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Prep Your Video for Sharing

To whip your raw video into shape and make it into a pretty good file for Web sharing, you don't have to spend much--or anything at all. Microsoft's free Windows Movie Maker 2.1 provides enough tools to perform simple file edits. Its output is limited, however, to Windows Media and DV-AVI.

To save in other formats, you'll need a tool like Apple's $30 QuickTime 7 Pro for Windows. It's easy to use and will export in many formats, including MPEG-4. If you don't want to use two apps to prep your video, you could let your chosen sharing site do the conversion and compression for you, or use more complete tools.

In $100 apps such as Pinnacle Systems Studio Plus 10.5 Titanium Edition and Ulead VideoStudio 10 Plus, you get more features and output flexibility. They handle all common video formats (plus high-def video from HDV camcorders), allow more flexible editing, create nice graphics, and can output to MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 for DVD, Web, iPod, and PSP playback. (For reviews of these applications and compression tips, see our video reference guide.)

You can eliminate desktop editing entirely with sites like Eyespot, Jumpcut, and VideoEgg, where users first upload raw footage and then edit it through Web-based interfaces. Uploading your raw files might take a while, and the editing features are more limited than those in Windows Movie Maker. But the sites simplify editing phone video, encourage users to let others integrate their footage and projects with their own, and make such integration easy--very Web 2.0.

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