Media Edit Pro
OS X and OS 9 compatible (despite the Company name)
Reviewing a program like Media Edit Pro is a tough slog. Not because of any shortcomings of the program but because it was completely different from what I expected. Perhaps a brief description of the review process is in order. What I review is stuff that interests me, and I’m interested in Movies. So when I saw a press release for Media Edit Pro I thought “Hey, Here’s a movie editor more robust than iMovie but cheaper than Final Cut Express, that’s something I’d like to try.” A couple of e-mails later and I had a copy. I installed Media Edit Pro (which is growing tiresome to type so I’ll truncate the title to MEP in future references) with no problems. then I downloaded and installed the update. Still a problem free experience. Found some footage to play with and fired up the program to give MEP it’s first test run. Big Problem.
The problem wasn’t with the program, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I expected a simple but more robust movie-editing program, I was wrong. The program is called Media Edit Pro for a reason and the reason is that MEP is not just a movie-editing program (one assumes the author put more thought in the title than I did when I read it) but also a full-fledged media-editing program (hence the text). That means pretty much any media you care to mess with. I only care to mess with video stuff so I’m sticking to the video side, but from the little I know about audio and stills it seems that MEP would be quite capable in that department. Let’s hit the easy stuff right now, MEP includes plenty of effects and transitions and you do have complete titling control. But there’s more to MEP than being just a beefier copy of iMovie, much more.
Say you want to pull off the effect from the beginning of Saving Private Ryan/ Gladiator. You remember that extra violent fog-o-war feeling. You can’t do it with iMovie, it’s just not possible out of the box. It’s no big trick with MEP. To be honest there’s not a lot you can’t do to video footage with MEP. You can do titles any way you wish, move the audio around, add a single frame or a thousand, paint. Paint? Did I say paint, let’s look back… It appears I did say paint. Well that’s okay because you can paint directly on your video using the painting tools. It’s a more useful feature than you might think. This might have you wondering “If I can paint, does this mean I can apply other image editing techniques to my movie?” Wonder no longer, the answer is yes. You want to mask the video? No problem. You want to apply an effect to just a region of the movie (you know a specific selected area)? Again no problem. Think of it, you can add cool effects to just, say, half the visible video. People familiar with imaging editing programs will be able to go nutso crazy with the included tools and mere mortals like I can still have a pants load of fun.
How powerful is MEP? I don’t know. I know it can handle anything I can throw at it but I only have limited video editing experience. Could a super slick director take MEP to its limits? I would bet the answer is yes. At least I think they could, you see MEP also includes brush editor to make your own brushes. These aren’t just static brushes, these are special cool movie brushes. Even more intriguingly MEP includes something called RBscript. This is well beyond my ability to use but I suspect that in the right hands it could be a very powerful tool. With the ability to script stuff I conclude that MEP is limited more by the user than the program.
The last question to ponder: what do I give up if I ditch iMovie and start using MEP? Well, MEP does everything iMovie does as well as plenty of other neat stuff I haven’t mentioned (for example: you can set the dimensions of the movie). MEP offers a great deal of creative control and for those of you who don’t want to shell for Final Cut Express but need more than iMovie this is the best alternative I’ve run across. MEP is very powerful, very original and very very cool. In addition to all the aforementioned goodness MEP includes a printed manual (becoming a rarity, but helpful with a program as original as MEP) and a very cool sticker.
MacMice Rating: 5 out of 5
Pros: Powerful Video Editing