Director’s cuts

I had grand plans for the summer of 2020 – namely to record and upload a video to my YouTube channel at least once a week. I failed miserably on only the third week. I’d like to blame technology, but in the end it still really comes down to me.

To explain: The wrench in the works here is that sometimes when I record a video, the file ends up being upside-down once I’ve moved it to my PC. I have no idea why, but it really shouldn’t have been a problem. Shouldn’t. But Camtasia 6 is like the only video editing software in the world that can’t flip a video’s orientation, and that’s the software that I’ve been using forever. My bad for using a far-outdated program, I suppose.

So when I was editing the Oreo Dream Donut video (which came in upside-down), I decided to nip the problem in the bud and trade in Camtasia 6 for the newest version. But there was a couple of hitches in the plan – for one, the free trial edition slaps a big ugly watermark on any video your produce with it. Secondly, the thing costs like $350. That is not a financially responsible investment for me. Mostly because I make zero money from my YouTube channel and would therefore see no return on it.

And it’s too bad, because for the half-hour that I played with it, Camtasia 2020 seemed pretty darn great.

But I had already gone ahead and uninstalled Camtasia 6 (and deleted the installer like a dumb-dumb), so I was forced to edit that video with Freemake Video Editor, which offers significantly fewer features. If you happened to notice that the Oreo Dream Donut video took a step down in editing quality… that’s why.

After that episode, I went on the hunt for a free video editing program to fill the void. My search ended with me installing Blender, which seemed like a great idea because of all the glowing praise. I was very excited by the idea of all the fancy new professional-level editing tools I’ve have at my disposal.

Blender can kiss my hairy, pink ass.

I don’t know how it ranks in terms of all the other things it can do, but I can tell you that I hate it as a video editing tool. It’s so incredibly unintuitive – there are a million buttons and tabs in the UI and I couldn’t find anything that I was looking for. Except for the button to flip my video right-side-up. Ironically, that was the one thing that worked well. It also defaulted the working area to like eight seconds of my six-minute video, and it took me way too long to figure out how to extend that. It should have defaulted to the length of the clip I imported. And the straw that broke the camel’s back is that it doesn’t show a volume indicator anywhere that I could find, which made trying to make accurate cuts way more difficult than it should have been. Also I couldn’t figure out how to link the video and audio tracks, so I’ve have to cut and shift each one individually, which seems like a recipe for completely destroying audio sync.

It’s fair to argue that I shouldn’t be expected to become a whiz at a new piece of software within the span of an hour, but I was able to figure out how to do all the basics with Camtasia very quicky, and without any tutorials. I had to watch a 14-minute YouTube video just to figure out how to make a cut in Blender. It’s atrocious and I hate it.

So at the end of the day, I just bootlegged a newer old version of Camtasia. I don’t feel good about it, but Camtasia 8 was released in 2012 and they’ve retired support for it so… that still doesn’t make it right. Anyway, Camtasia 8 is AMAZING. Call it familiarity bias, but I’m super happy with it. Yeah, a few things were reorganized a bit from Camtasia 6 and I needed a few minutes to acclimate, but overall I felt like editing the Hoopies video was a much smoother experience than I’ve ever had before while working on a video. It was just so easy and intuitive, and with more features! I can flip videos vertically and horizontally if I so choose! I can click and drag to edit volume levels now! And they don’t all change at once if you’ve got multiple tracks! Did I say that Camtasia 8 is AMAZING yet? Because it is. I’m sure that once I’ve used it a few more times, I’ll find some things to nitpick about, but I got an excellent first impression from it and I’m actually looking forward to making more videos now because the editing process is so much less of a hassle.

Seriously though, screw Blender.

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