With multitudes of services migrating skyward, it was just a matter of time before someone took a shot at relegating group-based video editing to the cloud as well. That time has come, the someone is WeVideo, Inc. and they have put the “We” in WeVideo by enabling collaborative editing from anywhere, by anyone, with an Internet connection – without downloading or installing software of any kind.
The idea is a simple one. Upload all your project assets to your online account, invite friends to upload their contributions to the project, then edit away. Since all processing is performed on the other end, “in the cloud,” you won’t need a high-end computer with gobs of memory and a budget-busting graphics card. You also won’t need to shell out for a video editing program to install on your killer mega-machine.
What you will need for this form of video editing is an Internet-capable device and a fast connection to the cloud. Asset uploads will take a very long time if your connection’s upload speed is slow.
However, WeVideo plays very well with a number of online media repositories and imports from these services move along pretty quickly. Another drawback to online video editing is no offline access, so where there is no connection, there is no editing. On the other hand, if yours is a collaborative editing project perhaps one of your group members can continue to edit even if your connection is down.
Editing a la (Three) Modes
To suit varying levels of experience, editing options come in three flavors – Storyboard, Timeline (simple) and Timeline (advanced) – all wrapped in a user-friendly interface. Along the top of the editor is a drop-down list (for selecting your editing option of choice) and buttons to upload, access themes or publish your finished video.
Upload allows you to either upload files from your computer or import them from Google Drive, InstaGram, Flickr, Facebook, Dropbox, Picasa or Box. Each theme is a preset collection of transitions, effects, music and visual styles to quickly give your project that special look. Publish lets you select your desired video resolution and export destination (YouTube, Vimeo, Dropbox, Google Drive) – including download to your computer.
The Storyboard editor is as simple as it gets. At the left edge of the editor are buttons to access your uploaded, imported or shared videos and photos, including a plethora of backgrounds. Use your own audio or select from a variety of supplied sounds in the Action, Party, Drama and Atmosphere categories. Drag and drop images onto the storyboard in the “Drop videos or images here” zone. Trim clips by dragging their edges and select clips to access delete or edit options. Edits include adding captions, tagging people, rotating and flipping. Add music – or pick a theme – add a title and you’re ready to publish.
The Timeline (simple) editor adds access to an assortment of transitions and graphics such as callouts, titles, credits and lower thirds. The timeline features two video tracks, a couple of audio tracks and a record-your-own-voice-over track. Audio edits include mute, levels, fade in and fade out. This option also allows rubber band keyframing of clip volume and opacity.
The advanced Timeline editor lets you add or delete both video and audio tracks. You can name, solo, and lock tracks. A slider beneath the track’s name controls track volume. Additional clip transformation options include fit to frame, fit to screen, scaling and positioning. Brightness, Contrast, Saturation and Hue adjustments are available as well as a number of visual effects filters.
WeVideo is available for free with 15 minutes of export time per month, 5GB of storage and a maximum of five invites per project. Your finished video’s resolution is limited to 480p and is watermarked. There are two paid plans each for Personal, Education and Business use. These plans drop the watermark, allow more invites per project (so you can expand your collaborative editing base), provide more storage, more export time each month and greater resolutions. All plans allow for Full HD, 1080p export, for $2.
Overall, we found WeVideo to be a capable video editing program, with responsive edits and a simple to navigate, fairly self-intuitive interface. Although waiting on uploads to complete can take a while, you can at least begin working while all that takes place in the background. To get you started there is a video tutorial that walks you through the Storyboard editor, explaining where things are and even suggesting action steps you can take along the way to begin your own project.
While it’s no Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro, it does have a fair amount of customization capability in the advanced editor and doesn’t require the aforementioned killer computer and large outlays of cash for a video editing program. The results are very good and easily shared or downloaded.
WeVideo’s greatest appeal perhaps is its ability to allow collaborative editing amongst groups of people who may be scattered far and wide, thus eliminating the need for multiple expensive machines and software, while enhancing the creative video editing experience.
Colin Marks is a video producer and trainer.
Company info and Pricing:
444 Ramona Street
Palo Alto, CA 94301
From free to $50/month depending on plan
Editor Type: Cloud-based
System Requirements: Internet-capable device
Simple to use video editing program
Doesn’t require expensive computer or software
Allows collaborative editing
Uploads can take a considerable amount of time
No offline access