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How Do I Choose the Best Open Source Movie Maker?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2016
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Open source movie maker software is used by many amateur and professional movie makers and editors in lieu of expensive mainstream alternatives. While an open source movie maker is free, there are many that can be used to edit even feature films. There also are those that work very poorly and are unwieldy. Before someone settles down with a movie maker program, there are a few features to look for, such as whether the program runs smoothly or is awkward to use; whether it can import, edit and composite video or is limited in functionality; and whether there is any support for the program. Other factors to look into include video effects and video-exporting features.

When it comes to open source movie maker programs, or any open source program, functionality is a major consideration. Programs may be buggy because of the programmer’s inexperience or because the programmer has a job, the program was created as a fun project, and he or she does not have time to fix issues. Before settling on a movie maker, it is best for the user to work on some sample video to get a feel for the program. Professional-quality movie makers will run smoothly and without lags, while low-quality programs will lag, constantly freeze or shut down, or just be difficult to use.

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An effective open source movie maker should be able to perform three main functions: import video, edit scenes and composite footage. Some programs can do all three, while others can only perform one or two of the tasks. If a program cannot perform all three at once, it is possible that is has special features that make it better for the primary task and still warrants consideration, but these generally are used as subsidiary programs.

Open source movie maker programs need support, either from a support team or a large community, to help new users get started and help seasoned users get past complex problems. The open source movement sometimes lacks this support, especially if the program is not popular. Users should search for programs with a following or a support network to assist with any issues.

Most movies, especially professional ones, will require special effects. As a staple, nearly all open source movie maker programs come with standard effects. The user should check these effects to ensure they look realistic, suit the user’s need, and offer variety.

After all the editing and compositing is complete, the user will need to export the movie. This means an open source movie maker should come with several different exporting functions, so the user can export the movie for any purpose. At the very least, there should be a digital video disc (DVD) and Internet-based movie exporting tool.

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