[Updated:] Review of the some current online video editors
The following is a review of some current online video editors that are actually working. My review focuses on usability and collaborativity. As online video in the form of user-generated content and contexts is becoming more and more important it seems necessary that editing videos is also possible in collaborative contexts. This includes editing a video with friends who contributed in some sense to the shooting but also allowing for the contribution of clips, bits, and pieces to a certain video in order to create a new remix. Thus I will not exactly list every technical feature of all editors as many of them already offer most features of offline non-linear editors like multiple video and audio tracks, uploading audio and pictures as well as transitions and various effects.
I will not review YouTube’s editor as it only edits its own videos besides other minor objections, neither will I mention Animoto.com as it is only a slideshow generator and not a genuine video editor.
Popcorn Maker is an HTML5 video editor with all those features like annotations, subtitling… I’ve already linked to some HTML5 basics here and here . But Popcorn Maker offers al lot more like basic templates including the integration of GoogleMaps or Wikipedia. Just try for yourself: https://popcorn.webmaker.org/templates/basic/
Please support Mozilla’s Popcorn project. It is open source and worth to be implemented in educational contexts. The demos at http://popcornjs.org/demos demonstrate that the popcorn engine is much more powerful than just editing videos.
…provides a whole open source media asset management framework. It comes with a storyboard based editor (standard edition) and an advanced timeline based editor. Kaltura.org and moviemasher (see below) are usually not directed towards the common user as it is intended to be installed on a server in a complex media environment.
Still collaborativity is not (yet) a hot issue for kaltura.org as this feature is not implemented. I am listing kaltura.org and moviemasher.com here as they are currently the only complete and open source framework providing an inline video editor including some HTML5 features in the case of kaltura.org.
Nevertheless the commercial parent kaltura.com offers a free trial with 10GB of storage. SO you may try for yourselves.
As for the readability of the kaltura.org editor I am wondering why the application always opens in a lightbox and why the typography within the editor always looks a bit scaled down, unclear and fuzzy. Those are clear development opportunities.
You can also try the kaltura.org video editor at http://www.mixmoov-studio.com or at http://www.stroome.com
…implemented kaltura.org on their servers and offer a free trial access. Upon login you can see and use the kaltura.org advanced timeline based video editor which is basically a Flex / Flash application launched in a lightbox. Stroome.com tries to implement collaboration by allowing for the remix of your own uploaded videos or search and use videos from metacafe.
As for collaboration the display page shows the number of clips used in a project (video) as well as the number of times the resp. video was used in other remixes. On the display page below the video player stroome.com shows snapshots of the clips that were used in this remix. See an example at http://www.stroome.com/projects/42262. This display could be enhanced by showing the source clips in the correct order as it was used in the remix as well as the names of the users whose clips were used.
The overall impression is that the site could be a lot more self explanatory. This includes filtering the search results as well as the whole editing process.
The Norwegian company inspera.no founded wevideo.com and is an active player in the educational market for a couple of years. First screens of their video editor were found on the website http://www.creazaeducation.com which is directed towards educational contexts. Meanwhile Creaza features 4 SaaS products (Software as a Service) namely http://www.creazaeducation.com/mindomo a mind mapping tool, http://www.creazaeducation.com/cartoonist a cartoon studio, http://www.creazaeducation.com/audioeditor an audio editor and http://www.creazaeducation.com/movieeditor which is also the core of wevideo.com.
The video editor itself can be tested on wevideo.com with a free trial login providing 1Gb free storage for videos and images.
In the dashboard of wevideo.com you can manage your projects, export videos and invite contributors to your projects by email or by direct invitation to existing users. As for collaboration wevideo.com does not truly offer to commonly work on the same project, but once you have been invited to a project you can use this a starting point. Upon editing and saving an existing project you will be asked for a new project title which leads to a separate project in your dashboard.
The overall impression of the Flex / Flash based wevideo.com editor is very promising. It offers the very most of the features a consumer could wish for. Eventually it would be great to see some showcases of wevideo and Creaza in educational contexts, some work flows and pricings for schools.
Moviemasher is an Open Source online video editor that has been under development for quite some time. It does not support collaborativity but I am listing it here because each time I tested it on my own server it just worked! The demos at http://www.moviemasher.com/demo/ show that the video editor offers the very most features including video manipulation as colour etc.
The Paris based company stupeflix.com offers a very simple but yet powerful video editor. At the moment stupeflix does not offer collaboration features but this might show up in the future. I am listing stupeflix.com here as they offer a free login to their editor which is rather standard storyboard based. You can upload video and audio or connect your facebook, flickr, picasa or dropbox accounts. It offers predefined audio clips, text to speech (this is unique!) as well as title slides and transitions. You may even add google maps along side your videos which makes stupeflix.com quite HTML5-ish.
Stupeflix.com places all your assets and clips on a set of templates which suggests that it is rather intended as a slideshow service. It is not clear if you can disable the templates or why not, because with templates all videos need to be rendered to a final remix which slows down the preview quite a bit.
Interestingly stupeflix.com offers an open source client API on github which is well documented on http://developer.stupeflix.com/documentation.
Together with a clear pricing plan for education (teachers and schools) it would be interesting to see the stupeflix API implemented in a school platform including showcases of students working on their videos in class.
filelab video editor
Currently there is hardly any decent free offline video editor for Windows (Okay, except for VLMC which is too alpha and still crashes too often but yet very promising, VideoPad which looks a bit different from other non-linear editors and the trial period is a bit unclear and Lightworks which works VERY different from other editors and does not read all currents video formats).
If you just want a personal online video editor for Windows without the need for collaboration then this might be a choice. I have tested filelab video editor in Windows7 Internet Explorer and Firefox. You are required to install a basic programme application and a plug-in in Firefox. The service is free as far as I can see and lets you download your final remix to your harddisk upon registration.
Rest in peace!
Jaycut used to have a great online video editor with a great free demo version with quite unlimited features. After RIM acquired Jaycut they removed the free demo site too and promised to bring Jaycut to the Blackberry Mobile OS.
Facebook apps & games
… is basically a Facebook app but also runs on a separate domain on flaon.com. You can upload your own videos, photos etc. cut and trim them in place or put them together as a slideshow. On Facebook this flash-application does not run when “Secure browsing” (https) is enabled. All in all flaon is not convincing.
Chop Chop by corel.com is a very appealing editor that lets you “chop” YouTube videos into a new remix. From the look and feel it seems very directed towards children but this makes it very funny and easy to use. The storyboard based editor offers some trimming to the single clips and interestingly offers HTML5-ish commenting and annotations which are also shown in the timeline below the player (highlighted with thick a blue line at the resp. place). The source clips are also shown in a timeline below the player but unlike stroome.com Chop Chop puts them in the correct order. See an example here
The Austrian platform Yourturn.fm is funded by the WWTF – Wiener Wissenschafts-, Forschungs- und Technologiefonds and run by colleagues from the University of Vienna and the Technical University of Vienna. YourTurn.fm is actually a Facebook game but runs as a standalone website too. The how-to page explains YourTurn.fm:
Choose clips from YouTube videos and add them alternately with other players to create a new video. On TV, you can watch videos created by other players. In the studio, you can work on your own videos.
Only after you finished a video, you will find out whom you played with. You can challenge your friends, too. You will receive points for creating own videos, for rating other videos and if other players favor or rate your videos. Getting points raises your level, unlocks new options to change your looks and new ratings.“
I like the way YouTurn.fm remains authorships in their player. Source clips are being displayed in the timeline below the video, or the timeline is represented by the source clips together with avatars of the authors which are explained at the top of the page.