Friday, March 14, 2014

Rant: I just want to straighten my video

Disclaimer. I am not Apple fanboy nor hater. 5 years ago I was tired of maintaining two desktops, one Linux and one Windows, so I switched.  I am pretty happy with this decision. I got compromise, few things from one world others from second.

Anyway, I need to edit a video from time to time. Nothing fancy. Usually it is just trimming and exporting in format that can be accepted on variety of stock agencies. I never thought I can justify buying professional video editing software for hundreds of dollars to be able to submit 10 seconds videos to microstock. I tried many free alternatives. MPEG Streamclip is one of great examples of tools I was trying to use. For conversions you can use FFmpeg or HandBrakeCLI whcih work almost on any platform. These tools are sufficient for most of my needs but sometimes you need to correct exposure, white balance or crooked horizon. I tried to find a good free video editor but nothing really worked. I always ended up with free iMovie which comes with Mac OS X.
This piece of software comes from the company that supposedly makes the most intuitive GUIs in the world. Give me a break, why most of the simple tasks are so painfully difficult and slow here? I just want to open a single file, make few adjustments and save it. No, you cannot do that. You have to create an event, import your images into it, create project and add images from event into it. Then you are allowed to edit video. Did I mentioned that all steps before are excruciatingly slow?
I wanted to rotate videos by arbitrary angle which is not supported by iMovie anyway so it lead me to search alternatives again. Nothing really changes in free area, I could find the way to rotate using FFmpeg. Eventually one of the searches on rotating videos showed link to YouTube with instructions how to do it in Adobe Premiere Elements. I decided to download trial version of the latest. It was showing ugly stripe with warning that I am using trial version but I was shocked how easy it was. I can type angle in degrees. Did I mentioned that it was extremely fast on the same machine where iMovie was crawling? The moral of the story is that I should try it earlier instead of trying desperately to find free solution.