[Contest] Total Recorder VideoPro Edition [Forum Exclusive]

Total Recorder VideoPro edition is a compact video editing program available for download as shareware from http://Highcriteria.com.  As a long-time registered user and fan of their audio editing software (Total Recorder Professional), I found Total Recorder VideoPro to be very intuitive and easy to use, because it uses the same interface as Total Recorder Standard and Professional editions, and is essentially the same as Total Recorder Professional, except with the additional capability of editing video files.  Even though the program is designed to edit video files, it includes all of the functionality of Total Recorder Professional for editing audio files. The program is capable of working with AVI, WMV, FLV, MPEG-4 and 3GP formats, as well as playing MOV files, though unfortunately, not MPEG-2 files.  Support for MOV, MPEG-4 and 3GP formats is only possible under Windows 7. DiVX files can be edited by downloading a free codec.

While this is not a full-fledged video/DVD authoring program, its small size and speed is handy for performing minor editing on video files, such as trimming the starting and ending points on a video file, cutting or removing a portion of a video, or changing the audio level, or even replacing the audio in a file. When performing these operations, the edits are done in the file’s native format, and the new file is saved without re-encoding, which means edits can be completed in seconds, versus the minutes or hours that most DVD authoring programs take to re-encode the edits. Total Recorder VideoPro can also be used to convert video files from any supported format to any other supported format.

Trimming an audio or video file is accomplished by setting the “mark-in” position, the “mark-out” position, and then either saving the marking portion of the video, discarding the unmarked portion of the video, or cutting/deleting the marked portion of the video.  To advance the video to the “mark-in” position, you can either slide the position pointer to the mark-in position, or use the “skip forward” or “skip backward” buttons to move forward or backward by an incremental amount of time. The amount that each press of the skip forward” or “skip backward” buttons will move is determined by a drop-down list, and can be as little as 0.01 seconds to as much as 15 minutes. In my own experience, I’ve found it easiest to use the position pointer to advance to a position close to the desired mark-in point, then use the skip forward” or “skip backward” buttons to the exact location desired. The skip forward” or “skip backward” buttons will work when the video is playing or paused.  There are navigation buttons that let you move to the mark-in or mark-out position, as well as a button that will stop playback at the mark-out position.  Editing of a video track recorded in compressed format is possible only by key frames. The user needs to use or button to select the nearest key frame. For more precise editing a non-compressed video format should be used.  In my testing, I was able to save a portion of a WMV video file by setting the mark-in point on a key frame, but the mark-out point did not need to be on a key frame.

On either side of the “Play” button are buttons to increase or decrease playback speed, from 0.125X to 32X. Changes made to playback speed are not automatically saved with the file, but there is an option on the File menu to save the file with a different speed.  There are six user-selectable speeds from 0.35X to 3X normal speed, plus a checkbox to preserve the original tone, so that voices and music retain their original pitch when the speed is changed in the file.

Total Recorder VideoPro can record streaming video either from the screen or in so called Background Recording mode. The second one is the preferred method of recording streaming video, provided the transmission is supported for being recorded by this mode (and if you have VideoPro edition). If the transmission in unsupported for being background recorded, then you can always capture it from the screen. Audio parameters in this case should be set to the Software recording mode in the “Recording Source and Parameters” dialog, (or just [Default settings] preset and a required recording format).

Streaming audio or video can be recorded on-demand or scheduled. In testing, this works fine, though there is no method within the program for searching for the Internet radio station or URL that you want to stream. However, a quick Internet search found several sites for programs that can find streaming radio stations and streaming URL’s.  When you enter a streaming URL, there is a “Check” button that can be pressed to verify that the URL entered is a valid streaming URL.

If the transmission cannot be recorded in background mode, you can always reproduce it on your computer and capture it from the screen. To do this, you would specify the source (in the Recording Wizard – “Sound reproduced by a sound player” option.

There are many options for recording, and fortunately, there is a recording wizard that will walk the user through the process and make setting up a scheduled recording easier, since this probably the most complex part of using the program. However, the Recording Wizard can only be used for setting audio recording parameters. Experienced users can access all recording dialog boxes if they prefer not to use the wizard.

The scheduling dialog box is shown below. There are many options for scheduling recordings, including automatic generation of filenames and tags.

There is a Split function for working with audio files.  Audio recordings can also be automatically split into multiple files based upon various split conditions, such as two seconds of silence less than 4%.  I’ve used this function many times for ripping the audio out of old cassette tapes, then splitting the large file into individual MP3 files.

If you prefer not to split a file into several smaller parts, the program can create cue points either manually or based on split conditions. The cue file contains the cue points which can be used in various ways, such as to create separate track numbers or chapters for a disc by CD / DVD burning software that support cue files.  If you wish to create a cue point manually while recording, there are two buttons available; one creates a cue point at the current position; the other inserts a cue point at the current position.  There is also a built-in cue point editor. I’m sure there are many ways cue pints can be used,

but one use that I thought of is this: Suppose you are recording a live event, such as a concert. You could insert the cue points into the recording while it is being recorded, such as between songs. Later, the cue points would become tracks on a CD or chapters on a DVD. When recording with cue points, the result is one recording file and one associated cue file.  You can split the media file into separate files later on based on the cue file.  There is also an option to pause a recording (while recording) based on conditions similar to the split conditions, or you can manually pause a recording by clicking the “Pause” button.

When setting up recordings, you can specify if you will be recording audio, video, or audio plus video. You then need to specify the source (assuming the source is not an Internet stream) as well as the format, bitrate, etc. Audio can be from any available source, and video can be captured from any compatible source. I tested this with a Logitech webcam and a Dazzle video capture device; both were detected by Total Recorder VideoPro and captured audio and video successfully.

One feature that Total Recorder VideoPro has that I didn’t expect is the ability to record video from the screen, or any part of a window, for example, the left-hand “folder” frame of Windows Explorer. This has many uses, such as creating a tutorial video. Total Recorder VideoPro can capture audio from a microphone or other audio source while capturing video from the screen.

Even though there are quite a few options in the menus and dialog boxes that could seem overwhelming to a novice user, most dialog boxes have a help button that links to the relevant help page for that dialog box, plus there is a set of tutorials available on the developer’s website (http://highcriteria.com)

describing how to accomplish various audio and video tasks with Total Recorder VideoPro, and the option to contact support, regardless of whether you are a registered user or not. I’ve used their email support for questions in the past and found them to be very responsive.

Summary:

Total Recorder VideoPro is a versatile audio/video editing and capture program that has numerous options hidden within its many menus.  The ability to record audio or video from many sources, streaming Internet sites, or capture screen activity is its forte’.  The only feature that I found missing is the ability to edit Mpeg-2 files.

The cost for a licensed copy of Total Recorder VideoPro is only $53.95 (USD). Licensed users of Total Recorder Professional Edition may upgrade to the VideoPro Edition for an upgrade fee of $18.00. The upgrade cost for the Standard Edition users is $36.00. The upgrade replaces the user’s installed copy of Total Recorder or Total recorder Professional, since Total Recorder VideoPro can do everything these programs do and more, with both audio and video.

Reviewed by Hgerald

 

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