Decent Cheap Movie Making Software?

Okay, Qt3 gurus! This is your time to shine by helping me.

My daughter has caught the directing bug! I’m looking for simple, cheap software that will let my daughter edit and create movies for family and friends to be posted on Youtube and the like. She got a simple handheld HD camera for Christmas that she’s using to take the raw footage, but she needs something slightly more robust than Windows 7 Movie Maker. We held off on buying this software because we wanted to see if she was really interested in making movies or if this was something that would blow over. Turns out, she likes it a lot!

She’d like the following features:

  • HD format. Youtube file compatible.
  • Editing. Cut, copy, paste. Moving scenes around.
  • Adding sound.
  • Special effects. Nothing complicated. Just simple stuff like adding muzzle flashes, (yes, she’s a tomboy) text, and other goofy things. This stuff doesn’t have to look good. In fact, for her purposes, the cheesier the better.

Any suggestions?

iMovie? Dunno about the SFX part, but it’s pretty good at the rest of it.

On the more heavy duty end, Final Cut Pro definitely does all of that.

Pre-req is having a Mac, of course, which may or may not be an issue for you.

The only one I’ve used on Windows is Adobe Premiere Elements, but it’s relatively simple to learn and I’m pretty sure it’ll do everything you listed down below. Plus it’s cheap, and if she decides to get fancy you can always move up to the Pro version.

Oops! Sorry, I should’ve mentioned that. No Apple products other than the iPad. This would be for the regular old PC.

I don’t know how simple you are seeking nor inexpensive. I’ve used Ulead, Premiere, Pinnacle Studio series, MEP, Vegas, and recently Cyberlink PowerDirector 10. I’ve stuck with Powerdirector.

It is simple enough to use for basic editing, and powerful enough to grow with her when she wants to do all kinds of “cool” things like overdubbing, mixing in pics, freeze frames, animations, etc.

Sony Vegas!!! It takes some time to get used to, but it’s awesome once you get the hang of it. It supports almost all input formats, and the timeline editors makes it very easy to edit, cross fade, blue screen, etc.

Avid just this week came out with a video editing app for the iPad. I don’t know the details, but it’s five bucks, and the review I glanced at was fairly positive.

Do you have an iPad or iPad 2? You might want to try iMovie and the Avid app. They’re only $5 each.

Sony Vegas Movie Studio 11. The iPad isn’t going to cut it for HD editing.

Seriously. Easy to use, way more stable than Premiere Elements. Highly recommended.

but yeah, i recommend sony vegas 11 too.

but yeah, i recommend sony vegas 11 too.

Well, I did some shopping around and reading reviews and it sounds like Sony Vegas will give her the most bang for her bucks. I’ll let you guys know how it goes!


Here’s an interesting review of the 2 iPad editing apps: