Some notes to self on working with videos.
Problem one: Canon Powershot A2300 camera encodes its video files as .MOV. This makes it difficult to work with them in windows.
MP4Cam2AVI, Fantastic program to convert .MOV files into .AVI files that can import into windows movie maker. Has batch capability (multiple files) and can split and join files as well. Best of all it just re-packs the files and doesn't re-encode them. This means it works super fast with no loss of quality.
(Try this plugin to allow virtualdub to load movs directly: http://gral.y0.pl/~fcchandler/Plugins/QuickTime/)
EDIT: with the Virtualdub FFMpeg Input Plugin there is no need to convert to avi first! Saves a bit of time.
EDIT EDIT: You can get a complete install including all plugins and codexes you need here! Very easy.
Problem two: My videos are often shaky! This happens when you make people stand in the cold to film your boat projects on a windy day. The solution is to run them through a video stabilizer. Youtube can do this for you, but where is the fun in that?
Windows live movie maker / 2012 has a stabilizer built in, which only works on windows 8. By the way, running Windows 7 you can still download windows movie maker 6.0, which is the one that comes with Vista. Much nicer to use in my limited experience!
My solution running Windows 7 is to first run them through MP4Cam2AVI as per above. Then I use VirtualDub with the DeShaker plugin to remove the shaking.
VirtualDub Website. Download and extract to program files folder. Create a desktop shortcut.
DeShaker Plugin. Download and extract to programfiles\virtualdub\plugins.
ffdshow tryouts. This is a Codec which allows you to encode your new video in h.264, without this or another codec you will get giant video files. While installing, make sure you tick the box that says install as plugin for VirtualDub, and select the plugin folder where it needs to go at the appropriate time. I left all the other settings to default.
That's it! To use, I open the video (after conversion to avi) in virtualdub. In video>filters enable the deshaker plugin, make sure it's on pass one. Play your video using the play button with the little o on it. Now go back to the deshaker filter and select pass 2. You can set your output to not have black borders there if desired. Press OK. Under video>compression make sure ffdshow is selected. Now you can save using file>save as avi. The end.
There is a program which acts as a wrapper for VirtualDub/Deshaker. It's called VideoShakeFix from TechLive. It automatically converts the mp4 (or almost anything) to the right format (avi), deshakes it and the converts back to mp4. The conversions mean that it does take a little longer. But it is a bit easier to use. There is no control over how the deshaking is done, but the defaults look quite good.
I've been messing around a bit with Lightworks, which is a professional grade video editor which has been released for free, and will be made open source. It is available for all platforms, and there are some good tutorials etc. available.
It has some problems, including not being able to work with media files with differing sizes and framerates (well, not easily anyway). But it does have a LOT of other capabilities, and is a well executed program.
There is some integration with virtualdub possible. Virtualdub can be installed as an assistant application. This means that a section on the timeline can be marked, and sent to virtualdub for editing. This means only parts of the video that you actually end up using in your final edit need to be deshaked. Very handy!
I think I also saw a post somewhere on how to get this working on Linux using wine. Kdenlive does have stabilisation built in, but I've never tried it.
Suddenly all my audio in lightworks is stuttering! Very annoying and can't be bothered to try to fix it at the moment. I've gone back to linux for the moment. Tried out all the stabilising tools and they're all not as good as virtualdub/deshaker
Good news: Virtualdub and deshaker, as well as MP4Cam2AVI all work pretty much perfectly in wine!
I've had a few annoyances with lightworks, including audio stuttering and crashes. As well as the annoyance of having to log in on a regular basis. Also mixing media types is a pain.
After some experimentation I'm currently using Shotcut. It works similarly to Lightworks. Cross platform as well. It's a much simpler program, but has its idiosyncrasies as well.
The main thing I miss from Lightworks is naming clips and subclips and organising into bins. This is especially helpful when editing several hours of gopro footage where all the thumbnails look exactly the same. Also Lightworks is a bit more consistent in its “weird” way of editing, which is very helpful once you get the hang of it.
One feature Shotcut appears to be missing is reordering tracks. That is, if you insert a new track it is always before the current track, which can be very annoying.
However, it is possible to move tracks in Shotcut! But you need to do it from outside the program.
Basically open up your projects save file (projectname.mlt) file in a text editor, or even better an editor with syntax highlighting like Geany.
Find the blocks of xml that define your tracks. They will look something like this:
<playlist id="playlist0"> <property name="shotcut:video">1</property> <property name="shotcut:name">V2</property> <blank length="00:01:10.040"/> <entry producer="producer39" in="00:00:00.000" out="00:00:24.400"/> </playlist>
Note the shotcut:name property which helps you identify which “playlist” is which track. Now all you need to do to reorder your tracks is swap the id of your two tracks!
In my case I changed playlist0 to playlist1 and vice versa.
Next time you load this file the changes are applied. Needless to say you should create a backup of the file first! This procedure has not really been tested extensively, but seems to work so far.