This review objectively shows the pros and cons of Pavtube Media Magician and customers own experience while using this program. It is extracted from customer comments and reviews on giveawayoftheday.com.
Pavtube Media Magician can do a few limited special effects and brighten or darken clips, which has some value.
This is not a substitute for full-featured video editing software if your goal is professional looking videos. If you’re just doing home movies of summer vacation for the family, and you want to take an hour’s footage and extract only five minutes’ worth for fun, this makes it very quick and easy to do that.
To do full-featured video editing, you can use this program to work as a video joiner, trimmer, and converter to get best format with best length from your camcorders and other sources for your professional editing software like Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegus, etc.
LOSSLESS TRIMMING and CLIP EXTRACTION
In this function, this software does a professional quality job and I know of no other software that does (though I expect there are other options I’ve not yet found).
It allows one to LOSSLESSY trim long video clips in MTS MT2S MOD and TOD formats. I don’t know of any current Video cameras still using MOD and TOD, but MTS is what AVCHD and “AVCHD lite” HD video cameras produce and that is becoming quite popular with Panasonic, Sony and Canon cameras. Alas it does not support other very common HD formats such as MOV and MP4 for LOSSLESS trimming but it can still trim those formats rather well.
The benefit of lossless trimming for me is that often I set up one or more cameras at an event and let them roll, sometimes for hours. This is done in anticipation that something interesting might occur in that camera’s field of view in the next couple of hours. Out of all those hours there might only be a few minutes I really want to keep. This results in enormous files with only a few seconds of really good footage. Ideally I wish to keep only the good bits and delete the rest but so far I’ve found no way to extract the bits I want to keep and delete the rest without any loss of video quality. This program can do it for some formats and that is a plus. Ideally it would do it for all formats and that would be a HUGE plus.
While it can’t do totally lossless trimming of MP4 and MOV files, it can “convert” them after trimming to the native format (as in starting with an MOV file, trimming it, and exporting it as a smaller MOV file) with so little loss I can’t tell the difference in 1920 x 1080 HD original file on a 23 inch HD monitor a foot from my face. Sometimes I think I see a trivial loss in quality but then I’m not really sure. So even if it is not totally lossless for MP4 and MOV, it’s almost lossless and for many applications that is “good enough.”
I tried to combine HD footage from four different cameras in MTS, MTS (lite), MP4 and MOV formats into a single video. While the results for MP4 showed a very slight loss, just enough for me to be BARELY able to tell the difference with the naked eye, the results were EXCELLENT overall and MUCH better than I expected. My primary test clip included blowing snow (tiny fast moving objects) and distant street signs that were barely readable. Any loss in quality would render the “barely readable” into “unreadable” and the blowing snow into fog; the individual snowflakes in the distance cease to be distinct if the resolution drops by much. In these tests I used maximum quality or ‘original’ settings since my goal is maximum quality. In all cases the distant street signs were still barely readable and the blowing snow continued to look like blowing snow, not fog. I’m sure there was some loss of resolution but it was so small that I couldn’t really be sure without extracting stills and magnifying them. In other words, it’s pretty darned good!
Then I used “medium” settings and the “barely readable” signs became “unreadable” and the blowing snow turned into blowing mist, as expected. That’s what happens when you lower resolution, fine details and tiny objects lose sharpness and become blur. That’s the difference between high definition and standard definition. The benefit of lower resolution is, of course, smaller file size and the ability to play the video on less powerful devices.
Lighting fast. WAY faster than expected based on experience with other format converters or video editors. It loads very quickly and converts very quickly, faster than anything I’ve ever seen and it does make some use of multiple core CPUs.
On this 3 yr old 1st generation quad core i7 (XP SP3) doing the same tasks with Vegas Pro takes much longer and Vegas works all 8 threads of the four cores to 80% or so, and anyone with an i7 knows it’s very rare to get that CPU over 20%. Vegas Pro pretty much demands an i7 for anything more than occasional use. I was expecting to wait five minutes to see the results of a one minute clip, which would be typical for Vegas when rendering HD, but it was less than a minute. It does use all 8 threads of all four cores most of the time but only with MP4 files does the CPU load approach 50%, otherwise it hovers in the 25-35% range. This suggests that the program could potentially go considerably faster because there is a lot of CPU power available that it is not using. It also suggests that the program would be tolerably fast on less powerful computers. Certainly a plus for anyone without a spare i7 in the den!
I use Sony Vegas Pro for video editing and it has a built-in trimmer just for the purpose of extracting bits from a larger clip BUT it cannot save the extracted bits losslessly. At least if it can, I’ve never figured out how. It always does a “conversion” and not a byte for byte lossless copy. And it always takes several times as long to render the clip as the clip itself. It’s slow and tedious, even on an i7.
It can “render” them into a variety of formats with very little loss and generally excellent results but always SOME SLIGHT BUT DISCERNIBLE LOSS, enough to notice if you look closely. So you don’t want to render any clip more than once and you always need to start with the original footage if you want optimal quality.
Thus I’ve always felt I had to keep the entire original recorded file even if there was only a 5 second clip inside it that I might want to use some day. If I only kept the 5 sec. clip rendered by Vegas, and then imported that into a new video, I’d lose quality. At least with the MTS files, this program can trim them down WITHOUT LOSS and clear up many GB of storage for me. That alone is enough to make this a keeper, even at $45. For that $45 software I can free up several hundred dollars worth of hard disk space now devoted to storing huge video files which contain mostly junk.
I know of no other way to LOSSLESSLY trim video files or extract small clips from them. If someone else knows, do tell!
Generally my pattern is to record in the highest quality possible with the idea that I can lower the quality and file size later if desired for sharing or viewing on other devices. But you can never INCREASE the quality beyond what you initially recorded. And with some subjects, that super-crisp, super-detailed HD quality is important.
EASE OF USE
Video editing software is often difficult for beginners, in part because the terminology used to label controls is unfamiliar and in part because the number of controls and unfamiliar terms is often vast. Beginners can sometimes be forgiven for wondering if they accidentally obtained a foreign language version! I’m not a beginner but reading the web page tutorial explained to me exactly what each of the small number of controls does and I had the first test done in a couple of minutes. The controls are well laid out and quite clear and because there are so few, even if you just do “trial and error” to see what each does, I doubt anyone will have much difficulty mastering the rather few things this software can do. In that sense it would be good for beginners, because they would quickly get satisfying, if limited, results rather than experiencing the common frustration of not being able to figure out how to do the most basic things, as can happen with the more powerful editing programs.
While the software that comes packaged with new cameras can sometimes do pretty much the same kind of basic editing, it is almost always restricted to editing the files made by that particular camera. Even within the Panasonic line of AVCHD cameras, the software that works with the files made by one model won’t work with the files made by another model. That strikes me as just plain dumb. If you only have one camera that is okay perhaps but what of a family (like mine) with four different Panasonic video cameras, each of which came packaged with a similar (but incompatible) little editing program it makes that software essentially useless. Of course it doesn’t work with the HD videos made by other brands either.
With phones and digital still cameras all able to generate videos, often in HD, these days I expect a typical family is likely to have video footage in a wide variety of formats, all of which we might want to include in some videos. The ability to deal with a wide variety of input formats quickly and easily is a plus.
ONLY CUT AT KEYFRAMES
Does it really only cut at keyframes? I didn’t test for that. That would be a limitation for serious video editing where it is often desirable to select a precise frame for a cut BUT for the purpose of editing out junk so as to only store the “good stuff,” that doesn’t really matter. The precise editing would be done later with serious editing software. “Rough cuts” done initially would normally deliberately add a few seconds on either side of an extracted clip just to be safe anyway. That is a limitation but it is not MUCH of a limitation considering all the other limitations. Nobody is going to use this in serious professional or advanced amateur editing except maybe as a preliminary video trimmer to quickly and easily remove junk from raw footage.
The authors anticipated that with their link to any installed “real” editing software that can be found on the computer. This can be considered a pre-processor or trimmer for “real” editing software.
I do wonder just what the target market is for this software. Lossless trimming and the ability to join a wide range of camcorder file formats very quickly and very easily appear to be its main strengths. As far as I am aware, those capabilities are hard to find and that does make this program worth its price tag to me. It can do a couple of things that are very useful which Sony Vegas Pro can’t do as well or as fast or as easily, at least so far as I know.
Since anyone who does a lot of amateur video is likely to end up with plenty of long files with only a few short gems, this has a place in the arsenal of “disk cleanup” software to get rid of junk from your mass storage devices.
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