There are numerous video editing programs available online for free download. Many of these offer a thirty-day free trial subscription while others are considered open source. CNET, a website that reviews technology-related products and services, offers a list of programs that are absolutely free. Among the two most popular downloads are Windows Live Movie Maker and VideoPad Video Editor Software.
I decided to give VideoPad Video Editor a try. As a precautionary measure, I downloaded it from the CNET website. Having worked on Windows Movie Maker before, I wanted to try VideoPad to compare both. Both programs, for being free, offer the novice plenty of options to assist in editing non-commercial videos. For commercial or more professional projects, Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and Apple Final Cut Pro have the market. Interestingly, VideoPad offers its video software free only to non-commercial users. All others must pay to download. On the other hand, Windows Live Movie Maker is free for Windows users.
As I opened VideoPad for the first time, I was surprised at its professional Adobe Premiere-like interface. Unlike Movie Maker, its online Help tutorial is not as user friendly. One of the greatest advantages that VideoPro has is its ability to export in numerous formats--wme, mpg, mp4, mov, flv, swf--to name a few. This is the total opposite of Movie Maker which offers very few output formats. Yet another benefit of VideoPad is that it offers complementary audio and photo/image editors¬ also free at download.
Another useful aspect of both programs is the ability to record a narration and import music. This can be accomplished by using two audio tracks. An internal microphone allows the user to record the narration. The music must be uploaded in a separate track. In order to synchronize the narration and music, I suggest that both tracks be uploaded to Audacity and saved as one track.
Both programs offer fine transitions and special effects to choose from. Opening and closing blank slides or frames can be used to announce the title of the video and the final credits.
All in all, VideoPad Video Editor Software and Windows Live Movie Maker offer enough options for the novice. For higher end video editing, Adobe Premier or Final Pro Cut are the preferred.
The Internet provides a plethora of open source products to assist educators streamline their instruction. No longer do school districts need to spend huge sums of money supplying the classroom with expensive programs that demand yearly upgrades. Now, educators can download free programs to teach their students with. Because our students are tech savvy, they will usually find many of these programs exciting and easy to use. It would behoove the technology director of each district to learn what is available free before purchasing expensive programs.