if you’re looking for something that isn’t Apple or Adobe specific and has a lot more punch than a free editing program can give you.
iMovie comes free with every new Mac as part of the iLife Suite. This video editor is pretty impressive, especially for the price. Not only can you add extra features such as chroma key and picture-in-picture, but there are several powerful and useful overlay templates that help jazz up your podcast without a lot of work required. Some professional video editors make a good living pushing iMovie to its limits, and have created some amazing presentations with it.
The downsides of iMovie include a weak set of audio editing tools in addition to being only available on Mac OS X. While iMovie is capable of editing HD video, and doing so very well, it isn’t intended to be a professional editing platform. Multiple overlay layers aren’t supported beyond a title or a single picture-in-picture frame as you would find in a more advanced video editing program. iMovie is great for quick and dirty edits, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a professional video editing solution.
Windows Movie Maker
If iMovie is Yin, Windows Movie Maker is Yang. These two programs are very similar in that they are both available free to users of a major operating system. In this case, Windows Movie Maker is available to Windows users. This video editing program, like iMovie, is simple and easy to navigate. Edits are quick and encoding is done somewhat seamlessly. When it comes to making quick videos on the fly, few programs can really stand up to Windows Movie Maker.
The downside of Windows Movie Maker is that it deals almost exclusively in a Windows proprietary video format. WMV as a wrapper is pretty decent, but it isn’t as widely supported as MP4 or MOV. In addition, this is a very basic video editing program at best, leaving out some of the flashier features that make alternatives so appealing.
Adobe Photoshop users would enjoy Adobe Premiere for several key reasons. For one, it works directly with Photoshop files, making advanced graphics easier to integrate into videos without having to convert them to a lossy photo format first. It’s also a very capable editing program featuring most, if not almost all of the features available in Final Cut Pro 7. Adobe Premiere is ranked as one of the heavy hitters of video editing alongside Final Cut Pro and Avid. While it may not be industry standard in the movie industry, it has been credited with being the video editing tool of choice for several major motion pictures including The Social Network, one of last year’s biggest films.
The downside to Adobe Premiere is in its price. When coupled with the Adobe Creative Suite, it’s not a terrible bargain, but the hundreds of dollars you spend on it alone may make you think twice before handing over your credit card. Chances are, all the functionality you like in Adobe Premiere is available through Sony Vegas at a lower price point. While yes, Adobe Premiere is an excellent choice for serious video editors, it may not be the easiest to work with — especially if you are on the fence about Adobe products.