Windows Vista – Video Editing

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Recent experience with Windows Vista and products with others indicates some very nice video editing possibilities.

While many manufacturers supply software, hardware and tools to capture and edit video, it has long been a challenge to put together a set of tools to accomplish the complete process. In the past I have used products by Pinnacle, ULead, Adobe and Microsoft.

Let’s ignore all the trials and failures in my attempt to find a video tool-suite and review my success on Windows XP. With the following tools in Win XP, I was able to:

  • Capture DV from DV camcorders. – Premier 6.5
  • Capture TV programs from DirecTV or Dish DVRs. – Pinnacle MovieBox USB.
  • Edit the DV captured clips to reorder, remove offensive material – such as possibly commercials – and produce mpg files. – Premier
  • Combine mpg files and produce DVDs of both DVD5 and DVD9 format. – ULEAD DVD Workshop 2
  • Burn DVDs in both DVD5 and DVD9 format using Nero 7.

At one point a year or so ago, ULEAD DWS worked fine, even burning videos on dual layer burners from Pioneer and Sony. But for some unknown reason, this program stopped working to burn the DVDs and Roxio CD Creator V6 also stopped working reliably on the same machine. The switch to Nero 7 produced a much more reliable result. After 10 coasters with Roxio, I have had no coasters with Nero 7.

While Pinnacle provides a “Studio” product with MovieBox USB, my experiences with Version 7 and 8 are that it was not reliable and I was never able to make use of it to edit mpg files and burn DVDs. Studio must be used to capture videos from the MovieBox. Studio is now up to version 11 and may be more reliable.

The following hardware is involved using Windows XP:

  • DELL WS 530 – dual processor 1.7GHz XEON, 1GB memory with 70GB system disk and 250GB 7200rpm SATA video disk. Firewire interface built-in.
  • DELL Inspiron 8500 Laptop with 40GB, 7200rpm HD

The 8500 Laptop serves as a Moviebox capture device for mpg movies from DVR. The video content is assembled on the WS 530 and all other software is run there.

Now that I have moved to Windows Vista with my new Alienware system (search for Alienware on this site) a new set of tools is required. Not all the tools above are Vista-Ready. Briefly the Alienware system is as follows:

  • Area-51 7500 SLI with Core2 Quad QX6700 at 2.66GHz, 4GB memory running Win Vista Ultimate 32bit
  • Nvidia GForce 8800 with 768MB of graphics memory.
  • System Striped RAID array of two 250GB 7200 rpm SATA disks.
  • Video Striped RAID array of two 250GB 7200 rpm SATA disks. I had to add this myself. The NForce 680i SLI motherboard supports multiple arrays, but Alienware does not provide this option at purchase. The MediaSecure BIOS in the system made it easy to configure the additional array.

For Vista the video tools are as follows:

  • Windows Movie Maker captures DV and allows simple editing. Output can be to DV and WMV. Cutting offensive material out of videos is easy and reliable using the Split operation.
  • Movie Maker can also edit the mpg files created by Pinnacle MovieBox USB. Splits are also easily done and performance – on this very high end system – is very good. Movie Maker actually uses all the processors when converting movies.
  • While Vista contains a DVD Maker program, I found it to be too simple to suit my needs.
  • Adobe Premiere 6.5 works quite well on Vista 32bit. It has all the same capabilities as on Win XP including capturing DV video, editing to remove offensive material, and creating MPG files which can be imported into Nero Vision. (read on)
  • ULEAD has not had any significant updates to DWS 2 for some time now and it does not function on Vista. It is very nice with template menus, motion thumbnails and chapter points. But with no Vista support, I was forced to look elsewhere for a DVD editor.
  • Nero 7 contains Nero Vision, which works quite well on Vista, consumes DV, mpg and WMV files, has menu templates and chapter points. It does not support motion thumbnails in the menus however. It is quite reliable and works well in conjunction with Nero 7 Burn to produce both DVD5 and DVD9 format DVDs.

So I have a tool suite now on Vista 32bit for my video creation and editing. I wonder how much will survive as I move to Vista 64bit.

Don’t throw away that old Win XP system quite yet.

– windy

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