You can get a pro video editor for free

I gave up editing video a few years ago – but I am now back thanks to a software package that has not only reignited one of my semi-pro hobbies but is challenging the main providers of this type of software.

In tandem with my passion for writing news, features (and the occasional book) is photography. From my early 20s I was the guy who always had a 35mm camera in his hand, and when domestic video cameras arrived I was in like Flint.

The next step was actually editing footage of family holidays and days out at the zoo etc to make them entertaining and interesting – adding music and such like. Using VHS players made this almost impossible – but that didn’t stop me trying.

But in 2002, armed with a new digital video camera, I looked for ways to edit my footage. It was then I happened upon Apple’s Final Cut program; a cut-down version of its Final Cut Pro video editing package.

Man, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to load footage, cut it up, add music, titles and then burn it to a DVD. Nothing could stop me now. I soon traded up to FC Pro.

Two entries in the 48 Hours movie contest followed, a pro camera was purchased, three docos were shot and edited, and there was a summer season shooting weddings to cover the cost of my video-making ventures.

Everything was sweet on the video-making front until I gave up freelancing. But 4 years on and I’m back and was asked to edit a short video.

I fudged the decision and put them off for a while to see how I was set on the software front. Well, I used to use Final Cut Pro, but that was superseded by Final Cut X – which still looks like iMovie on steroids and I can’t believe any pro editor uses it.

I’m one of Apple’s biggest fans having owned a Mac since 1997, but try as I might FCPX doesn’t gel with me. I tried to use it when it was first released and gave it another go just recently. It is a dog.

OK, next port of call is Adobe’s Premier Pro which I used when I first abandoned FCPX. It’s a fine app, but one can’t buy Premiere any more, you can only license it with monthly payments. Great of it’s your full time business; but as a semi-pro with the occasional paying gig – nah.

So I started searching for alternatives. I know many pros use Avid Media Composer but I have never had the pleasure – so as I was starting over I looked at all the options and one caught my eye – DaVinci Resolve.

There’s a free version that is limited; but not so you’d notice if you are just cutting and exporting without using more than 3 video filters.

I launched it and based on my previous experience intuitively knew where to go to pull in media, pop clips on the timeline and start cutting. Like a duck to water.

If you are in the market for a pro editor for free (or USD$299 – no monthly licensing) then do give DaVinci Resolve from Black Magic Design a test drive.