Video Processing

My video camera was delivered Friday, so this weekend I have spent some time learning out how to use it and, more importantly, how to process/edit its video. Learning how to use it was pretty easy, aside from a little disc snafu that kept me from making use of a pack of DVD+RWs I bought. Everyone – it’s important to make note of the “+” or “-” in the DVD-RW or DVD+RW. I used to know this, but have taken for granted that nowadays it usually doesn’t matter since devices typically handle both formats. It matters on the Canon DC50 – must used DVD-RW.

Getting that out of the way, using the camera is very straightforward. 20 minutes of high quality (widescreen) video will fit onto a miniDVD. While that doesn’t sound like a whole lot at first, when you’re taking short clips most of the time 20 minutes does go far.

After my first disc of video it came time to edit it and burn a DVD. Since I’m a big fan of Adobe’s Lightroom for photo editing I decided to turn to Adobe Premiere Elements for handling the video. It has come highly recommended so I didn’t even give it much thought.

It sucked. For some reason it didn’t interpret the widescreen video correctly; that took a couple (few?) hours to figure out. Then it continually locked up and/or crashed on Windows Vista – even though it’s supposed to work just fine. There were many times when I would go 10-15 mouse clicks in a row, with each one causing Premiere to “not respond” for 30+ seconds apiece. I did my best to ignore these issues, figuring that as long as I’d get a dvd at the end I would be happy. Well, I got a DVD alright – one with the audio and video out of sync by about 1-2 seconds. I eventually tracked that down to an import problem caused by who knows what. As soon as I’d import the video it would be out of sync. I’d rather not have my home videos look like they were dubbed in a Japan.

After fighting Premiere for a long time I decided it was time to try something else. So I turned to ULead DVD MovieFactory. The responsiveness was much better than Premiere Elements, the audio and video were in sync, and it’s cheaper. I just about ready to buy it when I actually tried burning a DVD I created and continued to get nothing but “Unspecified Error”. Over and over.

ULead sells another video editing product called VideoStudio, so I gave it a shot too. The UI was very similar to MovieFactory and was just as responsive. I was able to import video, edit it, and create the final DVD without a single crash. I think that’s what I’ll be buying.

Next I need to figure out how to handle all of this new video data. I’ve got stuff setup for my photos, but these are a different beast. And just like my photos, I want to have them 30+ years from now. More on that later.