Got iMovie Envy? Take VideoSpin for a Spin

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Finally, a free and easy-to-use video editing application to rival Apple's Mac-only iMovie. VideoSpin (free; some features temporary) has been around for awhile, but has really come into its own in the new version 2.0. After watching the short tutorial video, I was off and running, taking my previously-recorded movies and integrating them easily with transitions, sound effects, title cards and more. It's also easy to cut scenes together along a timeline, edit numerous video and image files into the same movie, and so on.

VideoSpin then takes your edited movie file and save it in numerous file formats, ready to upload to YouTube or any number of other places. It's got several built-in presets, which set the file type and aspect ratio for a few devices, but the "iPod Compatible" preset is out of date; it doesn't account for the increased aspect ratio of the iPhone / iPod Touch.

Since it's a free product, there are a few things VideoSpin doesn't do. It won't create the movie itself. You must capture your movie into an AVI or other video file first. That means it also won't work with a recorded DVD or mini-DVD until after you rip it to a video file with another utility. Pinnacle Systems recommends the commercial Studio product if you want to do those things.

VideoSpin also loses some features after 15 days, namely access to most of its codecs (another name for video conversion utilities). That means if you're fond of moving your videos to Mpeg-4 (iPhone compatible) or using MP3 audio (for most portable media players), you'll need to buy the $15 SpinPack. VideoSpin will still make AVI files for all eternity, though, so your YouTube uploading won't be affected.

The latest version of VideoSpin adds widescreen YouTube support, .mov support, and the aforementioned iPod support, among other additions. Simple integration with a built-in or USB webcam would have been nice, but since said Webcams generally include their own software, this isn't a huge deal.

VideoSpin is way better than Microsoft's built-in (practically useless) Movie Maker, and is the go-to choice for editing movies on a PC.

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