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Video editing software for system O/S Windows 7 Home Premium

Posted on 2014-02-06
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What would be the best video editing software for a system with these requirements:

Model:      Dell Optiplex 755
OS:      Windows 7 Home Premium
CPU      Intel Pentium Dual CPU E2180 @ 2.00GHz
HD      80GB
Memory      2GB
Memory Slots      4 Slots Total
Video Card      Intel Q35 Express

Something in the low to mid-level range ... these would be videos to post on youtube
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Question by:hadrons
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regmigrant earned 250 total points
ID: 39841640
With that level of hardware you will struggle to find a package that will support it unless you can find an older version.

Wiki has a list of possible contenders here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_video_editing_software

However I suggest you look at one of the Web based packages where the majority of the work is done on someone elses server so your hardware will be less of an issue. One example is Adobe Premier Express which used to be (and maybe still is) free for youtubers
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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 250 total points
ID: 39841735
Depending on the amount of work you intend to do you may  need a bigger hard disk and more memory.  And upgrade the CPU if you can.  You will find tasks such as file conversion to be very time intensive.

I've used the following from remigrant's list

    Avidemux (Windows)
    AviSynth (Windows)
    VirtualDub (Windows)

and for my purposes they did the job.
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by:regmigrant
ID: 39841758
The first part of my post got zapped-

Your hardware is very limited for doing this kind of work - Ideally you would want a lot of memory, two big disk drives in addition to your system disks and a hardware accelerating graphics cards as well as a fast multi-core CPU

People did, and maybe still do, edit video with those specs when they were cutting edge but unfortunately modern versions of those packages are unlikely to run, apart from Ram your biggest problem will be the graphics support of the q35 express (which was not intended to handle video editing).

You might find one of the open source providers have older versions of their software available.

Wiki has .....
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by:hadrons
ID: 39842010
I was hoping to savage that unit for just that single purpose, but there's simply not enough breathing room to do so - I sort of suspected that, but I'm glad to have that confirmed.

I do have some of my old hard drives from some previous units I could use as storage space, but ideally what would be a good ballpark figure on the type of specs I would need (and something with Windows 7 O/S)
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by:regmigrant
ID: 39842086
Its all down to budget but as a very rough guide -


The thing that will make or break  is the video card so consider spending higher on this than you might otherwise do, any modern hardware accelerated nvdia or ATI based card will handle basic edits but look for larger on-board ram and plenty of GPU's - again price is going to be the driver but you are better off with a higher spec video card and a lower spec processor then the other way round.
multi core processor anything over 2Ghz, faster is better (Intel have a reputation for better performance on video handling but I doubt you would see the difference over an AMD which is cheaper)
4 Gb of ram - faster the better
2 x fast, large drives (a DVD holds about 4.5 gb of data so how large you want the drives to be can be calculated in terms of the number of feature length movies you want to work with, including copies, part finished projects, archived projects and so on but disk space is relative cheap so go with bigger is better - up to your budget) the idea is to have your original footage on one and render onto the other for faster throughput.
1 Smaller drive to handle OS/applications (anything over 100gb will give you some headroom depending on your application sizes)
A big, clear screen - you want something that will allow you to display two editing windows  side by side so go for a wide screen with minimum 1920 x 1080 (HD resolution) - bigger if your budget can handle it
Obviously all of this will need a motherboard, case and peripherals.

If you like system building I'd encourage you to trawl ebay and find previous revisions of the elements here - though recommend you only by 'new' and 'manufacturer' refurbed. I put together something similar to the above for less than £300 (without a case). Alternatively go to one of the many sites who are offering a pre-built rig specifically for purpose.


You could also consider re-using your Pentium PC as a NAS device with Linux and open source software. put some of the old disks you mentioned on it and create a  Raid array that you can back up to. This will free up your windows 7 license (assuming its not an OEM version) for use on the new system
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by:dbrunton
ID: 39842094
Best to ask is what exactly are the files you are going to play with?  AVI, mpegs or some other format?

And how are these files presently stored and where?

And when you say edit, what do you mean?  Crop, join, insert, titles, add sound?

The Dell may still be capable of doing what you want if you have no need to push what you want to do.
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by:regmigrant
ID: 39842101
I agree with dbrunton that the older system is capable of limited edits, as I said previously
the problem will be finding a package to run on that hardware; happy to be corrected if someone knows of one.

If you can't find one that works and you don't want to get a new system and your editing needs are limited then an online approach might be the way to go.
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by:hadrons
ID: 39842397
Addressing dbrunton's question would give my question some more clarity to everyone: it would mixing video shot off a camcorder (the brand is Canon though I don't have the model info with me now) and video extracted from digital sources (DVDs, etc.) I have a way of extracting the video from the DVDs and saving them as mp4 file.

Ideally, I would like also like to insert audio over the video extracted from the DVD with the audio from the camcorder footage. The best way to visually get an idea of what I would like to do is to think of doing a video movie review (which actually is what I would like to do) where the reviewer is talking over the film footage and then cuts back to them.
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by:regmigrant
ID: 39842444
That's certainly doable if the package works with your video drivers; the final render - to create the up-load clip - might take a while.
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by:dbrunton
ID: 39843035
You need all of your data in the same format.  You are getting the stuff from your DVDs as mp4 but what about the data from the Canon?  Is that mp4 as well?

Note: to join video files from different sources (eg Canon and DVD) together then all of them must have the same parameters - video resolution, aspect ratio, frame rate and bitrate.   I don't mean to discourage you with that statement but to give you an idea of possible difficulties you may face.  It is possible to do but means much conversion may be required.
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by:hadrons
ID: 39843252
Please keep being honest - being truthful about the potential obstacles is as helpful. I'll look at the Canon manual and see what file types they save in.

The basic idea (and if its a bit hare-brained let me know - I have a thick skin) is to rip the DVD to a VOB files on my computer and then to import the file into a video edit and then to keep the clips I want to use and then integrate them into the footage shot on the camcorder. And then save the completed file as mp4.

I planned to use mp4 format because its what youtube seems to prefer and I've loaded videos to their site in that format (but those were straight rips) ... the DVDs are ones created from my dvd recorder that I use to transfer VHS/beta tapes to disk (the stuff is largely from home-recorded airing in the late 70's/80's/early 90's off TV.)
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by:dbrunton
ID: 39843642
Your VOB files will probably be MPEG2.

Identify the Canon format and then we'll see what's possible then.
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by:hadrons
ID: 39848737
The Canon is the Canon VIXIA HF R400 and the file formats appear to be MP4 and AVCHD.
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by:dbrunton
ID: 39848819
MP4 1080p (1920 by 1080 resolution).  Audio AC3 possibly.

You'd have to check what the resolution of your DVDs but I suspect they'll be 720 by 486.  Rip some VOB files off and play them with VLC and see what it makes of them.

It's doable but may be messy.

OK at this stage I don't think the Optiplex is going to do the job.  You are playing with high resolution MP4 files and the mpeg2 to MP4 conversion is going to be processor intensive.  Been there, done that.  Three hours to convert DVD disk to MP4 file for my iPad on a machine slightly faster than your Optiplex.

I'll post some more this evening.
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by:dbrunton
ID: 39848955
This is a cut and paste from remigrant's post at  http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/MultiMedia_Applications/Q_28358882.html#a39842086 and I've posted my thoughts on it.  This is in regard to a newer machine.


The thing that will make or break  is the video card so consider spending higher on this than you might otherwise do, any modern hardware accelerated nvdia or ATI based card will handle basic edits but look for larger on-board ram and plenty of GPU's - again price is going to be the driver but you are better off with a higher spec video card and a lower spec processor then the other way round.

Look for an ATI graphics card and I'll say that a lower specced video card is what you need in preference to a higher specced one.  You need CPU power more than graphics.  Something with 256Mb - 512 Mb of memory.

multi core processor anything over 2Ghz, faster is better (Intel have a reputation for better performance on video handling but I doubt you would see the difference over an AMD which is cheaper)

Dual core processor (quad if you have the budget but a lot of the software doesn't take use of the extra processors unless you are prepared to pay big money).

4 Gb of ram - faster the better

Agreed.  If you have Windows 7 64 bit then try 8 Gb if you can.

2 x fast, large drives (a DVD holds about 4.5 gb of data so how large you want the drives to be can be calculated in terms of the number of feature length movies you want to work with, including copies, part finished projects, archived projects and so on but disk space is relative cheap so go with bigger is better - up to your budget) the idea is to have your original footage on one and render onto the other for faster throughput.
1 Smaller drive to handle OS/applications (anything over 100gb will give you some headroom depending on your application sizes)

2 or three drives.  Workflow goes from one drive to another (first drive has file --> CPU for rendering --> second drive output).  Fast drives preferable.  You can put your OS on the first drive or have a third cheap drive for the OS.  This is pretty much what remigrant says.

A big, clear screen - you want something that will allow you to display two editing windows  side by side so go for a wide screen with minimum 1920 x 1080 (HD resolution) - bigger if your budget can handle it

I don't think that big a screen is necessary.  Your video editing is pretty much cutting and inserting.  And you may have old monitors that'll do the job.

Obviously all of this will need a motherboard, case and peripherals.

Which is the decision time.  What type of budget are you looking at?
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by:hadrons
ID: 39849018
I'm going to get an updated computer tomorrow; here's the specs:

INTEL CORE 2 DUO 2.66 GHZ (DUAL CORE) CPU
4 GB DDR2 RAM
320 GB HARD DRIVE
8X OR MORE USB 2.0 PORTS
VGA OUTPUT ( HDMI AND DVI OPTIONAL)
BUILT IN LAN ETHERNET (WIFI AVAILABLE)
4X PCI EXPANSION SLOTS.
512MB DEDICATED GRAPHICS CARD

I did some reading and searching on the subject and I did specifically look for a computer in my budget with a dedicated graphic card (other computers in my range just had integrated ones with not so great RAM)

I haven't committed to that camera yet; I like that Canon because it has an input for a microphone, that's important to me
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by:dbrunton
ID: 39849094
You've got old hard drives.  Make use of them too as either input or output drives.

That is slightly more grunty than my present machine.  Be prepared to have some slow renders for some tasks.  Also browse videohelp.com and ask for help there (as well as here too) if you have problems.
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by:hadrons
ID: 39968191
This question hasn't been abandoned, but I've been a little slow in getting everything together.
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