Over the holiday break, I decided to try to record a new Bunkers and Badasses video about the Siren class, but this time without using the built-in TikTok creator tools. I tried using Clipchamp, with mixed success. I learned a lot trying this out. Here are 7 things I learned in the process.
#1: TikTok is just easier than working with Clipchamp
TikTok’s creator tools are really quite simple and that makes it hard to switch over to something else. I easily spent 10x the amount of time to create the same style of video in Clipchamp, and was kicking myself for making this decision! With what I know now, it will be easier the next time, but it will never be as easy as the built-in app for TikTok.
#2: Clipchamp has great autocaption speech-to-text. When it works.
ClipChamp auto captioning, which seems to be in preview, performed really well. With no voice training on my system, it did great speech recognition on my voice. I’ve worked with several tools for auto-captioning and transcription and none have ever worked this well. I had very few edits to make to the text. However, there were some major issues with the timing it assigned and some blocks got all jumbled together and there was no way to fix it. So the speech-to-text part is great, but whatever it decides to do with that text may not be.
The second video I did with Clipchamp I had to create all my captions by hand because the autocaption service simply refused to do anything. So, I love the tech behind the speech-to-text, but wish it actually worked consistently.
#3: Projects have default support for 9:16 ratio (vertical ‘mobile’ layout)
I usually work with Camtasia, which doesn’t have a default canvas dimension yet for the “vertical” HD resolution. It was nice to be able to set the canvas automatically to what I would want for TikTok, and then rotate videos easily to get them into the right direction (some of my recordings were recorded the wrong way).
#4: Audio/Video sync issues when recording with Clipchamp
Clipchamp did not work well for me at recording video/audio. I had to fix almost everything I recorded because the video/audio were out of sync. Luckily, Clipchamp allows you to separate out the audio track and adjust them separately, but that was a bunch of wasted time. I started recording separately on my devices and then bringing the media into Clipchamp, and that worked much better.
In my second video project with Clipchamp, I did all my camera work with my phone as one long MP4. I then brought it into Clipchamp to splice and trim down and the process went much faster.
#5: Generous ‘free’ package
Clipchamp has really decent free options to handle the basics for editing. For my personal use, this definitely fits most of the needs. I’m trying to take control over more of my content and get rid of those TikTok watermarks on my YouTube videos and this seems like a step in the right direction.
From transitions, to basic templates, music, animated text, stock video and images, and other stuff, there is a lot packed in here for free. Feels a lot like Canva where they get you started with the free stuff but tease the good premium stuff in the app.
#6. Desktop editing FTW!
The TikTok editor is really intuitive, but I miss the granularity of control of having my big monitor and a mouse. Trying to do everything with my fingers on a tiny screen is just not effective for fine detail editing. Sometimes you need to really adjust the audio a little bit, or slide something a tiny way, or trim a split second off. Being able to work with my desktop tools really gave me extra control.
I love being able to do multiple layers of video and audio and stack it all together. Particularly in the series I’m doing now, I have portions where I show the book using a camera shot of the page, but it’s sometimes easier to just record all the audio on the camera first and then layer on the page shot over top. I haven’t pushed the layering enough yet to figure out audio layering, though.
Comparing the output
The first video here is a standard video I have made with the TikTok creator tools. The second one is the first one I did with Clipchamp. I still have some things to learn to get things just right with the captions and recording, but I can get pretty close without being locked into TikTok tools. The third video example here was my second attempt with Clipchamp where I had to manually do the captions, but recorded on my phone and not using Clipchamp to record.
Made with TikTok
First try with Clipchamp
Second try with Clipchamp
All in all, Clipchamp can be rough in some areas, particularly the captions. Editing time was much longer than working with the TikTok app, but I was able to bring down production time by filming with the phone or directly on the built-in device tools and then using Clipchamp to pull the clips together into a series.
Having control over my content is my new goal, and this will help me get there. TikTok did really well with their editor, though, and Clipchamp doesn’t quite live up to it in comparison, based on how I use it. I think if I could edit my videos using the TikTok app, on my desktop, and then download the finished product without a TikTok watermark that would be my preferred scenario.
However, since TikTok blocks some of that, finding alternatives will have to do for now!
Cover image credit: Clipchamp (sourced from Clipchamp.com images )