Sunday, 6 March 2011

Video Editing Free for All

At last! It looks as if we could be getting the open-source video editor we've all been waiting for... On one of my sad trawls of what's new on the net (you know... when you can't be bothered to get up and go to bed) I came upon something that made my movie maker's geeky heart leap. Not only a new open-source video editor but one built by the people who brought us the brilliant VLC Media Player, which plays practically anything you throw at it and does loads of other useful stuff too and  takes minimal space on your hard drive.

I hate Windows Media Player, and only the look of iTunes redeems it,  for it is almost equally unintuitive, slow and bloated. Yes it's true I'm an old techno-snob, but any media player offering skins like the one on the right  i.e. one to make a twelve-year old boy cry 'COOL!'...  is most definitely not OK by me. 

So have I started editing my meisterwerk on VideoLAN Movie Creator (VLMC) yet? exactly... you see, it's still in the pre-alpha stage of development and completely unusable...yet. Take a look at the site if you like or hang around here for a while and doubtless I'll be blogging about it.

Why the excitement? Well, I'm pretty firmly committed to using free stuff for making media because it's accessible for all. Movie Maker 2 was flawed but entirely useable and a community had grown up creating all sorts of useful titles, transitions and effects for free. So why did Microsoft replace it with the seriously naff Live Movie Maker? Well I guess they needed to build something that would edit High Definition video. HD is sliding down the video price ladder and will soon feature on all but the super-cheap point-and-shoot still cameras. You can already buy HD webcams for 25 quid or less and MM2 won't handle HD. But, being Microsoft, they seem to think they know what's best for people and believe that the majority of entry-level editors just want a quick tidy up of their footage and an easy upload to YouTube. They may be right, but there is still that whole community of people who, for one reason or another want to tinker with a video editor that's free and accessible and exchange their efforts freely - a participatory culture in fact.  Even PapaJohn Beuchler - a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) no less - sounded more than a little erm...irritated on the subject.
I've been using Movie Maker for a long while now, despite owning various other editors, and using it to help teachers and children make movies. So an open source project like VLMC is timely indeed. I just wish they'd hurry up with that Beta version.