My favorite easy to use video editing software for mothers and total beginners

My favorite easy to use video editing software for mothers and total beginners

It is about time I wrote my first review. This is an honest and unbiased review of a video [and photo editing software – PhotoDirector] perfect for beginners or serious hobbyists – Cyberlink PowerDirector. If you are here then are you probably looking for an easy to use video editing software for mothers and total beginners – I was too!

My favorite easy to use video editing software for mothers and total beginners because:

A favorite because it was my first (semi) professional video editing software willingly purchased. It had a non-linear timeline that allows you to have creative control over the editing process! It was exactly what I needed in that season of life.

Who would benefit from a video editing software program? 

Someone looking to edit their favorite smartphone videos and photos into a family keepsake film that everyone will love AND enjoy. [Let’s be honest – not all photo slideshows are created equal.]

Parents of young ones capturing day to day activities

Parents of teenagers capturing the multitude of events and sports

Grandparents doing the same thing

People starting a new adventure like retirement in an RV  

Missionaries sharing their story

Small startups creating engaging video content

MLM/Direct salespeople making video content 

Teachers creating lessons, promos and a year in review

And whoever else wants to create something but doesn’t want a steep learning curve

If you are considering this an easy to use a video editing software for mothers and total beginners, just like I was in 2016, then you are probably asking yourself several questions like: 

 

#1: Why do I NEED this easy to use video editing software?

 

After falling in love with video storytelling in 2008 through a very simple and free software [insert post about windows movie maker] I knew that I WANTED to create a more detailed and engaging film. 

 

Fast forward eight years, I was a wife and mother of three adorable children and my smartphone and computer were quickly filling up with images of our life together. Again, it really was the best option for an easy to use video editing software for mothers and total beginners.

 

One day, while scrolling through social media I noticed a beautiful film – and I mean film – that someone created by piecing together home footage from a smartphone! 

 

GASP! I was in awe!

 

I just knew I needed this in my life! But my budget was in no place to pay someone else around $500 to create a family film.

 

SOOOOOO, I started to research video editing software. Days on days and weeks of research that ultimately led to purchasing CyberLink PowerDirector 13. It fit the bill in all the right places for this Stay-At-Home-Mom in the market for making family keepsake films with smartphone footage.

 

 Ready to give it a try? Click Here for a 30 day FREE trial!

 

 

#2: Does it have everything I DESIRE?

Easy to use – CHECK

Non-linear timeline – CHECK

Cool transitions – CHECK

Multiple timelines for music and voice over – CHECK

Add graphics ON TOP of my images and films – CHECK

Save in high quality – CHECK

ONE TIME PURCHASE!!!!! – CHECK

If you have children or family members or pets that you have captured in a media format then you have the stuff to manipulate just like I did (and still do). 

 

I had different types of footage and images that once pieced together into a Non linear time frame would produce a family keepsake film for, at the time, my grandmother. 

 

The program needed to be able to slow down, speed up, scroll and pan through images AND control the focus points so she knew where to look and when. 

 

HOWEVER, if time is short or you have a limited knowledge base, artificial intelligence can do basic movements across the image and create stunning effects as well. The creative control is in your hands, OR NOT, it is your choice.

 

#3: How user-friendly is this software?

Right out of the box, the video editing software PowerDirector gives you choices on how to startup your project. 

 

You have the option to let the software guide you through a simple photo/video slideshow that will ease you into the editing process or you can start from scratch with the FULL timeline option. Without a doubt, PowerDirector is easy to learn if you have a basic knowledge of video editing. If not, I am here to teach you some tips and tricks on how to use it or where to find other people who can also help.

 

Check out this guy to get you started: How to Make A Video That Doesn’t Suck | CyberLink PowerDirector 18

#4: Does the price justify the purchase?

PowerDirector is a robust user-friendly prosumer video editing software. You have the choice to buy it one time and keep it forever. It is yours. No strings attached. However, currently they are offering a subscription-based package that is similar to Adobe’s plan.

 

For me as a stay-at-home mother who wanted to start knitting together all the video footage, photos and memories I was creating with my growing family – it was a lifesaver. I had tried free programs but I found their limitations to be stifling once my knowledge base started expanding. 

 

So if you too have hit a creative wall with the “free” software programs then I highly recommend this as your first “big” investment for video editing software.

It does exactly what YOU need in a beginner software and more. 

One caveat, it is only available on Windows, Android smartphones, and now, Chromebooks. Again, for transparency reasons, I am only reviewing products I have used and can share an honest review to SERVE you in finding the best product.

In Summary

I enjoy photography and videography. I knew I wanted to create family films that we would enjoy and want to sit down and watch together. I wanted something much more than just slideshow photos that faded slowly and lacked the sounds of our children.

 

I wanted a new and innovative “family keepsake film” that included music with fancy transitions. I wanted to control the focus points and guide the viewer’s attention to our children and our love and joy and laughter together.

 

A legacy for my family that was more than just smiles and portraits of one another but a story that needed to be shared. A testimony of our love to pass down to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren because let’s face it, today’s digital age means we have a digital footprint that stays longer than we ever expected it to. 

 

Between our Facebook photo albums and YouTube videos, the memories can’t deteriorate like a book or photo sitting on a shelf that will slowly degrade. It is something that will last through the ages. Therefore, we should carefully consider what is being posted of our children and family. 

 

So in my honest opinion, Cyberlink PowerDirecotor is a tool to create an intentional legacy.

Try it for free for 30 days. Click Here.

Save up to 30% Storewide. Click Here.

What story do you want to share with people?

Please leave a comment below about the stories you would like to create and/or questions you have about this program.

 

CyberLink Storewide offer - Save up to 30%

Blogging through Cancer

Blogging through Cancer

On the 20th of February in the year of 2019, our world changed with a single phone call. A tumor was located in the center of my husband’s chest.

 

A consistent blogging routine had yet to be established with Knitting Our Story however I chose to continue to write throughout the process even if I wasn’t sharing it publicly. Writing was cathartic and pleasing to my heavy heart. Also, it would be a wonderful legacy to share with family and friends after the chemotherapy was said and done. After the eyebrows grew back. After the scars had faded and the tumor had disappeared. Here is an excerpt from my ramblings in February 2019:

 

In December 2018, my husband started complaining of mild chest pressure, not pain just pressure, that originated in the right side of his chest and moved into his arm. After two primary care and three urgent care visits that involved a strep throat infection it seemed his symptoms were worsening along with a rapid 15 lb weight loss. He struggled to breathe at night that forced him to sleep at an incline. Any strenuous activity, including lifting our six month old son, caused his superior vena cava vein to swell and bulge in his neck. 

 

Finally, we received an answer for all these symptoms on Feb 20th 2019.

 

My husband’s perseverance with medical staff in addition to the persistence of loving family members we did not give up on seeking a prognosis. Eventually, we compiled an entire list of all his symptoms:

 

  1. #1 symptom for us: persistent cough
  2. #2 symptoms for us: unexplained difficulty breathing and pressure in chest
  3. Fevers and strep infection for a normally very healthy person
  4. Unexplained weight loss (15 lbs for my husband)
  5. Lack of energy (sleeping constantly yet never fully rested)
  6. Painless swelling in neck
  7. Superior Vena Cava syndrome (we had no idea why the vein in his neck was bulging)

 

According to Sloan Kettering and Boston Children’s Cancer Blood Disorder Center, Peter presented all the symptoms necessary for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma BUT they were also symptoms of very benign infections as simple as Strep Throat. WHO KNEW?

 

In the span of minutes our world flipped upside down. 

 

Without flinching, we held tight to the promise we have in Christ Jesus. We will both affirm that He carried us through the first 48 hours of this devastating news. 

 

In 48 hours, my husband underwent a chest x-ray, CT scan followed by an ER visit, overnight hospital stay and a thoracic chest biopsy (chest surgery).

 

Then we waited. And waited.

 

What would the results say? Is this really cancer? 

 

Yes.

 

This is day 12. This is fresh. This is new. This is us. This is our story.

 

We are trusting the Lord with cancer. 

 

I am also trusting the Lord with this blog. 

 

Here are three reasons why I am STILL writing during this time.

#1

My blog is titled “Knitting Our Story”. With all my heart, soul and strength I love the Lord and this intricately knitted story HE wrote while I was still in the womb.  It has always been my heart’s desire to share our story. Cancer is just a chapter being woven into a much longer novel.

#2

I am my target market. Again, my heart’s desire is to share knowledge with others by providing them with concise and practical ways to capture their story with today’s technology BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE! The intent has not changed. If anything it has placed a fire in my heart that capturing our story is more than ever paramount. I want to capture every single moment with my family. (OK, not every moment, I want to engage as well) My husband’s diagnosis has fanned the flame in my heart to be better and become obedient. To stop making excuses and run the race marked for me. The Lord is still encouraging me to share. To help. To serve. 

#3

What was once a long term goal has become a short term goal which is to make this blog an investment opportunity through monetization so it can contribute to our family income. I do not know what is to come and it is fully in the Lord’s hands. However, to be a good steward and to have a farmer mentality, I need to start sowing into this passion project, my blog, to reap benefits that will serve my family with financial gains. Here is my full disclosure policy. In advance, thank you for any contribution you make through any of my affiliate links and for just visiting my blog. Thank you.

 

SO WHAT WHO CARES?:

The practical application is that NOBODY is promised tomorrow. What are you doing TODAY to make the most of it? What could you do today to start creating a legacy to leave for loved ones? How would you handle something like this? Are you prepared to withstand a storm of uncertainty?

 

Share your insights below.

Why and How you should film a first time event

Why and How you should film a first time event

The day had come. 

We recently experienced a first in our household. Our firstborn daughter had the joy of attending her FIRST Daddy Daughter dance! I am sharing why and how YOU should also capture the “firsts” in your family with the technology at your fingertips.

Prep:

How wonderful it was to see the joy in my little girl’s eyes over a special evening with her father.

She instantly understood that a date with her father meant that she would be the center of attention. As an avid capture the moment momographer (mom who films or takes videos of her family so frequently she is given an imagined made-up title/role), one might think that I initially planned on filming this night.

NOPE!

I could have just went through the motions and the significance of the event would have slipped through our fingers which would potentially lead to a missed memory.

Now, it is all on screen! Her eyes lighting up as her special request for “make-up” was granted. It was so apparent that she too needed something to cement the evening.

It was a first and firsts always hold a special place in everyone’s heart.

Her first date with Daddy.

Her first time preparing herself for an adventure focused on deepening a relationship with someone else while loving on herself with dignity and integrity.

It was a proud Mama moment watching her pick out the clothes, shoes, and finishing touches to prepare for her father.

(Filming it allows us to treasure these memories long after it’s gone.)

For us personally, it is the beginning of many opportunities to show our children the love of Jesus through the love of their earthy father.

The bar will be set high for whomever her potential suitor will be because it is our job to build up her confidence – in the Lord – and accept nothing less in a husband.

As she grows up this video will become a memoir of her innocence and venture into becoming a lady.

Build up her confidence-in the Lord.

 Execution:

I recommend that you make the decision to make a “film” or a “highlight” video ahead of time. It will dictate what you will need to capture. When it comes to events like this you can put a little more effort into styling the scenes and setting up the environment.

Now, if you have chosen to make a film you will want to capture the details like the intricacies of the clothing, shoes, flowers and the invitation. I approached this film as though it was a wedding prep ceremonial film.

Get multiple angles. It is recommended to get three different types.

Full, Mid, Close-Up [check out this post to learn more about these terms]

Add voice. SOUND can make a film come to life! I added a small interview and placed it over some of the scenes using L- and J- cuts [here is another post to explain these terms]. 

FOUR Reasons to Capture Your Story NOW

FOUR Reasons to Capture Your Story NOW

Four Reasons to Capture Your Story

 

This video passion project has been a work in progress since I first picked up a camera as a high school yearbook photographer.  Then (and still now), I knew that capturing a story was something worthwhile. There was something about being behind the lens of a camera that opened my eyes to the beauty around me while making my heart flutter with excitement. On Friday evenings during football games, I would run around the stadium capturing the intensity of football players, the joyfulness of the band and the school rallying around our school. It was exhilarating and my movements flowed effortlessly  maneuvering into crazy positions always trying to capture the perfect shot!

Over ten years later I am still trying to capture “the shot”! Though the players and settings have changed the desire to capture the moments has not! The passion has transcended from photo to video since it also flows vs freezes the moment. I enjoy how it gives life and movement to an event and evokes emotion.

Reason No. 1: Legacy

For my wedding day, we purchased a budget friendly handheld camcorder.

WHY? Because there is this deep desire in us to preserve our story, our history so that we may pass it on to others. We used that camcorder to capture our ceremony, dances and special messages from our guests. It also captured the moment we found out we were expecting our first child!

One day, our children will be able to look back on our younger days to reconnect to our youth to better understand their own unique history.

So now that we have several children, the following passage is constantly tugging at my heartstrings because the old adage is true… “the days are long but the years are short”.

“For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together

in my mother’s womb.”

Psalm 139:13

God knitted together each of my babies in the womb and their story was already written before they arrived. I can’t help but capture each and every delicate moment of their first years with us.

Reason No. 2: Connection

As the years started to roll by and the miles between my family grew I knew that sending photos sporadically wasn’t enough to convey the full sense of our growing family. AND when my 80 year old grandmother said that she felt like she didn’t know her great-grandchildren it started a fire within me. I created a 15 minute slideshow for each of my three young children just for her and burned them onto DVDs to send through snail mail!

Nowadays, the ever innovating technology field is changing the game on how to share our memories with family. Are you familiar with FaceTime? Google Photos? Facebook? Snapfish? Bound photobooks printed and delivered to your door? Giant canvas prints at reasonable prices?

You see? There is a gap in digital literacy and our children and grandchildren only know screens! Not print. So we need to catch up to stay connected BUT I also feel that there is something to the tangible and want to teach people the new techniques on how to get photos back in your hands and on your walls.

Reason No. 3: Life is Short

I am not done yet. This is the most sobering reason and the hardest to discuss.

Tragedy can strike anyone at anytime. We are no exception. [Read about our very personal battle with cancer here.]

First it was my Uncle.

He had a stomach ache and begrudgingly went into the hospital. He came out with a diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer. The next two years flew by as the cancer did what it is so infamous for…. It slowly took away another loved one from the embrace of a family – a wife and daughter.

During this same time period, my teenage cousin also went to the doctor complaining of a “pain” in his leg. Once again, a loved one walked out with the diagnosis of cancer – Osteosarcoma.

 “Nick Widner fought a courageous battle with osteosarcoma.

Cancer didn’t define him. He lived free & easy.

His spirit will live forever in our hearts.”

Things moved so rapidly after these initial diagnoses.

Within a year, I received a call (about my Uncle) that hospice was on the premises. I desperately placed an order for a digital voice recorder for him to record a few conversations for his precious daughter (i.e. words for right before she graduated, first dance, first boyfriend, first breakup, marriage, etc). My heart ached at the realization that he would no longer be here but I clung to the fact that technology could somewhat ease the pain.

If she couldn’t have him there physically then maybe having his voice would bring some solace during those pivotal moments in a young girl’s life. He fought a good fight and went peacefully to the Lord.

Within the year, my 17 year old cousin lost his battle with Osteosarcoma.

His family continues to fight the battle against childhood cancer through fundraisers for other families still in the fight. His legacy will live on through the heartwork and hard work that his mother does in his honor.

I have learned that cancer does not discriminate; young, old, married, single, rich, or poor it is not prejudiced with its victims nor does it relent. We must be the ones preserving our memories and proactively capturing them to share with others.

But to fully grasp the gravity of this “life is short” I have to share the next story. It also happened during this timeframe and rocked a small town and countless families with aftershocks still being felt today. Here it is from one of the victim’s mother:

“On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, exactly 4 years after Jody and Nick graduated from the police academy, they responded to a domestic disturbance call, and were murdered by a career criminal with a 32-page rap sheet.”

The Jody and Nick from the above statement were my brother’s dearest friends. The day this all happened, our wedding anniversary, is still burnt into my memory.

You can read more about both young men and how the community continues to love and support the thin blue line through the The Smarr and Smith Foundation.

[Yes, I bleed black and blue for ALL our law enforcement, first responders and military personnel who put their lives on the line every day to serve US. I recommend following Kyle Reyes and his new venture Whiskey Patriots.]

 Life is short.

I don’t want it to pass me by. SO, I pick up my phone, camera, or recorder to capture, document, and treasure each fleeting moment we have here, just in case…

How about you?

 Reason No. 4: To Glorify the Lord

To Glorify God and love others sacrificially.

The Lord has equipped us all with talents, gifts and passions.

Mine happens to be creating heartfelt films, photography, constantly exploring user-friendly technology and teaching. All of these talents allow me to find joy in the number one role of my life which is being a dutiful wife and mom. By no means am I perfect. The dishes and laundry constantly gets overlooked plus my organizational style isn’t the best – just being real [ask my hubby].

Now how does this serve the Lord and you?

By creating this blog and using my talents, I am pleasing my Lord and Savior with the talents He blessed me with by being fruitful while giving HIM the glory. At no point, now or even later, will I take up the boasting in my own strength. Dear Reader, Let me serve you. I want to share all the tips and tricks I have learned and much much more as I continue to learn myself.

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