Why the review?
Having used the free windows live ‘movie maker’ as a hobby, I realised that I had outgrown the software. The announcement from Microsoft about stopping support did not help but it was the push I needed to find a new video editor.
Where do I start? Google? On recommendations? Reliable computer mags? What a nightmare of a task. My rules were that I was willing to pay for software but I needed to be sure I was buying the right one, otherwise there was going to be some expensive mistakes.
I started with Google and found a number of articles from ‘techie’ mags, these were where I started downloading and trialling the different recommended editors. For me, it was a complete waste of time. I was being informed by a bunch of techie gurus that had far better training and understanding that I could ever hope for. The software they were saying to use was well beyond my capability of understanding and use. These recommendations were so far beyond my skill level and beyond what I needed the software for that I realised it was going to be harder than I thought.
Back to searching, I wanted a middle ground piece of software. Something between the free Windows version and the Guru’s ‘expert’ recommendations. The sort of software my family can use to present their holiday videos to friends and make it look half decent, whilst professional enough for me to run my blogging business.
My perseverance finally paid off. I stumbled across a programme called Wondershare, Filmora by a complete mistake. Just as I was getting fed up with all the expensive, complicated rubbish this piece of software suddenly changed all that.
Filmora does what?
I was offered a free downloaded trial version. Seeing the screen shots of the user interface I wanted to give it a real try out. It looked similar to the Windows software, simple and easy to navigate but with a twist, it felt much more professional.
After loading and looking around the software I realised very quickly this was the package I needed. There is loads of support on offer, over 150 Youtube videos taking users through all aspects of the player.
And then the really cool stuff, you can buy additional packages! Turn your videos in Hollywood movies, lazers, explosions, you name it you can get it in some form of additional package.
Then once done, within a few clicks it can be easily uploaded to a social media, Youtube channel or other video websites. If you do not want to share it, then the programme converts your movie to a mobile friendly player and transfers it to an Android or I-Phone and if that is not enough it also converts it to a DVD to be burnt when ready.
Now you may be asking what extras you get that the free Windows versions does not offer. The is a list including the facility to zoom in on footage (focusing on individuals or cutting out areas of background, like drunken uncles?)
The facility to detach audio is also great, as this come into its own when you want to fade in people’s voices and then add your own voice over. The advanced options also allows you to brighten and sharpen images, slow down or speed up the footage. Splice together footage and use some great transitions between them. You can add background music, text and even filters to make it look like the images were shot at sundown, with many more to chose from.
There is some other cool stuff including picture within picture, multiscreen, split screen and video stabilisation if you are not using a tri-pod.
Now the basic free version allows all this but has watermarks and some functions that are restricted but if you can live with it then keep using it. If however you decide to purchase the software you get the video editing software and then you can purchase special effects packages such as the love, Sci-Fi or blockbuster packages. Now here is the bit that impressed us, these add-ons are broken down into cheaper packages, there are quite a few you can add if you want them but it means that you are not paying a lot of money for stuff you may never use.
Then we have the ‘more professional’ stuff, there is the green chroma key, where you can stand in front of a green screen and put images behind you. If trying to be Superman is not enough, then you can (with a bit of practice) get some pretty good results to show what you get up to at the weekends. The flash and hold function, where you can be in an explosion (please use the chroma key and not real explosives), slow the footage and hold it before rushing through the rest of the footage.
I checked the website and saw this can be purchased as either Windows (which is my choice) or for Apple.
I used the software for a week but decided this was the right one for me within a day. Now we all like a bargain, here at Cave HQ we are no different and after using the programme for a few days I was sent a discount code if I purchased the software on-line.
One final tip I discovered, is that the cost of the purchase is the same in GBP (£) as it is in USD ($). Checking the exchange rate I was still saving money buying it in USD, it is worth checking. The last time I checked (June 2017), the cost of a year licence (personal) $39.99 and for lifetime (personal) $59.99 – this is before any discount they may be offering. They also offer discounted prices if you wanted to buy the software and the light-sabre (or others) pack at the same time. Check out their videos of what you can do with each pack on their effects stores page.
Once you have purchased your product you get sent an activation code, where if needed it can be requested again (for example if you buy a new laptop and want to use it on a more powerful machine) to be installed on another machine. The licence you purchase will dictate how many machine you can run it on.
Being honest about the product we did experience one glitch, when we purchased the full package, upgrading the free version to the full one did go wrong. After some help from their own FAQ guides, we uninstalled the software and started again, it has been working fine ever since.
I have now been using this software for a little over a month and I am still discovering new bits about it. In my opinion this has to be one of the most reasonably priced, easiest, (low-level) professional video editing software the normal person on the street can buy.