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Old 11-03-2010, 10:01 PM   #1
Script Curmudgeon
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Default Need some help with basic filmmaking and music software

My son is in middle school and has a media class where he has gotten hooked on filming and making videos. He wants to do this at home but unfortunately everything he is using at school is Mac based.

Can anyone recommend some Windows-based software that is low cost (or free) that he can use to make movies? He is especially interested in something with frame-by-frame capabilities.

Also, is there anything out there for Windows that you can make music with like Garage Band?


Thanks.
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: Need some help with basic filmmaking and music software

I don't know anything about that subject, unfortunately, but there are people on this board who do.

If nobody posts in reply, I will bump your thread up to the top in a few days.
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:05 AM   #3
MrEarbrass
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Default Re: Need some help with basic filmmaking and music software

The easiest answer is Window's Live Movie Maker, which you can download for free here:

http://explore.live.com/windows-live...maker?os=other

If he's using iMovie at school, it might be a good place to start... it's definitely user-friendly and you can produce consumer-quality videos after just a little tinkering. That said, it's a dead-end program if he's going to stay interested in filmmaking because in the interest of simplicity it doesn't follow the basic format of standard non-linear editing systems (it doesn't even have a timeline).

Anyway, there is some freeware that does have more advanced features, but I've found them to be pretty glitchy and crash-prone. If you're willing to drop something in the 60-85 dollar range (probably less if you buy with an academic discount) I'd recommend either Adobe Premeire Elements or Sony Vegas Platinum. They're basically the consumer version of their professional products (which are quite expensive) and the advantage is that the interface is basically identical--just some of the high-end features have been stripped out. The learning curve will obviously be steeper, but there's a shocking amount of depth to those programs and he'll learn skill that will serve him well if he continues forward.

That would be my advice... if he just wants to shoot some stuff and put together cool little home movies, WLMM is a surprisingly good choice. If his interest runs deeper, the next step up is a good investment.

**Note, I'm assuming that he's shooting in standard def and you have a reasonably new computer. If that isn't true and (god help you) he's shooting on a HD camera that records in AVCHD, then post again and we can discuss how you can turn his attention to less-expensive hobbies. Like flying lessons.**
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: Need some help with basic filmmaking and music software

Quote:
Originally Posted by Script Curmudgeon View Post
My son is in middle school and has a media class where he has gotten hooked on filming and making videos. He wants to do this at home but unfortunately everything he is using at school is Mac based.

Can anyone recommend some Windows-based software that is low cost (or free) that he can use to make movies? He is especially interested in something with frame-by-frame capabilities.

Also, is there anything out there for Windows that you can make music with like Garage Band?


Thanks.
Have you thought of trying to get a Mac laptop? Even a low end model is quite powerful these days and it would solve a lot of resource and compatibility issues. But yes, I know they ain't cheap.
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Need some help with basic filmmaking and music software

In terms of something like Garageband, the closest would be Sony's Acid - similarly, for video I would recommend Sony Vegas. It can do almost anything most other Non-Linear Editors can do (Final Cut, etc) but has a much more accessible user interface.

Both are available in Free, 30-day unrestricted trials if he needs them for a short while.
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:25 PM   #6
Script Curmudgeon
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Default Re: Need some help with basic filmmaking and music software

Huge thanks to everyone. He's been hitting us up for a Mac laptop but I don't think I can make that happen anytime soon. These other programs sound promising and we will definitely give them a look. Thanks again.
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Old 11-05-2010, 05:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: Need some help with basic filmmaking and music software

Windows Movie Maker is a good start and often is packaged with newer systems. I made this little video, my first, with it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w492KEBXp4w

It took a few hours to figure things out, but not bad at all. I was able to overlay music, sfx, narration on top of the crappy video/audio we took with my daughter's Flip videocamera. I did have to buy (about $30) a video file converter software progam (Prism) to convert the Flip video so it could be imported into WMM. Good luck!
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Need some help with basic filmmaking and music software

When my writing partner and I decided to teach ourselves basic filmmaking without a big investment, we were happy with Sony Vegas. There's a big online group that includes many professional users of the software, and they can help you out if you have questions.
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Old 11-07-2010, 08:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: Need some help with basic filmmaking and music software

Thanks again, everyone.
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