Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Grand finale to geek trilogy on video’s

Upfront, let me share a handy site a colleague pointed out to me recently: . What this site can do for you is convert an impossibly long URL into a bite size one, small enough to memorize.

So if you liked the idea of ripping DVD’s touched upon in my previous geek installment, surf to (that last digit is L as in Longbottom) and watch an interesting expanded “How-To” that worked for me.

But on with the show and the third and final part of my video explorations ended with me finding a video editing program for free. It’s called Pinnacle VideoSpin and does what Microsoft Movie Maker can (or can’t) do. Download this spyware devoid software from but give it time, it’s big: 150Mb in fact.

Once installed, it allows you to take video clips you have kicking around on our PC and intertwine them with nice titles, background music and transitions and voiceovers to round it all off. You can even string a photo slide show together using this software. You could also make one clip out of a handful of YouTube favourites or mix and match them with your own home videos and photos.

There are six basic and user friendly Album enhancements, all of which are activated from the icons on the left hand options. These are Video, Transition, Titles, Photos, Sound effects and Music. Click on each in turn, make your choice and drag it into the timeline at the bottom of the screen.

You can personalise the titles and even trim video’s, music and transitions. The preview on the right shows you a trailer of the final product.

Once you click on “2 – Make Movie”, you can choose avi as file type and hit Save. It will output an avi file that can be watched on a media player on your computer.

If you, like me, sometimes take video clips under poor lighting conditions, there is an enhancement available under “Settings” and “Options”, during step 2. It allows for a very basic Brightness and Contract correction, but don’t expect miracles. Take note that this will change all video clips’ settings in the current range, even ones that are not under exposed.

Pinnacle’s limitations are that after 15 days the program won't allow you to create nor edit MPEG-2, MPEG-4/DivX or Dolby Digital 2 Channel files anymore, but the avi’s and other features will still work.

So why would such a cool product be free when the cheapest video editing software goes for about R1000? Because it doesn’t have too many effects. For example colour correction or old film style. Pinnacle VideoSpin doesn’t have fancy panning and zooming on photographs like they do on TV and sometimes the program hangs if you’re overloading it, so save often. Luckily, even if you crash out of the program, it remembers where you were the next time you open it, so you don’t loose much work.

The good news is that if you like the freebie that much, you can pay and upgrade to all of these snazzy features. And now you know why the company is throwing VideoSpin out there for free: in order to get you hooked on Pinnacle products.

Another bit of handy info is that there is a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions website for all your spin needs available at

No comments: