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by Ray DeCosta

Q. I have some video I recorded on a DVD from a TV program and I'd like to edit it to remove the commercials. Is there an easy and inexpensive video editor available to accomplish this project?

A. You can easily pay about $100 to $200 for a decent video editor which has numerous bells and whistles but is also pretty complicated to learn. In addition, video editing requires a lot of time to complete a project with all the rendering (preparing the video file for burning to a DVD) as well as the time required to complete the actual burning process.

How does a FREE video editor sound to you? And not only is it free but you may already own it! If you're only going to edit videos on an occasional basis, you may already have a neat little program called Movie Maker on your computer. Movie Maker doesn't usually come with Windows 7 but you can check out any version of Windows here to see if you already have it.

If you need to download Movie Maker for your computer (or to obtain a more up-to-date version), go here and download the proper version for your Operating System.

Once it's installed, you can open it up and poke around to see how it works. I suggest practicing on a spare copy of your video file until you understand the basic process of video editing. An introductory tutorial may be found here and even though it says it's for the Vista version, the information contained in it is applicable to other versions.

Movie Maker is rather simplistic and if you get more involved with video editing, you may find yourself outgrowing its limitations. At that point you will want to consider a higher-end editor. I suggest you search for "best video editors" to find something that's in your price range. By this time you will have had some experience and will be more knowledgeable regarding what features you need to make your movies stand out from the crowd.

Published: Courier 3/14/15 - Page 12A