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Faster Editing Process

Advances in video editing software on home computers continue to make for an easier user experience. Editing your videos is painfully easy in the newest crop of video editors. The only remaining inconvenience for some of these programs is rendering delays.

Most consumer video editing software requires re-rendering your entire video upon output, which can make the editing process up to twice as long. This is tolerable for short Web videos, but if you are editing hours of home movies this is a waste of your time.

Fortunately, some of the newest video editing programs such as Adobe's Premiere 6 and Apple's iMovie 2 (Mac only) don't have this problem. They enable you to edit your video and output directly to tape without any rendering delay (of course, special effects still need to be rendered). This feature is generally referred to as instant timeline playback (Apple calls it Play Through). Eventually, all programs will have this feature, but right now mostly just prosumer video editors have it. iMovie 2 is the only consumer-level sub-$100 video editor with this feature.

Top Consumer Video Editors

  • Ulead Video Studio 5

  • MGI Videowave 4

  • Sonic Foundry VideoFactory

  • iMovie 2 (Mac only)

Top Prosumer Video Editors

  • Adobe Premiere 6

  • Final Cut Pro 2 (Mac only)

  • Ulead Media Studio Pro 6.5

Special Effects

With the latest video editing software, you can easily add special effects to your video. You can create your own black and white film that looks like it was shot in the 50s, or you can add more modern special effects. The only downside is that effects need to be rendered, which can be time consuming if you add a lot of effects. A number of prosumer video cards that feature real-time special effects are available. One such card is the Matrox RT2500 (see Figure 3.6).

The RT2500 delivers real-time effects and transition previews in Premiere; non-standard effects still need to be rendered. The real-time effects are only real-time on your computer monitor or output to an analog monitor. If you want to output to DV you still need to render. So most of these cards are real-time only in the sense that you can instantly preview effects and transitions at full quality on screen.

Figure 3.6 The Matrox RT2500 captures and outputs both analog and digital video, and includes a number of real-time special effects and transitions.

Even on today's fastest computers, rendering effects can still be a time-consuming affair. While a simple clip to clip two-second dissolve (where one image fades into the next) might only take 10 seconds, adding an effect filter to 10 minutes of footage can take hours to render. That is why studios have whole rooms of computers called render farms that are devoted to processing complex digital video special effects. So while simple cut, trim, and paste editing has started to reach the point of real-time editing, the advanced effects world is not there yet.

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