I used the free tier of Clipchamp to edit a podcast & it wasn't as bad as you'd think

There's no shortage of video editors these days. Filmora Wondershare, Adobe Premiere, and even iMovie are all popular options used by many content creators. Yet if you're in a pinch and want to use a basic video editing service for free, without getting a watermark on your end product, then Microsoft now has your back with Clipchamp (Microsoft acquired Clipchamp back in September of 2021)

The web-based video editor recently became an inbox app in Windows 11, and after some changes to the free-tier, I ended up trying it out. My colleague Kareem Anderson did a full review of the service a few months ago, but now that you can export 1080p videos on Clipchamp with the free tier, I thought I'd give it a try myself for editing the weekly OnMSFT.com podcast. This is a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of my experience, and why Clipchamp isn't as bad as you think it might be.

The Good

For a free video editor, there’s a lot that I like about Clipchamp as it helped me edit the OnMSFT.com podcast like I usually would through Filmora Wondershare (see above for the final result.) The service has plenty of good things that work out well for editing videos when you don’t have a system with a powerful GPU or CPU for video editing. Additionally, when put up against some of the stuff I usually use in Fillmora Wondershare, I was surprised to find out that there’s a lot of great titles (lower thirds,) and transitions in Clipchamp, too.

There’s also the fact that Clipchamp is web-based, so it doesn’t tax my PC as much when doing my video editing. I easily managed to edit a full podcast episode without draining down my Surface Laptop Studio battery. Usually, doing so with Filmora would drain my battery to empty in just one hour. With Clipchamp, I barely lost 10% battery in editing.

In particular with features, there’s a green title bar that I use in Filmora which was here in Clipchamp, too. It might not be added the same design, but this let me add section titles to podcast segments. I also could drag down and edit the size, and change the font on the title, or even the text style. As for the transitions, I use a “push” transition that pushes the main content to the right, when I want to insert B-roll over the main feed. Clipchamp has this same thing from Filmora, though the “push” effect is a little bit quicker.

I used the free tier of Clipchamp to edit a podcast & it wasn't as bad as you'd think - OnMSFT.com - April 6, 2022

Other things that are good about Clipchamp is the overall user interface. It’s very clean, simple, and easy to understand. All functionality is clearly labeled, and the hub for all uploaded elements has a tabbed layout so you can separate it out by Video, Audio, or Image categories. If I had paid for Clipchamp, these files could have even been uploaded to the cloud, so my project could follow me across my devices. But without the paid plan, everything stays local.

Along with Dropbox, Clipchamp has a OneDrive integration. With this, you can upload the final exported project to OneDrive automatically. Clipchamp even generates a link for you so you can share it and have someone watch your video online. Pretty cool!

The Bad

I used the free tier of Clipchamp to edit a podcast & it wasn't as bad as you'd think - OnMSFT.com - April 6, 2022

Alright, so, I do need to get into the bad things in my experience with Clipchamp, too. There were multiple things that bothered me, which people who might be editing longer projects might come across. Again, I edited a podcast with Clipchamp, so these problems might not happen if you’re just doing a quick video for social media, or a company blog/website. But I do want to mention them nonetheless.

The first issue I had was with trimming clips. Usually, in dedicated video editors, trimming a clip midway through your edit would cut its size down and snap it to the rest of your timeline, leaving no gaps or empty space. In my time with Clipchamp, I noticed that this wasn’t possible. This means I had to manually drag a split clip around to ensure there’s no blank space in my video timeline. It unnecessarily added extra minutes to my edit time as I had to readjust everything in the timeline accordingly.

I used the free tier of Clipchamp to edit a podcast & it wasn't as bad as you'd think - OnMSFT.com - April 6, 2022

Another issue? Detaching Audio. This is critical to my podcast editing for one key reason. I often have to split down the main A-roll of me and Kareem, detach the audio, delete the main A-roll video feed, and then place the B-roll I want to use over the blank space created in the timeline. Unfortunately, detaching the audio in Clipchamp is hit and miss. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. A refresh usually would fix it, but it proved very annoying to constantly have to refresh my entire project just to get the B-roll in the spots I want it.

I tried to get my way around this by splitting the main A-roll clip out, and hiding the main A-roll under my B-roll, but it created a weird zoom and jump effect, where the feed doesn’t look clear.

The Ugly

I used the free tier of Clipchamp to edit a podcast & it wasn't as bad as you'd think - OnMSFT.com - April 6, 2022

Now, for the ugly. The one thing that really upset me with Clipchamp is the processing times. I had to wait 1 hour and 15 minutes when encoding a 32 minute long podcast, and an end file that comes out to 300 MB. I get that the encoding on Clipchamp is web-based, but this was way too long for my liking. I am too used to the 7-8 minute encode times from using Filmora, and an hour was way too long for me to wait. I wonder if Microsoft could improve on wait times a bit heading into the future.

Not too bad

At the end of the day, my experience with Clipchamp wasn’t all too bad. I did have some issues, but considering I found workarounds and that I edited the entire podcast without paying anything, I should be glad. Filmora Wondershare might be better, but it does come in at the price of of $70 which not everyone might want to pay. I honestly think that Clipchamp is more like an early version of Windows Movie Maker than it is anything else. It lacks pro features like 4K exports, as well as video stabilization elements, so I do hope that Microsoft continues to invest in it, and brings it to a flagship Windows video editing app.

If you want to give Clipchamp a try, check out our own Kevin Okemwa's primer on how to get started.

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