Tools: Editing software -- choices and complications

As I speak I am seated before my pc. This pc of mine -- running Windows XP -- is my work station where I do everything digital.

To prep the work space for better work flow when I edit video I've added an external hard drive -- LACIE -- and this last week I upped my RAM by 1GB so that now I'm running my work with 1.5GB of RAM.

I added the RAM so that I can run Sony Vegas Studio Platinum 9.0. I had been using Windows Movie Maker but it often crashed (perhaps a memory issue) and it also offered very limited rendering options.

While I'm trying to use Sony I find it cumbersome and demanding of a lot of fine work. I guess I'll get used to the bells and whistles over time but at the moment I really appreciate the fast and precise editing offered by the free platform VirtualDub.

I've found nothing that can match VirtualDub in that regard and I've tried Pinnacle as well as Vegas .

So I'm learning VirtualDub at the same time as I'm trying to master Sony Vegas.

VirtualDub is a very fast and easily managed editing program with a lot of very useful rendering options. The one complication is that your 'project' source has to be in the form of one video clip rather than several. You can edit on several copies of VirtualDub open but there's no option to copy and paste between copies.

But this is more than made up for by the massive ease of cut, copy,delete and paste within the one edit window.

I love this as it is this aspect of video production that I enjoy the most and VirtualDub will allow you to slice a video frame by frame. VirtualDub also has text and filtering capabilities I am still yet to explore. It will also capture a file easily from a video camera. (VirtualDub also has powerful audio editing capabilities too)

So my problem now is to work out how I can "edit" in VirtualDub and then move on the process in either Movie Maker ore Vegas before rendering for web publishing (in QuickTime Pro). How essential QuickTime Pro is to the mix I'm still working out but it has a lot to do with Apple's h.264 codec.

If VirtualDub didn't edit only by clips it would make an ideal standard editing program for those exploring video production with digital cameras who deliver the shots in so many clips -- each clip=one shot. As I say you could edit several clips at one and then combine them later on in a different program such as Movie Maker.

I can envisage myself editing and capturing standardly on VirtualDub and utilizing another program only if I wanted to create a special something for the finished clip. VD's other advantage is that it doesn't compress the file so even if you move onto another program you're still maintaining file substance and quality.

An ideal arrangement would be VirtualDub plus QuickTimePro. One , two...

As for the QuickTimePro aspect, that's all to do with compression settings for web publishing.
And believe me, video file rendering is a mighty complex and confusing business. No one size fits all.