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Video Editing Tools for Remote Teachers

by Miguel Guhlin

Educators have begun screen recording and screencasting with a serious need. Preparing content for instructional purposes can drive one to distraction. When I assembled the Screencasting for Educators course, I decided on no-cost tools, video editing tools that got the job done without all the expense. May I share what I found with you?

Three Amazing Video Editing Tools

Need video editing tools available for free? If you are on Windows 10, it can be challenging. Some entry-level solutions provide you with simple video assembly tools. That is, the ability to trim, split, and join video.

Here are my top three tools that make video editing easy at no cost to you.

Tool #1: Shotcut

Although open source video editors abound, Shotcut makes video editing easy. In fact, I’ve coached my colleague Peggy Reimers on using Shotcut. Her computer of choice is a Mac and the experience has been uniform for both of us, even though I’m on Windows 10. Shotcut’s ease of use allows me to combine various elements, such as images, music clips, and video. It’s an easy matter to add tracks for each, then export the assembled creation as MP4 video. It has a wealth of online tutorials.

Here’s a quick video overview of Shotcut:

Tool #2: MiniTool MovieMaker Free

When Microsoft cut Moviemaker, I mourned with the rest of the world. For a while, I thought that the enhanced Photos app on Microsoft Windows 10 would get the job done. It did not. As a result, I found myself searching for an alternative.

While Shotcut was the first tool I found that worked well, I recently stumbled on a new one. That video editing tool is MiniTool MovieMaker Free. The interface is a welcome break from Shotcut’s busy one, as you can see below. That simplicity comes with a few sacrifices, as I’ll point out in the video walkthrough:

MiniTool MovieMaker Free, as you will see, has a lot to offer. Some of its features include:

  • Creating and editing videos in Windows
  • Smart movie templates
  • Ability to add text and transitions
  • Free (no cost) and no watermarks

In fact, some of its own advertising sells it as an iMovie-style editor. I don’t know if I would go that far, but the interface is simple and powerful for video editing newbies like me. I have to admit that I found it a bit poky and slow on the uptake compared to Shotcut.

Here’s a quick video overview of MiniToo MovieMaker Free:

Tool #3: NCH VideoPad Video Editor

In a surprising twist, when I first saw NCH’s VideoPad Video Editor, I thought I was looking at an enhanced Shotcut. NCH VideoPad Video Editor costs $69.95 for their Master’s Edition or $39.95 for their Home Edition.

Video editing with NCH’s VideoPad is a breeze, so I am always tempted to pay for it when I use it.  To prepare the MP4Tools video you will see later in this blog entry, I relied on VideoPad to get it done. Wow, how easy it was.

Where Shotcut appears a little confusing due to its interface, and MiniTool MovieMaker appears a bit simple, VideoPad goes all out to tutor you:

After playing with all three tools, I’m going to stick with the free, open source Shotcut. It makes it possible to achieve quick editing. If I need fancier features, I will have to learn them. Otherwise, MiniTool MovieMaker provides a nice entry point. If you have money to burn, then NCH’s VideoPad is the app to spend it on.

Splitting and Joining Videos

Have a long video and need to split it into pieces? Or maybe you have multiple videos that you need to join together? Consider using one of these tools to get the job done. They are available at no cost and will make working with a large video (or a lot of small ones) easier.

Optimal video size is anywhere between six and eight minutes long. Trying to split video into small chunks can be time-consuming. Allow me to share an example.

For example, the 15 videos in this playlist were once joined together. That huge video file was about 1.2 gigabytes in size. Eighteen seconds after putting them into a video splitting tool, I had them ready to upload (put) into YouTube as a playlist.

There are many solutions available to get the job done. Two that you should explore include:

Here’s a quick video overview of MP4Tools (edited with NCH’s VideoPad):

My pick for the best free video editing software? Shotcut. You can’t go wrong with its powerhouse features and,if you give yourself a little time, you’ll soon be a pro at using it for simple video edits. While NCH VideoPad offers ease of use and an interface that sparkles, you have to pay $70 for features Shotcut offers at no cost.

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4 comments

Sheri Schoonmaker August 17, 2020 - 5:54 pm

You missed OBS, which is an open-source screen recording tool that is very popular with streamers. In less than 5 minutes after install, I had my Powerpoint presentation displaying as a source in OBS and my webcam showing my face in the bottom right corner. It was extremely simple to use, can handle a variety of sources, define placement on the screen, and save the video in a variety of formats. There are many, many options that make it a powerful tool, but the user experience is very easy and intuitive.

Reply
Miguel Guhlin August 18, 2020 - 8:01 am

Sheri, howdy! I love OBS as well, but not as a video editing tool. I often record videos using OBS, then need to make edits using Shotcut or some other video editing solution. I do cover OBS in this blog entry on Video Sharing:
https://blog.tcea.org/video-sharing/

And, OBS features prominently in my Screencasting for Educators online course available through TCEA.org/courses

OBS works for screen recording, as well as screencasting /streaming via YouTube and Facebook Live (to only mention two of the many solutions available). Are you taking advantage of the recording or streaming option?

With appreciation for your comment,
Miguel Guhlin

Reply
Donna Norton September 4, 2020 - 4:12 am

Shotcut is free, I guess?

Reply
Lori Gracey September 4, 2020 - 8:46 am

Yes, it is free.

Reply

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