Nero Video is a low-cost PC-only video editing application. Its aim is clearly set to make the whole process as easy and effortless as possible for the novice editor, so let’s take a look at what it offers and if it succeeds at that goal.
We were very pleased with Nero’s capturing options. Recording from your computer’s webcam even comes with a choice of file format. You can also grab footage from any AVCHD-compatible camera, or a AVCHD file stored on your hard drive. Other options include a multitude of files, as long as they’re stored on your PC (videos, photos, audio, and even Powerpoint files).
Your media is stored by type with Videos, Pictures, and Audio all segregated into their own separate tabs in the My Media section.
From there you can preview any clip by double-clicking on it - this opens up a new window from which you can also set in and out points to focus on the section you’re interested in. To add a clip to your project, just drag it from My Media to the Timeline.
Nero Video offers you two different editing options: ‘Express Editing’ and ‘Advanced Editing’.
Express is really editing simplified as much as possible. You only have a single track, all clips are each represented by a single square thumbnail, with obvious sections for adding transitions. You can trim a clip, reorder your footage and even delete some parts you don’t need, and that’s pretty much it, as far as editing goes.
Advanced is more what traditional video editing looks like. Each clip is represented by a rectangle whose length depends on the clip’s duration. You can work on multiple tracks, so clips can overlay one another. Trimming clips is as simple as dragging their edges inwards. You have a few tools to the right to select multiple clips, split a clip, and the magnet tool lets you snap your clips to edit points, which makes it easy to place footage in the right place as you move it around the Timeline or add new ones from My Media.
Both editing options have dedicated tracks where you can add music or a narration to your project, but whichever interface you choose, your choices do feel quite limited. The fact the whole look of the software reminds us of early consumer video editors from the late 90s doesn’t help the sensation that what’s on offer hasn’t taken advantage of more modern improvements in the field.
Effects and transitions
This is further emphasised by the Effect Palette. This is where all your effects are stored, be they video effects, audio effects, text, transitions, clip art or background. It’s all bundled in this menu. These effects have no preview, just a title which acts as a description and a thumbnail which doesn’t really show anything at all. The only way to see exactly what one does is to add it to one of your clips. On the plus side there’s a good number of interesting looking transitions.
As you’d expect, you can alter your clips’ properties, like change their scale, rotation and position. You can even animate those values over time with the use of keyframes.
Of greater interest are the buttons top right of the Timeline. These offer clever ways to make your edit more interesting.
The first one analyses any music you’ve added to your project and determines its beats. There’s even the option to create more or fewer of those beat markers. Then, you can use this section to retrim your footage to match those markers. If you haven’t got any music handy, Nero Video comes bundled with a useful selection.
Even better, the software will automatically resample the song to make it fit your project exactly. As is often the case while you work, you may lengthen or shorten your project even after having added your musical score. However, should you wish to retime your song to match your project’s new duration, just click on ‘Fit Music’ and Nero Video will take care of it for you.
‘Nero PiP’ is a clever way of creating an animated picture in picture effect with you having to do practically nothing at all; just choose the effect you like best from a list. This time, you get a handy animated preview of what your chosen template will do before you add it to your project. Once you’ve clicked on OK, that template will be added to the Timeline wherever the playhead was, and any clips to its right will be overwritten by default, so make sure you place that playhead in the right location. If you’d rather insert your chosen template and move everything to the right along the timeline, make sure you choose ‘Shift’ from that effect’s Settings menu.
Once in your Timeline simply drag your clips over the placeholders and you’re done. It could hardly be simpler.
‘Themes’ adds an intro and outro to your project based on a chosen style. Transitions will also be inserted, including a specific score based on your chosen theme. Sadly unlike ‘Nero PiP’ there isn’t a preview to let you see what you’re selecting and, again, as with the Effects Palette, the little thumbnails aren’t much to go on.
But the few we tested did make for interesting additions to our projects.
Despite the fact that this is the 2019 version of this app, the Export feature clearly shows its age. You can save the file to your computer in a variety of formats, like AVCHD, MPEG4, but also WMV and Flash Video, which feels pretty antiquated. You can export the audio only, save the video back to your camera, or save it and add it as an attachment to an email. How very 1990s.
We couldn’t find any option to prepare your work for social media. Sure the first option would be good for this, but being able to upload your video automatically to Youtube, Facebook, or Vimeo, for instance, should really be a basic requirement these days.
As it is, Nero Video covers the basics, and that’s pretty much it. It has some good ideas, but those feel hampered by an app that doesn’t appear to have evolved much over the years.
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