Four Resources for Editing Video in the Cloud
by Travis Chandler
Editing video in the cloud or "I shot Raging Bull 2 on my cellphone. Now what?"
Video editing software has an amazing range of prices and abilities. But surely the most fascinating new realm of editing software is the on-line editor, where videos can be spliced and diced in the cloud. That’s right, you can trim heads and add cross-dissolves way up there in the digital stratosphere. How do they do it? Magic.
Ok, fine, not magic. In reality they all rely on a relatively simple principle: They take the videos you’ve already uploaded (or anybody has uploaded) and manipulate them in the cloud by changing the metadata associated with them. You know, data like which frame it starts on, where it ends, silly little details like that. Once you’ve modified them appropriately (or inappropriately) you can share them with people. I’ve taken a look at a few of the tools, and they range from very promising to totally goofy.
Take Cuts (with the huge, apparently permanent “RiffTrax” ad across the top), an online editor that is pretty much there to tickle your funny-bone. The goal here isn’t to make Raging Bull 2. It’s to take clips from Raging Bull, add silly sound effects and captions (provided neatly in a box to the right) and make your friends laugh. You can’t add your own music, and you can’t add transitions. But you can add a boingy-boingy sound when DeNiro punches somebody, and add a caption that says “Ouch!” And who am I to judge? Maybe that’s the direction the second Raging Bull movie should take.
To me this feels like using a Ferrari engine to run an electric toothbrush. But hey, making people laugh is one of the finest and most popular uses of the internet. Personally I found the interface a little too cluttered and a bit confusing, but in general, it’s still a pretty incredible tool. Once you’re done making it silly, it’s a breeze to share your video via email or grab yourself some embed code to slap it up on your site.
One True Media
If you’re looking for something a little more serious, take a look at One True Media. Here is free software with a terrifying culty name that allows you to add music, edit footage and add transitions. Nice! Maybe I can edit Raging Bull 2 for free online after all! What’s the catch? It’s not exactly free.
Quite a few of the options (12 of the 18 transitions, for instance) actually cost money. It’s one of those scenarios where you’re clicking along happily and suddenly it says “Oh, well, if you’d like to do that it’ll cost you $40 to upgrade.” Still, in the grander sense, that’s pretty cheap for decent editing software, and this does in fact seem to be decent. Once again, the interface felt a little clunky to me, but I’m spoiled from years of the ancient style of “on-your-machine” editing. Avid and Final Cut cost a whole lot of money, so you expect them to have very nice interfaces. And they do.
There’s one other online editing solution that I took a look at. I found it in the most unlikely place: Right where all of my videos already are. YouTube has its own on-line video editor. It’s convenient as heck. If you have a YouTube account, you log in and all of your videos are there, ready to be edited, combined, mashed up and straightened out. The interface is the best of the lot so far, simple and elegant. You can add transitions and music, you can trim, you can rotate… Heck, there’s even an image stabilizer built in.
And did I mention the interface? It’s by far the easiest to use of the whole bunch. And it’s the internet’s favorite price: Free! This was definitely my favorite experience of the lot, and as a guy who already owns pretty expensive video editing software, I could still picture using this to fancy-up some videos that I’ve already uploaded.
There’s one other piece of online software I should mention: JayCut. Lots of folks say it’s the best online editor out there, and from what I can gather on their website, they might be right. The interface looks great, and it sounds very powerful. The catch: You can’t sign up right now. This may have something to do with the fact that they were just purchased by Research In Motion, the friendly Canadian monster corporation that brought you the Blackberry. So I’d keep an eye out for what happens next there. But in the meantime, enjoy the other fine, fine services I’ve mentioned.
If you’ve got experience using JayCut or any one of the many other online editors out there, please comment below; I’d love to hear about some of the other available options.
-Special to the MightyBlog from Travis Chandler, video technology enthusiast and former Mightybyter