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3 easy-to-use tools for creating movies and videos

I’m really into movie editing tools, especially those that are relatively easy to use, such as iMovie, but even the tools meant for amateurs require a certain degree of experience—and time—to generate decent results. Fortunately, there’s a solution to this, in the form of tools that essentially do the magic of video editing for you.

Too good to be true? Not really.

I recently wrote about these tools in this column:

I have created videos, for presentations and other professional uses, with free or relatively inexpensive software that’s designed to take care of much of the magic (and complexity) behind making brief, YouTube-worthy movies, including rocking soundtracks and slick transitions. Though you wouldn’t use these for every project — far from it — they’re a terrific way to dive into the world of movie making and see what you can do. Here are three options.

Here’s a quick rundown of these tools:

  1. Animoto
    A web-based tool with a free version, or one for $30/year. You pop in your videos, select a soundtrack, and Animoto creates an MTV-style video for you.
  2. Movie Trailers in iMovie
    So cool: iMovie provides prefab outlines and storyboards for you to create movie trailer-like videos, with soundtracks from the London Symphony Orchestra.
  3. InstantMovie in Adobe Premiere Elements
    Choose the clips you want, and the software analyzes them for the best pieces, then crafts a movie with a soundtrack and effects.

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