Monday, August 18, 2014

WeVideo Redux

Last June I conducted a video production class as part of the United Steelworkers, District 7 Summer School at the University of Illinois.  For NLE training I used WeVideo's cloud-based editing solution.  Here's a quick review and update on WeVideo's service.

I like the idea of a cloud-based web browser editing solution.   Virtually any computer lab can be used to teach NLE basics.  The fact that you don't need video editing stations equipped with NLE software makes WeVideo a very attractive option for community media makers and teachers.

WeVideo NLE interface

I also like the collaborative approach of WeVideo's application (although I'll discuss its implementation a little later)  I also like the idea of its integration with Google Drive (although again, its implementation will be reviewed a little later).

Now here's what I don't like.  The integration with Google Drive is buggy to say the least.  I shared video on Google Drive with my students for editing exercises.  When one of the students attempted to import the clips into his WeVideo project, the clips disappeared from from his project and my Google Drive folder.  What the hell?

The workable solution was for me, as administrator to upload the clips to "My Media" of my WeVideo account and then share them with the students within WeVideo.  But I'll also add that the folder structure of the "My Media" section is a little buggy.  After just having created a new folder, that folder should have been empty. Yet for some reason clips from different folder were duplicated in that new folder.  Again, what the hell?

My other issue with WeVideo is its pricing structure which I think is way too high.   To me one of the product's main advantages is its collaborative feature, but that feature isn't available with the Personal license.  To collaborate in WeVideo, the most affordable option was the $69.00/month plan which is limited to only 3 licences.  I had to temporarily upgrade to an even more expensive license in order to teach the class.  At that price point it's cheaper to install Adobe Premiere Elements 12 or Sony Movie Studio 13 Platinum (each go for around $80).  While neither supports collaboration, as NLE's either application is far more stable and feature-rich than WeVideo.     

The final major problem was with the editor itself.  Frame accurate editing was almost impossible - just too clumsy from the browser and very frustrating for the students.  The application seemed to inexplicably and intermittently lose connection and projects needed to be reloaded.  Maybe a problem with our internet service but we didn't experience connectivity issues with any of the other work we did on those PC's.  We ended up using WeVideo to create a rough cut that was then recreated and completed in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. 

Here's the final product.  I think it's a great first effort from terrific students:

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