VSDC Free Video Editor is a surprisingly powerful, if unconventional video editor.

The program comes with a host of transition effects, for instance. You can tweak colours, brightness, contrast, levels and more in a range of ways. And there are options to apply blur or sharpen filters, flip or rotate clips, tweak audio, add captions and more.

Wide file format support means the program can accept most audio and video formats, as well as many still image types.

And when you're done you can author videos for a range of device types (iPod/iPhone/iPad, PSP, Sony PlayStation, Xbox, Zune, Archos, iRiver, Creative Zen, Blackberry and more), as well as burning your movie directly to DVD.

It might be hard to believe this at first, though, because the odd interface makes the program less than easy to use.

By default it'll start by asking you to import all your clips, for instance, and these appear in a wizard. You can add your transition effects here, which is good. But you can't rearrange the clips into the order you need, first, which really isn't.

Import the clips anyway and you'd expect to see them on a timeline, but you don't. They're concealed as part of a "scene" and don't appear by default. You can display them, but they can't be rearranged as you might expect, because this is a "non-linear" editor and, well, works differently.

The confusion continues elsewhere, thanks in part to a very busy interface. There's a ribbon, Project and Objects Explorers, various editing toolbars, multiple timelines, a properties window, a resources window, a menu, various right-click options, and more. And there's no local help for any of this, so it's off to the inadequate website documentation if you need any assistance.

Things do improve when you start to understand the VSDC Free Video Editor approach, and there are so many options and features here that it may be worth persevering. If you're more used to conventional video editors, though, it may take some time: the program is far from straightforward.

Version 3.3 "presents a lot of graphical and audio improvements for professionally looking special effects and video rendering. Several GUI improvements make the app even simpler than before, while the support for Italian and Japanese languages reflects the growth of popularity of the tool in these countries."

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Unintuitive, awkward to use and lacking in documentation, it'll take a while to learn VSDC Free Video Editor. The program does actually have a lot of powerful features, though, so if you're willing to take on the steep learning curve then it may be worth a look.