• Free version available
• Easy to use, drag-and-drop editing
• Good selection of visual effects and transitions
• HD editing is supported
• Basic features
• Pro version provides only limited extras
If you’re just looking for a simple editor to fit together video clips for a home movie then the free version of NCH VideoPad should suit you well. For a free, basic editor VideoPad does a decent job although more experienced editors, and movie makers looking for value-added features and tools, will want to look elsewhere.
NCH VideoPad will be just right for people who don’t want to spend much on a video editing package and who want some visual effects and features to enhance their home movies. But others won’t find anything particularly exciting here. We looked at exactly what NCH offers the amateur video editor with this software.
We didn’t encounter any problems setting up and installing the NCH VideoPad system on a PC. You need Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8, or MAC Intel OS X 10.4.4 and above. You will need adequate free disc space and a processor with a good speed – a lot of disc space if you are editing HD videos.
Just about any different type of input device is supported so it is simple to take your raw data and add it into the software for editing. VideoPad supports DV and HDV camcorders as well as webcams, mobile devices and audio files from avi. to wav. and mp3 file types.
The VideoPad editing suite is simple to look at and designed to give you a fast way of creating a full-featured video. Does it work well? With limited features and tools the program is easy to handle and you can edit clips by dragging and dropping them, ordering them, then applying some transitions and effects. NCH VideoPad offers over 50 different transitions and visual effects, which isn’t bad for the price you pay. Obviously there are no professional-standard effects and tools but what is on offer does add interest and flair to home movies. There is a ChromaKey green screen effect and the length of transitions can be customized. Reverse video clips, speed them up or slow them down, reduce incidences of camera shake, add in your own stills photos, and adjust the color and other aspects of the visual presentation of your video. You can also edit in 3D and convert 2D movies to 3D. HD editing is supported using the VideoPad tools.
NCH VideoPad gives you a decent audio editing suite although you will only find the basics in this software. That said, you can import and mix music tracks to enhance your movie, and create your own soundtrack from scratch using the multi-track mixing software. There is a free sound effects library for adding effects, and you can also record and use your own narration on top of your images. There are three audio channels available which gives you scope to work with soundtrack, narration and sound effects at the same time.
The software from NCH is fast enough to edit home movies without too many hold-ups or problems, although the lack of professional features and performance-enhancing technology will be noticed if you are working with complex videos that require precise editing, or with HD.
You can add title credits to your movie but you are limited to this – there are no menu templates to use and you can’t create your own menus or disc authorship solutions.
You have a number of options when it comes to exporting your final project. Post your videos on YouTube or share them online, burn the video to DVD, save a file to your iPod or iPhone or other mobile device, or create a Blu-ray disc. You can save your finished product in a variety of different resolutions for different purposes.
Ease of use
Video editing with VideoPad is based around a timeline and you drag and drop clips to position them and clip them. The timeline works smoothly and beginners will soon get the hang of the video editing process when using VideoPad. Defining transitions between the clips is also easy, although you are limited in the types of transitions you have to work with. In all, the VideoPad software is simple to use but limited in what it has to offer.
Help & support
There’s no phone support or live chat with the VideoPad product, although NCH does provide a series of how to articles on the website that give you the answers to common technical problems and how to manage different tools within the software. There is also a Help Manual included within the VideoPad program but support is generally patchy and not particularly comprehensive.
While the free version of VideoPad is fine for people who want to spend a couple of hours editing a home video, anyone who wants to branch out a bit and do some more sophisticated editing will find what they need in other software packages. You don’t lose anything by giving the free version a try and it can help you create some decent-looking home videos. But the paid-for version doesn’t really have enough features to justify spending that little bit extra.
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