Hi, I have just upgraded my 11 year old camcorder for a Sony HDR-FX7E. Itís a great HD semi pro camera but to make the most of the HD that I will be recording in I want to buy some software that is good and easy to use as Iím a newbie to the computer editing world. I am pretty good with computers but never used any editing software. I am only shooting things for family and the odd friends special occasion so something where i can add titles, effects and music. Can anyone give me some advice before I go buy ? Hope you can help me here Regards Paul
I'm in a similar situation, but a little different. I also just upgraded to HD with a cam that's nearly the same as yours (I have the V1U) after having used a standard def JVC GR-DV3000 for several years. Our main difference is that I've never done anything but nonlinear editing and would be lost without a computer. I've used a very old edition of Premiere 6.5 for a long time that won't work with HD material and have just started using a less expensive NLE for my HD footage instead. To upgrade to a new version of Premiere Pro would cost me $300, and I'm trying to avoid it.
Right now I'm using Sony Vegas Studio Platinum 10. I haven't been using it long though. It'll do nearly everything I need, but the jury is still out on that. One major concern for me is that (and if you Google it you'll find other people complaining of the same problem) the video displayed in the arranger/preview window is lighter than what it really is (it has less contrast), so that the video you export will look darker. This really throws off any color corection and values with contrast and gamma etc. that you've made within the program. The only fix for this I've found is to change the settings on my graphics card to give my video screen a slight boost in contrast. Of course the downside is that every time I want to render the video and check it full screen with something like Windows Media Player, I have to change my card's contrast again. A real pain. Also, HDV material won't play from the timeline without a slight herky-jerky motion even with my new 3.4Ghz quad core CPU machine and 8Gb of RAM! The preview window also shows less detail in the video than it really has so that it always looks a little soft and slightly broken up even at it's best settings. It's not bad, just not great.
I also have a cheaper NLE called Magix Movie Edit Pro 15. I've owned older versions of it as well over the years, and while all of them have been promising, they've also all had major bugs over the years. The current version for instance exports non-standard DV footage that other apps/NLEs can't open, and it also will only export RAW non-compressed AVI with a 16/44.1 audio rather than a standard 16/48. It also has no feature for cropping video (rather an essential feature to not have if you ask me!). And it can't manitain aspect ratios of video clips that are different from the project settings. Oh, and it has no markers. However, this program plays my HDV footage beautifully from the timeline and with the correct contrast.
So, at this point I'm afraid I'm still looking for a better NLE. I hate to pony up the money for Premiere Pro CS5, but it's beginning to look as though I may have to.
I just wanted to point out the shortcomings in the less expensive NLEs I've tried. Both have some shortcomings that have been quite bothersome for me. Good luck to you.
Swoopie, if your not happy with Vegas try downloading the trial of Edius Neo. It's a very good but not expensive NLE. I think you will be pleased with the codecs it uses and the simple (ish) user friendly interface.
Also, I haven't tried contacting Sony about the contrast problem yet. I'm hoping they may have a fix with a simple adjustment in registry settings or something. That would be ideal because I really like the software.