cropping video fast for dummies

I wanted to edit a three minute video down to less than 15 seconds.  I’ve never done this before and don’t have any special software.  And I needed to do it in an hour.  What to do?  What to do?

Why the urgency?

I was giving an Ignite style presentation on Stuy Pulse’s journey this season (FIRST Robotics team #694).  Since Ignite slides are 15 seconds in length, I originally decided to go with a static picture.  The night before my presentation, an alum of the team sent out a really good 3 minute video.  I thought it would make my presentation much better to include one 15 second “slide” of video.

Where I started

The original video is 3 minutes and 36 seconds.  I decided it would be nice to show kicking a goal in autonomous (no humans involved), driving over the bump/ramp and hanging.

How I did it

  1. Note that I have Windows Movie Maker on my machine which I can use for basic editing.  The shortcut disappeared, but I can create a new one pointing to C:\Program Files\Movie Maker\moviemk.exe.
  2. Download the video using ClipNabber so I would have a copy of it locally.  This downloaded the clip as an .mp4 file.
  3. Since Windows media player doesn’t support .mp4 files, I needed to convert it to another format.  I downloaded the free QuickMedia converter which was a 45 MB file.  Thanks to the Microsoft forum for the idea.  Converting the file from .mp4 to .wmv took 2 minutes.
  4. In Windows Movie Maker, import the .wmv file.
  5. Play the video using the navigation icons to split the video into pieces.  The relevant buttons were:
    1. Play – to start it
    2. Split – to create a clip boundary (start of end the clip)
    3. Previous/Next frame for precision
  6. Drag the three completed clips to the storyboard
  7. File > Save movie file

How did it work?

This process was good for some rough editing.  I met my goal of having a clip under 15 seconds showing these three things.  For “real” editing, you’d want a better product of course.

The final product

The completed video does show what I wanted.  I didn’t edit out the sound because I knew the speakers would be off during my presentation.  The words that went with that slide were:

red al-liance! ,<clap><clap>, <clap><clap><clap>

blue al-liance! ,<clap><clap>, <clap><clap><clap>

hang! hang! hang!

if 694 wins this, we go to nationals!


Then the next slide is a screenshot of the congratulations message; the one at the beginning of this post.

And yes, I got permission from the video creator to do this and blog about it.