VideoPad is an elegant free video editor that lets you import and edit an array of audio and video files for playback on TV, produce stand-alone files for online distribution or create files to burn to DVD. Its familiar workflow means you can view your project in the timeline or storyboard and seamlessly switch back and forth between the two views while maintaining your edits as you work. The app also ships with a variety of transitions and audio and visual effects, and its direct connections to YouTube and other social media outlets are bound to make life easier for the social-networking crowd.
VideoPad is available in several versions for commercial and home markets. A Master’s Edition ($99) includes all features, unlimited tracks and support for plugins. The Home Edition ($60) has all the features of the Master's Edition, except support for plugins, and offers only two simultaneous audio tracks. The suite components are different programs you can buy as needed — they are not built into the Master’s Edition.
The free version is intended for noncommercial home use for both Mac and Windows: Make sure to download the free version, which has all the basic features, as opposed to the trial version, to avoid annoying upgrade messages. As it is, you will have to confirm your noncommercial status every time you launch the app, but that’s the one-click price of the free app.
VideoPad shows you where to place transitions, and provides a free library of transitions, and video and audio effects.
Immediately upon opening VideoPad, you see a classic and intuitive editing environment. The app has the open, friendly look of Adobe’s Premiere Elements, with an appealing light-gray, white and lavender skin. The top menu bar has basic controls to help you get started. Seven tabs — Home, Clips, Sequence, Audio, Export, Suite and Custom — give you all the flexibility and control you need to edit your movie. The media bin separates clips according to type, such as sequences, video, audio or still images.
The free VideoPad may be all you need for occasional videos or social media sharing.
Clicking on each tab gives you access to additional tools. Clip and Sequence views let you review your video in both original and edited form, which you can see side by side in the Clip Preview window. Like iMovie, VideoPad shows you where to place transitions, and provides a free library of transitions, and video and audio effects.
VideoPad ships with video, audio and transitions, and the ability to add your own narration and subtitles. It even has a stabilizer. For those who are just getting acquainted with video editing, this is plenty to start with. Like HitFilm 4 Express, you can augment the main app with paid add-ons.
VideoPad has a selection of handy audio controls.
Certain operations, like Green Screen or DVD export, require a paid upgrade: When you hit a wall on the app’s free capabilities, an alert tells you to upgrade in order to perform that action. If you choose to upgrade, the app takes you to a software web page where the upgrade modules are located.
Granular YouTube settings let you immediately specify video categories and a designation of public or private.
Add-ons include Debut Video Capture for screen captures ($17.50), Zulu for special DJ effects ($60), MixPad for multitrack audio ($79.03), PhotoPad image editor ($19.98), PhotoStage slideshow editor ($39.98), Prism Video Converter ($14.99) and others — available a la carte. Prices are quoted in U.S. dollars, but transactions are banked in Australian currency, so prices fluctuate based on the exchange rate.
VideoPad has a wide selection of video effects.
Most novice users will not need to upgrade, nor will they need any specific helper apps right away, if ever. But it’s nice to know all the bases are covered, so you can continue using VideoPad for more advanced projects.
VideoPad offers an impressive selection of transitions and special effects.
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VideoPad is social media-savvy. It automatically offers numerous flavors of YouTube output, accessed from a handy pull-down menu alongside settings for Facebook, Dropbox, Flickr, Google Drive and a large slate of specific mobile devices. In addition to format, resolution, frame rate, description and keywords, granular YouTube settings let you immediately specify video categories and a designation of public or private. While you can use VideoPad for free, you'll need to upgrade to a paid account if you want to use it to upload directly to YouTube and Facebook. However, you can easily save to a file using the app’s YouTube presets, and then you can upload to the social media outlet yourself without getting the upgrade.
VideoPad gives a nod to social media output.
From the Export tab you can also output and share video in multiple resolutions, including full HD, 2K and 4K, or export as a stand-alone video or slideshow.
Encoding on Windows was quick at both 30 fps and 60 fps.
I tested VideoPad on an HP Spectre x360 laptop running Windows 10 Home. Its 64-bit Intel Core i5 processor with a 5200U CPU runs at 2.2 GHz on an HD Graphics 5500 system with 8GB of RAM. I combined five clips into a 2.5-minute video shot at 60 frames per second and rendered the projects to MPEG 4 at 720p. I timed rendering at 60 fps and 30 fps.
VideoPad sprang to life promptly on launch, while controls and windows were snappy and responsive. Encoding on Windows was quick at both 30 fps and 60 fps, where speeds were 2:57 and 3:15, respectively — the best rendering speed of all the free apps I tested.
While VideoPad’s free app is not as fully featured as some other packages, and lacks the high-end facility of multicam editing and motion tracking found in Premiere Elements and CyberLink PowerDirector, it is easy and intuitive enough for beginners seeking an entrée into video editing. Plus, it offers numerous and flexible sharing options for YouTube and a variety of other popular social networks. Many home users will likely stick with the free main package, but if users want to get even more creative with their videos, it offers a number of useful add-ons.
Screenshots: Jackie Dove