I have a cheap Aiptek HD which I believe records to H.264 (video) and MPEG4 (audio). All I want to do is simply take ~50 short videos that I took on my vacation and merge them into one video maybe adding a title screen and a few text annotations. Simple right? I would use windows movie maker but it does not support these videos natively.

In the past, I wanted to create a picture in picture video of a webcam and Fraps video capture, and it was painful just to find cheap software that could do PIP without crashing. I wound up using VirtualDub and PowerDirector and after PowerDirector crashed about 50 times I finally managed to create one video.

Now, I have a brand new computer, Quad core Q6600, 4GB memory, ATI HD4850 running Vista. After my last painful video experience, I figured I'd just go out and spend $100-$150 on a better video editing suite. So I downloaded the trial of "Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum Pro Pack".

  1. I dragged the first .MOV file onto the timeline and received an error because I did not have quicktime installed (I had been using VLC to view the files).
  2. OK now problem. I install quicktime.
  3. After dragging 5 or so movies onto the timeline I tried dragging all the rest at once - bad idea. After 5 seconds or so it crashed.
  4. I restarted the application and began dragging all 50 videos one by one onto the timeline. After about dragging about 30 videos, it crashed. Even worse, even though I created a "New project", it never actually wrote out a project file (and I didn't think to save since it seemed to be working fine). So I lost all my work (all 5 minutes, no big deal).
  5. So I started over from scratch, this time it crashed on the 6th file.
  6. My next attempt was to save after dragging every video. Every thing seemed to go fine until the 10th video. Good thing I saved it right? Nope, the project file seemed to go into some deterministic state where the 10th video would ALWAYS crash the application.
  7. After a few more attempts, I gave up and uninstalled.

What's the most stable software aimed at consumers under $200? Or better yet, is there ANY? Thanks!

I would download premiere elements but unfortunately Adobe is simply retarded and it's near impossible to find the link for the trial version on their website. I'm sure I can find it on some other site like download.com but the simple fact is that the download link should be at most a few clicks away from the main page. The main Adobe Premiere elements page is a pre-order page for the new version, Premiere Elements 7, which is unavailable for download. After a bit more digging, I found out the previous version is Premiere elements 4 - why the heck the version goes from 4 to 7 is another mystery.