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How to make and publish movies for free

David Daw | March 20, 2012
It's never been cheaper or easier to make movies, but many budding amateur filmmakers are still put off by the initial expense of purchasing a good camera and audio equipment. Thankfully, there's plenty of free content available for public use if you know where to look. You can turn that raw material into creative and inventive works of cinema with a few free video editing tools, some hard work and a place to share your movie with friends and family.

Meanwhile, Mac OS users will have a slightly easier time editing their movies together with iMovie, which comes pre-installed on every Apple PC. Simply import the audio, images and video you've collected for your project into iMovie and stitch them together by dragging and dropping clips to the timeline. While your options for editing clips in iMovie are limited in when compared to a full non-linear editor like Final Cut Pro, you can still create great movies by cropping, editing and adding transitions to your media clips.

If you're a Linux user check out OpenShot, an open-source video editor that's free and (relatively) simple to use. Like most free video editors, OpenShot presents you with a timeline upon which you can arrange pictures, audio and video clips before knitting them into one cohesive film. If none of these options work for you (or you just don't want to bother downloading anything) you can always take advantage of the free YouTube Video Editor, which allows you to upload all of your video clips to YouTube and edit them together to create your masterpiece.

Publish And Share Your Video For Free

Once you've completed your movie you'll want to share it with friends and family, so head on over to the venerable YouTube or it's upstart contender Vimeo. Both websites allow you to upload your videos to their servers for free, though paid accounts are also available. Vimeo has a reputation for hosting high-quality HD films, but now that YouTube allows you to watch videos in HD there's no practical difference between the two services in terms of technical limitations.

YouTube lets you upload as many movies as you'd like as often as you want, but those movies cannot be longer than 15 minutes in length unless you verify your YouTube account by providing a mobile phone number. Vimeo imposes no time limits on your uploaded videos, but it does limit you to 500 MB of video uploads per week. The first video you upload every week will be viewable in 720p high definition, but anything else you publish that week will be plain ol' standard definition unless you pony up for a Vimeo Plus account.

Unless you're planning to become a full-time video producer, a free account with YouTube or Vimeo should satisfy all your video publishing needs. Now that you've read up on all the fantastic free tools available to create and share your movie ideas, it's time to get started!


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