Video Explosion Deluxe is actually a simplified version of Sonic Foundry's Vegas Video package, and it maintains its headier cousin's real-time video editing and effects functionality. We used it to capture video from a Sony MiniDV camera on a 1.5gHz Pentium 4 Dell via an Adaptec DuoConnect FireWire card, and then created a VideoCD. (DVD output via Sonic's MyDVD is available, but it's not as simple or seamlessly integrated as in, say, Sonic's own MyDVD Video Suite with ArcSoft Showbiz, so we opted for the VideoCD format.)
The primary screen mimics Windows, with the main toolbar up top and the marker ruler, track header, timeline, and video preview area below. The software offers two video and three audio tracks, as well as a slew of transitions, effects and titling/text options. The audio function is especially sophisticated for an entry-level package; you can record a narrative in real time as you watch the preview, create a soundtrack of your own music or from the 200 provided audio tracks, and add any of 1,000 included sound effects.
Just because it's easy enough for a novice to use doesn't mean it's without more advanced features. Users can either drag their video files into the timeline or assemble them into an asset bin (what Video Explosion calls its "Media Pool"), and the software's scene detection was extremely sensitive, so we had a nice album of clips to begin with based on our initial capture. And in addition to outputting MPEG-2 files, Video Explosion Deluxe can save into just about any standard audio and video format. You can also output the completed project back to a DV camera or analog camcorder. None of these features are going to set the video-editing world on fire, since they're available in several competing (not to mention higher-end) tools, but it's awfully nice to have them all in one place in such a user-friendly, accessible, and inexpensive form.