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by Ray DeCosta

Q. I'm interested in video editing. How can I start learning about the subject without spending a lot of money?

A. There are numerous commercial programs available for video editing: Pinnacle Studio, Adobe Premier, Roxio, Vegas and Ulead to name only a few. These programs will set you back anywhere from about one to several hundred dollars should you decide to purchase them.

However, if this isn't something you want to spend a lot of money on until you know more about the subject, you're in luck. All Windows computers already come with an included program called Windows Movie Maker. You can use it to play around with video editing to see what you think about the subject.

While all versions of Windows have different ways of accessing Movie Maker, typically you would go to the Start button > Programs > Accessories and click "Windows Movie Maker." You should know that Movie Maker is not particularly sophisticated and you may quickly outgrow this free program. It doesn't have the fancy titles, menu options or transitions that commonly come with the other video editors. But it's free (because you already own it) and it will allow you to import video, edit it and burn it to a DVD. You can even use it to get something ready to send to YouTube and post your own movie online.

If you find you are interested in working more intensively with video, you'll now know what to look for in a more professional program.

Published: Courier 11/1/09 - Page 5C