Problems using Ulead Video Editor
Software is hard. I know. It requires superhuman attention to detail to get things right, and since we are mere humans we usually write pretty bad software.
Inspired by Matthew Thomas's lists of problems, here is a write-up of all the things that annoyed me while trying to get used to Ulead Video Editor 9.0 (bought because our camera's bundled Japanese software refused to install itself on my English Windows 2000). It's real-life usage problems and I have spent my time on compiling the list in the optimistic hope that Ulead will find it useful.
- It crashes when I capture. A fresh installation works fine, but when Windows has been restarted or hibernated, it crashes when I choose "Capture" tab and click the "Capture Video" button. It does not work again until re-installed.
- Preferences not auto-saved. If I change the preferences and UVE crashes, the changes are lost.
- No "Repair" option in installer. If I try to re-install the program, I first have to uninstall it (after waiting for all the installation files to be unpacked, go figure..). There should be a "Repair current installation" option.
- Uninstall requires Windows restart. It is very annoying because of the previous issue.
- Clumsy handling of moved files. I capture to my hard disk, and due to lack of space I move files to an external hard drive later on. (Because the computer has only one FireWire port I must do this in two steps rather than capturing directly to the hard drive where I want the files). Also, the external drive will not always have the same drive letter. Ulead has a "relink check" feature that lets me tell it where the file has gone - BUT I have to do that once per file in a project! Ouch. Can't you ask me if all files are moved to one folder, then ask me for the folder and sort it all out?
- Re-link does not remember file name. If I have moved a file and click "Re-link" when UVE warns me the file is missing, I get a file open dialog - but the file name is not filled in! I have to remember difficult file names like
uvs050630-002.AVI from the "Re-link check" dialog and type them into the open dialog!
- Video library re-link equally clumsy. These same issues apply to the icons in the "Video library" pane.
- Can not delete file from UI. Apparently no way to remove a file from the UI. You can delete an icon in the "Video library" pane but it does not remove the file. I actually want to remove scenes that are not good enough to waste hard drive space on.
- Insert video to library doesn't sort. Hello Ulead, you created these file names remember. Why do I have to reorder the files manually when inserting files into the video library?
- Smart download wants to dial up. This one is very puzzling. I'm here on a broadband connection and all other Internet software works fine. Yet Ulead's "Smart download" feature produces a "Dial-up networking" connection box and wants to dial up! Well, not so smart after all then..
- Does not stop tape when capturing stops due to lack of disk space.
General UI annoyances
- Menus do not work from the keyboard. I'm a compulsive user of [Alt-letter] shortcuts to open menus
- Common menu shortcuts like [Alt-T] are re-used for other purposes. This drives me crazy.
- Windows start menu/task bar blocked. My Windows task bar is set to hide automatically. It does not appear when I move the mouse to the bottom of the window in UVE.
- In the registration nag dialog, "Register now" does not do anything. (This is most likely my fault: I probably should fix my default browser settings. I think the system has no default browser at the moment.)
- Upgrade nagging even though I use the latest version. I get a popup with the merry announcement that UVE 9.0 is available. Thanks, but that's what I'm running now!
Trying to capture and edit video in spite of all that is quite a struggle. I have to keep doing the re-install dance for now because I spent my money and don't have other options. (The "home user" version of Adobe Premiere requires XP - and it told me so AFTER I downloaded all the hundreds of megabytes. Thanks.)
I love VirtualDub, it starts in an instant and the UI is both clever and simple (though written for a larger screen than mine). Can't someone give that genius Avery Lee the information he needs to capture video from my camera with the embedded sound?