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Software for capturing and editing video and audio

Windows Media

Microsoft offers a range of free software that is included or available as a free download with Windows (XP or later), as part of the Windows Media suite:

MS MovieMaker: This is a simple video capturing and editing program that is included with Windows XP and Vista. It offers an excellent starting point.

MS Producer: This is a downloadable tool that allows you to create multimedia presentations with synchronised video, audio and Powerpoint slides. Note that the result will only play properly in the Internet Explorer browser.

MS Media Encoder:

This is a powerful tool for converting video and audio files into Windows media format. It allows you to convert files from other formats such as .avi or .mp3, and also allows you to resize and recompress your video files. There is also an option to capture what is happening on your computer screen as a video.

Even though all these tools are free, effective and easy to use, a disadvantage is that they only allow you to create Windows Media output (see later for an introduction to different video formats).

Other video editing tools

There are a wide range of video editing tools available that are more powerful than Windows Movie Maker but are still reasonably priced and easy to use. An example is:

ULead Video Studio

This has a good set of features, allowing you to capture, edit and publish video in a range of formats. The main thing it allows you to do which Windows Movie Maker does not is that you can overlay a video picture over another. A key advantage of this is that you can have a single soundtrack and picture (for example someone speaking) but then cut in different pictures while the soundtrack continues, without losing the synchronisation between the video of the speaker and the audio, so maintaining perfect "lip-synch".

ULead costs €53 for a single user license.

TechSmith Camtasia

Camtasia makes it easy to capture video, audio and slides from lectures, by capturing the computer screen and audio/video at the same time. It allows you to overlay the picture of the speaker over part of the slide and export the result as a single video file (see example in previous page). .You can also build in educational features such as interactive questions which can be inserted at key points. These can be linked to a particular point in the video so for example if you answer the question wrongly you are taken back to the relevant section of the presentation. Results can be exported in various formats including Windows Media, Flash and QuickTime.

Camtasia costs €226 for a single user license.


This is a very useful free tool for capturing, editing and converting digital audio.