WeVideo delivers free collaborative, browser-based video editing

Despite the relentless coverage we give to the hardware end of the tech world, BetaNews is a software site at its heart, and we are always trying out new software.

Granted, in the last few years this has come to mean something different than it used to.

Most of the new software we are exposed to on a daily basis comes in the form of mobile applications, or as software-as-a-service or Web apps. This is because these are areas that haven't reached full maturity like desktop software has…and frankly, because it's still open season for developers to become quick millionaires on relatively straightforward concepts.

One of these areas of opportunity is in bringing established standalone applications to "the cloud," and turning them into collaborative Web apps. A few months ago, we looked at LucidChart, who was doing that very thing. They wanted to make a Web app version of Microsoft Visio, and had done a pretty good job with it.

Today, we took WeVideo for an spin. Even though this browser-based video editor is not even one year old, and is currently only in its second month as a beta, it's already an impressive product that is intuitive and fun to use.

It must be said right up front that this is not an HTML5 app. Like other graphically demanding multimedia browser content, WeVideo relies on Adobe Flash. So WeVideo's future on mobile devices is not extremely bright in its current form, but let's take it for what it has right now.

Users can upload their video to WeVideo and then edit it in a timeline format that should look familiar to anyone who's ever used a desktop video editor before. Videos can be cut up and rearranged, or layered with music and sound effects, graphical overlays, titles, and transitions. Each video project on the site can be edited and viewed by multiple users and saved under their respective profiles. Finished video projects can then be exported directly to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook or Twitter.

WeVideo works on a freemium model, so the free user has 1GB of storage, and each project can have 5 collaborators. The real limitation comes in the export of this content: a free user can only export 15 minutes of video per month, and it is limited to 360p resolution with a WeVideo watermark. It supports in-app payments, however, and for a single payment of $2.99, users can export a higher quality video.

There are also subscription tiers that give users more storage, better quality exports, and the ability to collaborate with more users per project. The first subscription tier, ("Plus") costs $4.99/month or $49.99/year, includes 10 GB storage, 60 export minutes per month with 480p resolution, and no watermark, allows 10 collaboration invites per project and local downloads in addition to the export feature.

In typical web app fashion, the features of WeVideo are limited, but with an intuitive interface and the useful ability to collaboratively edit video projects, it's worth checking out.

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