Looking for a free piece of video-editing software? Serif is making its MoviePlus software available in a free starter edition. With MoviePlus you can import and edit WMV, AVI and MOV video files – in other words, the popular formats created by the Flip and other pocket camcorders in addition to digital cameras.
It’s free because several crucial capabilities are not included, such as the ability to burn movies to DVD and the ability to export to Quicktime files. This you’ll have to purchase with a $9 upgrade. Even with the upgrade, the Starter Edition cannot edit the AVCHD high definition movie files created by higher-end camcorders from the Canons and Sonys of the world. For more robust editing, you’d need to drop $80 for the full-featured MoviePlus X5.
But back to the Starter Edition. We took it for a quick tour and were pretty impressed with what you could do. The software has many of the tools you’d need to add stills, video clips and music files into a multimedia movie presentation. A how-to pane on the left of the screen delivers some helpful tips along the way and can be minimized once you get the hang of the software.
We liked how you can jump between a timeline or storyboard editing screen. Personally, I find the storyboard a bit easier to work with – you can isolate individually photos or video clips and quickly add effects (from a limited library – you’ll have to pay up to get access to the full catalog) and text titles.
When it’s time to output, as mentioned above, your options are fairly limited. Still, if you need to quickly make some YouTube-friendly videos and don’t want to spend a dime, you could do a lot worse. You can download your free copy here.