Viewfinder: Movie Maker

Pre-installed video editing software packages have an enormous market share. Software that’s included along with the operating system enjoys a keen advantage over software which must be downloaded and installed. There are only a few video editing software packages that meet this description. Two are Android Movie Studio on Android tablets and Apple Inc.’s iMovie on the Mac.

Video editing packages offered by the companies which wrote the operating system (Microsoft, Apple, and Android to name three) have a distinct advantage over those that are downloaded, even if the downloaded versions are free. I am fascinated with the sheer number of computers with downloadable or pre-installed video editing software packages; there are perhaps tens of millions of people using computers which came pre-installed with Windows Movie Maker or Apple iMovie.

These programs are designed to be incredibly simple to operate given that they are aimed at beginners. Serious editors will not likely be satisfied with these free packages for long even if they do a good job of basic editing. While these free packages are perfectly suited to get more people interested in making video, many will eventually upgrade to more robust solutions.

But the impact of pre-installed video editing software should not be underestimated. Between the ease of use and the millions of these editing packages installed on computers, the video medium has become an extremely common way for people to communicate. When video is used for personal communication, it appears on desktop computer screens, tablets and smartphones. Each of these devices typically includes a video camera. Since Microsoft has the largest market share of computer operating systems, Windows Movie Maker is probably the world’s most available editing solution.

This development is having several impacts upon society and culture. Some scholars fear that the art of writing is slowly slipping away. The use of copyrighted video clips is now standard practice, which may undermine copyright law. The experience of reading text on paper or on a screen is slowly being replaced with watching video. This may be good for the world’s illiterate population, but there are concerns that the popularity of video may decrease the need for reading. The invention of the written word dates back to sometime around 3200 BC and it took thousands of years for writing and printed text to become wide-spread enough to become commonly available to the masses.

In contrast, it only took a matter of decades, between when video cameras and editing tools were invented and when these devices became available to the masses. When compared to the thousands of years required for the written word to become available to the masses, the video revolution has occurred at mind-boggling speed.

I am not sure if the people who wrote the software code for Windows Movie Maker, Apple iMovie or Android Movie Studio had the slightest notion of how they are impacting our communication styles. But the impact has certainly been profound.

Matthew York is Videomaker‘s Publisher/Editor.

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