Some stand out for adding effects and others for introducing your own subtitle files. We explain their features so you can choose accordingly.
Raise your hand who in the middle of the last decade downloaded the photos from his camera to the PC, opened Windows Movie Maker and felt professional assembler putting one after the other (or a video after the other) and then show the result to everyone as if it were a movie views. He also added audio clips and transitions that Homer Simpson would love. In a few minutes we had a home video for posterity.
The Movie Maker said goodbye to us at the beginning of last year. It was a free and basic program to learn how to assemble videos or photo collections. But those who don’t have editing skills or who are looking for simple editing software don’t have to worry. There are alternatives that will help in those first steps or when you don’t have big purposes. We show you some of them and the best tricks to take advantage of their potential.
Wax, a dean for simple videos
We started with one of the oldest video editors to date. Free and with a user forum, Wax has a very simple interface: timeline at the bottom, preview screen on the right and file explorer on the left. Among its attractions that nothing has to envy to ‘software’ later is the possibility of adding special effects in two and three dimensions. Thus, you can recover a kind of 3D text from Windows 98 screensavers, but on top of your photos and videos.
Its operation does not entail much complication: it is to load the videos or photos, drag them to the timeline and order them to our liking. If we want something else, we add effects like the ones mentioned. Wax is interesting for people who are not showers with the technology, who do not want to do great editorial feats or who just want to make a video with photos.
But if you’re looking for something else, especially resources to make your video more appealing, read on.
Story Remix, son of Movie Maker
Although Movie Maker is no longer in the new versions of the operating system, those users from version 10 have a replacement. In terms of functions, Story Remix is a program very similar to Movie Maker. Its main function is to make small edits on video clips and photos, to group them using transition effects and curtains. To sort them there is a time line, with minutes and seconds, in which each element can be interleaved according to our taste. As a main novelty, it allows you to add 3D animations.
This is ideal if you have few ambitions, such as grouping the videos and photos from the holidays and putting a title to identify them. But that doesn’t mean your video is sleazy. Only it has fewer options to edit, but just enough to make an attractive video that groups all the clips you want into one file.
You can add the files from your computer, smartphone, camera or USB. Once loaded, you will have a ‘draft’ video, with the photos or video clips one after the other. In the white bar above them you will see the options that will allow you to customize it. For example, if you want to add text (a subtitle, a ‘poster’ explaining what this video is about…), click on the clip and then select the option. A preview will appear in which you can write your text and adjust it to the space. You also have a trimming option, with which you can reduce the length of a video. Once you have applied each of these features and before giving it the go-ahead, you can review them in a preview.
If you make a video with photos, there is the possibility of adding music to them. The result would be like a slide show, the duration of which would fit the theme. This can be from the music gallery of the application or one that you load from your personal library. Filters can be added to these photos to give an Instagram tone to the result.
The video can be exported in.mp4 in small, medium or large size. The final quality can only be checked once the process is finished, so you may have to export it again with a higher quality if you are not satisfied with the result.
Shotcut, professional touch with a variety of filters
If the Microsoft alternative doesn’t convince you, you have the option to try Shotcut, which is quite attractive and has a more professional design and functionalities. And because it has that more professional look, it requires a little more dedication to master it. But don’t worry: if all you want to do is apply a filter and make a modification like the ones we explained before, then you won’t have much of a problem.
This assembly program, available for Linux, Microsoft and MacOS, is free and open source. Among its advantages is that it works with dozens of video and audio formats. Also, it captures via webcam, microphone or the computer’s own screen. Another key is its modular interface. You can move the modules as you wish, according to your needs at any time: history, thumbnails of the clips …
The operation of the ‘editing table’ is very simple and reminds you of the Movie Maker and other editing programs. We drag the files to the timeline, sort them to our liking and add transitions or effects. There are also filters, so you can get results similar to Story Remix. In fact, the experts praise the large number compared to other ‘software’, so if you like to wander around and go beyond the star bumper take a look at their catalog.
LightWorks, from Hollywood to your home
If you’re a film buff, but a film buff on the level of knowing all the ins and outs of the film industry, maybe you’re familiar with the Lightworks program. It’s the one used by many professional editors to edit the films you see in the cinema or at home. From ‘The King’s Speech’ to ‘Notting Hill’, through ‘Gangs of New York’ and ‘Cabaret’, many films have used him to create mythical images today. You can do it too.
Available for Windows, Mac and Linux, there is a version of LIghtworks that will make us feel in Hollywood, but with limitations. For example, in one of its main attractions, export to numerous formats. In the free version we can prepare our video for YouTube or Vimeo with maximum quality of 720p. But if we want DVD or Blu-ray quality, we will have to buy the Pro version.
In any case, its interface is very friendly and allows you to work well knowing where to find everything. In addition, you can customize the controls and the location of the windows to put them where it suits you best to work. The program allows you to add more than 100 special effects to use, as well as free music to use in editing. It also has color correction.
And if it’s not enough for you, you can always buy the Pro license we talked about at the beginning, which means you’re one step away from winning an Oscar or whatever. There are several payment options; if you don’t want to make a very professional montage, it should be enough with the free one or with any of the other programs we talked about. But if you want to get as much out of it as ShotCut, it can be done; it’s just a matter of learning. And of money.
Avidemux, the attraction of adding subtitles
Avidemux is also free and open source. Its interface and functions are even simpler than those of previous ‘softwares’. It also has filters, the possibility of adding audio or trimming fragments of videos. But one of its main attractions is that you can add your own subtitle files. This way, you can upload files of extensions such as .srt or .sub. Finally, it accepts many inputs and output formats and codecs, so it will be easy to work with any file and export accordingly.
Accessing any of the frames of the video clips (to correct them, delete them… individually) is very easy thanks to the playback button panel. It even has two special buttons to go to the first or last black frame, very useful if you are looking for the place where a transition begins or ends.
Also in this program is worth going through the video filters, as the collection is wide and well organized, there are color, subtitles, interlaced clips … If this were not enough, we can also load new that we have downloaded from the Internet.
Its official website has a wiki where you can find information on how to use it. Also, with a YouTube channel that explains concepts as varied as adding a filter, combining fades or audio synchronization.
As you can see, the list of editors is long. We can also include browser models. This is the case of WebVideo, in eight languages and that connects to social networks, Google Drive and Dropbox to upload files, in addition to recording video and voice to include at the moment.
Despite the differences in interfaces and utilities, using any of these programs is easy. Some require more expertise, according to their greater functionalities, but nothing difficult with time, patience and desire. Before any doubt you have forums and tutorials where you can share your doubts with other users. Enjoy them and, who knows, maybe you will become so fond of them that you will turn it into a profession.