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I wish to create a video that demonstrates my research results, which comprise of images (graphs, tables, visualisations, etc), image sequences and videos. An example video which achieves what I am trying to do conceptually can be found here (MP4 file, ~15.9 MB).

Therefore, the requirements for my research videos include the ability to create:

  1. Title pages
  2. Images to be displayed over variable time (e.g. graphs / tables, single frames side-by-side, etc)
  3. Text annotations (with options for adding bullet points / numbered lists, arrows, boxes, etc)
  4. Video sequences that can be displayed side by side and it is critical that they are in sync
  5. Image sequences to be played as video with a user-defined frame rate
  6. Background audio (voice-overs)

Such resulting video should be of similar quality to the example given and allow good compression ratios.

OS: Mac OS X 10.9

System: 2.7GHz i7; 16GB RAM

Budget: $300 (when justifiable)

Complexity: Up to a full day of learning

Given this use case and constraints, what would be the best software tool for such a task?

  • Hire someone. This is exactly what I do for a living. (I'm not saying you should hire me. I already have plenty of work on my plate) Engineers and research scientists tend to underestimate the amount of experience and knowledge required to produce quality video. – Jason Conrad May 23 '14 at 22:39
  • Even if all you have to spend is $300 for one project, you can find someone who already has access and experience with the necessary tools to produce your video. – Jason Conrad May 23 '14 at 22:47
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Just about any NLE could handle your needs. Nothing in that listing seems particular difficult, though with a budget of $300 it might be easiest and fastest to pay an editor to put it together for you really quick. Alternately, Final Cut Pro X could do it pretty easily since you are on the Mac platform and the most recent copy is just within your budget.

It is a professional NLE (non-linear editor) but there are a ton of tutorials available online to get you going quickly with all the basics and your particular needs are very simple to do.

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You're forgetting something important: the time it will take to learn how to use sophisticated editing software. If this is a one-time task, the previous answerer is right -- hire someone. If you're going to do this regularly, plan on spending at least $300 for Final Cut Pro and a few weeks to learn the basics well.

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